Those Nutty Amish Scofflaws: Serious Faith In Action?

From the Associated Press, July 25th 2008

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A national group dedicated to religious freedom is joining a fight between Amish farmers and some Wisconsin towns.

The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom has filed a brief asking for permission to intervene in a Jackson County court case involving Albion farmer Samuel Stolzfus.

Stolzfus and other Amish have been fined thousands of dollars for failing to get building permits.

New York attorney Robert Greene, who is helping the religious freedom group with the case, said the Amish won’t sign applications for building permits because it is against their religion to lie and they might not be able to keep a promise to comply with building codes.

Attorney Paul Millis, who represents the town of Albion, said failure to comply with building codes creates safety problems.

Can’t accuse them of ‘marrying Babylon’.


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  1. #1 by John Stevens on July 28, 2008 - 9:01 am

    It’s a lttle more complicated than Amish just wanting exemptions from building codes. In Wisconsin, when the legislature passed the Unified Dwelling Code, there was a companion bill which would have exempted the Amish. Only one person in the entire state appeared at the hearing to oppose this bill; the building inspector who is now at the heart of the current dispute. In these townships there is selective enforcement. If you are a good old boy you pay for the permit, then never see the inspecter again. If Amish, you have him coming to the house three times a week because you didn’t pay for the permit and have the audacity to object on (constitutional) principle. Bottom line: it’s an ego thing, and ppl would just prefer the Amish leave because they suppress property values and leave horse turds.

  2. #2 by Christian Beyer on July 28, 2008 - 9:20 am

    John, thanks for stopping by and thanks for this information. So there is more here than meets the eye. Assuming John’s information is correct (and I have no reason not to think so – I’ve experienced this type of cronyism myself) is anyone willing to modify their opinions of this situation?

    What’s wrong with horse turds?

  3. #3 by akaGaGa on July 29, 2008 - 8:34 am

    I am surrounded by Amish, and I have to disagree with a couple things logiopath said:

    “what is impressive about the Amish is how the community stays together.”

    It’s not so impressive when you realize that leaving is extremely difficult. They only have an 8th-grade education, so how would they support themselves? Most don’t have a social security number, and many don’t even have a birth certificate. If they do choose to leave, not only do they have to learn how to run a washing machine and a microwave, they are shunned by everyone they’ve ever known. They don’t stay together out of choice.

    “Some make sense, such as keeping the High German in worship” From what I see, the result of this ordnung is that most Amish are pretty clueless as to what the Bible actually says. They are familiar with a handful of verses about obedience, but seem to miss the part about grace and mercy.

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