Religious beliefs should not define law
An interesting little drama has been playing out in Meridian, Miss., for the last few months.
A real gypsy fortuneteller named Sandy Mitchell has been attempting to get the Meridian city council to lift an ordinance banning fortune telling within city limits.
This past week, the city council has voted 4-1 to uphold the ban.
Meridian city councilwoman Mary Perry gave the following statement as to her reasons for voting to uphold the ban:
“I read my Bible, too, and it talks about fortune telling and so forth.
“Everyone has their own opinion and can do what they want but I try to follow what is legal and within my heart and after praying about something, I kind of go with that.”
What? Since when does the Bible dictate legal decisions?
If I walked into a courtroom tomorrow and tried to mount a murder defense based on the passages of the Bible that commend stoning adulterers, I’d be looking at life in a mental facility.
Yet our lawmakers are obviously allowed to make decisions on what we can and cannot do based on their personal religious beliefs with no legal or constitutional precedent.
The first amendment to the constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
For Sandy Mitchell, fortunetelling is part of his gypsy heritage and faith system.
As such, the city has no more right to deny him the right to practice where and when he wants than they could stop a Muslim for praying at the proper times throughout the day, or a Christian from preaching on the street corner.
Whether or not the city of Meridian likes the fact, using one’s own religious beliefs to justify suppressing another’s is against the highest law available in this nation.
And when Mitchell sues them, I hope the city councilors enjoy trying to explain their behavior the Supreme Court justices.