No Zippers, No Cars, No Building Permits Either

Amish object to permit requirements when building own homes


An Amish barn-raising, where an entire community comes together to build a neighbor's barn without the use of modern tools, is one of the most enduring traditions of America. Has it ever occurred to you that they were building without proper permits and could face thousands of dollars in fines?

Daniel Borntreger's Jackson County home looks like hundreds of other Wisconsin farmhouses. But it could cost him thousands of dollars in fines. The Amish farmer built it without a permit.

Borntreger's case is one of at least 18 legal actions brought against Amish in Wisconsin and upstate New York over the past year and a half for building without the proper permits.

The Amish say their commitment to live apart from the world trumps government regulations. Building officials say the Amish need to follow the law like everyone else.

Amish experts say the Amish population is growing, forcing them to move into states that have never dealt with them before, creating conflict with local officials.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty plans to file a federal lawsuit in New York soon arguing the Amish's religious beliefs supersede building codes.

What do you think? Should the Amish be allowed to live outside of modern society and its laws, or are they just getting away with illegal construction?

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us