Dang it all if Confucius* doesn’t know how to get the Czar’s goat.
Actually, the Czar used to have a goat—an actual goat—but no longer does. To be fair, it was ‘Puter that ruined it, not Volgi.
But the Volgi knows the Czar has this peculiar and particular disdain for the Amish. So let’s hope they don’t read this site when the Czar reveals that he thinks they’re a sinister and dangerous scam cult.
And just when he got over their plans to exempt themselves from child labor laws for dubious reasons, the Czar receives a missive from the Volgi about the Amish in Illinois. Yeah, who knew? But apparently, they are in Illinois and guess what? They want an exemption from having their photographs on state identification.
And Governor Pat Quinn, who opposes all questionable legislation or spending bills until they actually land on his desk for signature, naturally is allowing this. In turn, this passage set off the easily set off Secretary of State, Jesse White, who said such a measure is insane. What value does state identification provide if it does not provide visual proof that the person bearing the card actually is the person to who the card was issued?
State identification is used in place of drivers’ licenses for Illinois residents who lack the latter. In addition to a simple state ID, the new law allows the Amish to prevent their photographs being used on firearm owners’ identification cards.
Why? Why would the Amish request this? There are two possible answers.
The first is that the Amish suddenly decided a couple years back that according to Exodus 20:4, a photograph is a graven image. Even, of course, if the photograph is digital file rendered via sublimation onto a PVC medium. It is interesting how specific the Bible can be when it needs to be specific; you might wonder why Exodus did not simply say “…and no photo IDs, either.” Seems to us that the Amish are more than happy to have their pictures taken for a fee.
The second theory, which is a little more to the point, comes from the Volgi, who suspects that the Amish are finding another way to bypass the law and stay off the grid. This makes it harder for the state police to investigate the numerous crimes perpetrated by members of the Amish on their own followers, which in turn are largely ignored by local law enforcement. You can look that one up too, if you wish to be horrified and overwhelmed by examples.
The Czar is all in favor of a separation of Church and State; the State of Illinois, for example, has no right to pass a law that prohibits a widely accepted religious practice. But what is curious to us is that so many requests for religious exemptions seem to revolve around a small group of people whose religious practices are never quiet entirely clear. Like the scientologists. Or the extremists who refuse to let women be photographed for IDs without head and face coverings. Or now the Amish, who once again want another exemption from another law .
And what makes it curious is that these spurious groups always seem to challenge the exact laws that would make it substantially easier for them to confuse or hide from law enforcement. Think about this. Not only could an Amish guy wanted for a crime be able to produce someone else’s ID when questioned, but so could Mitch Flanarski—wanted for extortion, but he simply grew a beard and hung out near an Amish area. He could swipe an ID and tell the cops they got the wrong guy. And how could they prove it before he skipped town?
If Illinois’ governor had backbone, he would have rejected this bill rather than signing it. He would have done so on the grounds that “The State has no cause to support any alleged religious practice that poses a clear risk to the physical safety and security of others by members of that religion (or those who pretend to be members in order to deceive law enforcement), particularly when the enforcement of the law provides no other religious oppression.” Hey—it ain’t like the Illinois State Police is going to arrest Falun Gong members and beat them up in the interest of public safety. It’s simply that the Amish cannot prove that they deserve an exemption based on Exodus.
Jesse White should refer this to a higher court for review. He is exactly right that this opens a Pandora’s box for the other states, each of whom will have suits filed by their “Amish” members demanding the same exemptions.
*For those who came in late, Confucius is the Gormogons Œcumenical Volgi.
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