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By Dale M. Coulter, First Things, 10 . 2 . 20
Dale M. Coulter is associate professor of historical theology at Regent University.
Amy Coney Barrett is the first charismatic Christian nominee for the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the significance of this event has been overshadowed by anti-charismatic sentiments. Many have made bigoted claims about Barrett’s relationship to the ecumenical charismatic community People of Praise. Some have said that it is a cult, or that it inspired Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Bill Maher called Barrett a “f***ing nut” because “she’s really, really Catholic, like speaking in tongues.” Massimo Faggioli declared that it’s not anti-Catholic to question Barrett’s association with People of Praise.
It is ironic that Maher thinks the association with charismatic Christianity is “really Catholic,” whereas Faggioli, a liberal Catholic theologian, thinks it’s not Catholic and thus fair game. Unfortunately, these are both common reactions to charismatic Catholics. Secular figures criticize them for speaking in tongues, yet other Catholics regard them as suspect. But these reactions are either the result of willful ignorance or a disingenuous attempt to portray charismatic Catholics in a negative light. …