The Christian religious group to which Amy Coney Barrett belongs could be part of the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, according to an interview the author gave in 1986.

  • Barrett, a devout Catholic, sits atop President Trump’s shortlist to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on Friday.
  • Barrett and her husband reportedly belong to the group People of Praise, which was founded in 1971. It teaches that men have authority over their wives, Newsweek reported, and members swear a lifelong loyalty oath.

Members of People of Praise are assigned to personal advisers of the same sex—called a "head" for men and "handmaid" for women, until the rise in popularity of Atwood's novel and the television series based on it forced a change in the latter.


Craig Lent, the group's overall coordinator, told The South Bend Tribune in 2018 that the organization is officially ecumenical, but its membership is predominantly Catholic.

  • Newsweek reported that Atwood told The New York Times Book Review in 1986: "I delayed writing it for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy.”
  • She continued: “Then two things happened. I started noticing that a lot of the things I thought I was more or less making up were now happening, and indeed more of them have happened since the publication of the book."
  • Atwood added: "There is a sect now, a Catholic charismatic spinoff sect, which calls the women handmaids. They don't go in for polygamy of this kind but they do threaten the handmaids according to the biblical verse I use in the book—sit down and shut up."

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