Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, is making big waves in the crowded 2020 Democratic Presidential race. Her wild accent, challenges to New Zealand and declarations of love have made her a spectacle throughout the past two debates. While she has aptly tackled the ever-prevalent issue of racism in America, and brought up interesting points regarding “sickness care,” there are very few people looking to her as a serious candidate – and for good reason. Williamson at times seems like nothing more than a Tina Fey fever dream, but what shouldn’t be dismissed are her horrifying stances on AIDS/HIV, cancer, depression, vaccines and weight.
Gillian Brockell, a writer for the Washington Post, has shared photos of Marianne Williamson’s book “A Return to Love,” and the passages shared negate every media-blaming statement that Williamson has lobbed at the American public.
Williamson once wrote, “We’re not punished for our sins, but by our sins.” She also audaciously peddled theories about AIDS and cancer being a vessel for God, that can be defeated with love, even writing, “AIDS, for instance, can be thought of as ‘Angels-In-Darth-Vader-Suits.’”
She also described her organization, the Los Angeles Center for Living, that functioned in California throughout the AIDs crisis, offering nonmedical “treatment.” She stated, “Healing doesn’t come from the pill. It comes from our belief.” This statement was followed that with, “When the cure for AIDS is finally found, we will give prizes to a few scientists, but many of us will know that millions and millions of prayers made it happen.”
Williamson repeatedly expressed the belief that prayer is more productive than treatment, all while emphasizing the profound role of inner emotion and faith. The author noted, “Cancer and AIDs and other serious illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream, and their message is not, ‘Hate me,’ but ‘Love me.’”
This skepticism towards scientific fact is not an uncommon shade on Williamson. Amid her campaign, she had spoken about how vaccines shouldn’t be mandatory. In that same book, “A Return to Love” she wrote, “Sickness is an illusion and does not actually exist.”
According to Healthy Children.Org, “Most childhood vaccines are 90% to 99% effective in preventing disease.” Studies and trials have continually proven the legitimacy of vaccines, though Williamson remains a skeptic. When pressed on the issue by journalist Ari Melber, Williamson stated, “When I was a child we took far fewer vaccines, and there was much less bungling. And there was much less chronic illness.” She continued to dance around the issue, and though she repeatedly said she was pro-vaccines, she always had an argument against said vaccines to follow.
Allowing Marianne Williamson to spread a lack of trust surrounding vaccines is potentially dangerous and could further inflame the growing “anti-vax” movement. She has apologized for insisting that vaccines are “Orwellian” and “draconian.” Contrastingly, she claims support for vaccines, but at the same time does not “trust propaganda on either side”.
Williamson’s distrust in science is evident in her 2010 weight loss book, “A Course In Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever” which is riddled with inaccuracies and spiritual tips for losing weight. Her program includes sage cleansing your kitchen, going on a “spiritual journey,” hanging a picture of a supermodel with your face on the body and de-demonizing healthy food. Williamon’s book suggests praying to lose weight. She states that the “natural state” of the body is fat-free, and that, “you subconsciously make your body a large size to contain your large problems.”
Williamson finds that many of the body’s problems, including mental, are easily resolved without traditional methods. She told Buzzfeed News that antidepressants are overprescribed to treat “normal human despair.” Multiple studies, including one published titled “ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE NOT OVER-PRESCRIBED FOR MILD DEPRESSION” by numerous Ph.D. scientists published the following conclusion: “Given that this practice may sometimes be clinically appropriate, our findings indicate that over-prescribing of antidepressants for mild depression is not a significant public health concern.”
Williamson tweeted in response to someone who was upset by her comments on this, “There was no stigma to depression until it was medicalized.” A study “Medicalization, Direct-to-Consumer Advertising, and Mental Illness Stigma” found that “Contrary to expectations, despite the surge in DTCA they find no changes in stigmatized views of persons with schizophrenia or depression.” A distrust of modern medicine differs from a distrust of the healthcare industry that candidates such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren express.
Marianne Williamson’s different approach to politics is interesting, though her stances are concerning. The Trump Administration has fought against science, deteriorating public trust in scientists. “The Center for Science and Democracy at Union of Concerned Scientists” published a comprehensive study regarding the lack of trust in science under President Trump, expressing unease towards the trend of scientists not being reintroduced into federal positions or held in high regard.
Marianne Williamson’s policies may be odd in her books, and even entertaining on stage – but they are troubling, and should not continue to win her a legitimate place in the race for the White House.
Featured image via Alex Walsh for The Washington Post