PHOTO CAPTION: Bergholz "Amish" bishop Sam Mullet photo before he was arrested.
Attorneys for the Bergholz Amish are employing a novel legal argument to have their charges dismissed. Right now 12 Amish men are all being charged under the Federal hate crimes statutes. Their attorneys are challenging this arguing that this is instead an inter-religious feud. Hate crimes were intended to punish crimes that specifically target people because of their ethnicity or religion. This is a fascinating line of legal attack because it ultimately is going to come down to is Sam Mullet "Amish?" And this case could ultimately answer the question of what exactly it means to be "Amish."? In a very expansive way I suppose anyone can call themselves any religion in this freedom of worship society. I actually think in some ways their legal argument has merit. I would argue, however, that because the Bergholz clan employed violence in their attack that they violated pacifist principles, one of the key pillars of the Amish faith Although, is a Catholic not Catholic if they use birth control? This is going to be a real, real close call legally. If the Federal crimes are dismissed that does not mean Mullet and his crew get off (although Mullet could since he never actually engaged in any attacks), they would just be charged under existing state laws. Charges could be refiled by local prosecutors. What do you think, were the attacks "hate crimes" or just run-of-the-mill crime?
I think it was hate crime.
To be clear, I think it was a "hateful crime"... I just am not sure either way as to whether it means the criteria for being a "hate crime"...My gut tells me it may not meet that legal threshold as contemptuous as I find Mullet's actions....
Since the dictionary definition of hate is "the uncontrollable desire to do physical harm to another" I would say that any attack against another person is a hate crime. I don't believe it meets the criteria for the government's definition of a hate crime though, I agree with Kevin, it was hateful! I worry about the slippery slope we travel when we paint with too broad a brush. It was definately, legally assault!
I also think they were hate crimes and I think they should be punished to the fullest . I also think they should get down on there knees and ask God for forgiveness.