Amish

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An Amish farm near Morristown, New York.

The Amish are an Anabaptist Christian denomination and part of the Mennonite sect best known for rejecting many modern conveniences such as electricity and automobiles. They dress plainly (a compliment is "You look plain") and live apart from mainstream society and strictly observe the Lord's Day as a day of rest. In addition they do not participate in Social Security (they obtained an exemption due to their religious beliefs) and also generally do not attend school beyond 8th grade but continue to learn by reading throughout their lives. Their ancestors were German-speaking Swiss who arrived in eastern Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and more came over in the 1800s. Many Amish people speak Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German.

The Amish are the fastest growing religion in the United States, doubling every 20 years.[1] The Amish population is growing so fast that each year some families move out to acquire more farmland. They are highly successful financially and morally. By 2050 the Amish are expected to attain 1 million in total population in the United States, and by 2222 the Amish could be the majority in the U.S.[2] The largest Amish communities are in Pennsylvania, where the Amish population exceeded 84,000 as of 2021 and is growing at more than 3% annual rate.

The hit movie "Witness" (1985) is a highly accurate, respectful portrayal of the Amish that was filmed on location in the Philadelphia area.

There are different sects of Amish, such as the "Old Order Amish" and the "New Order Amish." In some ways the New Order is more conservative than the Old Order, as the New Order completely bans alcohol and smoking.

The largest Amish communities are in Pennsylvania. Statewide, Ohio and Indiana also have high Amish populations.[3] Many Amish people speak Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German.

The group was founded by Jakob Ammann in the 1690s and began to settle in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana beginning in the 18th century.[4] "The Scribbler counted the number of directory pages devoted to each Amish surname. Stoltzfus came in first, by far, followed by King, Fisher, Beiler, Esh, Hochstetler, Hochleitner, and Lapp."[5] Yoder is a common Amish surname in West Virginia.

Many Amish have large families and in 2012 the Amish were named the fastest growing faith group in the United States. The Amish population is projected to grow to 1 million people by 2050.[6]

No cases of the coronavirus were reported in 2020 during the CCP global pandemic.

Exempt from Social Security[edit]

The Amish asserted a religious exemption to any participation in Social Security as being against the tenets of their religion. The Amish lost their appeal on this issue in the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision of United States v. Lee, 455 U.S. 252 (1982), But then Congress created a narrow exception for Amish-owned businesses and businesses owned by similar members of religions having well-established objections to Social Security, which enables them to opt out of the obligations and benefits of the program. A special form must be filed by the Amish to assert this exemption.

Congressman Gibbs (R-OH), who had Amish constituents, introduced federal legislation in 2021 to broaden rights of the Amish.<ref<https://gibbs.house.gov/2021/12/gibbs-introduces-legislation-amish-community-regulatory-relief</ref>

Exempt from Public School[edit]

The U.S. Supreme Court established an exemption from compulsory attendance at school for the Amish, specifically the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church, in Wisconsin v. Yoder (May 15, 1972) (7-0 ruling), based on their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Low rate of autism among the Amish[edit]

See also: Atheism and autism

The American Amish have low autism rates which may be due to their low vaccination rates. They also tend to have a healthy and simple lifestyle.[7] Due to their high levels of physical activity, the Amish have low rates of obesity.[8]

David N. Brown indicated: "In March 2006, Drs. Kevin Strauss, Holmes Morton and others documented 9 autistic Amish children, which could raise the autism rate of the Lancaster Amish community Olmsted supposedly investigated to almost 1/5,000 which is still a fraction of the US average of 1/68."[9][10][11]]

Politics[edit]

Conservative themselves, Amish tend to support conservative candidates, and overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in 2016.[12] But only about 5% of Amish actually vote in elections.[12]

Conversion to Amish[edit]

Through a process known as conversion and commitment, anyone can become Amish.[13] But there is no evangelical movement by Amish to initiate that, so it is rare.

Travel[edit]

Contrary to secular perception, Amish are allowed to travel by train, and be passengers in cars. But they are not allowed to travel by air or drive cars, which are viewed as non-essential luxuries.[14]

References[edit]

  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-08-01/why-the-amish-population-is-exploding#:~:text=But%20according%20to%20a%20new,in%201989%20of%20about%20100%2C000.
  2. By doubling its population every 20 years, the Amish population would increase by 1024 times in 200 years.
  3. https://www.incontext.indiana.edu/2012/nov-dec/article2.asp
  4. The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989
  5. https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/there-are-4-books-every-old-order-amish-family-keeps-in-its-home-collection-the/article_5a448cc2-9a8d-11e8-a2ea-1fc6bc69d5d9.htm
  6. For Amish, fastest-growing faith group in US, life is changing
    • 4 healthy habits to steal from the Amish, Fox News Health, December 04, 2014
    • "Amish Have Lower Rates of Cancer, Ohio State Study Shows". Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Medical Center. January 1, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
    • Puffenberger, EG; Jinks, RN; Wang, H; Xin, B; Fiorentini, C; Sherman, EA; Degrazio, D; Shaw, C; Sougnez, C; Cibulskis, K; Gabriel, S; Kelley, RI; Morton, DH; Strauss, KA (Dec 2012). "A homozygous missense mutation in HERC2 associated with global developmental delay and autism spectrum disorder". Human Mutation 33 (12): 1639–1646
    • Jackman, C; Horn, ND; Molleston, JP; Sokol, DK (Apr 2009). "Gene associated with seizures, autism, and hepatomegaly in an Amish girl". Pediatric Neurology 40 (4): 310–313.
    • Alarcón, Maricela; Abrahams, Brett S.; Stone, Jennifer L.; Duvall, Jacqueline A.; Perederiy, Julia V.; Bomar, Jamee M.; Sebat, Jonathan; Wigler, Michael; Martin, Christa L.; Ledbetter, David H.; Nelson, Stanley F.; Cantor, Rita M.; Geschwind, Daniel H. (10 January 2008). "Linkage, Association, and Gene-Expression Analyses Identify CNTNAP2 as an Autism-Susceptibility Gene". American Journal of Human Genetics 82 (1): 150–159
  7. Puffenberger, EG; Jinks, RN; Wang, H; Xin, B; Fiorentini, C; Sherman, EA; Degrazio, D; Shaw, C; Sougnez, C; Cibulskis, K; Gabriel, S; Kelley, RI; Morton, DH; Strauss, KA (Dec 2012). "A homozygous missense mutation in HERC2 associated with global developmental delay and autism spectrum disorder". Human Mutation 33 (12): 1639–1646
  8. Jackman, C; Horn, ND; Molleston, JP; Sokol, DK (Apr 2009). "Gene associated with seizures, autism, and hepatomegaly in an Amish girl". Pediatric Neurology 40 (4): 310–313.
  9. Alarcón, Maricela; Abrahams, Brett S.; Stone, Jennifer L.; Duvall, Jacqueline A.; Perederiy, Julia V.; Bomar, Jamee M.; Sebat, Jonathan; Wigler, Michael; Martin, Christa L.; Ledbetter, David H.; Nelson, Stanley F.; Cantor, Rita M.; Geschwind, Daniel H. (10 January 2008). "Linkage, Association, and Gene-Expression Analyses Identify CNTNAP2 as an Autism-Susceptibility Gene". American Journal of Human Genetics 82 (1): 150–159
  10. 12.0 12.1 https://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/08/07/news/how-amish-see-donald-trump-otherworldly-candidate-theyve-never-heard-speak
  11. https://lancasterpa.com/amish/amish-frequently-asked-questions/
  12. https://amishamerica.com/how-do-amish-travel/

See also[edit]