This is a disturbing photo that federal prosecutors entered into evidence yesterday in the alleged beard-cutting trial taking place in federal court in Cleveland. How do a people so opposed to photographs manage to capture the attack on camera? I’ve written before that views towards cameras do seem to be evolving among the Amish. Such evolution of ideas is not unheard of and is just a part of the organic nature of the Amish church. Many Amish will keep disposable cameras on hand (or even real ones) to document events in their life like the tables at a wedding or a bountiful summer garden. Even the most conservative Amish rarely (although there are exceptions) have issues with photos of objects, just people. So in the case of this alleged attack it wouldn’t be at all surprising to me if a quick-thinking Amish resident, seeing the attack underway and maybe unsure how to stop it, did the next best thing and decided to grab a camera to document it. If this photo depicts one of the attacks it’ll be a valuable piece of evidence for the prosecution, although the photo can cut both ways. As prosecutors try to try this case as a “hate crime” (one religion/entity against another), this in some ways seems to undermine their own case showing what looks like “Amish on Amish” violence. That said, the Amish are pacifists. That is a central core of the faith so is the Bergholz church, by resorting to violence abdicating their “Amishness?” That is the main issue of this trial and it will be fascinating to see how it turns out. Read the latest on the trial here.