Thursday, 12 November 2009

Psychic Beliefs: do you share yours?

Let me introduce to you my great grandmother - who was a practicing spiritualist medium at a time when she could still have been convicted under the 1735 Witchcraft Act. Police officers would regularly attend her seances undercover, trying to prove she was up to no good. Unfortunately for them, her guides would always draw her attention to the fact that there was 'someone with big feet' in the room who shouldn't be - and she would calmly welcome 'the police officer amongst us' and scare the living daylights out of them!

Today Alan Power is going to court to claim that his psychic beliefs led to his sacking from the police. Alan is using rules designed to prevent religious discrimination in the workplace. His former employers are claiming his beliefs did not amount to a 'religious conviction' - despite Alan having been a member of the Spiritualist Church for 30 years. As the Spiritualist Church is one of only two legally recognised religions in Britain today, my feeling is that Alan has a point. Good luck to him.

The police regularly use psychic investigators to try and gain insight into problematic cases, but appear to prefer to keep this aspect of their work out of the public eye. In 2006 apparently 28 police forces denied using psychics at all - which still leaves many more who either do, or are unwilling to commit either way.

Given Alan Power's experience such silence is understandable. And I'm sure he is far from alone in facing discrimination in the workforce because of his spiritualist beliefs - namely, that there is life after death and it is possible to communicate with the dead. After all, wasn't there some other famous man who was meant to have returned from the dead and communicated with his people..? And I'm not sure any employer could get away with sacking someone for believing in Jesus; even in this secular age.