President Bush recently signed into law legislation specifically designed to benefit the Amish religious sect reports Pennsylvania’s Daily Local News.

The new law will allow children as young as 14 to work within Amish family businesses in what is referred to as “apprenticeship” programs.

Previously such child labor was prohibited, and the Amish were fined for violations.

However, legislators that sponsored and supported this change in the law said it will allow the Amish to pursue their traditional and religious way of life.

“This is an issue of freedom of religion,” said Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector.

However, groups called “cults,” such as the “Twelve Tribes,” have used religion as an excuse to work children in their own version of “apprenticeship” programs.

But unlike the Amish the Twelve Tribes have operated what can be seen as “sweatshops,” historically using kids to produce or package products under negotiated contracts with outside companies.

The controversial group led by Elbert Eugene Spriggs, a former carnival barker turned self-proclaimed “super apostle,” is also known for its anti-Semitic tracts and racism.

The Twelve Tribes was exposed and fined for child labor violations in 2001.

Spriggs and his followers, not to mention other “cults,” may see the new legislation passed to benefit the benign Amish as a windfall for their not so traditional business concerns.

The new labor law may become little more than a legal loophole used by “cults” to exploit children.


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