Anti Witchcraft Laws, City Ordinances

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April 18, 2010 by Lain

The battle continues across the globe for the abolition of archaic laws designed to prevent “snake oil salesmen” and “fortune telling gypsies” from parting you from your money. Problem is, these outdated laws are now being used against modern shop owners and legitimate practitioners in broad strokes by who many are calling “religiously biased” authorities.

Today, at The Wild Hunt, Jason discusses the case of a shop owner in Centerville, Georgia who is violating city ordinances by offering services such as Tarot reading, meditation classes, and spiritualism. The city is ordering owner Courtney Bibb to shut down because of these services. Bibb is not backing down, claiming that the city is violating her religious rights.

Closer to home,  a Toronto man was charged in april for pretending to practice witchcraft. In a Toronto Sun article, Batura Draame, 30, was arrested on several counts of fraud, and Canada’s Anti Witchcraft Law, Canada criminal code section 365. The archaic law, outlined below, is based on a British law which has long since been repealed.

365. Every one who fraudulently

(a) pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,
(b) undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or
(c) pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found,

is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 323.”

Obviously, the wording of this law is open to subjective interpretation, and it appears that only non-Christian defendants of fraud are subject to an additional charge via CC s.365.

There is currently  a campaign to support the repeal of this outdated law, including a letter to send to the Minister of Justice voicing your concern. The Facebook site is linked here;

South African PNC (Pagan Newswire Collective) corespondant  and member of SAPRA (South African Pagan Rights Alliance), Damon Leff , is also involved in the repeal of a 1957 Witchcraft Suppression Act there.

We may have come a long way, baby, but it seems we still have a long way to go…


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