On Aug. 14, WorldNetDaily published an article by David Kupelian that appeared in the July issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine, devoted to attacking psychiatric drugs. which he promoted on radio shows on Sept. 4 and Sept. 14. The article seeks to explain "why so many Americans today are 'mentally ill,' " insists that mental illness is actually spiritual illness that can be "cured" not by psychiatric druge but by getting right with Kupelian's fundamentalist God. Kupelian adds that only "rarely" are there "appropriate times and places to use these medications," adding: "We would do better to stop blaming all our psychological-spiritual problems on chemical imbalances."
One of the cases Kupelian cites is that of Andrea Yates, who killed her five children. Kupelian cited testimony in which Yates claimed to have been possessed by Satan, which he blamed on the antidepressant she was taking; after the Yates case, Kupelian wrote, the drug's maker 'quietly added 'homicidal ideation' to the drug's list of 'rare adverse events.'"
But Kupelian doesn't mention one crucial part of Yates' history: her and her husband's links to a fundamentalist Christian preacher Michael Woroniecki. As the Court TV Crime Library details:
Yet soon after Noah was born, Andrea began to have violent visions: she saw someone being stabbed. She thought she heard Satan speak to her. However, she and her husband had idealistic, Bible-inspired notions about family and motherhood, so she kept her tormenting secrets to herself. She didn't realize how much mental illness there was in her own family, from depression to bipolar disorder—which can contribute to postpartum psychosis. In her initial stages, she remained undiagnosed and untreated. She kept her secrets from everyone.
Rusty introduced Andrea to a preacher who had impressed him in college, a man named Michael Woroniecki. He was a sharp-witted, sharp-tongued, self-proclaimed "prophet" who preached a simple message about following Jesus but who was so belligerent in public about sinners going to hell (which included most people) that he was often in trouble. He even left Michigan, according to Mugshots, to avoid prosecution.
Woroniecki spent a lot of time in his street sermons and letters to correspondents judging them for their sins and warning them about losing God's love. In particular, he emphasized that people were accountable for children, and woe to the person who might cause even one to stumble. He once stated, "I feel like I need a sledge hammer to get you to listen." He denounced Catholicism, the religion with which Andrea had grown up, and stressed the sinful state of her soul.
He also preached austerity, and his ideas were probably instrumental in the way the Yateses decided to live. As Andrea had one child after another, she took on the task of home-schooling them with Christian-only texts and trying to do what the Woroniecki and his wife, Rachel, told her.
"From the letters I have that Rachel Woroniecki wrote to Andrea," says Suzy Spencer on Mugshots, "it was, 'You are evil. You are wicked. You are a daughter of Eve, who is a wicked witch. The window of opportunity for us to minister to you is closing. You have to repent now.'"
According to a former follower, the religion preached by the Woronieckis involves the idea that women have Eve's witch nature and need to be subservient to men. The preacher judged harshly those mothers who were permissive and who allowed their children to go in the wrong direction. In other words, if the mother was going to Hell for some reason, so would the children.
After two more children had come along, Rusty decided to "travel light," and made his small family sell their possessions and live first in a recreational vehicle and then in a bus that Woroniecki had converted for his religious crusade and sold to them.
She continued to correspond with the Woronieckis and to receive their warnings. They thought it was better to kill oneself than to mislead a child in the way of Jesus—a sentiment she would repeat later in prison interviews.
Not surprisingly, she sank into a depression. She was lonely. She tried to be a good mother, but the pressures were building.
By using Yates as an example, Kupelian suggests that Yates would have been fine if only she'd let Jesus "cast out" the voices in her head by embracing Kupelian's fundamentalist view of the world. But Yates was already in thrall to a fundamentalist street preacher -- the kind WorldNetDaily writers have lionized when they lead aggressively disruptive anti-gay protests -- who did nothing to help her and may have actually exacerbated her illness.
But that would have disproved his point and ruined his article. No wonder Kupelian didn't mention it.