Amid the tumult of 2020, roughly one month shy of the November election, President Donald Trump has thrust federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett into the harsh light of the media and progressive lawmakers.
At around lunch time Saturday, Barrett, her husband Jesse, and their seven children — Emma, Vivian, Tess, John Peter, Liam, Juliet, and Benjamin — left their Indiana home in a silver minivan. Soon thereafter, they arrived at the White House, where the president formally announced he’d selected her to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman Barrett described as a legal legend who “not only broke glass ceilings,” but “smashed them, and for that, she has won the admiration of women across the country.”
Days before Trump named the 48-year-old Barrett as his third Supreme Court nominee, the Chicago judge was already facing an onslaught of attacks against her Catholic faith from the press and Democratic senators all too eager to take politically expedient pot shots at the height of a contentious presidential election season.
MSNBC anchor Joy Reid has already witlessly predicted Barrett’s nomination to the high court jumpstarts the country’s transformation into a restrictive theocracy a la novelist Margaret Atwood’s dystopian story, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Another progressive prognosticator, author and professor Ibram Kendi, also grossly suggested Barrett is a racist “colonizer” for adopting two children from Haiti. Some reporters negatively drew attention to her “large” family.
In 2017, during her confirmation process to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett faced leftward attacks against her faith. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called into question her ability to be an objective jurist, telling Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”
Feinstein has indicated she may zero in on Barrett’s faith once again during her confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court. Similarly, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said last week she does not believe Barrett’s personal faith should be off-limits during the confirmation process.
“Why should we say you get a lifetime appointment so that you can reflect your ideological agenda in your decision making?” asked Hirono.
How, then, should Christians pray as the conformation process begins? Here are three things to focus on:
Strength for Barrett and her family
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden on Saturday, Barrett said: “I never imagined that I would find myself in this position, but now that I am, I assure you that I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage.”
Pray for wisdom, resolve, and peace for Barrett, her husband, and their seven children as they embark on what is certain to be a contentious time in their lives. Pray their faith in God would be strengthened in the weeks to come, that they will learn to rely on His provision, regardless of the outcome of the looming confirmation process.
One of the most popular verses in the Bible is the Old Testament passage Joshua 1:9, which reads: “This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
In context, God was calling Joshua to enter the Promised Land. In that calling, the Lord told Joshua not to be “afraid or discouraged,” because He was with him no matter how difficult or daunting the task might become.
Pray Barrett and her family walk in obedience to God’s calling and that they will remember He is with them along the way.
Wisdom for our senators
There is no denying the country is deeply divided, and so are our lawmakers.
Pray as Barrett’s confirmation process begins that politicians on both sides of the aisle will be considerate, measured, and gracious as they question the president’s latest nomination for the Supreme Court. Pray, too, that they will be fair and respectful in their handling of matters relating to Barrett’s Christian beliefs.
Wisdom is a precious commodity. Proverbs 3:14-18 describes it as “more profitable than silver,” “better than gold,” and “more precious than rubies.” The passage continues:
Nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.
Pray our senators will be wise as the process unfolds, that they and Barrett will be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).
Peace for our country
We are roughly one month away from a presidential election, a contest clouded by a months-long pandemic made only more difficult by racial divisions and protests that have often devolved into violent riots around the country.
Pray this season is not wasted, that rather than fostering ever-deeper divisions, it sparks revival — a return to the principles upon which our nation was founded. Pray that, as it’s written in Micah 6:8, we “do what is right,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with your God.”
In that Old Testament passage, Micah was making a powerful point through an imaginary conversation between Israel and God. In the earlier verses, Israel wondered what could be done — or offered — to please God, asking: “What can we bring to the Lord?”
“The Lord has already told you what is good,” wrote Micah, “and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
To heal the wounds plaguing us, we have to set our hearts back to God.
Ultimately, Christians should rejoice because we belong to a Kingdom much greater than anything this world can offer. In Psalm 20, David wrote: “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.”
But in the space between now and then — when we are commissioned to tell others about our faith in God (Matthew 28:19) — we are called to play an active roll in society, in living Kingdom principles in this temporary home. Jesus said it best when He taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Saturday the confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett are set to begin Monday, Oct. 12.