Pennsylvania Court Tells Amish Family What To Do With Their Property

Pennsylvania Court Tells Amish Family What To Do With Their Property

The Amish have a long history of standing up to government for religious and philosophical reasons. So when a government entity uses its power to restrict their freedoms, forcing them to live in direct opposition to their peaceful beliefs, one can only imagine how frustrated they may feel.


In Pennsylvania, an Amish family is being forced to adopt the use of electricity after the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that the Yoder family had to complete a mandatory connection between their outhouse and a municipal sewer “without further delay.”

The required connection would require the use of an electric pump. But the family uses an “old-fashioned privy” that doesn’t require electricity or running water to serve its purpose. This is by design as the use of electricity violates the family’s religious convictions.

Since the Sugar Grove Township requires residents to connect their properties to the sewer system on their own, the court gathered to address whether the family was going to perform their “duties” with or without electricity.

Yes, you heard that right. The court felt it was in their place to tell the Yoder family not only that they absolutely had to connect their residence to the government’s sewer system, they also had to decide for the family whether they should or should not use electricity.

While the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stepped in to criticize Pennsylvania judges for claiming that the only way they could get this done was to use electricity, little has been said about the absurdity of this entire ordeal. After all, the property in question belongs to the Yoder family, not the Sugar Grove Township.

If there’s anything that the family needs or wants to do with it, then they are completely free to do so on their own terms. Governments, in theory, have no right to force the Yoder family or anyone else to do something they do not please with their own property.

When groups like the ACLU intervene so that the Yoder family is able to at the very least connect their home to the sewer system without the use of electricity, they fail to focus on the crux of the problem: Government bureaucrats making a decision on behalf of a property owner and against his or her will.

Hopefully, there will be a way this Amish family will manage to fight this Goliath. Until then, put this under “don’t you love government?” file.

Comment section

2 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Court Tells Amish Family What To Do With Their Property

  1. Of course the main point of the story is the overreach of government, and I do not mean to take from that in any way when I mention that America’s water supply is a mess in no small part due to our custom of “doing our business” in it. Since the advent of the modern toilet, municipal water supplies are “less than clean” at best, and downright “toxic” at worst. There are municipalities where the chlorine levels in the potable water supply exceed that of the maximum recommended amount for a swimming pool. So here we have a family that is not adding to the pollution of the township, and the township’s leadership feels it a violation of the law and are forcing them to contribute to the degradation of the water supply.

  2. Seems like the easiest way to combat this would be to sue the township to prove that the use of an outside outhouse was hazardous to their health and that they were endangering others in some way.
    The township would be highly unlikely to show this to be true and then on what basis could they require this?

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