People of Praise

The community of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, with a history of abuse and cult-like behavior

1971 - present

Supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett (member) (image via Elle)

The People of Praise, a group that has often found itself in the eye of controversy, carries an air of mystery and intrigue. Established in 1971, this community has drawn attention for its blend of charismatic Christian beliefs and stringent practices. Their story is one that intertwines faith, intense devotion, and a web of practices that have raised eyebrows and sparked debates across the nation.

At the heart of the People of Praise is a commitment to living a shared life in faith. Members often dwell in close-knit communities, believing in the power of the Holy Spirit and practicing speaking in tongues, a phenomenon where a person speaks in languages unknown to them as a form of divine expression. This charismatic aspect, though common in some Christian circles, is viewed by many with skepticism and wariness.

However, it's not just their spiritual practices that have drawn scrutiny. The group's approach to leadership and decision-making, often described as hierarchical, places a significant amount of power in the hands of a few leaders. Men hold the primary leadership roles, and women, referred to in the past as 'handmaids' (a term they have since abandoned), are expected to adhere to traditional gender roles, a stance that has fueled debates about gender equality and women's rights.

Education is a key component of the People of Praise's identity. The group operates schools and summer camps, aiming to imbue young minds with their religious ethos. Critics, however, argue that this educational system can be overly insular, shielding students from differing viewpoints and broader societal norms.

The People of Praise gained widespread attention during the Supreme Court nomination hearings of Amy Coney Barrett, a reported member of the group. Her potential association with the group thrust the People of Praise into the national spotlight, raising questions about the influence of religious groups on public officials and the separation of church and state.

Supporters of the People of Praise argue that the group offers a supportive community that nurtures its members' faith and provides a sense of belonging. They emphasize the positive aspects of shared living and mutual support, highlighting the benefits of a close-knit community in an increasingly fragmented world.

The controversies surrounding the People of Praise mirror a broader debate about the role of religious communities in modern society. For some, they represent a retreat from the complexities of the modern world, offering a sanctuary of shared beliefs and practices. For others, they are a symbol of the tensions between individual freedoms and communal living, and the ongoing struggle to balance deeply held faith with the demands of contemporary life.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Catholicism

Founders: Kevin Ranaghan and Paul DeCelles

Founded: early 1970s

Size: 1,700

Location: United States, Canada, the Caribbean.

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