A proposed Maine bill, LD 426, would provide an exception for the Amish, who claim they are opposed to wearing bright-colored clothing, to wear “red” while hunting instead of the required hunter or blaze orange.
“SUMMARY – This bill allows a hunter whose religion prohibits the wearing of hunter orange to instead wear red. It also directs the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to amend its rules to reflect this exemption.”
Questions that need to be answered:
1. This proposed bill does not allow for the definition of “religion” nor does it specifically exempt the Amish from wearing hunter orange. Any “religious” group would be exempt. What can of worms is this going to create? What other groups will seek preferential treatment or exemptions from Maine laws.
2. By allowing an exemption to special interest groups, which any “religious” group is, setting of such a precedent could have far reaching future problems. Has this been thought through completely?
3. According to testimony by a member of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, who support the passage of LD 426, it was stated that this bill would, “provides visibility for a hunter and a choice for persons who have a religious opposition to wearing orange.” [emphasis added]. An interesting perspective, when the overwhelming majority of hunters are required, by law, to wear the blaze orange, evidently if you are religious, the increased visibility is not necessary? In addition, it was also stated that if Amish (religious) people took their children hunting, it would be left up to the parents as to whether or not they needed to be seen. Clearly this is a double standard. I understand the so-called “religious” aspect, although it appears that the Amish prohibition against wearing bright clothing is not practiced or enforced universally. Last time I checked it was a legal REQUIREMENT that hunters wear blaze orange. Isn’t this a public safety issue and not one of fashion? Which brings us now to the next question.
4. If all “non-religious” hunters who wear blaze orange are in the woods hunting with “religious” hunters wearing, instead, red, even though the law states that a hunter must know his/her target, is the legal onus and liability now placed doubly so on the “non-religious” hunter to learn to recognize a “religious” hunter not wearing blaze? What is the difference in exempting all hunters and giving them the choice, over allotting this privilege to a religious person? Should this bill proposal exempt “non-religious” hunters from liability for “accidentally” shooting a “religious” hunter because he was allowed to not follow the same rules of safety?
Perhaps it is time for the “religious” people to lobby God and ask Him for an exemption to a seemingly silly requirement. For by Grace are you saved, by Faith, not according to the color of the clothes you wear.
However, last night god spoke to me directly and instructed me to never wear hunter orange. I must now lobby the government for a preferentially treatment law. How can the State deny me or anyone else who makes such a claim, from being granted this exemption?