.... and he's AMISH! Writing under the heading of the article "Amish - Sect Case Puts Spotlight on Discipline Tactics," Caroline Porter in the Aug. 27, 2012, edition of the Wall Street Journal (p. A3) has this to say: "Hair- and beard-cutting as a form of discipline is just part of the unusual portrait of a band of Ohio Amish expected to unfold in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. "More surprising is the reason federal prosecutors say some of the members were shorn: They rebelled against the leaders of their sect who they claim demanded unusual practices, such as requiring that members' wives spend time in his home for '[email protected] "The leader of the sect has denied that he orchestrated the beard-cutting attacks and has called the [email protected] "The trial involves 16 men and women of the Bergholz, Ohio, Amish community charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, hate crimes and obstruction, stemming from five alleged beard-cutting incidents last fall. Among the alleged victims is a member of an Amish council of leaders who was allegedly held against his will in his own home and whose beard was allegedly forcibly clipped off with clippers and scissors used for cutting horse hair. The 16 who are charged have pleaded not guilty. "The alleged discipline is particularly humiliating for the Amish, who view hair and beards as sacred religious symbols and don't typically cut hair after marriage. "U. S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster ruled last week that the trial can include explicit discussion of the [email protected] "The Amish are religious separatists who dress plainly and avoid many conviences of modern life. The Amish community in Ohio, spread across four counties, represents the largest in the U.S., according to a November 2011 Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit. Local police asked the FBI to take over the investigation last year, because the case involved a series of incidents across counties, according to Mike Tobin of the U.S. Attorney's Office. "The roots of the dispute date to around 2005, according to the FBI affidavit, when Samuel Mullet Sr., who had taken over as leader of the Bergholz Amish a few years earlier, excommunicated some eight families who had decided to move away, citing religious differences, according to the FBI. Such a drastic move prompted about 300 Amish leaders to gather in Ulysses, Pa., to discuss Mr. Mullet's actions. A committee of seven leaders ultimately overturned the excommunications, citing revenge and punishment as Mr. Mullet's motives, according to the FBI affidavit. "Two former members of the Bergholz clan, Mr. Mullet's daughter-in-law and his former son-in-law, said he controls every aspect of life in the community, and promotes forms of punishment such as forcing people to sleep in chicken coops and allowing members to beat up other members, according to filings made by the prosecuton. Such punishments, including beard cutting, were intended to bring Bergholz members closer to God accoridng to prosecution filings. "The two former members, who were not identified by name in court documents, also say Mr. Mullet, who is among the 16 people charged, had been [email protected][email protected] "The defense argues that the Bergholz community is entitled to practice discipline freely, and any additional information about their habits isn't germane to the case. Edward Bryan, lead attorney for some of the defendants, said the claims of unusual [email protected] "'Self-punishment has been used since the beginning of time,' said Mr. Bryan. 'If these were voluntary religious practices for spiritual reasons, that's the ultimate irony. The government is alleging violations of the religious practices of [the defendents'] community.' "The prosecution counters that the alleged attacks were hate crimes coordinated by Mr. Mullet. Mr. Bryan says the attacks weren't part of a larger scheme, but instead separate incidents with various motives. "Karen Johnson-Weiner, an anthropology professor at State University of New York-Potsdam who has been studying Amish communities for nearly three decades, says the actions alleged against the Bergholz Amish would place them far outside the religion's mainstream. 'Putting on Amish clothing and driving around in a horse and buggy isn't enough.'"