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Faith-based advocates speak out as Barrett hearings open

October 12, 2020 GMT

Faith-based advocates across the political spectrum were speaking out in favor of and against the push to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as Senate hearings began Monday on her nomination.

The liberal-leaning Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice was launching a six-figure digital ad campaign aimed at raising concerns about Barrett among voters in Iowa, North Carolina and South Carolina, three states with GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee who are also waging closely contested reelection races.

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Network, whose executive director Sister Simone Campbell delivered a prayer at the Democratic National Convention, has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and recently mounted a campaign aiming to discourage Catholics from voting for President Donald Trump. The group’s spending on the Barrett battle is notable as Democrats say they plan to avoid questioning the nominee on the specifics of her religious beliefs, focusing instead on her views about health care, abortion and other issues.

In line with that approach, one of the Network ads focuses on health care, and Campbell said outreach to Catholics would speak to them as “multi-issue voters.”

“Catholics care about the broader swath of these issues, especially health care, in the midst of a pandemic,” she said. “It’s not like we’re going against a sorority sister we pledged support for, but this is about a serious choice for the future of our nation.”

Meanwhile, there were shows of support for Barrett from religious conservatives and others.

A midday public prayer for her and her family outside the Supreme Court was expected to draw several Christian leaders including E.W. Jackson, a Black evangelical bishop who has endorsed President Donald Trump.

Rev. Franklin Graham, a prominent conservative evangelical Trump supporter, tweeted a call for people to pray that Barrett “be treated fairly & respectfully” and “that her confirmation happens quickly.”

Barrett, a Catholic, said in her opening statement that she believes in the “power of prayer.”

Also Monday, the Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of the Faith in Public Life Action Fund, and Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, joined other women faith leaders for an event urging senators to oppose the nomination.

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Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.