Attorneys acting on behalf of the Amish argue they have a constitutional right to religious freedom. They don't have to conform to building regulations that require them to use architectural drawings, smoke detectors, quality-graded lumber and inspections, Steve Ballan, an assistant public defender assigned to the Amish in Morristown wrote in court documents. "They should be allowed to practice their religion and their religious traditions without interference from the government," he said in an interview.On the one hand, I do empathize somewhat with the Amish – I think their beliefs are misguided, but they're sincere and honest, and I respect that.
But where does it end? If you make this exception, how can you refuse the next group of religious fanatics?
- Should we allow hallucinogens for anyone who claims them as part of their religion?
- Should parents be allowed to withhold lifesaving medical treatment for their young children?
- Should we allow polygamy?
- Should we allow 60 year old men to "marry" 12 year old girls?
- Should we allow human sacrifice?
- Should we allow mass suicide?
We're either a nation of laws, or we're not.