Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett. (LEAH MILLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that reportedly teach being gay is an “abomination”.
The Supreme Court nominee served on the board of Trinity Schools Inc, a group of three schools in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia that reportedly make it clear LGBT+ teachers aren’t welcome, and effectively bar the children of same-sex couples.
Both Barrett and her husband are longtime members of the People of Praise according to AP, and at least three of the couple’s seven children attended a Trinity School in South Bend, Indiana.
Barrett served on the Trinity board from July 2015 to March 2017, according to Jon Balsbaugh, president of Trinity Schools Inc, which runs the three campuses. He said Barrett was not involved in the formulation of policy.
Amy Coney Barrett was trustee of school that allegedly told children gay men were condemned to hell.
According to two dozen interviews with Trinity School employees and former People of Praise members, whether it be in meetings, handbooks or written policies, Trinity’s leadership sowed a culture of homophobia.
Leaders would state that sex is strictly between a man and a woman and should only occur in marriage, sources said.
Tom Henry was a senior at a Trinity School in Eagan, Minnesota while Barrett was a board member. A gay man, Henry was told by Balsbaugh, then the school’s headmaster that “trans families, gay families, gay students, trans students would not feel welcome at Trinity Schools”.
Indeed, many of Trinity School alumni spoke of a culture of fear among students, either themselves LGBT+ or with queer parents or guardians.
In one faculty meeting, Balsbaugh allegedly said that while those of faiths other than Christianity are welcome at the school, children of queer couples are not.
“Because their life is so contrary to our beliefs, and essentially that it was a choice,” a source recalled him saying.
Students claimed teachers stressed that the Sodomites condemned to Hell written about in Dante’s Inferno were gay men. They were told their suffering was “right”, they claimed.
“They called it sexual preference rather than [a] sexual orientation and typically we just wouldn’t address it at all,” one student, who graduated in 2010, said.
People of Praise members have been expelled for coming out, some claimed, while one Trinity graduate alleged that school bosses forced him to undergo conversion therapy with the People of Praise.
The group’s senior members said same-sex attraction was “changeable” with prayer.
Supreme Court nominee has avoided clarifying her views on LGBT+ rights.
Many of those interviewed warned that Barrett’s decades-long involvement with the religious fringes should be taken as yet another signal she would be hostile to LGBT+ rights.
She has routinely ducked from directly clarifying her stances on LGBT+ rights, as well as on abortion and climate catastrophe, and drew criticism for her use of “sexual preference” during hearings.
When AP levelled questions over Barrett’s involvement with the school board to the White House press office, representatives accused the outlet of “attacking” her.
“Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack judge Barrett’s sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children’s Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment,” they said.
Balsbaugh commented: “Trinity Schools does not unlawfully discriminate with respect to race, colour, gender, national origin, age, disability, or other legally protected classifications under applicable law, with respect to the administration of its programs.”
While a spokesperson for the People of Praise said: “People of Praise neither advocates for nor pays for [conversion therapy].
“People of Praise holds the standard Christian teaching, based on the New Testament, that sexual activity is meant for marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman.”
They added: “We believe that harassing or persecuting gays and lesbians is contrary to the Gospel and that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.”