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8 Amish Men Go to Jail, 'Will Not Use That Triangle'

In Graves County, Ky., six men belonging to an Amish sect called the Old Order Swartzentruber are currently serving time in jail after they refused to place bright orange safety triangles on the backs of their horse-drawn buggies. Two other Amish men in the sect just completed jail sentences resulting from this same dispute.

The CNN Belief Blog reports (via Compliance Building) that Kentucky law requires that orange safety triangles be displayed on all "slow-moving vehicles," including the Amish buggies. The Old Order Swartzentruber Amish, however, follow a strict code of conduct that is at odds with this law. Their code of conduct called "Ordnung" requires, among many other things, that displays of "loud" colors should be avoided. To make matters even more challenging, the Amish view the triangle as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, a belief that further prevents them from using the safety triangles.

In other states, the Swartzentruber Amish are allowed to use gray reflective tape as an accommodation for their religious beliefs, but judging from the sad mug shots below, it appears no such accommodation is available in Kentucky. The Belief Blog reports that the men were provided with jail uniforms, however, that were dyed dark gray rather than the standard orange.


The jail time for the eight men (sentences ranging from three to 10 days) reportedly resulted when they lost an appeal in which they argued for their freedom of religion, and then refused to pay the small fines associated with their conviction. It is unclear how this standoff will ever get resolved because as one Graves County man told the Belief Blog, the Swartzentruber Amish simply "will not do certain things. And they will not use that triangle."

Posted by Bruce Carton on September 21, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)


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