Wednesday, June 20, 2007

SUMMER BUMMER

In South Carolina, the Pickens County Library System has shuttered its summer program, after callers claimed the classes promoted "witchcraft."

The School Library Journal reports:
The astrology program was labeled as "witchcraft" by callers, while the Zen garden and yoga programs were objected to as "promoting other religions." The t-shirts workshop? "Promotes the hippie culture and drug use," callers said.
Some complainers said they would "get" the library system. A reporter traced some of the menacing calls and e-mails to members of a Baptist church. Jesus must be proud.

7 comments:

Oudler said...

I do not have religious objections to Tarot reading myself, but as a Tarot player, I am disappointed at what appear to be one-sided presentations of Tarot cards only in terms of divination.

Tarot cards, according to playing card historians, were not originally designed for fortune telling. They were created for playing a type of card game similar to Whist. Tarot card games are still played today in France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. There also appears to be a small but growing number of players outside Europe.

If public educational institutions foster the notion that Tarot is only about divination and the occult, then they are not doing the job for which we pay them.

I think that taxpayer funded institutions such as public libraries and public schools which are designed to educate the public should give equal time to the card playing aspects of Tarot. Tarot is often presented in this country only as something to accept or reject in terms of its alleged accuracy in predicting the future. When other options such as card playing are being supressed, one is not actually free in how one views or uses the cards.

I must ask why must all presentations of Tarot in this country have to be occult related? Why do we not expose the young people to actual card games played with Tarot decks? Teens should be aware that Tarot cards are not just used for the occult or for divination. We should teach teenagers the rules for Tarot card games too. It is highly possible that young people may come to prefer the card games over the divination practices. They should be given an informed choice. We should educate young people about all aspects of culture including Tarot and not present one sided depictions of these matters.

I do not wish for these Tarot presentations to be banned or cancelled as they have in some parts of the country, but I do think they should be more balanced by including some information regarding Tarot's role in the history of card games.

Anonymous said...

Uh, okay.

Dan said...

I was thinking at first that the people who called in about the religious aspects of the program were a bunch of closed minded idiots. They probably still are, but then this came to mind:

How many people would have been upset had the public library been having classes about Christianity? I suppose a Zen garden or Yoga exercises aren't strictly religion. But considering the library probably gets state funding could the separation of church and state argument play into this?

Either way... silly people.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Ross Tarot, back in '92. Victory wasn't in the cards for him.

Betty B. said...

As I read your source for this item, it seemed that the problem was not complaints, but threats...


"If you have an anonymous call of a bomb, what do you do?" asks Library Director Marguerite Keenan, explaining her decision to cancel the YA programs. "You clear the building, you close the building for the protection of the children. And that’s hugely sad."

Anonymous said...

Oh, boo-hoo. I'll remember your defense of their rights when the Fairness Doctrine is up for debate.

Mary Helen said...

It bothers me tremendously to think that all a closed-minded person has to do is threaten a person or institution that is doing something they don't like to cause the person or institution to stop doing it. I believe that is the definition of terrorism.