Oh hey, a good idea.
Chanting to cure snakebites, claiming to be a reincarnated spouse to obtain sex, and charging for miracles could soon be banned by an Indian state seeking to stop charlatans preying on the vulnerable.
Many superstitions are widely held in India but a campaign group is lobbying hard for a new law in the western state of Maharashtra to outlaw several exploitative activities, with penalties of fines or up to seven years in jail.
But………not so fast, pardner.
But the push to pass the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill has not received unanimous support.
Some Hindu nationalists fear the legislation seeks to move beyond the excesses named in its title and might be used to curb cherished religious freedoms.
One right-wing association, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, called it “a draconian law targeting faith”, denounced its proponents as “atheists” and called for supporters to lobby assembly members to oppose it and demand amendments.
Because only atheists have any problem with claiming to be a reincarnated spouse to obtain sex or charging money for “miracles”; decent normal respectable people think that’s a fine way to carry on.
Some critics, however, say the draft law does not go far enough and has been watered down since it was first mooted way back in 1995 due to protests from pro-Hindu groups.
“In my opinion the bill that has ultimately come into Maharashtra suggests nothing new. It doesn’t give anything additional,” said Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association.
Concerns about the draft law’s impact on legitimate religious practices from Hindu nationalist groups such as the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have delayed its passing.
A semi-good idea, endlessly delayed, that might become law, some day, perhaps.