Sometimes, I people ask me this question, so I decided to write about it. Let’s learn more about laws and answer a question – Is Witchcraft Illegal In Indiana?
So Is Witchcraft Illegal In Indiana?
You may be surprised — and relieved — to know that witchcraft is not illegal in Indiana. Witchcraft is one of many formally recognized and protected religions within the country. Practice and belief in witchcraft, while unpopular in many circles, has all of the same constitutional protections of any other belief system.
In fact, it’s legal across the USA.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Well, maybe not entirely.
The subject of witchcraft and the law in the USA is an interesting one, so let’s look a little deeper.
Witchcraft and the Law in the USA
There are many levels of laws in the USA. At the top you have federal laws, and down the bottom you’ve got municipal laws which might only cover a particular town or city.
All of these treat witchcraft a little differently.
Let’s start at the top. On a constitutional level, witchcraft is protected by the first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. As recently as the Bush administration, there were politicians trying to prevent chaplaincy services being afforded to Wiccan military members. Fortunately these services are still available on large bases, despite these attempts.
On a state level, things are still pretty clear. It’s not illegal in any state, even Indiana, to practice witchcraft.
On A Municipal Level
While there are no (legally enforceable) laws against witchcraft at a municipal level, there are laws against certain practices.
For example, there are many laws across the country against Tarot reading, fortunetelling, etc. These are intended to protect people from con artists, rather than attack those practicing witchcraft. Sometimes these activities are only illegal in certain circumstances, which can further complicate matters.
Common workarounds to these restrictions include referring to them as counselling sessions, as “entertainment”, or not taking payment directly for the service, but as a kind donation.
Additionally the sale of charms, hexes, remedies, artifacts, etc. that are claimed to have substantial health and wellness benefits is regulated in many places. These largely fall under the purview of practicing medicine without a license, if you’re claiming a potion will have specific health benefits.
The problem with these smaller laws is that while the state of Indiana might not have laws against these practices, cities and towns within the state might.
If in doubt, ask ahead.
Pagan Faiths and Custody Battles In the 21st Century
As recently as 2011/2012, many people of pagan faiths across the US found themselves experiencing a terrible problem:
In custody battles, their faith was being used against them as justification to deny access to their children.
While it is not technically legal to discriminate purely on the basis of faith, negative public perception will often create an unfair bias towards a practitioner of witchcraft.
One notable case came from 2011. A Pagan-owned Internet hosting company called DrakNet ended up losing its Pagan theme in part due to a custody battle. The full story can be found here, with a relevant quote below.
“The fourth year I owned DrakNet, my husband and I got a divorce, and the following year (for a variety of reasons I won’t go into), we entered into a highly acrimonious custody battle. The suit stated outright in it’s initial filing that the basis was the fact that I was Pagan.
I hired an attorney who dismissed it as a concern, stating my religion could not be used against me. While I have no doubt the attorney believed that when he told me, he was wrong and his objection was overruled. The county this lawsuit was in was extremely right-leaning, and the Judge in the case relieved me of custody temporarily while my beliefs and their affect on my ability to parent was investigated.
Those I knew in the community did offer to rush to my defense, have protests on the courthouse lawn, call the press, and make the case into a circus, but I strongly felt then, as I do now, that a child cannot choose to be at the center of a public controversy. Though I was very, very careful in my answers not to establish any precedent or disclaim or lie about anything I was in the final trial, once I fought back and defended myself and won, I chose not to tempt fate a second time and I left Paganism so that it could not be used against me again.”