A crystal ball might have come in handy for state officials hosting a psychic fair at the Empire State Plaza — maybe they would have seen the criticism coming.
“There is certainly a Satanic element to psychic fairs and to the occult and to new age religion,” said Rev. Jason McGuire, legislative director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
McGuire said the event clashes with the line separating church and state — a boundary evangelical Christians are often accused of crossing when lobbying against abortion, for prayer in public school and other issues.
“Unfortunately the line only seems to run in one direction, and that seems to leave out the Christian church,” he said.
The state Office of General Services, however, said the second annual Psychic Fair and Halloween Festival is just good clean fun. Psychics, astrologers, mediums, people who talk to angels, dream interpreters and tarot card readers will be on hand Oct. 29 at the Empire State Plaza’s concourse, where thousands of state workers pass daily. Psychic fairs operate around the country, including Connecticut, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Kansas. They are usually held on private property.
“These vendors who are coming are strictly entertainment,” said OGS spokesman Brad Maione, noting the fair isn’t a cost to state taxpayers.
OGS officials said the fair was not connected to the occult or religion.
“I understand that for many people this is sort of considered harmless, but it can lead one to becoming involved with Satanic elements,” said Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the Catholic conference. “I’m not saying these psychics are Satanists, though. The Catholic church does warn against divination, which is foretelling the future.”
Thomas Kearns, an Albany-based psychic who says he’s a minister of spiritualism, doesn’t see a problem.
Kearns said he doesn’t consider his work merely entertainment, but many in his line of work, for legal purposes, have an easier time presenting themselves as entertainers.
“It’s not presented as a religion when they’re doing a psychic fair,” Kearns said. “They’re presenting it as a psychic fair. Some of the people who are there may have some spiritual beliefs and some of them won’t.”
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