Ten Old Order Amish men are being prosecuted in Morristown, N.Y. for building homes without permits. If convicted, the Amish men would be fined and could face jail time, along with homes being destroyed.
Morristown officials are adamant about forcing the Amish to follow the laws and say that they have ‘no choice’ but to uphold the law. The town Councilors say that allowing an exemption for the Amish could open the floodgate for other groups to also seek exemptions.
The Amish men do not deny building houses without permits. They are willing to purchase building permits, but contend that some of the requirements of the codes, including smoke detectors and modern conveniences, along with submitting plans and allowing inspections would violate their religious beliefs.
Response: Most City and State jurisdictions have long recognized the unique religious requirements of the Amish and have allowed them to regulate their own affairs. The New York Attorney General wisely refuses to help the town council in their prosecution. One wonders why the Morristown officials are so determined to persecute the Amish?