UK Regulates Psychics
It's about time these things were regulated
Mentalism is big business, which is amazing when you consider the fact that there's no evidence that anyone can see the future, read your mind, talk to the dead, or heal people. Maybe that's why there's been such an outcry from Britain's psychic community over a new regulation that would require psychics to either prove they can perform as advertised, or state that their performances are for entertainment or research purposes only.
I've had friends who worked as psychics, and I can attest to the fact that most psychics sincerely believe in their powers, and provide harmless entertainment and, in some cases, comfort to their clients. But there are also charlatans who warn of impending disasters unless they're given a sizable payment, or who pretend to communicate with their clients' dead relatives, or whose claims of healing powers convince their clients not to seek medical treatment for serious conditions. Those are the psychics that the new law is aimed at, and they are throwing a fit:
Fortune-tellers, mediums and spiritual healers marched on the home of the British prime minister at Downing Street on Friday to protest against new laws they fear will lead to them being "persecuted and prosecuted".Comparing psychics to priests is a clever tactic, as most religions make unverifiable claims. For decades, Scientologists have been dodging regulations and taxes by claiming status as religious leaders, so it's not surprising to see psychics using the same tactic. What's unclear is why a healer like Ms. McEntee-Taylor should be regulated as a priestess, rather than as a doctor. Still, it brings up an intriguing question: when clergymen make claims about the material world, should they be subject to regulation? Check out these faith healers and "Prosperity Gospel" preachers who promise riches in exchange for donations, and ask yourself whether or not you think these people should have to prove their claims:
"If I'm giving a healing to someone, I don't want to have to stand there and say I don't believe in what I'm doing," said Carole McEntee-Taylor, a healer who co-founded the Spiritual Workers Association. "By repealing the Act, the onus will go round the other way and we will have to prove we are genuine," McEntee-Taylor told Reuters. "No other religion has to do that."
To me, it seems perfectly reasonable to regulate such practices, just as the UK government now regulates fortune tellers and psychic healers. Meanwhile, over in the US, Senator Charles Grassley is still investigating whether various preachers of the Prosperity Gospel are abusing their tax-exempt status. Let's wish him luck.
(cross posted at appletree)