Gov’t Revokes Off-Grid Amish Community’s Religious Rights, Forces Them to Use Electricity

By Matt Agorist

An Amish community in Warren County, Pennsylvania has just lost a major battle against the state which is now requiring them to violate their religious beliefs and use electricity. Despite the Yoder family never causing harm to anyone by not using electricity, the government is forcing them to connect to the grid anyway.

At the heart of the Amish religion is the rejection of individualism. The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on their community. Modern innovations like electricity might spark a competition for status goods which is in direct conflict with the Amish way of life. Therefore, they reject it.

While the Amish lifestyle may seem odd to others, the fact that it causes no harm should mean that no one should be able to force them to change. Sadly, that is not the case.

The Yoder family lives entirely off-grid. This off-grid religious lifestyle includes the use of a self-composting toilet—an “old-fashioned privy”—that did not require electricity or running water.

Had the Yoder family been dumping their raw sewage into the public watershed or otherwise polluting the community in any way, requiring them to hook up to the grid would be more sensible. However, that is not the case.

The Yoder family is being required to violate their religious beliefs and go against their long-standing traditions—which have harmed no one—for the mere fact that they are in violation of a city code that requires all property owners to be tied into the grid.

For years, the Yoders have successfully fought off the sewer connection requirement. However, they will now be forced to hook up an electric grinder pump. The court ruled that the electric pump is the “least intrusive means” of connecting to the sewer system.

Judge Patricia A. McCullough voiced the dissent, arguing the Yoder’s are sincere in their religion-based shunning of electricity. “I believe (the Yoders) are being denied their rights to religious freedom,” she wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union also weighed in on the ruling, noting their concern for the Yoder’s religious freedom as well as the undue burden it now places on them to install the pump.

“They didn’t consider the other ways that the government could have achieved its ends,” Sara Rose, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU said.

Rose said that although this case didn’t set a precedent, it will undoubtedly be cited in future cases which may apply to Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Protection Act.

Unfortunately, in the so-called ‘Land of the Free’, the government can and will force you to conform or face consequences. This conformity often hits the innocent Amish communities the hardest.

As TFTP reported last year, Samuel Girod, an Amish farmer who made natural health products, was charged with conspiracy for the way he labeled his salve.



In June, Girod was sentenced to six years in prison for obstructing a federal agency and for making and selling herbal health products that were not adequately labeled as required by federal law.

In another case, which actually had a happy ending, 12-year-old Sarah Hershberger, an Amish child from Ohio, was persecuted and faced government kidnapping because she and her parents refused chemotherapy to treat her cancer.

In June of 2013, Sarah was receiving chemotherapy at the hospital and her parents were convinced that it was making her condition worse.

“We were pretty sure we were going to lose her if we kept doing the chemo,” Anna Hershberger, Sarah’s mother said.

The parents began to object the treatment and faced strong resistance from the hospital staff, who even took them to court and attempted to gain guardianship over Sarah. The doctors had testified that without receiving chemotherapy immediately, Sarah would die within six months.

The family stood firm in their denial of the treatment, which prompted an intense legal battle. At one point during the ordeal, the family was forced to flee the country so she was not kidnapped by the hospital. Eventually, the family won in court, and it was decided that they had a legal and constitutional right to treat her cancer as they saw fit.

Now, years later, Sarah is not only still alive, but she is actually entirely healthy, and cancer-free.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appearedFollow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.


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27 Comments on "Gov’t Revokes Off-Grid Amish Community’s Religious Rights, Forces Them to Use Electricity"

  1. They’ve already crunched the numbers. Electric bills coming to an Amish community soon.

    • Which means they’ll have to go & work in a corrupt system that they have lived very well without for centuries. The government system can’t stand for anyone to see that people can live perfectly well, be healthier & happier WITHOUT THEM!
      Other people might decide to do that too. So what do they do? They double down & show just how miserable they can make everyone just to prove the Amish point!
      This is persecution of Christians in the land of the FEE ( yes that’s correct…FEE $ )
      The world has changed drastically in recent times & not for the better.

    • lightingstrikesthrice | January 18, 2018 at 8:46 am | Reply

      More than likely. Then it will make its way to all the survivor groups or communities out there. They Kochs done similar in Florida with people having solar panels. Having it more expensive to have them than not by giving them nothing for the power they were not using and charging the quadruple for the power they needed. Corporations-governments consists of criminals; kakistocracies.

  2. While the religious angle is fine the bottom line is that without a showing of harm the courts can rule all they want that we have to do this or that but they cannot force us to come up with money we don’t have to do. We simply cannot be compelled to do anything we don’t have the means to do. Remember, law is proscriptive–it tells us what not to do. Prescriptive laws are unconstitutional for this very reason–not everyone can do a certain thing. There is also grandfathering if these folks purchased their property before the city law went into effect otherwise it constitutes a government taking (of their resources, a.k.a. money) and the city needs to pay up–eminent domain.

    • lightingstrikesthrice | January 18, 2018 at 8:42 am | Reply

      Seems like the law the means what they wish it to mean. They being the State, kakistocracy. I have known people who have gone to cages because they cannot afford their extortion(fines). The kakistocracy judicial system just names it different, i.e. probation violation.

    • Grace by Faith | January 18, 2018 at 10:34 am | Reply

      Great post as always, G! I’ve always said the Amish are the only ones who got it right~ But the bottom line still is, the de facto foreign rulers of this nation claim we all are their slaves to uphold the (fake) debt, and slaves can’t own property – because we are property. It’s like saying the table owns the chair, silly, when you think about it that way, but the truth.

      If they have a deed to their property that states they are tenants, like all our properties are now, they’re screwed. It is the grandfathering you bring up which might keep them out of the state’s jurisdiction and might save them, but only if their deed predates 1871 when the USA was incorporated, or maybe even 1933, when we officially became slaves.

      The ACLU is a government created agency, so I hope they shy away from them for help. If they were really out here to help us all fight the system, they’d be honest and tell us the truth about the nature of the law and who really deploys it on us. But they’re lawyers, agents for City of London via Inns of Court, the financial branch of the triumverate of power (DC, City of London, Vatican City) from whom we’ve never gained separation, so there’s no real justice to be had by them – ever. All lawyers should be shunned by us as they facilitate the tyranny the states deploys on us. Besides, according to Corpus Juris Secundum Volume 7 Section 4, lawyers may ONLY represent wards of the state (which you become the second you hire one), infants, and imbeciles (those of unsound mind), So you’d have to be insane to ever hire one!

      Cheers, keep up the great work~

  3. James Innewmex | January 17, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Reply

    Evil private, not American, government.

  4. They may be able to put a “smart meter” on their home or pole but they really can’t make them use power.

  5. This is all about money, and greedy utilities and corrupt politicians. To force people to be “on the grid” is totalitarian. Any judge or other civil SERVANT is completely out of line requiring people to buy something they don’t want.

  6. Just a showcase for all to see how disgusting the govt & the people who work there are.
    Now people are going to have to flee the United States so they can have religious freedom! ….. but where do you go?

  7. Time to abolish the government.

  8. lightingstrikesthrice | January 18, 2018 at 8:39 am | Reply

    Ah, all the kakistocracy sheeples out there. People fight off cancer with natural solutions, or go to Tijuana, Mexico(founded by the cancer killer Dr. who was run out of the U.S.). These useful idiots of the MIC(M for medical) are why vaccinations, chemical symptom solutions, chemo, etc and no cures.will continue and rabid laws enforcing them continue to escalate. All those chattle are doing is ensuring their and their friends, family, colleagues destruction via the U.N. Agenda Programs. I can only shake my head at the sheer lunacy. “A person will be in anything, if their paycheck depends on it”.

  9. GUARANTEED rights!?!

    How’s that working out for you?

    “…In ‘Understanding the Constitution: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Supreme Law of the Land,’ David Gibbs, Jr., and David Gibbs III argue for unalienable rights:

    ‘Our rights come from God,[*] not from the state. Therefore, the state cannot take them away. What Uncle Sam gives, Uncle Sam can take away. But our nation’s birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence makes clear that our rights are unalienable because they come from God.6

    “This sounds wonderful, but is it true? The State has certainly taken away an unwanted infant’s right to life. The State has incrementally taken away gun owners’ Second Amendment rights. The State has taken away the right to happiness, in particular the right to own property. Because rights come from the State, the State can take them away at its pleasure. On the other hand, as pointed out in Chapter 11, Yahweh’s law does not recognize rights, God-given or otherwise, but only God-required responsibilities….

    “The theory of unalienable or natural rights can be traced back to the Age of Enlightenment. The term “natural rights,” as employed by 18th-century men, is not compatible with the Bible. Deuteronomy 28 does not say we have a natural, human, or civil right to anything. Rather, we must serve Yahweh as God in order to receive His blessings:

    ‘And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of YHWH8 thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that YHWH thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of YHWH thy God.’ (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)9

    “Instead of endowing us with rights, Yahweh expects righteousness from us. People who demand their rights are like children, focused only on themselves. People who pursue righteousness are focused on Yahweh and their fellow man. The former person promotes a government of, by, and for the people; the latter person promotes a government of, by, and for Yahweh.”

    For more, see online Chapter 18 “Amendment 9: Rights vs. Righteousness” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 18.

    .
    *See blog article “Rights: Man’s Sacrilegious Claim to Divinity.”

  10. If the gov’t makes you hook up to electricity, are they going to force you to USE it? Just shut it off at the box if you don’t want it.

    • sotiredoflies13 | January 19, 2018 at 9:03 am | Reply

      In Warren County, electric companies do, always charge property owners for any box or connection, monthly charges always apply whether or not one actually uses any electricity. I’m pretty sure the same applies to natural gas lines, and of course , sewer lines.

      • Solution=don’t pay monthly charge then it gets shut off. Pretty sure the Amish at least don’t get commercial loans so no harm done by dinking their credit score.

  11. BugsBunnyPatriot | January 19, 2018 at 10:09 am | Reply

    NOT JUST MINORITIES ANYMORE. ALL PEOPLE MUST DEPEND ON GOVERNMENT TO BE PROPERLY CONTROLLED. The State does not like anyone that does not depend on the State. Off Grid living means not depending on the State and not depending on the State means you are not being controlled by the State.

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