It defies logic to charge Amish 7 with committing a hate crime

It defies logic to charge Amish 7 with committing a hate crime

Why have seven Amish men, including a bishop, been forced to remain locked in jail, without bond, since their arrest late last November on federal hate crime charges? The cover story propagated by those responsible for this gross abuse of power has it that these devout Christians, especially Bishop Sam Mullet, pose a threat to the Amish community and are a flight risk. The real story is more sinister and it reveals a biased pattern of persecution of the Amish that has plagued their entire history.

By fervently embracing and actually practicing Christian principles of humility, simplicity, mutuality and pacifism, the Amish are a living alternative — and to the power elite, a direct threat — to our dominant culture built on arrogance, extravagance, consumerism and militarism. As such, the Amish have been victimized by repeated witch hunts hatched by assorted rulers since their advent. This sordid case is but the latest example, an ugly and unique one.

The Ohio Amish case is the first one in the nation in which both alleged victims and victimizers belong to the same in-group, a rather bizarre condition for a hate crime, especially one based on religious bias. Self hatred is not an impossibility, but to charge an Amish bishop with hatred of his own people for a disciplinary action is as incongruous as charging the pope with hatred of Catholics for denying communion to pro-choice advocates.

While a former football coach accused of multiple child rapes in Pennsylvania and a magistrate’s son accused of murdering a black teen in Florida are free out on bail, these seven pacifist Amish farmers rot in jail for cutting hair without permission. This miscarriage of justice must end. Free the Amish 7.

Werner Lange, Newton Falls