Justice Department seeks life sentence for bishop who encouraged forced beard-cuttings

Federal prosecutors have urged a judge to sentence Amish bishop Samuel Mullet to life in prison for his role in a series of beard-cutting attacks on victims who shunned the bishop and his teachings. According to the feds, “There is no doubt that Mullet Sr. wanted, agreed with and encouraged all of these attacks.”

I assume that’s true. It also true that the bishop, Samuel Mullett, is a bad guy. There is evidence that he censored his followers’ mail, had sex with married women under the guise of marital counseling, endorsed bizarre punishments such as confinement in chicken coops and spankings, and laughed at the attacks, which were driven by a crusade to punish those who spurned his teachings. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, these facts can be considered in sentencing.

But how do they translate into asking for life imprisonment for beard-cuttings?

Bill Otis, at Crime and Consequences, does the translating:

This seems to be a part of the present administration’s snarling hostility to religion. And one must admit the defendant makes a politically apt target. This “bishop” sounds like a first-class thug, and he heads a splinter group in what is itself a very small, conservative, insular religion that must seem to Eric Holder to be ripe for the pickin’. But this is taking liberal detestation of religion to an absurd extreme. What happened to government neutrality? Could a sentencing recommendation this far off the wall possibly have come about without at least an element of anti-religious bigotry?

What we have here is a 67 year-old man with no prior record (so far as I know or is reported in the story) who organized, and then (apparently) laughed at, beard cuttings. It’s only when viewed in the funhouse mirror of Holder’s Very Politically Correct DOJ that this could be seen as an LWOP offense.

Does the “bishop” deserve jailtime? You bet, and I hope he gets it. But life in the slammer? DOJ’s action would be a joke if, on account of its menacing, if only shadowy, political and cultural motivations, it weren’t so dangerous.

Samuel Mullett isn’t the only fanatic in this story. The Holder Justice Department sits alongside him.