Politics

Media Amplified People Of Praise Accuser Who Said Evangelical Christians Were ‘American Taliban’ In Amy Coney Barrett Stories

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • Media outlets amplified the accusations of a woman with dubious credibility in stories linking Supreme Court nominee Amy Cony Barrett to the Catholic group People of Praise.
  • An examination by the Free Beacon found that Theill has accused her parents, her therapists, her children and her attorneys of neglect and abuse and has brought in legal action against many of them.
  • Theill frequently criticized the Catholic Church, accused Evangelical Christians of being “the American Taliban” on Facebook, and compared President Donald Trump and those who support him to Nazi Germany.

Media outlets amplified the accusations of a woman with questionable credibility in stories linking Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the Catholic group People of Praise.

Numerous outlets cited Coral Nika Theill’s negative depictions of People of Praise after former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Sept. 18, according to the Washington Free Beacon. These outlets included Reuters, Politico, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the National Catholic Reporter, and the Washington Post. (RELATED: Reuters Rewrote A Smear Job On Amy Coney Barrett, Then Offered Scant Explanation To Readers)

An examination by the Free Beacon reported that Theill has accused her parents, her therapists, her children and her attorneys of neglect and abuse, and engaged in legal action against many of them for years. Theill’s ex-husband Vaughn Martin Warner won a defamation suit against her in 2014, the publication found, and she is reportedly estranged from her eight children.

Citing Theill’s descriptions, multiple news outlets falsely reported that People of Praise was the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and highlighted Barrett’s reported connections with the group. These outlets later issued corrections admitting that there was no evidence that People of Praise inspired the book. (RELATED: Media Outlets Link Catholic Group Associated With Amy Coney Barrett To ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’)

Theill claims in blog posts and a memoir that members of the Corvallis, Oregon, People of Praise branch made her sit on the floor during meetings, closely watched her daily activities and shunned her, according to the Free Beacon.

She says that she joined the Oregon branch in 1979, the publication reported, but spokesman Sean Connolly told the Free Beacon that the Corvallis, Oregon, branch was not founded until 1982.

“Neither the men nor women leaders in the People of Praise Corvallis branch are aware that there were ever any allegations of physical or mental abuse concerning Ms. Theill and her husband at the time,” Connolly told the Free Beacon. “Her charges of the mistreatment of women, insularity, lack of privacy and shunning are contradictory to our beliefs and our practices as a community.”

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Theill frequently criticized the Catholic Church, the Free Beacon noted, and criticized Catholics for liturgical “decadent displays of opulent excesses.” She accused Evangelical Christians of being “the American Taliban” in September Facebook posts, the publication reported, and compared President Donald Trump and those who support him to Nazi Germany.

The Free Beacon reported that Theill accused her husband of both physical and psychological abuse, of being both sexually needy and domineering, and of telling her children to keep watch over her and let him know if she disobeyed him, which gave the children “more and more authority over my life.”

She described her mother as “a cross between the Mommy Dearest and Carrie movie” and said that her mother enjoyed throwing bibles at her when she was sleeping, the publication reported.

Her twin daughters “support predators and dismiss victims,” the Free Beacon reported that Theill wrote, adding that her divorce lawyers berated her and improperly billed her.

She also said that both her own counsel and her ex-husband’s counsel  “ridiculed and tormented” her in court, the publication reported. Her ex-husband received custody of the children.

In a 2017 lawsuit where she represented herself, Theill accused physicians, attorneys, and state officers of both discrimination and misconduct, according to the Free Beacon. That case that was dismissed in 2018. Her August 2004 lawsuit against her former therapist was also dismissed, the publication reported.

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