Friday, June 22, 2007

Right thing. Wrong Reasons.

Over at Pharanguyla, PZ bemoans a church forcing the shutting down of library summer programs for what they percieved to be promotion of witchcraft and drug use.

Some programs involved making tie-died T-shirts ("Promotes the hippie culture and drug use"), or Zen garden and Yoga classes ("promoting other religions"). I would agree that these are completely harmless. Tie-died shirts no more promote drug use than having long hair. I suppose the leaders of this church would encourage sumptuary laws.

Zen and Yoga are indeed derived from other religions but are not approached from a religious standpoint. Rather they are approached from the perspective of relaxation techniques and physical therapy respectively. This is much the same as approaching the bible from the perspective of a historical document. Unless you're wanting to be converted, it should have no effect.

Meanwhile, I can't say I'm sad to see other programs go. The library was also offering classes in astrology, palmistry, numerology, and tarot card reading; All classes full of vacuous nonsense. These classes have no place being funded by public tax money, especially in what should be a place of knowledge.

But if you're going to force a library to cancel its classes, don't do it because it "promotes other religions". Do it because they're 100% grade A bullshit.

2 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.

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.