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-Amish Bishop Gets 15 Years in Prison For Beard Cutting?

by Dr. D ~ February 9th, 2013

Amish family riding in a traditional Amish bug...

                                       (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From CNN News:

A leader of a breakaway Amish community in rural eastern Ohio was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for forcibly cutting the beards and hair of community members.

Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, and 15 followers were found guilty last year in connection with what authorities said were the religiously motivated attacks on several fellow Amish people. Mullet and others were convicted of conspiracy to violate a federal hate-crime law.

Prosecutors said the followers, at Mullet’s instruction, shaved the beards and cut the hair of Amish people who had left his group over various religious disagreements.

<Read the whole article>

Response: It was one of the more interesting stories on religion in 2012. One Amish group attacking others and cutting their beards. In fact to outsiders it was almost an amusing incident. But then you consider the physical force and the personal attacks involved in the incident then you realize that it really is a serious violation.

There is no doubt that those involved deserved some jail time but 15 years? Folks going down for a 2nd count of armed robbery and even 2nd degree murder get similar sentences here in California and end up spending far less time in Jail than 15 years.  The forced beard cutting is not to be excused or condoned in any way but the sentence does seem rather excessive for the crime? What do you think?

This does point out to me the possibly dangerous and excessive potential uses of the federal ‘hate-crime’ law. How will this crime be measured and adjudicated in the future? If one can get 15 years for forced beard cutting what could one get in the future for offending some Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan or preaching from the Bible against homosexuality? Maybe worth a year or two? If you think that I might be stretching it a bit, folks have already gotten in trouble for similar ‘hate-crime’ violations in Europe.

Yes, we do still have a 1st amendment in America that supports religious liberty. However, it may be in danger of being re-interpreted in the future and other ‘civil rights’ might be deemed to be more important and end up outweighing our freedom of religion in the future.            *Top

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