In case you forgot, Marianne Williamson is a New Age self-help author, and like most New Age self-help authors, she puts a tremendous amount of stock in the power of one’s mind to control their outer circumstances and even influence world events. This can be tremendously empowering for some people; it also has some pretty sharp limits. In a neat illustration of where the line is, Williamson tweeted and deleted a message on Wednesday morning encouraging people to use “prayer, meditation, visualization” to “turn away” Hurricane Dorian, a devastating storm that’s already killed seven people and left widespread devastation, especially in the Bahamas.
The death toll from Dorian is expected to rise over the next several days; among the dead in the Bahamas is an eight-year-old boy whose mother reportedly found his body, per CNN. The child’s grandmother also told the outlet that her granddaughter is missing too. As many as 13,000 homes are believed to have been severely damaged or completely destroyed in the Bahamas as well. This is not—and no one should have to say this—the consequence of people there not praying or meditating hard enough.
Williamson has a preoccupation with people seeing her as “wacky” or unserious. A more-or-less glowing New York Times magazine profile this weekend showed her smarting after she came in for a round of questioning about decades of things she’s said and written, including her insistence in A Return to Love that “cancer and AIDS and other serious illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream.” (Interestingly, her campaign manager Patricia Ewing views this, per the profile, as evidence that Williamson is being “swiftboated” by opposition research, rather than journalists digging into the public statements of a presidential candidate.) The tweet this morning sounded rather close to Christian prophetess Kat Kerr, who’s insisted that she and Jesus have “authority” over the storm and is busy commanding the “hosts of Heaven” to handle it.
After Williamson’s initial tweet was taken badly, she quietly deleted the tweet without apology and replaced it with a generic encouragement to pray for those in its path.
The “peace of God” is still a bad replacement for a disaster preparedness plan, and suggesting that you have little more than your literal thoughts and prayers to offer storm victims is pretty dispiriting too. Then again, a report recently claimed that President Trump literally suggested, multiple times, that we drop nuclear bombs on hurricanes to change their path. At least Marianne’s thoughts are relatively harmless, in the scheme of things.