Amy Coney Barrett is an Actual Handmaid

I wish I was joking



♥ for Roz


My suspicions were first aroused when Amy Coney Barrett—and do you mind if I just refer to her from now on as “ACB”? I have my health to consider—when ACB remarked, apropos the MO of Supreme Court Justices, “We’re not just a bunch of partisan hacks!”

I will now share with you a piece of the hard-earned wisdom of my sixty-six years. Namely: when someone so publicly, and in a tone so calculated to make you so ashamed of your lack of faith in little ol’ one, denies the very thing you’d have every right to expect from them, it stands to reason that, sure as god makes white supremacist babies, next thing you know they’ll be doing just that very thing they denied that you had every right to expect from them, and probably before you can even blink out “oh, fuck, I was right!” in Morse code with your eyelids.

So, just like an old grandfather clock tick-tocking in a Texas homestead, ACB—privileged, wealthy, white mother of seven children whom she raised single-handed while tossing flapjacks and sewing quilts with the other—lost not a second between contractions as she proceeded to act just like you’d always imagined a partisan hack would act. Because, before you could even exclaim “knock ‘er up agin, we got a megachurch to fill!” came the occasion to consider That Texas Law.

You know, the one you can’t object to, or put on hold pending review, because there’s no one in power charged with enforcing it. It doesn’t happen until it happens. The law that all but walks up to the bench and shouts “fuck you, Suzy Q!” while blowing a wild, saliva-filled raspberry, so that all the Supreme Court Justices have to get out their Wet Wipes dispensers and daub the disrespectful saliva off their honorable faces.

Well, sticks and stones can only break their bones, but legal chicanery conceived on a Southern Comfort bender can, it seems, additionally wreak havoc on the pia mater of the best legal brains on a stacked bench. For those conservative justices weren’t outraged at this disrespect. In fact, they seemed almost subdued, as though in awe of how they’d been duped.

How could Supreme Court Justices not feel outrage, if only at such a total affront to the solemnity of their role and the power they exert in their own territory? At an attempt to render them powerless?

Not to feel outrage, when all around was outrage, at this shocking legal hocus-pocus designed, you’d be forgiven for thinking, not just to achieve its nefarious goal but, welcome by-product, as delicious retribution for a decision affirming women’s sovereignty over their own bodies, in the form of a great big middle finger to the current justices, proxies for the court those decades ago. How?

How could this be possible, not to feel outrage, when outrage was felt, if online comments were any indication, by most women in the US, and for that matter, beyond; outrage from a slap in the face of every woman who had planned with at least some peace of mind because they counted on Roe vs. Wade being beyond reach, enshrined for decades as a Constitutional right, all but carved in stone.

Amy gave us the answer as to how it was possible: Partisan Hack.

A partisan hack would not feel outrage at this law because it would align with their partisan beliefs, beliefs so deeply held, so much more irresistibly claiming their loyalty, so completely in conflict with their duties as the men and women who guard the place where, for every citizen of the United States, the buck stops. The Last Chance Saloon. The place further than which it ain’t possible to go for more options.

So, outrage? Tossed lightly into the diaper pail and, along with the other partisan hacks that make up the conservative element of the Supreme Court of the United States, our Amy declared herself quite hog-tied by the clever throwers of spanners into the works. And you know something? You got the feeling she, especially, almost kind of admired their chutzpah.

Well, well, well. You clever fellow anti-abortionists sure got us there! Looks like we’ll have to think about this one! You little hooligans! Go on, have a cigar!


So it came to pass that I was surfing the Web—is that how we still say it, “surfing the Web”? because I wouldn’t want anyone under forty to heave themselves off the sofa with the sheer force of their eye muscles rolling back in their head—anyway, I was Internet Webbing and, always delighted to find another rabbit hole down which to plunge, I clicked on a link about a member of the Finnish Parliament, Päivi Räsänen, who was in trouble, not for hoarding all the vowels and umlauts as you might think, but for expressing her disgust at a Church for hosting a Gay Pride celebration and quoting some tired quote from Saint Paul’s Entwhistle to the Cartesians or something. So, naturally, I clicked.

The page I landed on was maintained by ADF International, and it was a bit of a challenge to find out what exactly this ADF organization was. But they claimed to stick up for people’s rights and proudly listed various victories.

Because of ADF International, two Northern Ireland bakers would not be forced to ice cakes with messages they did not agree with, which certainly took a load off my mind, and they continue to advocate for a pharmacist in Germany who defied his professional organization and refused to provide the “morning-after” pill to customers.

They seem to fall into that type of organization that considers that not being able to force their beliefs on the general public constitutes an intolerable restraint on their religious freedom, whereas, naïve as I am, I always thought religious freedom meant you could just go off in a corner and mumble whatever nonsense you liked as long as you didn’t get in anyone’s way. Call me old-fashioned.

Be that as it may, diving further into the website I discovered that ADF International has a program that trains Christian lawyers who will then be prepared to fight for “religious freedom”, ie. the ability to force Christian beliefs into the public sphere, thus successfully thwarting unsavory cake icings and possibly condemning hasty women to no second thoughts and unwanted pregnancies the world over.

And on the “World Class Faculty” page of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, an ADF partner program, who did I see quoted but ACB herself:

“My experience with the Blackstone program, at which I spoke, was a wonderful one. It gathers the best and brightest Christian law students from around the country.”

Amy Coney Barrett

Now, eyes primed and watering with lust for more intel on ACB and roaming the Webisphere at large, I fell into a most interesting bit of toxic history.

I hit the dirt that pays.

Turns out that ACB and her family were—are—lifelong members of a secretive Christian group, “People of Praise” and former members of the group, alarmed at her nomination to the SCOTUS, nay, “triggered”, came out of the woodwork with with allegations of emotional trauma and sexual abuse.

People of Praise apparently blends the charismatic tradition—belief in the devil’s work and speaking in tongues, if you want to get fancy—with Catholicism. So I guess, like, they share the expertise: Catholics pitch in with the sexual abuse side of things, and charismatics wrap it up with some juicy glossolalia. Sounds right to me!

From an extremely juteuse article in The Guardian:

Allegations and concerns center on claims of the intense subjugation of women by the community leaders; control of members’ lives and decisions, including marriage, living arrangements, and child rearing; and in one case, the mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse. Members who admit to having gay sex are expelled from the group, which staunchly opposes same-sex marriage.

“Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse”
The Guardian, Wed 21 Oct 2020
byline: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/stephanie-kirchgaessner.

But most wonderful of all:

Barrett’s father has served as a leader in the community. Barrett was also listed as a “handmaid” in a 2010 directory, or female leader, served as a trustee at a school associated with the group, and has been featured in People of Praise magazines that were removed from the group’s website following her appointment as an appeals court judge in 2017.

ibid (emphasis mine).

Amy Coney Barrett is an actual freaking Handmaid.

Now a quote from a former member of the group, one of several dozen members who looked to each other for support when they found out that ACB was nominated for her Supreme Court appointment.

“The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

Is your stomach, dear reader, in a knot of turmoil at the thought of what may be in store? Then my work here is done!

How better to conclude but with the words of a justly famous, revered and honored, not to mention prescient, fellow Canadian:

We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy?

“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Margaret Atwood)

Unfathomable.

֍


This post is dedicated to my beautiful, talented, steadfast and just crazy enough friend Roz Lawrence, on the occasion of her astonishingly unbelievable birthday.

Dear Roz, I’m right behind you, and hopefully still making you laugh.

I better be: it’s all I can afford!

We’re definitely proof of something. I just don’t know of what.

Yes I do:

You’re proof that, although you’re a lady with cats,

a lady with cats

is not necessarily

a cat lady.

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