August 31, 2007

Open mindedness is not an attack on anyone

My mom brought me a newspaper article from a local town paper where I used to live. Apparently, the library had the unmitigated gall to hold a Tarot workshop one afternoon. Imagine?

I have looked online but can't find the original article that includes the library's response. The Board of the Library looked into it, researched it, and voted that it would be an appropriate event that would appeal to young adult readers. Tarot is not a religion and therefore doesn't conflict with any of the libraries policies.

But what if it was a religion? It's not, we're all clear on that, but hypothetically, what if it was? Wouldn't a class that doesn't preach but simply explores and researches be of interest and possibly even promote understanding between people with differing opinions? Is open-mindedness and curiosity a direct pathway to hell these days?

In this protest letter that I managed to find the author is so terribly upset that they are teaching a "tool of the wiccan religion." The author compares the tarot to the bible which in itself makes me chuckle, but let's take a second to consider. As a literature major we were often offered a course on the bible as literature or, even more fun, the bible as mythology. Neither of these were courses teaching people to be religious. They were courses examining the "tool" that Christians use in their religion. I am sure that the protesters would have no qualms about this type of a course being taught at the library. In fact, I would imagine they would endorse it. So what about a course on the Qur'an or the Torah? Would these also be acceptable or are texts only considered acceptable when they are acceptable to Christians?

The next response was not nearly as sane. Not everyone who disagrees with an opinion is destined to spend an eternity in a hell of your creation. Addictive personalities are frightening even if the addiction is religion.

If libraries would be allowed to hold events that helped to explain the differences and similarities in the religious beliefs of it's communities maybe people would be more tolerant of each other. No, the extremists, like those who wrote those letters, would never be convinced. So maybe, pardon the pun, it's like preaching to the choir. But wouldn't it be interesting to understand other beliefs a little more. Wouldn't it make life a little richer to know more than what you do in your own little community?

If we start banning information in events are we going to start banning books with similar information next? That I know of there are books on religion of all kinds shelved at the library. Should only those that you agree with be allowed on the shelves? Who gets to decide?

Don't get me wrong. I believe strongly in separation of church and state. You can't underestimate my intense feelings on this subject. But the library didn't cross any lines here. They weren't holding a prayer meeting or endorsing one religion over another. They were providing an opportunity for people to learn. And again, Tarot is not a religion. I know many Christians who like to read cards or have their cards read. If you want to hold an event that teaches the Bible as literature, that explains some of the stories and fables, fine. As long as you aren't endorsing one belief system at the expense of another I think it would be an interesting and useful proposition.

Anything non-Christian is not an attack on Christianity. People secure enough in their beliefs know that. I hate that the protesters (who as I understand it were quietly and respectfully protesting) found it necessary to hand the attendees tiny bibles and pamphlets. That is just insulting. How about if they attendees handed out small tarot decks. Could you imagine the craziness?

Again, believe what you want. Let others do the same. It just doesn't seem that difficult.

Oh yeah, and the most interesting thing about Tarot is that it isn't a religion or magic but allows people to read in the cards only what is already in their subconscious. It's just a way to think over things that are already on your mind. The cards only "work" as a tool for introspection. So evil? Well, that's telling, isn't it.

Posted by michelle at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)