Marianne Williamson Ends Her Presidential Campaign

Marianne Williamson campaigns for president at the Sondheim Center in Fairfield, Iowa, on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. RNS photo by KC McGinnis

DES MOINES, Iowa (RNS) — Spiritual author Marianne Williamson has ended her campaign seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, saying that the experience challenged her faith but that she leaned on her spiritual beliefs for strength.

“I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible effort to share our message,” Williamson said in her statement announcing the suspension of her campaign on Friday (Jan. 10). “With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now. The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.”

Speaking to Religion News Service in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday evening, Williamson voiced frustration with critics who derided her candidacy as “anti-science” or “anti-medicine.” Williamson drew fire throughout 2019 for comments she made about health care, such as a 2012 radio show appearance in which she appeared to promote the unfounded theory that vaccinations can cause autism. Her campaign insisted at the time that her remarks were taken out of context and that she was “neutral” on the subject.

Williamson told RNS she was particularly frustrated by what she saw as criticism of her offering prayer and thought exercises for AIDS patients in the 1980s.

“We don’t believe that because you pray with someone they’re not supposed to go to the doctor,” said Williamson, who is Jewish but espouses what she describes as a universal spirituality.

Asked if the experience of running for office tested her faith, she said the campaign was “trying,” but she drew inspiration from her spiritual beliefs.

“When people have an image of you that’s been deliberately manufactured, moving through that takes spiritual fortitude,” Williamson said.

She also invoked “A Course in Miracles,” an esoteric 1976 religious work that she spent much of her career teaching others about.

“In ‘A Course in Miracles’ there is a line: ‘The Christ in you cannot be crucified,’” she said. “What that’s saying is that the truth of who you are cannot be affected by lovelessness because you were not created to be the effect of lovelessness in yourself or in others. That means if I am identifying with the attacks on me, then, by definition, I am identifying with the false self.”

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Source: Religion News Service