Pennsylvania Court Tells Amish Family What To Do With Their Property

Alice Salles Comments

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.

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