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the legal right to read tarot cards

August 22, 2008

The Wild Hunt posted this article today, discussing another person protesting the laws of the Montgomery County, Maryland, which prohibits businesses that sell fortune-telling. The man leading the charge in the lawsuit is Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United, a group dedicated to separating church and state. A noble effort. However, when you are protesting for the right of people who want to make money on guessing people’s lives, I have a problem.

In truth, I want as much as anyone to keep the church out of our schools, the government out of our worship practices, and ethics in both realms. Therein lies the problem: if we want a just and equitable forum to practice the things we want to practice, then where do we draw a line in the sand.

To the best of my knowledge, fortune-telling falls under no religious practice. In my 11 or so years of researching and studying the pagan community, culture and religion, I have never seen it stated that it is required for a pagan, or any one of seemingly endless variants, to read someone’s cards or palm for cash. Now, if this fight was about not being able to set up a pagan temple or a mosque, or if it was about a child who didn’t want to participate in the pledge of allegiance or a morning moment of silence at school, I’m behind them all the way. This situation is ludicrous.

Even though the defendant of the case is claiming that his First Amendment rights were being violated, I still can’t get behind this one. I don’t remember reading in the Bill of Rights that we have the freedom to set up scam shops, or make money off unusable services.

Yes, I said unusable. When you sit in a chair and listen to someone tell you your future (that isn’t a stock broker), you receive information that is mostly a series of guesses about your life to come. Generally, all of this is followed up with a “mileage may vary” statement about how none of this is set in stone, or it may not be quite exact, or something like that. See my point? How can you use information that may or may not be correct, or exact, or even close?

Boo to you, Barry Lynn. Boo to you and Nick Nefedro for trying to manipulate our legal system to serve ends beyond the spirit of the law. And people wonder what our country has come to. Sheesh.

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7 comments

  1. Just to clarify, Barry Lynn isn’t involved with Nick Nefredro’s lawsuit. All Lynn has done is devote a radio program to the issue.


  2. Oh. Noted.

    Boo on you Nick Nefredo! You and your attorney!


  3. When Lynn croaks, Satan will say to him: “Well done thy good — strike that — thy bad, indeed my evil, and faithful servant.”


  4. You know, I’m gonna leave this comment up in hopes that people will look at it and scoff.

    Not only is the implication that Lynn is doing “evil” fallacious, it is rude.


  5. Hmmmm, typically I agree with you on all accounts, but I disagree on this one.

    “I don’t remember reading in the Bill of Rights that we have the freedom to set up scam shops, or make money off unusable services.”

    I think there are multiple fallacies with this argument.
    A.) Bill of Rights/Scam Shops.
    Your implying that tarot card readings are scams, when that’s simply an opinion. There are many people who do not believe in tarot card readings, and those people do not visit these stores for their products/services.(read:free market). It’s not up to the government to tell people what their business can or cannot do. If you want to sell poop in a bag, then by all means(ok, bad example,I’m sure there’d be healthcode violations, but you get my point). Then sell poop in a bag! Let the consumer decide if he/she wants the product/service, government shouldn’t be involved.

    B.) Unusable Items.
    To you perhaps, but to many there are those that may seek tarot readings for guidance and council. Again, this is opinion. And again, this shouldn’t be in the Bill or Rights. It’s not up to the government what people can or cannot sell. Just think if the government intervened with the whole ‘pet rock’ craze. A unusable item for many, yes … but it doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to sell it.

    “Yes, I said unusable. When you sit in a chair and listen to someone tell you your future (that isn’t a stock broker), you receive information that is mostly a series of guesses about your life to come.”
    hehe. Isn’t a stock broker just somebody who gives educated guesses about the market to come?

    Anyways, sorry to nitpick. I’m just tired of hearing how we need government interaction in every part of our daily lives. And this is coming from a liberal …. Go Figure.


  6. Actually, the government can, and does, tell many businesses what it can and can’t do, and what it can and can’t sell. That’s what health code regulations and other sorts of line items are about.

    Also, there is no evidence that tarot cards are in fact truthful. It is more likely that the evidence points in the other direction. I can say that stars are made of cheese, and that be my opinion, but all the evidence points otherwise.


  7. Nevermind.

    Tarot card readers be damned!



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