Amish attacks

Paul AdkinsSports Editor

September 12, 2012

Maybe widespread interest is more than envy and entertainment

The trial of 16 Amish men and women accused of forcibly cutting the hair and beards of other Amish in southeast Ohio is attracting national and even international attention. It’s no wonder.

Non-Amish always have been curious about, and perhaps a little envious of, the uncomplicated lifestyle of the Amish. Combine that interest with the craving for bread-and-circuses entertainment that’s so prevalent in the reality-show culture these days, and it’s not surprising that the federal trial in Cleveland has become an Internet sensation.

Let’s hope some productive thoughts also pass through the minds of those who are following the courtroom drama….

The trial also is intriguing because it raises so many questions about the role of government in individual lives. Where’s the line between religious freedom and intervention of the state, between private discipline and criminal abuse? Should hate-crime laws cover shame and paralyzing embarrassment as well as outright intimidation?…

It’s worth considering whether the widespread fascination with them and with this trial could be a window into important insights about our own lives.

Distributed by The Associated Press