The discrepancy between the fawning over Joe Biden’s Catholicism in the press and the alarm over Barrett’s is centered around one thing.
It is a sign of desperation anytime The Handmaid’s Tale is trotted out as invective. Predictably, this has been the lazy response to the possibility of Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court Justice—and likely will continue to be now that President Trump is expected to nominate Barrett this weekend.
A thought experiment. A conservative filmmaker makes a television show about a dystopian world in which women dress in sexy Black Panthers-chic uniforms (a la Beyonce, Superbowl 2016), greet one another with, “May the choice be with you,” give nightly homage to “Blessed Ruth,” and chant, “May she rest in power.” They have sex rituals with each other’s partners to insure they maintain their liberation, and then “shout their abortions” after their routine candlelit abortion ceremonies.
Now that we have this show we can just reference it to smear every woman from the left regardless of her intelligence, professional bona fides, and personal reputation. How magical!
The discrepancy between the fawning over Joe Biden’s Catholicism in the press and the alarm over Amy Coney Barrett’s is centered around one thing: abortion. Were she pro-choice none of this alarm would be raised. Her prayer group, People of Praise, does not dictate career and relationship choices, but rather offers individual spiritual direction which, for any Catholic serious about his faith, is a normal type of mentorship and accountability relationship within a context of full freedom. They also are radically dedicated to helping the poor, to service in general, and to praying for and with one another. How scary!
Were Biden in such a group it would be sold as a social justice dream organization in which he really gets his hands dirty and helps the least among us. But woe to her who extends the least among us to the actual least among us: a child in the womb.
They also used to use the term handmaid. “Mary is honored by millions as the first Christian and as a model believer,” states a post on the People of Praise site, “In keeping with this, the term handmaid originally honored a woman with an important relationship with God and a leadership role within our community.” The title, of course, comes from Mary’s words referring to herself as the ‘the handmaid of the Lord,’ (Lk. 1:38).
The term handmaid implies a conformity of our will to God’s. Their rejection of this term is not about recognizing who women ought to be; it is a rejection of who God is. People of Praise stopped using the word because rather than connoting an embodiment of love and service, it became a shorthand pejorative in the minds of the culture of a brainless, automaton slave woman. That we are so biblically illiterate as to let a book and television show distort a word that has had deep and rich significance for over two thousand years is sad, but not surprising.
Least surprising of all is that any of this is being disingenuously raised to discredit a woman who, from all personal and professional accounts, is a brilliant but humble, high-achieving and eminently qualified judicial nominee. She is also a mother of seven children, two of whom are adopted from Haiti, and one of whom has special needs. Her life exposes the lie that children are the enemy of success. But that lie cannot be exposed; the entire sexual revolution religion depends on it.
Should it come under scrutiny and under question women might start asking other questions: Who really benefits from removing sexual consequences? Why do we need to be so available for casual sex with men? How have we been manipulated into seeing this as our road to empowerment? Why is violence at the core of our movement? Why do we feel such sadness and anger as a result of this violence?
Those questions are not allowed to be asked. So the machine of the revolution will busy itself attempting to destroy a remarkable woman. And we will get on with our secular religion, speaking solemnly of our progressive saints “resting in power,” while we dismiss as cultish a religion which formed and shaped culture for 2,000 years. The wisdom of our fave dystopian TV show hath spoken. That’s not cultish or anything.
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About Noelle Mering 1 ArticleNoelle Mering is an editor for the Theology of Home website and a coauthor of the book Theology of Home. She writes on culture, politics, and religion and has published in National Review, Catholic Herald, The Federalist, and National Catholic Register. She lives with her husband and six children in Southern California.