As the rest of the world focuses on homelessness, immigration reform, terrorism, and other important topics (for better or worse), one Virginia town is keeping its sighs squarely on what truly matters: the threat posed by witches, gypsies, and fortune tellers.
For decades, the small town of Front Royal has had a code that prohibits fortune telling and the practice of magic arts — but questions regarding the legality of the restriction and the use of offensive terms like “gypsies” has caused the ban to be the subject of a heated debate.
More than fifty residents had nothing better to do last week than show up at a hearing to voice their concerns for or against the ban after a local tarot card reader was told to stop practicing her art because it is in violation of the archaic law.
Councilman Bret Hrbek said he was “outraged by the whole conversation.” He said that the code contains language that is “pejorative and insulting.” He also criticized the law for claiming that fortune tellers are “pretending” to read the future.
“You and I, as Christians, may not agree with that practice,” Hrbek said. “But for us to write in the law to say … these are the facts, that is disturbing to me and it should be disturbing to every American who believes that we have liberty.”
“I feel like we’re in the movie Footloose, but reversed where kids wanted to dance, but the state said they couldn’t and here we are, the folks in the community saying ‘please impose our moral viewpoint on everyone else,'” Hrbek said.
One resident, Elizabeth Poel, asked why town council would act in a manner that benefits Pagans, who make up a small percentage of the population.
According to NVDaily,
Poel also linked the thrift store on Main Street and the tarot-card reading operation to the Center for Workforce Development and its efforts to provide opportunities to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Poel said she surmised the center plans to recruit youth to increase the number of homosexuals in Front Royal.” She claimed there is a “strong connection” between homosexuality and Paganism.
“We do not advocate abuse or harm to any homosexuals,” Poel said. “Such would be contrary to the virtue of charity. However, homosexuals do not usually extend such charity much less tolerance toward homosexuals who do not agree with them. You need to understand that most parents want neither pagan practitioners nor homosexuals to have access to the minds, bodies and souls of their children.”
Another resident claimed that removing the restrictions on magic will open the door to a criminal element. “These kinds of businesses do tend to attract, in part, a criminal element,” Mary Stanford said. “I don’t like the idea of my kids walking down Main Street and having possibly criminal people lurking around.”
Other residents supported the repeal.
“I don’t think we should go against anybody, tell them they can’t practice something because you can often go the right way, even if you start off wrong, and I don’t think it’s the place of anything in America to restrict that freedom,” said Claudia Post said.
“All that I’ve heard is just total judgment against witchcraft,” said Linnette Nicholas. “You know there are abominations within the Catholic Church and within the other religions that happened and we’re not focusing on that and condemning people for being Catholic. We’re only wanting to practice our spirituality.”
Ultimately, the town council voted 4-3 to remove the section that bans fortune telling and the use of offensive terms, but a second reading of the motion will be heard at the next meeting.
Watch a report on this epic 17th Century battle, below: