Threat To Remove Amish Homes Is An Unnecessary Blow To The 1st Amendment

Toledo, December 20, 2019 — The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) are con­cerned about the recent legal issues involv­ing 14 Amish house­holds in Lenawee County Michigan.

We do believe that laws that have a gen­uine sec­u­lar pur­pose, such as health reg­u­la­tions, should apply equal­ly to all peo­ple with­out regard to reli­gious beliefs.

We also believe that when gov­ern­ment agen­cies engage with reli­gious groups like the Amish, that engage­ment should be done in a pos­i­tive and help­ful man­ner. Where strict reli­gious beliefs con­flict with prac­ti­cal reg­u­la­tions we would like to see an effort to accom­mo­date the reli­gious group while still get­ting the group to com­ply with the health laws in ques­tion.

The aggres­sive and antag­o­nis­tic behav­ior of the Lenawee County Health Department is not the pos­i­tive and help­ful effort we want to see.

The Amish com­mu­ni­ty has a long his­to­ry in Ohio and we would think the peo­ple at the Lenawee County Health Department might look to see how Ohio health offi­cials inter­act with the Amish here.

SHoWLE also agrees with Mike Ferner, founder and coor­di­na­tor of the Toledo-based Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie, that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the Lenawee coun­ty pose more of a threat to the chil­dren than 14 out­hous­es in the Amish com­mu­ni­ty.

Condemnation and removal of the hous­es seems like overkill and we feel the Lenawee County Health Department is wrong to use the threat over a small group of peo­ple who refuse to use tech­nol­o­gy and elec­tric­i­ty.

We feel there is a bet­ter way to resolve the issue.

About Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

The mis­sion of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is to pro­vide a sup­port­ive local com­mu­ni­ty for human­ists and oth­er non­the­ists, while pro­mot­ing an eth­i­cal, rea­son­able, and sec­u­lar approach to life through edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice, out­reach, activism, and social events.

We envi­sion a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan where sec­u­lar peo­ple are respect­ed and inte­grat­ed in broad­er soci­ety, live val­ues of rea­son and com­pas­sion, and enjoy a friend­ly human­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger — President

Shawn Meagley


For fur­ther back­ground: Lenawee County sued over treat­ment of Amish res­i­dents