December 2016 Church & State - December 2015

Officials In Ore. Town Repeal Ban On The ‘Occult’

  AU admin

Residents of Canyonville, Ore., can now legally engage in occult activities, including fortune telling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance, mesmerism and spiritualism. 

The Canyonville City Council voted 5-1 Oct. 24 to repeal an ordinance dating to 1947 that banned spiritualism, which some regard as a form of religious practice, in the community of about 1,900 people. The ordinance wasn’t being aggressively enforced, but it came under review recently after a local man said he planned to open an astrology-themed store in town.

Janelle Evans, Canyonville city administrator, told city councilors that people have a constitutional right to engage in certain occult activities. Canyonville Mayor Jake Young concurred, adding that the law would not survive if challenged in court. 

“When it comes to the amendment for free speech, that’s the one we don’t like, because we want our way and not their way,” he said. “It’s still an amendment in the Constitution.”

The Roseburg News-Review reported that a few town residents testified against repealing the ordinance, arguing that lifting the ban could lead to illegal activities, such as animal sacrifice.

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