Marianne Williamson has gained fame over the years from her self-help and spirituality books. She has also been the spiritual adviser of Oprah. Williamson has become more outspoken about politics since the election of Trump and decided to run her own campaign for president.
“The problem is with an over-corporatized, over-secularized political conversation so disconnected from values, so disconnected from issues of moral and ethical responsibility, as to have broken itself off of the major river of American thought and American life. That’s why so many people can’t relate to it.”
Your guess is as good as mine as to what any of that means. Sure, it sounds nice. But when you dive into specifics, there really isn’t much substance. What values is she talking about? And how the heck is America over secularized when God is such a huge part of the political process?
Her angle makes more sense when you hear another quote from Williamson:
“Memo to Earth: We’re a religious country. And I don’t think it has served the Democratic Party at all that it has come to be associated almost with an arrogant and condescending attitude toward people of faith.”
Sigh. Most Americans are religious. Most Democrats are religious. It is simply untrue that the Democratic party is antagonistic towards people of faith. Every 2020 presidential candidate identifies as religious! It’s just absurd.
Now I thought about just ignoring this and chalking it up to another wacky spirituality guru. But Williamson has a lot of support. She actually had enough support to qualify for the first Democratic debate coming up. I was pretty surprised to hear that. But maybe I shouldn’t be.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans identified as “spiritual, but not religious” in 2017, which is an all time high. American is a deeply religious and spiritual country. New Age woo like Williamson sells is very popular. People do like this stuff! It makes them feel good without being bound to any specific religious doctrine.
Personally, I can’t stand spirituality and woo. Some skeptics argue that it is harmless, but I disagree. It provides a framework that celebrates ignorance. Just like progressive Christianity bolsters Christianity at large, I think spirituality provides legitimacy to a belief framework that conflicts with evidence-based reasoning.
These kinds of spiritual beliefs often are connected with more explicitly harmful beliefs like homeopathy and anti-vaccination. Williamson herself is a vaccine skeptic.
I doubt Williamson will make it past the first debate, but the fact she got there is interesting. It shows how deeply popular spirituality is in this country. Atheists are still mistrusted, but as long as you believe in “something” metaphysical, people will support you.