Astrologers in St. Petersburg, Florida are upset, and rightfully so.Â A city ordinance put on the books in the 1950s but not enforced until it showed up on the City Council agenda this month requires that all people working as “fortune-tellers,” including astrologers, phrenologists, palmists, character readers, spirit mediums, absent treatment healer, mental healer, or “any occupation of a similar nature” must be fingerprinted, pay a $44 fee, and have a background check.
When the issue, which has been largely dormant since appearing in the 1950s, appeared on the St. Petersburg City Council agenda this month, the council removed a provision that required applicants to provide five references of “good moral character,” but left the rest unchanged.
There is a loophole, however. The ordinance exempts those that are “ministers of any faith.” That’s right. Ministers of any faith, including those ordained online for mere pittance with no training required.
Those who are affected by the ordinance have been left feeling like the subject of a modern-day witch hunt, and a large majority of those who are currently unordained or unaffiliated with any particular faith feel no need to become ordained simply to validate their practices.
Should astrologers (and other “fortune-tellers”) be subjected to fingerprinting, a background check, and a fee? Or are their services the same as any other business offering?