Posted by Curt on 28 September, 2020 at 1:15 pm. 1 comment.


by Ed Morrissey

Democrats might be smart enough to avoid this trap. National media outlets, on the other hand, seem bound and determined to treat fifty million Catholic voters as weirdos — despite not having actually changed their tenets for two millennia. Today it’s Politico’s turn to warn America about Amy Coney Barrett’s participation in People of Praise, a charismatic ecumenical group, and endorsed views that “appears to have been at odds with American law.”

That’s utter nonsense, but so is the entire People of Praise thread. Politico’s Adam Wren wrote about the Barretts’ commitment to the group and its private education:

The Barretts’ five oldest children attended Trinity School, founded in 1981. Trinity operates two other private schools, in Eagan, Minn., and in Falls Church, Va. (Though the institution was founded by People of Praise, now Trinity Schools, Inc. and the People of Praise are separate 501 (c)(3) corporations.) Group membership isn’t required to work there; faculty members, however, must be Christian and “assent in good faith to the tenets of the Nicene Creed,“ according to the Trinity cultural statement.

The school publishes a “cultural statement” laying out its views on social issues. It articulates a clear, conservative Christian set of values, including discouraging sex before marriage and cautioning students who experience same-sex attraction from “prematurely interpret[ing] any particular emotional experience as identity-defining.”

Discouraging sex before marriage isn’t exactly a conservative Christian value. Rather, it’s a basic Christian value, one that has explicit scriptural support. Much of that comes from Paul’s epistles, to be sure, but Deuteronomy 22:28 makes the proscription on premarital sex plain as well. For that matter, the Nicene Creed is basic Christian doctrine too, which makes it hardly remarkable for a Christian church to require a good-faith effort to embrace it. Catholics, Orthodox churches, and most Protestant denominations profess the Nicene Creed, and private Christian schools would certainly want to hire people who believe in the Nicene Creed’s tenets. More to the point, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that Christian schools have the right to that expectation in Hosanna Tabor.

What about contradicting American law? Here’s the argument:

It also appears to have been at odds with American law while Barrett served on the board: A version of the statement from the 2018-19 school year, provided to POLITICO by the parent of an alum, says: “the only proper place for human sexual activity is marriage, where marriage is a legal and committed relationship between one man and one woman.” “Homosexual acts” are said to be “at odds with Scripture.” A spokesperson for the school said the language changed around the 2018-19 school year, meaning it would have been in place during Barrett’s tenure as a board member from 2015-17—and well after the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

There is no conflict between this belief and American law. Americans are still free to believe, as most Christian denominations teach, that marriage is intended for one man and one woman. Churches are free to restrict its recognition of marriage to that specific form, too. The Catholic Church teaches that this is the only model for sacramental marriage, and that homosexual acts (like all extra-marital sexual acts) are “at odds with Scripture.”

Reporters like Adam Wren and media outlets such as Politico seem confused that Obergefell didn’t revise Christian or Catholic dogma. The Supreme Court itself never took the absurd position that this teaching would be “at odds with American law,” in fact. In his controlling opinion on Obergefell, Justice Anthony Kennedy explicitly defended religions and their institutions in teaching their own definition of marriage:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.

As for being “extreme,” there is nothing in that statement of beliefs that differs in either substance or emphasis from the Catholic Church’s catechism or from the tenets of other Christian denominations.

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