As Christian Pacifists with a credo of nonresistance, the Hutterites live comunally, sharing all wealth and material goods. So when top members of certain colonies request court adjudication enforced by state violence to settle an "inside" issue, the fundamental values of their belief system are called into question. The Courts and the Colonies offers a detailed account of the protracted dispute that arose in a Manitoba colony when leaders turned to the secular legal system after failing to resolve an internal conflict. In an unprecedented move, the leaders went to court to force the departure of a group that had been excommunicated but would not leave. Could the colony expect secular law to enforce religious practices? Should the laws of the state regulate decisions about church membership, discipline, and expulsions from the colony? How should it deal with issues of shunning, legitimacy of leadership, and communal property rights? In the wake of a major schism within the Schmiedeleut, more than a dozen additional lawsuits dealing with these issues were launched.Alvin Esau examines the history of Hutterite litigation and how the roots of the schism related to controversy over the Schmiedeleut leadership and its alliance with the Bruderhof, a group of Christian communalists living mainly in the eastern United States. At stake is the nature of religious freedom in Canada and the extent to which our pluralistic society is prepared to accommodate groups with illiberal legal systems that may not cohere with that of the external society.
Alvin J. Esau is Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.
Acknowledgments Introduction Part One: Background 1 The Hutterites 2 The Bruderhof Part Two: The Inside Law on Going to Outside Law: Hutterite Litigation before the Lakeside Case 3. The Inside Law against Going to Outside Law 4 Hutterite Litigation before Lakeside Part Three: The Lakeside Litigation: Round One 5 Daniel Hofer, Hog Feeders and Excommunication 6 Going to Court 7 Lakeside under Appeal Part Four: The Schism in the Schmiedeleut and Lakeside Litigation: Round Two 8 Lakeside and the Schism within the Schmiedeleut 9 Litigating Again at Lakeside Part Five: Litigating, Leaving, and Sometimes Dividing: Lakeside and Other Schmiedeleut Schisms 10 Litigating at Rock Lake, Huron, Cypress, Sprucewood, Poinsett, and Leaving Lakeside 11 Agreeing to Divide Assets, Further Schism, and Yet More Litigation Part Six: Concluding Reflections: The Interaction between Outside Law and Inside Law 12 Concluding Reflections: Models of Inside Law and Outside Law Interaction Appendix: Male Genealogy of Lakeside Families Notes Index