Barberism in Amish Country

NEWS FLASH!!! (and possibly a sign of the Apocalypse): the LEAST common crime in the nation has been committed!

An Amish gang armed with semi-automatic shears snuffed out the beards of five other Amish men last year. This case has gripped the nation like few other Amish-on-Amish attacks. Unwilling to plea their case down to involuntary beardslaughter, the trial is currently under way in Cleveland, Ohio.

The gang leader, Sam Mullet is the alleged mastermind of this low-tech hate crime spree. Not to blame the victims too much, but when you hear that the Mullet Gang is coming to town, you’re pretty much guaranteed that someone is going to end up having a really bad hair day.

The beardectomies were Mullet’s retribution over disputes with other Amish leaders. To make matters worse, Mullet’s sister testified that her brother abused his power as bishop by taking advantage of some Amish women. She accused him of “close sitting” with the women, even going so far as to “look into their eyes.”

Fortunately for the men who lost their facial hair against their wishes, the Bible does offer them some consolation: It could have been worse—at least they didn’t expose your backsides!

So Hanun took David’s servants, and after shaving off half of their beards, and cutting off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, he sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Stay at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.” —2 Samuel 10:4-5

So the Bible lesson IS NOT “Don’t be ashamed of losing your beard.” Instead the Bible lesson IS “Stay ashamed until your beard grows back.” Nowhere does it state that David’s servants also sewed up the holes in the backs of their robes. Hopefully they did not follow God’s example when he appear to Moses:

And again the Lord said, “Behold there is a place near me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock. And when my glory shall pass by, I will set thee in a hole of the rock, and protect thee with my right hand, till I pass. And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts, but my face thou canst not see.” —Exodus 33:20-23

It’s easy to have some fun at the feuding Amish’s expense, but evidently they take their hair care way, way more seriously than even Lady Gaga, Mr. T, and Chestur Arthur combined. Most likely their devotion to beards is based on this Bible admonition:

Ye shall not shave the corners of your head round, neither shalt thou mutilate the corners of thy beard. —Leviticus 19:27

Scholars have yet to agree on how exactly you cut the corners of your head round, but they do postulate that if anybody can figure it out, it will most likely be a member of the dreaded Mullet Gang. I just hope that people like Johnny Mullet (an actual name of one of the Mullet Gang—who sounds like he belongs in a Damon Runyon story) serve their debt to society, maybe eventually lobby for effective scissors control laws, and put this whole hair-razing episode behind them.

Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.