Beard-cutting cult members sent to prisons around the US

A renegade Amish cult leader and seven of his followers, convicted last September of federal conspiracy and hate crimes, have been assigned to prisons scattered across the country — some as far as 1,000 miles away from Cleveland, Ohio, where they were sentenced three weeks ago.

Samuel Mullet was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Fifteen of his followers received prison terms ranging from one to seven years. The clan was prosecuted for engaging in beard- and hair cutting attacks against fellow Amish they disagreed with.

According to The Plain Dealer, on Monday Mullet’s defense lawyer, Edward Bryan, sent a three-page personal letter to U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster:

“Your honor, I have very serious concerns that these designations are not being made in the interests of justice,” Bryan wrote. “If the defendants are housed in separate facilities, all outside a reasonable travel distances from their families, our clients will experience additional hardships not anticipated by your honor when you imposed sentence.”

An official with the Bureau of Prisons told Byron that assignments of the Amish defendants were based on “security concerns” discovered in the defendants’ pre-sentence reports, and “population concerns” in the Northeast.

Byron notes that since the men are being held at such faraway locations, it would be financially and realistically prohibitive for spouses and their 49 children to visit the men.

Study: Religious Parents’ Divorce May Cause Children to Leave the Church

A study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion has found that the children of religious couples are much more likely to leave the religion if their parents get divorced, U.S. News & World Report says:

“When both parents are religious, the effect of divorce has a negative effect on religiosity,” says Jeremy Uecker, a professor at Baylor University and lead author of the study. “They might think their parents’ marriage was ordained by God or something and that breakup can have more of an effect on their religiousness in adulthood.”


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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday March 6, 2013.
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