Letter to the Editor: We need to update outmoded ideas, revise laws
As the priestess/tarot card reader who was banned from reading the cards on Main Street in Front Royal, I applaud the decision of the Front Royal Town Council to repeal the ban on Gypsies and magic arts.
I also applaud the local community for using the Democratic process to hash out our deeply held differences in a war of words and not by physical harm. Although it was hard for many of us to look at and listen to the hatred and fear that was expressed, it was important that these underlying conflicts came to the surface. The social stigmatization and outright discrimination against pagans and those who utilize psychic skills were transformed into a recognition that we live in a pluralistic society that protects human rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
As public comment has proceeded at council meetings and in the media, I believe a new vision of the Front Royal area has emerged: It is a diverse, lively, and, yes, loving community. People of various faiths stood up to defend the rights of minority religions. They did not focus on how their faiths differ but rather on everyone’s right to practice sincerely held beliefs. But there is more to do.
The minutes of the Front Royal Town Council’s work session of Aug. 18 indicates the council is considering keeping the separate and unequal annual licensing fee of $300 for those providing the services of “fortunetelling” (a term that psychic readers and tarot readers do not use themselves), palmistry, phrenology, or acting as a clairvoyant.
When compared to the tax rates and annual fees of other businesses, it seems obvious that the town governments of the past wanted to make it difficult for those practicing divination/psychic services. Singling-out those who use their psychic skills to help others by charging them a much higher annual licensing fee than those providing other personal or professional services is a discriminatory practice.
Scientific research is transforming our understanding of human consciousness; we need to update outmoded ideas and revise laws that were based on the misguided beliefs of the past.
Maya White Sparks, Stephens City