The Amish Essay

2591 words - 10 pages

Kraybill, Donald. The Amish and the State. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

The Amish and the State is wrote with the intent to identify the cultural values and social organizations of the Amish order along with how the traditional values of the Amish counteracted with the modernity of the state. This book covers the most prominent aspects of the Amish order dating all the way back to their very existence during the Radical Reformation in the sixteenth century. It entitles one to see and feel the persecution the Amish order has faced since 1525. Donald Kraybill believes that the Amish order, even though some individuals view their religious practices as being extremely impractical, is a major attribute toward the freedom we as citizens now hold in our possession in following our religious pathways and that their very existence today is a miraculous achievement. Even though the conflicts between the Amish and the state have placed burdens on both sides, in the long run we as a people have gained religious freedom from all of the suffering the Amish has faced. For example, in 1938 an Amish leader wrote a letter to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black asking “is there any clause whereby we can live a Christian faith and still be law abiding people?” (3). Starting with the persecutions that took place while negotiating with Caesar on to the Amish view of the state and outsiders, along with the roles they have played with respect to the Amish order. The conflicts the Amish held with the government over military services and conscription, schooling and education, social security and taxes, slow-moving vehicles, health care, and land use are displayed to help aid in the understanding of the tries and tribulations the Amish faced. Also, this book portrays the functions of the so-called government like organizations that act in favor for the Amish. These groups are known as the National Amish Steering Committee and the National Committee for Amish.
Starting with what was known as the Radical Reformation in the sixteenth century, a number of groups picked up on Martin Luther’s ideas and went different ways with them. These groups were known as Anabaptists. The Amish faith is a descendent of the Anabaptist beliefs. During this Reformation and continuing throughout the present date, the Amish have been persecuted for their religious beliefs. In the sixteenth century they were executed, drowned, and even left to starve to death in jail. “The first martyr was drowned in 1527 and over the next few decades, thousands of Anabaptists burned at the stake, drowned in rivers, starved in prisons, or lost their heads to the executioner’s sword” (5). In the twentieth century they still continue to be persecuted even though it is not as harsh, they spend large amounts of time in jail and even suffer abundant quantities of fines for following the religious pathway of Christ. The Amish order continues to strive for their religious rights although their...

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