Last fall, after Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by then-President Donald Trump to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, a frantic search began for anything that could be used to stall the nomination’s momentum.
Briefly considered was her membership in a charismatic Roman Catholic group that some (falsely) claimed was the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
That line of attack smacked of anti-Catholic prejudice and reminded many of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s infamous “the dogma lives loudly within you” comment to Barrett during a 2017 confirmation hearing when she was nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The matter was quietly dropped.
After the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday not to block a Texas fetal heartbeat law, however, the “handmaid” slur is back — at least on one MSNBC show with a history of open prejudice against conservatives.
On Saturday’s edition of “The Cross Connection,” host Tiffany Cross dropped the H-bomb while discussing the Supreme Court’s refusal to block the implementation of Texas’ law, which bans abortions after an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected.
The court didn’t rule the law was constitutional, mind you.
In its ruling, the majority noted that those seeking the injunction “have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue” and that the decision “in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts.”
That didn’t stop the outrage from the left — including from Cross.
“It’s unacceptable, … I am outraged,” Cross said. “This entire thing about protecting the fetus when they care so little for life in this country is beyond comprehension.
“It feels like they really must hate women in Texas and all across the country. How is it possible the Supreme Court allowed this to stand?” she continued.
“I know that they haven’t ruled on it, but they can rule later. But we have an actual handmaid on the court.
“So I have to tell you, I’m not so excited about depending on them to protect me and my right to choose.”
— Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher (@tommyxtopher) September 4, 2021
The remark refers to Barrett’s reported membership in People of Praise, a charismatic group that at one time called female leaders “handmaids.”
This led to plenty of comparisons to the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian feminist novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in which childbearing women are held in slavery. People of Praise changed the term in 2018.
“Regarding handmaids, the People of Praise has both male and female leaders. For many years, we referred to our female leaders as handmaids, following the use of the term by Mary, Jesus’s mother, who calls herself ‘the handmaid of the Lord,’ as reported in the Bible (Lk. 1:38),” a People of Praise spokesman told Heavy in September 2020.
“Recognizing that the meaning of this term has shifted dramatically in our culture in recent years, we no longer use the term handmaid to describe those women who are leaders in the People of Praise.”
Coverage of the group — which is mostly Roman Catholic — also claimed it subordinates women to their husbands. “People of Praise preaches the idea that men are the authority figure over the family including their wives,” Refinery29 reported.
If the group tries to subjugate women, it’s not doing a terribly good job. Barrett isn’t just in the kitchen; she’s on the Supreme Court.
Cross’ comments in isolation might sound alarm bells only gently.
Consider, however, that this is the same Tiffany Cross who went on an extended racist rant against South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott after he gave the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress in April, calling the black senator a “tap dancer,” a “token” and the kind of person “Harriet Tubman would have left behind.”
— The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross (@CrossConnection) May 1, 2021
In 2019, when she was an MSNBC contributor, she called then-Vice President Mike Pence a “Jesus whisperer.”
In short, Cross has a history of this sort of thing.
The only way it differs from standard-issue dog-whistle bigotry is that nobody’s going to call her out on it. What a surprise.
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