The comedians among us will state that the Psychics and Mediums should have seen it coming but now they have more serious things to worry about than cynical wit with the repeal of the Fraudulent Mediums Act.
The Spiritualist Community has split over the recent changes in law which has placed Spiritualists under the Consumer Protection Act. But what is it about the change that has many of the UK’s Spiritualists so hot under the collar?
From today, psychics and mediums have to tell their customers that their services are “for entertainment only” and that their work is not “experimentally proven” and those who break the law could be taken to court to be fined up to £5,000 or even receive two years in jail.
The change in law is the largest overhaul of consumer protection laws in 40 years and places tighter controls over all sort of traders including Psychics and Mediums. Under the Fraudulent Mediums Act, prosecutors had to prove that the Psychic or Medium had intended to be fraudulent in order to secure a conviction but under new legislation, it is the mediums responsibility to prove that they did not mislead vulnerable customers.
Spiritualism is recognised as a religion but so far it seems that Spiritualism is the only religion that will fall under the new legislation. Will we soon be asking the Pope to prove he is talking to God? Or will we ask the Catholics to prove that the wine and wafer becomes Christ’s blood and body? In reality, how can any one religion prove the existence of God before accepting donations and therefore potentially obtaining money by false pretences?
Step into the ring, the Spiritual Workers Association and the Spiritualists, National Union.
The Spiritual Workers Association is an organisation that was formed to fight the change in law. They gained over 5,000 signatures on a petition which argued that Spiritualists were being persecuted by the changes in a way Christians in the UK never could be. The petition was unsuccessful.
The Spiritualists’ National Union, the largest Spiritualist organisation in the world, has a different opinion about the change in law. They insist that the changes will work in their favour and help relieve those within the movement that give Spiritualism a bad name.
With the change in law, one could sympathise with the Spiritualist Movement – a movement that fought for over 100 years to get the Fraudulent Mediums Act through Parliament. An act that in its very existence suggested that if there were fraudulent mediums then there must be genuine mediums as well. The change in law is suggested to be turning spiritualism, a recognised religion, into a consumer product which many spiritualists argue it is not.
With many of the UK’s 300 plus Spiritualist Churches now displaying disclaimers prior to one of their services, will we see Spiritualism start to die a death or will we now start to see Spiritualism being pushed underground and practised in secret – only time will tell how these changes in law will affect the Spiritualist Movement. One thing is certain though, in our “Where there’s Blame there’s a claim” culture, we can only wait with baited breath to hear of the first prosecutions under the new law.