Beliefnet News

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

(RNS) Six Michigan farmers, including two Amish men, say a state-required livestock numbering system infringes on their religious beliefs and are suing the U.S. and Michigan departments of agriculture to stop the program.
The electronic numbering and tagging procedure is designed to trace sick animals and protect public health.
But Robert Alexander and Glen Mast, both members of the Old Order Amish community, believe that “God and the Bible authorize (them) with dominion over all the animals on the planet.”
Moreover, they argue in a suit filed Sept. 8 in federal court in Washington, D.C., that “use of a numbering system … constitutes some form of a `mark of the beast.'”
The Bible’s book of Revelation warns that the Antichrist will force everyone to receive the “number of the beast” during the end times.
The Amish men are joined in the suit by two ministers, Robert Keyworth, a Pentecostal pastor, and Rev. Roseanne Wyant, who is identified as “an ordained Reverend of the Christian faith.”
All six plaintiffs contend the tagging requirements violate their religious beliefs, which are outlined in numerous Bible verses, according to the suit.
“Plaintiffs’ religion pervades and determines virtually their entire way of life, regulating it from diet through the strictly enforced rules of their respective church communities,” the suit says.
In addition, the ID program forces the Amish farmers to “violet tenets of their Old Order Amish beliefs…they are forced to use technology they would not ordinarily use.”
The Falls Church, Va.-based Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is representing the farmers.
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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