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Jun 16 2014

Christians Try to Keep ‘Psychic’ Out of Town

In the city of Yucaipa, California, a “psychic” has recently moved to town and applied for a permit to do “readings” out of his home. He’s in compliance with all the relevant laws, but the good Christian folk of the town are mighty upset about it and trying to prevent him from getting that permit.

The first speaker, George Bedlion Sr., urged the planning commission to deny the home occupation permit.

“I don’t want to see a psychic reader in Uptown Yucaipa,” said Bedlion. “My church sponsors the soap box race and we just don’t want to see this kind of influence. It’s opening something that is not very good,” Bedlion said.

Joél Vincent, a pastor from First Assembly of God Church, was the second speaker opposing the psychic home occupancy permit. Vincent read Bible scriptures and said, “I believe that danger and harm is brought to our community if we encourage this (psychic reader) and God’s own judgment on our city. There’s concern for our children, our youth and all our citizens. I think the Lord would like us to be a city that is thinking of him and is focused on him.”

I don’t think it’s any of your fucking business what other people, in your city or anywhere else, are thinking about or focusing on.

John Pohl said, “Why would you want to come to Yucaipa? We don’t need a business like that. Yucaipa believes in the morals of the Lord and they don’t need a thorn in their eye.”

Flora Pohl said, “I do not like psychics and I don not approve it. There’s so many bad things and I’m not for it. He can pick up and go back to where he came from.”

Sharon Orr, who owns Up town Pets, said she was not in favor of the next door business and the potential problems it could bring.

Ceasar and Yolanda Flores from the Christ the Redeemer Church said they were very much opposed to the psychic reader. “If we permit this, than anything else (can come here),” said Ceasar. “We do not approve or believe in this. Not any part of it.”

“What’s next,” asked Yolanda. “Like my husband said, someone’s gonna sell drugs in front of our church? I’m sorry but I don’t believe good people would go into this business. I’m sorry. I’m against this.”

In political economics there’s a concept called “rent-seeking.” It’s when a business convinces the government to pass a burdensome regulation that protects them from competition and preserve their market share. I think that’s pretty much exactly what is going on here.

44 comments

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  1. 1
    steve oberski

    Yucaipa believes in the morals of the Lord and they don’t need a thorn in their eye

    I think that your “lord” is of a different opinion:

    Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

  2. 2
    moarscienceplz

    “I don’t want to see a psychic reader in Uptown Yucaipa,” said Bedlion. “My church sponsors the soap box race and we just don’t want to see this kind of influence.”

    Yeah! What if someone gets psychic advice that helps them place winning bets on the soap box race? Will no one think of the children?

  3. 3
    doublereed

    These people know that he’s not actually a psychic, right?

  4. 4
    cgm3

    Finally, a genuine instance of Christian persecution! [/snark... or maybe not]

  5. 5
    Randomfactor

    Obviously the psychic needs to establish the First Yucaipa Church of Heiromancy. As a bonus, he can write off his rent as a “parsonage allowance.”

  6. 6
    Gretchen

    Psychic: Person who accepts money to use supposedly magical powers of undemonstrated origin to offer exclusive insight into a person’s life in order to better it.

    Church: Institution which accepts money to use supposedly magical powers of undemonstrated origin to offer exclusive insight into a person’s life in order to better it.

    See? Totally different!

  7. 7
    vereverum

    @ #2 & #3
    No, they do not know. They undoubtedly believe that he has a real power of divination.

  8. 8
    steve84

    Clearly he is a threat to their own scams and magic businesses.

  9. 9
    noastronomer

    I wonder if Bedlion, Vincent, Pohl and Flores realize that they all but handed the applicant their permit?

  10. 10
    lldayo

    They should just pray really hard for God to come down and take care of it. I’m sure He would if they prayed realllly, extra specially hard!

  11. 11
    otrame

    I keep wavering between “Protect The Gullible Fools from This Sort of Thing” and “They are Grownups, Let Them Waste Their Money However They Like”.

  12. 12
    raven

    These people know that he’s not actually a psychic, right?

    Probably not.

    The Catholic ones think their priests are magicians who can turn bread and win into godflesh and godblood, drive out evil spirits, cure the sick, and get your soul into heaven.

    The Protestants and Mormons have their own collection of similar primitive superstitions.

    PS We have a few psychics around where I live. They live in rundown downscale parts of town. You would think a real psychic would be making so much money on bets and in the stock market, they could do better.

  13. 13
    eric

    “If we permit this, than anything else (can come here),”

    Welcome to the USA, where you do not get a veto over what sort of neighbor moves next to you. You cannot give out business licences based on whether you personally approve or disapprove of the business; you must have a secular reason related to law to stop them.

    Not sure about how CA state law treats psychics, but their best bet here is probably ensuring that they follow whatever false advertising laws CA may have about them. I.e., if the law says this is a ‘for entertainment only’ business and cannot advertise that they actually tell the future, you make sure the guy’s business conforms to that law. But I’m just making up that example for illustration, I don’t know what (if anything) CA says about psychic businesses.

    The irony in all of this is that if these Christians are characterizing their town correctly, they have nothing to fear, because the guy will go out of business in short order. The business is only going to prosper if these fundamentalist Christians are not as much of a majority as they obviously think they are.

  14. 14
    vmanis1

    Well, I would not like to see psychics providing `readings’ for money. Not for religious reasons, but because it’s fraud.

    This situation reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s comments on aristocratic fox-hunting: `the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable’.

  15. 15
    Trebuchet

    In Wiki’s list of notable residents for Yucaipa is this lady:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lois_Rodden

  16. 16
    John Hinkle

    “What’s next,” asked Yolanda. “Like my husband said, someone’s gonna sell drugs in front of our church? I’m sorry but I don’t believe good people would go into this business. I’m sorry. I’m against this.”

    Who can argue with that logic? It’s… um… impenetrable.

  17. 17
    Moggie

    Come on, Yucaipans! Exodus 22:18 doesn’t say “thou shalt not suffer a witch to get a home occupation permit”, you know! Get stoning!

  18. 18
    frankb

    The first speaker, George Bedlion Sr.

    Is the Second Foundation running this town?

    But really, what do they think people do when they come out of the house after a psychic reading? I would like to hear what these good christians would say if asked this question.

  19. 19
    Chiroptera

    “Like my husband said, someone’s gonna sell drugs in front of our church?”

    Unlike the psychic, at least the drug dealer would be selling a real product.

  20. 20
    yoav

    John Pohl said, “Why would you want to come to Yucaipa? We don’t need a business like that. Yucaipa believes in the morals of the Lord and they don’t need a thorn in their eye.”

    I would bet that Mr Pohl is against the ACA because if only the gubmint took it dirty hands of it the freemarket fairy would magically fix healthcare.

  21. 21
    sabrekgb

    Wow! Oh, man…who to root for?

    The religiously cloistered and narrow minded residents of a town? Or…a detestable fraud who takes money from emotionally vulnerable people?

    Decisions, decisions…

  22. 22
    Richard Smith

    What’s next? Crusty jugglers.

  23. 23
    Modusoperandi

    You’d figure the psychic would’ve seen this coming.

  24. 24
    changerofbits

    Christians. Providing plenty of naive rubes, and free advertizing, to psychics since …

    I wonder if this psychic actually sent info to the fundamentalist churches about the permit just to generate the buzz.

  25. 25
    d.c.wilson

    These people know that he’s not actually a psychic, right?

    That’s the hilarious part. They’re opposing his business not because he’s running an obvious scam, but because they think he’s going to bring evil spirits in their town.

  26. 26
    cycleninja

    Shorter Yucaipa Christians: “We don’t want anyone challenging our dominance over woo and magic.”

  27. 27
    Sastra

    I know people who believe in psychics — and endorse their use — and they seem to me to have a basic problem distinguishing the difference between the objections of the skeptics (“Psychics are frauds and consumers should be protected from false claims which elicit money”) and the objections of the Christian fundamentalists (“Psychics are of the devil and people should be protected from false religions which damn their souls to Hell.”)

    It’s all the same, a difference without a difference. I think this conflation of motivations is perhaps partly behind the old bromide we hear all the time: the insistence that “atheism is just another form of fundamentalism.”

    All they look at is the complaint itself; the reasoning behind it — the ‘why’ — doesn’t seem to matter that much. Or maybe that’s what they pretend to believe, for obvious reasons. It makes it easy to reject skepticism as a form of bigotry.

  28. 28
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I don’t know. Can I get a permit to sell drugs in front of your church or not?

  29. 29
    Ethan Myerson

    The villagers should welcome this guy. If they think clerics alone can protect their village, they’re crazy. You need a good spellcaster if you’re going to have any hope of surviving. Some kind of warrior as well. Maybe a dwarven barbarian.

    Oh, wait, they’re serious?!

  30. 30
    Graham Shevlin

    I have to stop reading every one of Ed’s postings, it is costing me too much in broken irony meters…

  31. 31
    Kamaka

    “I believe that danger and harm is brought to our community if we encourage this (psychic reader) and God’s own judgment on our city.

    Thank you for truth-telling.

  32. 32
    comfychair

    I’m glad to know there are folks in California who are willing to stand up and fight to make their state more like Mississippi. They could just move here instead, you know. House prices are incredibly cheap. (mainly because it’s a third world shithole, but hey, we got enough Jesus to choke a horse, and that’s what really matters!)

  33. 33
    raven

    The villagers should welcome this guy. If they think clerics alone can protect their village, they’re crazy. You need a good spellcaster…

    The Yucaipa villagers should think their defenses through.

    Spellcasters, magicians, priests, pitchforks, and torches are OK but you really need some modern weapons too. Tanks, artillery, and some beam weapons at the least.

    “Hokey religion and antique weapons are no substitute for a good blaster.”

  34. 34
    raven

    “I believe that danger and harm is brought to our community if we encourage this (psychic reader) and God’s own judgment on our city.

    I doubt if god has even heard of Yucaipa much less cares what happens in it.

    I had to look it up on Google. It’s a small town in the middle of nowhere, halfway between LA and Las Vegas.

    I’m sure god has much worse places to worry about and not do anything about.

  35. 35
    magistramarla

    Obviously the Monterey Peninsula had no problems with psychic readers, since I noticed a number of them there. However, there was a problem with allowing a WalMart or Sam’s Club to build there.
    It seems to me that the people there realized which group could cause more harm to the community.

  36. 36
    Alverant

    On my first trip to the Bristol Ren Faire my friend convinced me to see one of the psychics. I knew it was bunk but I thought it would be amusing and sometimes you have to humor your friends. She was flat out wrong on most things. Despite that I have to root for the business owner because the town’s reasons for keeping it out are bunk. If churches are allowed in the town, so should “psychics”. The two aren’t that different, just the the psychic is upfront about wanting money. In some ways it’s the more honest (in this case less dishonest) of the two.

    Speaking of which, if I go back to the Faire this year I may see one of those psychics again, just to get into the spirit of things and see just how wrong they wind up being.

  37. 37
    Nick Gotts

    Is the Second Foundation running this town? – frankb@18

    Wouldn’t they count as psychics, what with all that predicting the future?

  38. 38
    dingojack

    Uh frankb – if it’s about predicting the future – that’ll be Hari Seldon, not either Foundation.
    Dingo

  39. 39
    birgerjohansson

    The psychic should start The Church of Hari Seldon. Tax benefits and everything!

  40. 40
    birgerjohansson

    “They undoubtedly believe that he has a real power of divination”

    I see a great opportunity for a legal scam. Let the churches pay him for agreeing NOT to settle in their town.

  41. 41
    busterggi

    What we need is a wizard’s duel!

  42. 42
    birgerjohansson

    “What we need is a wizard’s duel!”

    YES!!!!!!!!!!

  43. 43
    freehand

    yoav: John Pohl said, “Why would you want to come to Yucaipa? We don’t need a business like that. Yucaipa believes in the morals of the Lord and they don’t need a thorn in their eye.”

    I would bet that Mr Pohl is against the ACA because if only the gubmint took it dirty hands of it the freemarket fairy would magically fix healthcare.
    .
    When I worked in a military psych ward, there was a born-again staff member who said “If the Navy would just let me hold prayer meetings, I could the Lord could cure all these patients”.
    .
    Yes, the villagers believe this psychic has real magic, but it’s a rival magical system, springing from Satan, not their god. It’s bad enough when the doctor brings up scientifical stuff, but they don’t need another competitive evil magic in town.

  44. 44
    sabrekgb

    @33 Ranven

    ““Hokey religion and antique weapons are no substitute for a good blaster.”

    /thread

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