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Old 03-22-2007, 10:45 AM   #1
Cheesecake
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Question Mennonites leaving Missouri over photo requirement

I am not posting this in the Debate Forum, cause I think this issue is a news item for all of us, and can be discussed with thoughtfulness.


Quote:


Mennonites leaving Missouri over photo requirement


ALAN SCHER ZAGIER

Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Mo. - Ervin Kropf's loyal customers have been known to drive more than 100 miles to buy fresh milk, brown eggs and bulk spices from his Mennonite country market. But soon, the stocked shelves that draw business from as far away as Kansas City and St. Louis could be mostly barren.

Some of Kropf's fellow Mennonites are leaving Missouri as state officials enforce a 2004 law that requires all residents to have their pictures taken for drivers licenses - a rule that conflicts with the Mennonites' belief in a Biblical prohibition against "graven images" that keep community members from having their picture taken.

Near Huntsville, community members say more than a dozen families in this central Missouri enclave are preparing to move south to Arkansas, where state law still offers a religious exemption to obtain driver's licenses without photos. Other Mennonite enclaves near Rolla, Springfield and Vandalia are facing similar ultimatums.

Missouri allowed a similar exemption for more than 30 years. That changed in the security crackdown after the 2001 terrorist attacks, as the state sought to prevent identity theft.

"We want to respect our government," Kropf said. "We're not trying to fight them. But we still have our beliefs."

Kropf is soliciting offers to buy his store. If he can't find a buyer, he'll remain in Missouri but will have to rely on an outsider to haul back supplies. Some customers have broken down in tears at that prospect.

Like the old order Amish, many Mennonites adhere strictly to the "graven images" rule. So it's not enough that Missouri's law, which allows the state to keep photos off licenses but requires the images to remain on file with government officials, offers something of a compromise.
Some Mennonites elsewhere in Missouri have agreed to that compromise, said Kropf, but he and members of his church remain opposed.

"There are a bunch of us who don't want to do that," he said.
Among those planning to leave Missouri is butcher Leo Kempf. The decision to uproot his familiy was not an easy one.
"It's something you don't take lightly," he said.

The change has drawn criticism from community members who call their Mennonite neighbors peaceful, hardworking taxpayers wrongly ensnared in the government's war on terror.

"This whole business of homeland security is a farce," said Joel Hartman, a University of Missouri-Columbia professor of rural sociology. "These people are no threat whatsoever to the larger society."

Hartman estimated the combined Amish and Mennonite population in Missouri at 6,000 to 7,000. That number includes those who don't drive as well as those who drive and don't object to the new state law. It's not yet clear how many Mennonites might ultimately leave.

The Mennonites of Randolph County have ingrained themselves and their small businesses into the community, said Mark Price, the county recorder. Those joining Kempf in the exodus are a cabinet maker and an excavator.

"They are pillars of the community," Price said.
Unlike the Amish and some other Mennonite sects, Kropf, Kempf and their neighbors use telephones and drive cars, though they paint the vehicles black. They eschew radio, TVs and computers and dress in simple garb. Men are seen in overalls and black shoes, women in ankle-length dresses, covered arms and head scarves.

Several families have already left the state, with others waiting to sell their homes and businesses. But the displaced Missourians' stay in Arkansas - at least as licensed drivers - could be short-lived.

The federal 2005 REAL-ID Act will set a national standard for driver's licenses while linking state motor vehicle offices in a central database. The law has drawn a firestorm of criticism from privacy advocates and some evangelical Christians who call the standard a precursor to a national ID card.

Earlier this month, the Bush administration agreed to grant states an extra year and a half to comply with the law - meaning those states that request an extension can take until Dec. 31, 2009 to comply.
States are also balking at the costs and complication of overhauling their licensing systems.

The Missouri House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly to oppose the requirements and prohibit state agencies from implementing them.

Arkansas lawmakers are also discussing the federal law's impact but have no plans to eliminate the religous exemption, a state official said. Congress recently postponed the law's effective date by 18 months, until Dec. 31, 2009.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said that the proposed law still allows states to offer the religious exemption for photos. But residents of any states that didn't comply with that standard would not be allowed to board airplanes or enter federal buildings, according to the current proposal.

Hartman, who grew up in a Pennsylvania Mennonite community and has studied Amish society for decades, said that many of those faced with moving from their homes will respond with stoicism, not resistance.
"
These people do not have a strong emotional and psychological attachment to the land that many of us do in society," he said. "If things become unacceptable in one area, they'll move to another."

What do you think:
Quote:
"This whole business of homeland security is a farce," said Joel Hartman, a University of Missouri-Columbia professor of rural sociology. "These people are no threat whatsoever to the larger society."
Do we make laws for ''one and all'', or do we pick and choose those that are exempt?

I'm not sure how I feel, but in an age of extreme danger and a million more rules, how are we to choose, who is and who isn't going to adhere to laws?

We now, have illegal immigrants who don't adhere to any laws, and no one is getting onto them......OBVIOUSLY.

Are the Mennonites being targeted unnecessarily, or is ''the law the law''.???

What do you think?
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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In my opinion, the law is the law!
Not meaning any desrespect to them at all.
Goes to show what I know about other state's Drivers License rules.
We've had our pictures on ours for years! Why should they be exempt?

Suppose the state backs down for this group? Who's next?
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:59 AM   #3
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I thought they all states had pictures. I didn't know a person could get around that.

My thought is that it should be the same for everyone.
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Old 03-22-2007, 11:57 AM   #4
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I have lived in Arkansas all but two yrs of my life, and I did not know that a person could be exempt from having the picture on the driver's lincense. I also did not know that Mennonites did not have their pictures taken.

I feel there are instances in everyone's religion that rules are made that we may not agree with, but sometimes have to give in to. An example of this is no prayers in our schools. I am very much against this rule, but had to accept it, or move the children to a private christian school.

With our society full of crime, there does need to be some form of identification on their driver's lincense.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:06 PM   #5
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I always thought graven images referred to idols or statues.

I think for the safety of all concerned, everyone that has a drivers license should also have their picture on it.
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:02 PM   #6
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I agree with everyone, there should be no exception to the rules.
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Old 03-22-2007, 04:07 PM   #7
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Government rules are made to apply to everyone! I'm not one to make exceptions --- they gotta take the good with the bad as it relates to their situation. Seems to me, these various religions are 'modernizing' their beliefs with regard as to what suits them and what doesn't. Some will 'skirt' around their 'own rules' and won't drive a motorized vehicle, but will pay someone else to drive and give them a ride!I remember talking to one such guy who was in Colorado on vacation from either Ohio or Indiana. He rode a train to Colorado, then hired a cab to take him places. Also told me that he didn't believe in telephones, but that he had made arrangements with a grown child at home to go to a phone 'on a pole' beside the road at a given time, so that he could call and check on things at home! Bending the rules???????
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Old 03-22-2007, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shis1 View Post
Government rules are made to apply to everyone! I'm not one to make exceptions --- they gotta take the good with the bad as it relates to their situation. Seems to me, these various religions are 'modernizing' their beliefs with regard as to what suits them and what doesn't. Some will 'skirt' around their 'own rules' and won't drive a motorized vehicle, but will pay someone else to drive and give them a ride!I remember talking to one such guy who was in Colorado on vacation from either Ohio or Indiana. He rode a train to Colorado, then hired a cab to take him places. Also told me that he didn't believe in telephones, but that he had made arrangements with a grown child at home to go to a phone 'on a pole' beside the road at a given time, so that he could call and check on things at home! Bending the rules???????
I think you're referring to Amish, who don't own cars, use horse and buggy, don't have electricity, or running water in their homes, or flushy toilets, and borrow your phone but won't buy one. They don't want their picture taken either- at least not taken up close, like a portrait, but the ones here are okay with photographing their homesteads and such. Having their pictures on drivers license is moot, because they don't drive, and have no need for the license.

Mennonites have cars, have electricity, running water and carry cell phones and pagers - but they don't want their photographs taken - which is what is causing the uproar.

In both cases the simpleness is part of being meek, not flaunting your value.
My inlaws live in the mids of Amish, and I've asked them some questions, - they don't have screen doors, but have screen windows... they don't want hinges on the screen doors...??? I don't understand it, but they obide by it, without questioning it (something I could NEVER do!) The Amish are very obiedient and willing to abide by the laws of the bishop of the clan, they may or may not have a phone pole in their community, some bishops see it as a necessary evil, others see it as sinful to partake in the life of the english around them. The Amish lives may vary greatly depending on where they live - most of the Amish in Missouri are here because they thought the Amish in the NE were too lax in their tradition.

My dad is good friends with several Mennonites, who are Hamm radio operators and live near us, I'll have to ask him what their plan is in regard to their drivers license.
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Old 03-22-2007, 06:14 PM   #9
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I don't like to have my picture taken either....and not for religious reasons...but I need a drivers license and the law says........................

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Old 03-23-2007, 07:36 AM   #10
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Not to argue with the news story, but I have Mennonite relatives and I have pictures of them. I thought it was the Amish who didn't have pictures taken for religious reasons. Although the Mennonite religion is closely related, I've always thought that they could have photos taken, mostly because I have photos of my relatives who are/were practicing Mennonites. Maybe it's because they're family photos. Dunno. Don't really have an opinion on this.
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Old 03-23-2007, 03:03 PM   #11
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I too, didn’t know any state still didn’t have pictures on their driver’s license! The states I have lived have had pictures.

My understanding is that the Mennonites broke away from the Amish and the reason they are often confused is because of their common roots.

I think the federal act to set a national standard for driver's licenses and linking state motor vehicle offices in a central database is a good one! It is for all our protection.
So, IMO the Mennonites should have to abide by the law, so their exemption would not become a tool for unsavory characters to pose as a Mennonite to avoid a picture ID in a national database.
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:47 AM   #12
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Equality for everyone I say.
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:22 PM   #13
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Even Canada has ''minority'' issues......with identity...

Quote:
Lift face veils or don't vote, Quebec tells Muslims


TU THANH HA and INGRID PERITZ AND BERTRAND MAROTTE
Globe and Mail Update

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QUE., MONTREAL and SAINT-EUSTACHE, QUE. — With three days left in one of the most tightly contested elections in decades, Quebec's electoral officer yesterday reversed his decision to allow Muslim women to vote without having to lift their face veils to identify themselves.

Chief Electoral Officer Marcel Blanchet invoked emergency powers to change his mind on one of the controversial minority-rights issues that have roiled the campaign and led to death threats, public outrage and repeated criticism by Parti Québécois Leader André Boisclair.
Mr. Blanchet said his office had been inundated with calls and emails about his decision to allow women to wear the niqab when they voted. His staff was worried and he was assigned two bodyguards. He feared some angry voters would turn out “in the craziest disguises you can imagine” and disrupt Monday's election.

Mr. Blanchet said it was troubling that he had to reverse his position. “Personally, I would have preferred not to do it. But my concern is to ensure everything unfolds normally, and there won't be somebody crazy who will cause trouble on Monday.”

The issue affects a small number of Muslim voters. However, it hit a raw nerve in a province that has been enmeshed for months in acrimonious talks over accommodating religious minorities.

As Quebec's three main political leaders entered the final weekend of campaigning, the latest Strategic Counsel poll for The Globe and Mail and CTV News shows that the three main parties remain in a dead heat, with the PQ getting 31 per cent support, the Liberals 30 per cent and the Action Démocratique du Québec 28 per cent.

Last night, Liberal Leader Jean Charest for the first time stressed the need for a majority government to protect Quebec's culture and identity and to defend itself in dealing with Ottawa.

“We have always given ourselves a majority government, we need to speak with a strong voice. We are the only French-speaking people in North America and we must be heard,” Mr. Charest said while campaigning in Gaspé.

Resentment about minorities has played a part in the rising popularity of the conservative ADQ, whose leader, Mario Dumont, has spoken against such accommodations. At the same time, Mr. Boisclair, an openly gay urbanite, was put on the defensive.

“It seems our voice has been heard,” Mr. Boisclair said yesterday after learning of Mr. Blanchet's decision.
The PQ Leader had spent the day hammering on the issue during a swing through small towns between Montreal and Quebec City, a fertile ground for the emerging ADQ.

He said his party would pass legislation to require that a woman show her face to prove her identity before getting their ballot.

“We won't negotiate on this. If we have to modify the Electoral Officer Act, we will modify it,” he said to loud applause.

Mr. Boisclair, who is seen as someone who can't connect with small-town voters, received animated cheers each time he brought up the issue. Again and again, he said he stood for “plain common sense.”

While campaigning in the Magdalen Islands, Liberal Leader Jean Charest supported the chief electoral officer's decision, saying it did not infringe on religious rights and remained an issue of proper identification of voters.
Shama Naz, a 30-year-old Montrealer who wears a niqab, said the issue has been blown out of proportion. She said Muslim women routinely remove their face veils for security matters. She has done so for her Medicare card photo, and each time she crosses the border to visit her father in New York State.

“It's common sense. Muslim women have no problem identifying themselves for security reasons,” she said. “If [elections officials] had spoken to me they would have known I wouldn't mind identifying myself at the ballot box.”

While she would prefer to do so to a female elections worker, she would do so for a man as well, said Ms. Naz, an economics graduate.

“People are usually scared of what they don't know,” she said of the uproar and yesterday's change in the law. “A lack of information is driving regulations like this.”

In Montreal, meanwhile, Mr. Blanchet's office was in the middle of a storm.
The LCN TV network reported that he had received death threats. Karine Lacoste, a spokeswoman for Mr. Blanchet, said he now has two bodyguards.

Mr. Boisclair denied he had stoked the outrage with his criticisms.
“It's the Chief Electoral Officer's decision that created this backlash,” he said.

He boasted he was the only party leader to have stated clearly his opposition. “As soon as I heard about it, I thought the Chief Electoral Officer had gone too far.”
Yesterday, Mr. Dumont ripped into Mr. Boisclair for his suddenly aggressive stand.

“In a pseudo-show this morning, he was changing law. It's really pitiful,” he said.

Mr. Boisclair was nowhere to be seen on the matter of reasonable accommodation when it surfaced as an issue, he said. “He wasn't standing up for the identity of Quebeckers.”

Globe and Mail


This is going to be an interesting change in ''who'' is and ''who'' isn't and ''who'' does and ''who'' doesn't.....re: identification, and which small groups are going to have ''immunity'' to RULES.
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