IFAS | Freedom Writer | January/February 1989 | tarot.html

Tarot and religious freedom

As the result of a December 1988 jury trial in West Hartford, Connecticut, a precedent was set in defense of New Age beliefs. A woman, arrested in her home for tarot card reading, was acquitted after she challenged a Connecticut law which prohibits fortune-telling for money. She maintained that the law violated her New Age beliefs.

The woman, Mary Joan Williams, a full-time accountant and part-time tarot card reader, was arrested last year when a couple, both undercover West Hartford police officers, came to her home for a $35 reading.

During the secretly taped reading, the fortune-teller predicted that "you will receive money for work done in the past." The tape was used as evidence against her in court. On the day the "not guilty" verdict was announced, West Hartford police officers learned that they would be receiving a retroactive pay raise.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.