Home » Amish 1st Amendment Case. Should We Be Worried?

Amish 1st Amendment Case. Should We Be Worried?

By Southwestern Missouri Bureau
February 26, 2011
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The case I will describe here originated in a neighboring town, over the last few years, and is in Federal District Court. This region has a small population of Amish, and they have been here for decades. As most know, the Amish (particularly the Order I speak of here) do not use gasoline powered vehicles for transportation or tractors in their fields, nor do they have electricity or telephones in their homes. They are considered master craftsmen. A local municipality has cited Amish for local code violations, such as failure to provide certified architectural drawings for construction and smoke detectors in their homes, both of which are in direct conflict with their religious beliefs. This case has advanced to United States District Court.

You can read the links provided below, I am bringing this issue to this forum for a reason. I was initially told of this case a few years ago, by an attorney friend, who was instrumental in securing a litigation firm to file it in Federal Court. He said that because Amish is a long established and widely recognized religion, the 1st Amendment applies, and that as the plaintiffs, they should prevail in Federal Court. In particular, the sect involved here is the Schwartzentruber sect, Old Order Amish, who have adhered to the strict code of simple life, and have accepted few, if any, modern conveniences in their daily lives. (Personally, I think they should prevail simply on common sense, which is difficult if not impossible to legislate.)

At the time of this conversation with my friend, I thought about what precedents may be set by a ruling in this case, and also what precedents have already been set that may be applied here. I began to wonder if this issue would become a slippery slope for other religions, like Islam, in particular, Sharia law. What say you, fellow patriots?


http://www.becketfund.org/index.php/article/909.html This link includes a short video of an interview about the case.
http://dockets.justia.com/docket/new-york/nyndce/7:2009cv00007/74659/  This link is a timeline of the case.
http://www.becketfund.org/files/1eeff.pdf This links to the complaint filed.

I offer here my heartfelt thanks to my good friend, who encouraged this post, and gave me some pointers in searching for the links above.

(note: The Becket Fund article includes a link to an article in The Watertown Times which I recall reading in the actual newspaper, but the link appears to be broken, so I did not include it here.)