Ohio Amish consider renegade Bergholz Clan a cult
Accused of hate-crime assaults, clan an embarrassment to peaceful AmishBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite Weekly Review
The three other men arrested Nov. 23 — Mullet’s son, Lester, 26; Levi Miller, 53; and Eli Miller, 32 — waived their detention hearings Dec. 2 and will remain jailed pending their federal court trial.
‘He’s not one of us’
Worldwide media attention has focused on the story of the Bergholz Clan and the eastern Ohio Amish ever since the beard- and hair-cutting attacks occurred in early fall. U.S newspapers have published hundreds of stories, and global news wire agencies have distributed dozens.
International newspapers covering the story include The Daily Mail (United Kingdom), The Daily Telegraph (U.K.), The Times of London (U.K.), Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany), Die Welt (Germany), Le Monde (France), la Repubblica (Italy), El País (Spain) and Sydney Morning Herald (Australia).
Media outlets originally portrayed the attacks as a seemingly random religious dispute among two Amish groups. Recent reports have noted the uniqueness of the Bergholz Clan.
Since September, sociologist Donald B. Kraybill of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College has been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, NPR, and dozens of newspapers.
Kraybill said he aims to set the record straight: Although Mullet presents himself as Amish, he is not.
“He is a renegade cult leader who masquerades as being Amish but by virtue of his behavior violates basic Amish teachings and beliefs,” Kraybill said. “He uses religion and the Amish good name to protect himself from law enforcement. For Amish people, this is embarrassing and shameful.”
An Amish man who grew up near Mullet and has known him for years, told Kraybill, “He’s not one of us. We don’t have anything to do with him.”
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