Calling Up the Dead

I have deliberately refrained from commenting on Hillary Clinton's sessions with Jean Houston, a psychologist who believes she is an embodiment of the Greek goddess Athena. I figured there'd be howls of outrage from other quarters, and I didn't want to pile on. But it seems I was wrong. In a USA Today survey of letters to the editor from around the country, most people defended the First Lady. "Running the country is a tough job," an Iowa writer explained. "If she enlisted the help of a dead president's wife, good for her. She can use all the help she can get." But the fact that we're ready to tolerate countercultural spiritual ideas even among our nation's top leaders shows how far our country has drifted from its Judeo-Christian moorings. Washington Post writer Bob Woodward first disclosed the Houston episode in his new book, The Choice. Mrs. Clinton, it seems, was distraught over last November's Republican landslide, which was widely viewed as a repudiation of the president's policies. Woodward says the First Lady sought advice from Jean Houston of the Foundation for Mind Research. Houston suggested that Mrs. Clinton close her eyes, visualize Eleanor Roosevelt, and "open herself up" to the late First Lady. Mrs. Houston now says that this was nothing but an "intellectual exercise." But people who are familiar with Jean Houston's background wonder if more was going on at the White House than is being acknowledged. Tal Brooke is the president of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project. He points out that Mrs. Houston has for many years been involved in channeling, guided imagery, and altered consciousness. And Woodward writes that Houston is "a believer in spirits, mythic and other connections to history and other worlds." She has put people into trances, and claims to hold "dialogues" with the Greek Goddess Athena on her computer. Brooke says he believes that far more was going on with Mrs. Clinton than a simple intellectual exercise--and that the White House is now engaging in damage control. Well, we may never know exactly what went on when Mrs. Houston came to the White House. But the Bible warns us that dabbling in the spiritual world is dangerous--and sinful. When we open the door to that world--as Mrs. Clinton surely did when she invited Mrs. Houston's help--we risk making contact with demonic entities, whether we intend to or not. That's why scripture strongly warns us not to participate in spiritual exercises outside of our relationship with Christ. Houston, it turns out, has also provided her services for high ranking officials in the Bush, Reagan, and Carter administrations. Christians ought to take it very seriously when our political leaders turn from Christian ministers like Billy Graham to New Age gurus. But the letters in USA Today suggest that many Americans see nothing wrong with this--even though 80 percent of us claim to be Christians. It's a symptom of the growing chasm between our culture and the biblical faith that made our culture possible. When we read about our leaders holding conversations with the dead--even imaginary ones--you and I have to explain to our neighbors that dabbling in the spirit world isn't just an innocent route to self-actualization. It's a door to the world of demons.


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary