Front Royal town council repeals decades-old law that banned 'magic arts'

Front Royal town council in session. Photo: WJLA

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WJLA) -- A Northern Virginia community is divided tonight over a debate that sounds like something out of history books.

In Front Royal a decades-old law bans things considered "magic arts."

At a town council meeting Monday night, the passions were front and center.

Someone called this a faith war—pagans versus Christians.

Many in Front Royal say they'd pretty much forgotten about the law that bans fortune telling, Tarot card readings, or practicing magic arts.

When a Tarot card reader set up shop at the Brooklyn Marketplace on Main Street—for just one day—the manager says some people in the town threatened to boycott the other vendors if the Tarot card reader stayed.

"This is an extreme group of people who,have taken on an ordinance to push their own political agenda," says Arlene Ballou.

After looking the law over, the town council scheduled a vote to repeal the ban.

And opponents sprang into action.

Outside the town council meeting, one group of citizens marched carrying a cross while others bowed their heads in prayer.

“For the Judeo-Christian tradition, it's an abomination; it's giving someone the power that God has. Only God knows the future," says Leo Morton.

Inside, it was a packed house and things got heated.

At the last minute one councilmember tried to amend the law to take out offensive terms like "gypsy" but he was quickly voted down.

In the end, the council voted to repeal the ban, 4-2.