Mysticism among world leaders is not unheard of; Nancy Reagan famously consulted an astrologer, who allegedly had some influence in the Reagan White House. But this revelation raises interesting issues. Like anyone else, the president of Indonesia has a right to his personal religious beliefs, but how might this affect how he rules the country?
Yudhoyono's personal concerns over witchcraft are reflected in amendments his government made to the Indonesian Criminal Code last year, which included imprisonment of up to five years for using black magic to cause "someone's illness, death, mental or physical suffering."
Yudhoyono also promoted a bill stating "that a person who declares himself to have magic powers may face a maximum of five years in prison or pay a maximum of Rp 300 million (US $30,969) in fines. The same applies to those who inform, encourage or offer such magic services to others.
BLOG: Scalia and Satan: Why Do People Believe in the Devil?
Yudhoyono is not alone in his attempts to outlaw the use of magic in his country; last year Mohammed Buqais, a government official in the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain, criticized his government for not doing more to educate its citizens - and particularly its young people - about the dangers of black magic and witchcraft.