Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Here’s a very interesting new lawsuit in federal court in Virginia:

A spiritual counselor has filed a lawsuit against Chesterfield County in U.S. District Court in Richmond, claiming that the county is discriminating against her and her beliefs through over-regulation.

Sophie King says Chesterfield is violating her constitutional rights to free speech, free exercise of religion and equal protection by failing to differentiate between fortunetellers and spiritual counselors.


I don’t see a distinction:

King, who claims to be the latter, said she should not be subject to county requirement for fortunetelling businesses, which include a background check, character references, zoning restrictions, and a $300 business license tax, significantly more than for most other business categories.

“The law is ridiculous and totally unfair. It reminds me of the Dark Ages,” said King, who has worked as a psychic for 17 years and who reads Tarot cards and provides other spiritual counseling.

King claims she is not a fortuneteller — a term she says carries negative connotations — because she does not predict the future.

Rather, she “relays information that she receives without knowing how it relates to the individual client or its specific chronological significance,” according to the lawsuit.

She’s clearly wrong about there being a difference here. But is she wrong about those regulations in the first place? I don’t think she is. What is the purpose of regulation? The purpose, one would presume, is to protect clients from frauds and charlatans. But we’re talking about people who are, by their very nature, charlatans, just as surely as leprechaun interpreters or unicorn riders are.

How exactly does a background check and character references protect clients of psychics from frauds when all psychics are, in fact, frauds?

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