New York law:
§ 165.35 Fortune telling.
A person is guilty of fortune telling when, for a fee compensation
which he directly or indirectly solicits or receives, he claims or pretends to tell fortunes, or holds himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on personal matters or to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to a person who engages in the aforedescribed conduct as part of a show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement.
Fortune telling is a class B misdemeanor.
Now this is pretty darn clearly aimed directly at Pagan practices and the most common result is that anyone telling fortunes or lifting curses for another as a Pagan is forced to a prior denouncement of their own belief system (notice of for entertainment or amusement). What is interesting is that fringe Christians do the same all the time without this requirement although a strict reading of the law would require them to do so.
Think about it. Every time some Christian bible thumper yammers on about this or that being punishment from God or makes a prediction of end times, tribulation or rapture they are in fact engaging in fortune telling for money, they always ask for money. Anytime a revival preacher “drives out a demon”, does a faith healing or claims to have a direct line to God’s will, they are claiming occult powers. Any time a fundie preacher gives advice supposedly from their direct line to God, they are in violation of this law. To say otherwise is to establish them as legitimate and Pagans as illegitimate. And that is a direct violation of the “establishment of religion” clause of the Constitution.
Pagans, I urge you to stop using the disclaimer and dare arrest under this law then challenge it on Constitutional grounds. It violates freedom of religion as well. It is far past time we let ourselves have our religious rights violated with unequal enforcement of law. We need to stand up and demand equal treatment if we are ever to receive it.
Lesbians and Gays, every time a Christian fundie makes a statement claiming to know the mind of God regarding same sex marriage, anything negative about homosexuality, they are in violation of this law. Almost all states have a similar law on the books, I urge you to look up the exact language in your state and apply this by filing criminal complaints under your state version of fortune telling laws against any Christian claiming these “occult” powers. Do this each and every time you see these statements, demand prosecution under the law and we can eventually break these hatemongers once and for all.
Karma’s a bitch and the principle involved here is the best way to oppose a bad law is to enforce it equally.