You’d think someone would have seen this coming.
In 2007, the city of Salem, Massachusetts (infamous for the witch trials of 1692, and, since about 1693, the most profitable place for witches to put out a shingle) lifted a cap on the number of psychics allowed to do business within the city environs, and now that number has risen to somewhere around 70. Long-time Salem psychic Barbara Szafranski is one of those who are miffed, and is quoted by Fox News as saying:
It affected me 75%. I lost business because many stores opened up that were not in this field. They just opened up because they wanted to get the money from the readings. […] It just becomes a bunch of gypsies. Maybe I shouldn’t say that word because they might be upset by it but those people are not necessarily always qualified.
Her opinion is not shared, however, by long-time Salem warlock Christian Day.
As a person who believes in the power of the free market, I believe that the free market should decide whether or not there are too many psychics. If we have too many, they won’t make any money and they leave. It’s just like anything else.[…]
It is rather interesting to me that people expect government to protect their business. Your ingenuity should protect your business. Your talent should protect your business. Your aggressiveness to succeed will protect your business.
Hey: Christian Day may be someone who both promotes and profits from paganism and what some would call the demonic arts, and OK, maybe he has a name that appears chosen to mock Jesus Christ and all those who believe in Him,* but — dammit! — at least he’s a free-market conservative.
It’s a big tent, right?
*Addendum and correction 3/27/2011: Received an email from one “Christian Day,” sent from the domain salemhex.com, and he asserts:
My name was given to me by my mother because I was born on Christmas Day. I love my name and I see no reason to change it simply because I follow the old ways of magic. Why don’t you change the name of your religion if you don’t like it.
Ouch. Well, I apologize for the false presumption, in suggesting above that his name “appears chosen” to mock Christianity. It just seemed very unlikely for someone in the witchery business to have acquired such a name at birth in the normal way. Truth is so much stranger than fiction.
As for changing the name of my religion: I’ll address that with the proper authorities. But I warn that it’s often very hard to achieve consensus on these issues!