Witchcraft and other pagan beliefs have long attracted negative attention. Let’s learn more about laws and answer a question – Is Witchcraft Illegal In Texas?
Throughout history there are many tales of practitioners being trialled — and even executed — for their beliefs. Likewise, the great state of Texas has a proud reputation as a God-fearing, conservative base within the USA.
So Is Witchcraft Illegal In Texas Today? What does Texas think about practicing witchcraft?
It might surprise you (or not) to discover that witchcraft is perfectly legal in Texas. In fact, it’s legal across the country.
Witchcraft Laws in the USA
Wicca, paganism, Christianity, Judaism — every religious or spiritual belief is protected by law in the USA. The first amendment of the United States constitutions gives express protection to religion:
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.
While this amendment is popularly thought of as separating church and state — it does — it also provides protection to the people to practice whatever religion they so choose.
This all said, there are some caveats.
While belief and practice of witchcraft are perfectly legal in Texas, not all individual practices are.
Many laws across the country which are intended to protect people from fraud cause complications for certain witchcraft practices.
Tarot reading, and fortunetelling, for example, are often against the law. This is decided on a municipal level, rather than Federal or even state, so it can change from town to town and city to city. If these acts are advertised as entertainment or performances, rather than actual clairvoyance, then their practice is usually legal and protected.
Likewise, laws that prohibit the sale and distribution of medicine by unlicensed individuals — or falsely claiming health benefits — catch things like hexes, charms, potions, remedies and artifacts under their umbrella. Advertising them as religious artifacts, craft supplies, or, again, works of art, can be used to circumvent these laws.
The Witchcraft Act of 1735
The Salem Witch Trials were conducted before the United States of America truly existed (the Revolutionary War didn’t take place until around 80 years later). During that time, Salem, Massachusetts was a British colony under British rule.
Laws which allowed — and indeed, encouraged — witch hunts were actually repealed in England in 1735, meaning by the time the USA formed in the 1770s, you couldn’t accuse someone of being an actual witch.
Yet people continued to be tried for witchcraft for over a century later — how was this possible?
This subtle shift in the law meant that it wasn’t a criminal act to practice witchcraft, rather it was an “offence against the country’s more enlightened state.” The death penalty was, mercifully, no longer an option due to this reduction in the severity of the perceived “crime”. The last person convicted of the law was Jane Rebecca Yorke in 1944 in London.