The Amish Heritage Foundation | Reclaiming our Amish story. Addressing our silenced issues. https://www.amishheritage.org Enlightenment principles for the new generation of Amish leaders. | Founder Torah Bontrager Tue, 13 Apr 2021 16:57:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 https://i0.wp.com/www.amishheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-amish-heritage-foundation-torah-bontrager-LOGO-v3-300dpi-web.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 The Amish Heritage Foundation | Reclaiming our Amish story. Addressing our silenced issues. https://www.amishheritage.org 32 32 179793250 How I Celebrated Easter and Good Friday as an Amish American Child https://www.amishheritage.org/how-i-celebrated-easter-and-good-friday-as-an-amish-american-child/ Tue, 06 Apr 2021 19:19:47 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34610 If you’d like to know how to celebrate the Easter holiday the Amish way, I share my practicing Amish experiences of various aspects, from the Easter bunny to Easter egg hunts to church services, below.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

Good Friday

The Amish Easter tradition celebrates Good Friday (as the story goes, the day that Jesus was crucified) with a fast all morning, reading the Bible, and praying. But the fasting, Bible reading, and praying is only required of baptized members, not unbaptized children and teens. As soon as the clock passes the noon mark, the fast is over. I have vivid memories of my birth parents talking about how hungry they were and eyeing the clock all morning to see when they’d be allowed to eat again. I dreaded the thought of ever having to be forced to wake up with an empty stomach and go until noon with no food lest I’d end up in hell for breaking that Amish religious law.

I much preferred keeping our particular family tradition for unbaptized members on Good Friday and Easter Sunday mornings. That was eating shredded wheat. Even as I’m writing this, I can feel the crunchy texture of the wheat bales on the outside and the softer strings on the inside when I crushed the bale into my stainless steel bowl. Easter was the only time of year that we kids were allowed to have shredded wheat. The rest of the year we had cornflakes, the cheapest store-bought cereal at the time, and homemade grape-nuts or granola.

Good Friday was the only religiously mandated non-Sunday day off of the year besides Christmas. There was no school and no work (except for feeding the animals and milking the cows or goats). It’s possible that some Amish communities also celebrate the Monday after Easter; I have to fact check this but all I remember is Friday and Sunday as the days required to observe the resurrection story.

Easter Bunny

When I was younger, my birth mother would sing the song, “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”, during Easter. But when we moved to a community that allowed more material conveniences (e.g., phones in barns), we were no longer allowed to sing secular songs. The punishment for using more modern tools was to pretend we were more pious.

Now that I’m not a practicing Amish (nor practicing any religion) and have learned that most of Christianity is stolen from non-Christian ancient traditions, I love reclaiming this childhood song that brought me joy as a kid.

Easter Eggs

Some Amish allow their children to dye Easter eggs and have Easter egg hunts at home and at school. Some communities also allow school children to color pictures of secular Easter images and hang them up in the Amish schoolhouse for decoration.

But other Amish communities forbid all non-religious pictures and activities.

Dying eggs and taking turns to hide and hunt for them in the yard with my siblings and friends was one of my favorite activities of the year.

Easter Basket

Almost every year, one of our non-Amish neighbors would stop by with an Easter egg basket filled with goodies for us kids. If we got lucky, more than one non-Amish person gave us a gift basket. I adored the baskets. They were so pretty and “English”.

My parents never bought such baskets for us children, so we’d have to take turns using the special one for our egg hunts. Whoever didn’t have the pretty Easter basket used a sand bucket or ice cream pail.

Easter Chicks

Almost every Easter, my birth father would buy us jelly beans and sometimes yellow Easter marshmallow chicks, too, as a special treat. I loved the cute little chicks so much and wished I could keep them all year!

Jesus and the Cross

Crosses aren’t things you’ll likely see in traditional Amish homes. The religion forbids pictures and statues of Jesus, as well as crosses.

But you might find some Amish craftsmen who make wood crosses to sell to non-Amish. And if any of these crosses are in an Amish home, it would most likely only be to . . .

. . . serve a useful purpose, such as a coat rack.

Easter Church Services

Most people aren’t aware that we traditional Amish don’t have church buildings (with the exception of one or so of the oldest communities). We have services in our homes.

We attend church every other Sunday and we don’t have services on Easter itself, unless it falls on our “church” Sunday. That said, people who live in a community with more than one church district will often attend services in another district if Easter falls on their “in between” Sunday. We hear about Good Friday and Jesus’ resurrection on the Sundays before Easter if we don’t have church in our own district that day. Like Good Friday, baptized members are required to fast all morning and read the Bible.

Bible Verses

The Bible verse below, or the first line of it, is often used during the Easter season as an opening to written letters. Similar to Christians posting this verse on social media, many Amish women and girls reference this verse in their letters during the Easter season. I say “women and girls” as opposed to men or boys because the majority of letter writing is done by the former.

He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: "The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again." - Luke 24:6-7   
Easter Flowers: Tulips

I grew up associating tulips with Easter and spring. Often blooming tulips were part of the yardscape when we hunted for Easter eggs.

When I got older, we moved to a community in which even dying eggs at home was a violation of the religion. Not getting to engage in one of my favorite activities of the year was crushing. Coloring eggs had been a creative outlet for me.

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.



]]>
34610
Freedom and Democracy Absolutely Fail Children in the US – Children are human beings, not property owned by adults who gave birth to them. We need a movement that acknowledges and enforces the Constitutional rights of Amish and other children, such as Ultra-Orthodox Jewish, fundamentalist Christian, Jehovah’s Witness, and Native/Indigenous. https://www.amishheritage.org/freedom-and-democracy-absolutely-fail-children-in-the-us/ Mon, 08 Feb 2021 20:25:04 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34608 Part 3 of 3 – See Why Is STEM Education in the US So Important to Big Tech? for Part 2

Democracy

The prevailing secular political force that continues to influence the educational system of the United States is democracy, the form of government upon which the U.S. Constitution was founded. During the post-war or cold war era, democractic ideals such as freedom and equality, and a concurrent goal to advance global citizenship, have conflicted with ideologies influenced by communism and fascism around globalization and education (Reimers, 2017). For example, one of the effects of the rise of populism, seen especially during the Trump era, is a move away from preparing students for a globally-minded citizenry due to the idea that one “is defined by citizenship, not by membership in humanity” (Reimers, 2017).

Perhaps the greatest example of how democracy has, and continues to, influence the U.S. educational system is seen in John Dewey’s work. To Dewey, a democractic education was “the right kind of education” (Mintz, n.d.). This meant, among other things, an educational system that embodied the ideals of individual liberty (e.g., allowed students to thrive in their studies) and the public good (e..g, prepared students for civic engagement and contribution to economic growth), not just domestically but also globally.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

Democracy and social reform are linked in Dewey’s mind and throughout his career, he continually made the case for “the importance of education not only as a place to gain content knowledge, but also as a place to learn how to live” (Talebi, 2015). Considering that spreading democracy has been . . .

. . . a major foreign policy goal of the United States for decades, and that the Biden administration is returning to a mindset of global democratic leadership as opposed to national populism, it is not surprising to see that the force of democracy continues to strongly shape the U.S. educational system, despite the disagreements over which democratic values should take precedence over others when deciding on what to teach, how to teach, to whom to teach, and when to teach.

All the above said, freedom and democracy don’t apply to Amish children––and children of other insular religious groups such as Ultra-Orthodox Jewish, many fundamentalist Christian, Jehovah’s Witness, and the list goes on. Neither are the rights of Native, or indigenous, children of this land protected. Children are human beings, not property owned by adults who gave birth to them. We need a movement that acknowledges and enforces Amish and other children’s inalienable rights, as well as Native/Indigenous peoples’ rights.

Until then, the assertion that the United States is a democracy, the land of the free, and the home of the brave is a blatant lie to a 15-year-old Amish American girl who was forced to endure a childhood of torture (because the U.S. Supreme Court decided it was okay to strip her of her rights as a citizen in favor of the Amish religion’s rights) and escape in the middle of the night just for a chance to be free and go to school past the 8th grade. It’s also a blatant lie to the Native peoples of this land, who were slaughtered, raped, enslaved, and experimented upon for generations and who are still the target of heinous violations and abuses by the United States (e.g., the United States forbids Native nations from prosecuting a non-Native who rapes a Native on a reservation; thanks again to the U.S. Supreme Court: Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe).

This is the country that claims to be the beacon of democracy and freedom.

References:

Carleton, D. (n.d.). Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647 (1647). In, The First Amendment encyclopedia. Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1032/old-deluder-satan-act-of-1647 

Graham, P. A. (2005). Introduction. In Schooling America: How the public schools meet the nation's changing needs. (14-20). Oxford University Press. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/univ-people-ebooks/detail.action?docID=272654 

Gray, P. (2008, August 20). A brief history of education. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200808/brief-history-education

Gutek, G. L. (1991). An historical introduction to American education, 2nd edition.

Matzat, A. L. (n.d.). Massachusetts education laws of 1642 and 1647 [History of American Education Web Project page]. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from https://www3.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/masslaws.html 

Mintz, A. I. (n.d.). What is the purpose of education? Dewey's challenge to his contemporaries. [pdf] Retrieved February 05, 2021, from https://www.academia.edu/23693775/What_is_the_Purpose_of_Education_Deweys_challenge_to_his_contemporaries

National Education Association. (2021, January 08). Students and educators can’t take four more years of Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://educationvotes.nea.org/2019/03/22/devos 

Reimers, F. (2017, August 03). Rediscovering the cosmopolitan moral purpose of education. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/rediscovering-the-cosmopolitan-moral-purpose-of-education

Schrager, A. (2018, June 29). The modern education system was designed to teach future factory workers to be “punctual, docile, and sober”. Quartz. https://qz.com/1314814/universal-education-was-first-promoted-by-industrialists-who-wanted-docile-factory-workers 

Talebi, Kandan. (2015, September) John Dewey- Philosopher and educational reformer. European Journal of Educational Studies. [pdf] Retrieved February 28, 2018 from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED564712.pdf

End of Part 3 of 3

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.



]]>
34608
Why Is STEM Education in the US So Important to Big Tech? https://www.amishheritage.org/why-is-stem-education-in-the-us-so-important-to-big-tech-2/ Sun, 07 Feb 2021 20:14:42 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34602 Part 2 of 3 – See This Is How to Grasp What Education in America Is Really About for Part 1

Economy

Economics is another social force that influenced the educational system in the United States. For example, the advent of industrialization meant that companies needed a workforce that was punctual (showed up to work on time), sufficiently competent in certain skills, and followed orders (didn’t challenge the company’s objectives) (Schrager, 2018).

This led into the era of social efficiency progressives (late 1800s to early 1900s), who “called for some schools to continue to offer an academic training to prepare future professionals, while others should prepare carpenters, machinists, or agriculturalists” (Mintz, n.d.). The idea was that some students were better suited for a traditional intellectual education while others were better for vocational skills that fulfilled the needs of the industrial economy. Providing the latter students with more intellectual education would have been a waste.

The Amish go even further with this line of thinking: not only is attaining higher education in the intellectual arena a . . .

. . . waste, but it’s arrogant and sinful. It’s even sinful to attain vocational skills, except in occupations that the Church approves of, which of course varies from community to community, driven by what options the local and regional economies offer for putting food on the table.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

The following Bible verses (King James Version) are among those I was told when I’d ask why we Amish are forbidden from going to school past the 8th grade, from learning science and math (beyond arithmetic), and from going to public school (a very tiny percentage of Amish attend public schools but the children are prohibited from attending classes or learning topics that the Church disapproves of). If you have an analytical mind like I do, none of these verses back up claims that e.g., you’re going to go hell if you become an astronaut or musician.

1. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. - 2 Timothy 2:15

2. And be not conformed to  this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye  may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Romans 12:2

3. All scripture is given by  inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for  correction, for instruction in righteousness: - 2 Timothy 3:16

4. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. - Proverbs 1:7

5. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18


In the 1980s, economic forces once again influenced the American educational system. For example, American companies could not compete as well as they wanted to with Japanese and European companies; company executives contributed this in part to an inadequate education of their workforce (Graham, 2005, p. 18).

Today we are seeing a major emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education for K-12 in an effort to compete with, for example, Japan’s workforce, but also to prepare students for jobs and careers in an American economy that is becoming more and more automated and run by article intelligence. Corporations such as GE, Salesforce, Apple, Google, and Tesla are driving the demand for STEM education in K-12 and beyond.

But the educational and economic fates of Amish children don’t even enter the public consciousness. Amish children aren’t part of the equation in the economic future of the United States.

End of Part 2

Click here for Part 3.

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.



]]>
34602
This Is How to Grasp What Education in America Is Really About https://www.amishheritage.org/this-is-how-to-grasp-what-education-in-america-is-really-about/ Sat, 06 Feb 2021 20:07:27 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34597 Introduction

In order to understand what education in the United States is really about, take a close look at the history, philosophy, and sociology of American education. In this post, I’ll discuss how three (3) social and political forces––religion, economics, and democracy––have shaped the educational system from the Puritans to now. My hope is that with some historical context, you’ll see how those forces relate to or might affect Amish education, or how Wisconsin v. Yoder fits into all this.

Note: The final post in this series lists the references mentioned.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

Religion

Religion was the primary force that influenced the educational system of what is now the United States. Religion was also the primary force that shaped the governing laws of the earliest colonies, such as Massachusetts, with the Puritans at the helm. In this example, religion served as both a social and a political force that shaped the educational system of the time. According to Carleton (2009), the first law created to require public education was the Old Deluder Satan Act, passed in Massachusetts in 1647, and the focus of that law was to ensure that children attained enough literacy to read the Christian Bible. Gray (2008) states that “beginning in 1690, children in Massachusetts and adjacent colonies learned to read from the New England Primer”, which was known colloquially as “The Little Bible of New England” (Gutek, 1991, as cited in Gray, 2008).

The 1647 law followed the earlier Massachusetts Act of 1642, which “stated that parents and masters of those children who had been apprenticed to them were responsible for their basic education and literacy” (Matzat, n.d.). The focus of the 1642 law was to ensure that citizens would . . .

. . . understand the governing laws, including civil and religious, of the colonies at the time; if parents or masters of children didn’t meet the government’s literacy standards, the government had the power to remove children from such homes and place them elsewhere that met the government’s educational criteria (Matzat, n.d.). This Act was the first law on compulsory education, but carried out within a private setting. The emphasis of the 1647 law is on religious literacy (as demonstrated by the name of the Act itself), and the law was a response to parent/master failure to educate children for the purposes of becoming religious law-abiding citizens who could read and understand those laws, religious and civil, for themselves.

The Puritans who came up with these laws were extremely religious and created a theocratic government, starting with the Massachusetts colony. They were no different from today’s theocracies like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Vatican City. The Puritans didn’t believe in religious tolerance and the separation of church and state, despite having fled England because of religious persecution.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was a response to such religious intolerance, but even today, in the 21st century, the bitter battles over public and private education continue, with the disputes ultimately revolving around, in my view, religious beliefs or interpretations. For example, during the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education made it her mission to dismantle public education even more than before and erase the Constitutional separation of church and state, such as funneling taxpayer money to private and religious schools that are unaccountable to the public (National Education Association, 2021).

The Religious Right increasingly wins this battle over education, and the separation of church and state keeps eroding. Unlike in 1642 when the Massachusetts government required basic literacy for all its citizens, the federal government of the United States today does not hold that citizens have a right to any education whatsoever. Yes, not even reading and writing. Almost no one is aware of this.

In the states that do declare that education is a right for residents, that right cannot be enforced under federal law. Any parent and religious institution can point to the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder to claim the right to religious freedom to prevent their child or members from receiving any education that the adult’s religion, or the religious institution, disapproves of.

Yoder is hailed as a landmark victory for religious freedom in a case about education for Amish children, but it really was about pushing through extreme religious freedom for adults of any religion. This comes at the expense of American children’s right to religious freedom and their many other basic secular Constitutional rights, issues that were never acknowledged in the case.

End of Part 1

Click here for Part 2.

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.



]]>
34597
This Is What Happens When Religion Outweighs Children’s Rights https://www.amishheritage.org/this-is-what-happens-when-religion-outweighs-childrens-rights/ Fri, 15 Jan 2021 19:36:50 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34582 Part 2 of 4 – See This Devastating Lawsuit Destroys Your Right to Learn for Part 1

For the Amish, the 1972 US Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder disputes were about retaining the ability to force a child to work for free—and thereby reduce payroll expenses—and to keep the child ignorant of their rights as a US citizen, rights that supersede Amish law. Making it about religion was a convenient cover.

But for the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom, a non-Amish special interest group that hired the attorneys and paid the legal bills for the Amish, Yoder was about using the Amish as a guinea pig to see how far they could push religious freedom provisions for the benefit of the Committee’s non-Amish purposes.

What outsiders don’t understand, and which of course was never revealed in the court hearings, is that in most Amish families, children aren’t allowed to keep any of the money they earn until, depending on the family, the male child is eighteen to twenty-one years old and the female child is twenty to twenty-one years old. Every paycheck before that age goes to the father. And none of it is deposited in a trust for the child. That’s slave labor and child abuse.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

Educational Deprivation, a Tool for Maintaining Power and Control

The Religious Right wants the general public to believe that there were no private religious schools before Yoder, or that overturning Yoder will result in one’s religious freedom being taken away. That’s simply not true. Both Iowa and Wisconsin frequently made reasonable religious accommodations for the Amish leading up to each state’s pivotal events. In addition, religions such as Catholic, Protestant, and Quaker had their own schools. In fact, schools in the US were first started by religious organizations, not the government. Except Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania, the Ivy League universities—among the oldest educational institutions in the US—were started by churches or individuals affiliated with a church for the purpose of religious instruction.11 My alma mater, Columbia University, still uses its original motto, which is from a Bible verse: In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen (“In your light we see light”) (New Revised Standard Version, Psalms 36:9).12

11. Although the University of Pennsylvania wasn’t formed for the primary purpose of teaching theology, its first Provost was a minister, Reverend William Smith: Friedman, Steven Morgan. “A Brief History of the University of Pennsylvania.” Penn University Archives & Records Center, University of Pennsylvania, archives.upenn.edu/exhibits/penn-history/brief-history. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.

12. “Columbia University at a Glance.” Office of Public Affairs, Columbia University, www.columbia.edu/cu/pr/special/cuglance.html. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.

During the unrest of the sixties, some Amish families moved away from Buchanan County to Green County, Wisconsin. The Amish in that Wisconsin community, including Jonas Yoder, the lead plaintiff in the Yoder case, sent their children to public school, until it became clear that the state would enforce the compulsory education law. Yoder had no problem with his children being exposed to non-Amish values until it interfered with his access to free labor: he wanted his children to work for him full-time after the eighth grade.

The State of Wisconsin wasn’t as compromising as Iowa when it came to making exemptions for children from compulsory education after age fourteen. In 1968 the Wisconsin Amish opened their own school in an effort to slide under the radar. However, public school superintendent Kenneth Glewen followed up and discovered that a number of children should have been attending ninth and tenth grades.

Glewen was motivated to enforce Wisconsin’s law because the more students who attended public school, the more state funding his district received.13 While Glewen’s actions seem to have been purely selfish, with no regard for Amish children’s educational welfare, that lack of regard was no different from Yoder’s and the other Amish men who refused to send their children to school past the eighth grade. These Amish men were interested only in free labor. Although argued from a seemingly religious perspective, neither the Iowa nor Wisconsin conflicts were driven by a genuine concern over the spiritual welfare of the children. For the Amish, the disputes were about retaining the ability to force a child to work for free—and thereby reduce payroll expenses—and to keep the child ignorant of their rights as a US citizen, rights that supersede Amish law. Making it about religion was a convenient cover.14 But for the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom, a non-Amish special interest group that hired the attorneys and paid the legal bills for the Amish, Yoder was about using the Amish as a guinea pig to see how far they could push religious freedom provisions for the benefit of the Committee’s non-Amish purposes.15

13. Although the University of Pennsylvania wasn’t formed for the primary purpose of teaching theology, its first Provost . Linder, Douglas. “Yoder v Wisconsin: The Amish Challenge Compulsory Education Laws.” Famous Trials, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/YoderStory.html. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.

14. Today, none of the plaintiffs (Jonas Yoder, Wallace Miller, and Adin Yutzy) in Wisconsin v. Yoder are members of the Amish Church. Yutzy was a member of the Beachy Amish but the case was ruled based on the traditional Amish Church, not Beachy.

15. Linder, Douglas. “Yoder v Wisconsin: The Amish Challenge Compulsory Education Laws.” Famous Trials, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/YoderStory.html. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019. 

NOTE: By now-retired Mennonite sociologist Donald Kraybill’s own admission, his career came about as a direct result of being involved in Yoder as a research assistant for John A. Hostetler, who was an Amish-raised sociologist whose work in the 1950s and 1960s led to Kraybill’s creation of the field of Amish Studies. Until his death, Hostetler was a member of the Committee and to date, Kraybill is a member.

What outsiders don’t understand, and which of course was never revealed in the court hearings, is that in most Amish families, children aren’t allowed to keep any of the money they earn until, depending on the family, the male child is eighteen to twenty-one years old and the female child is twenty to twenty-one years old. Every paycheck before that age goes to the father. And none of it is deposited in a trust for the child. That’s slave labor and child abuse.16

16. As early as age twelve, I worked ten-hour shifts picking asparagus for commercial growers in Michigan. By age fourteen, I worked twelve- to fourteen-hour shifts in an Amish bakery. I was forced to turn over every penny I earned to my father.

In most cases, a female child is married before she’s of the age allowed to keep what she earns and hence, the majority of Amish women have no idea how to manage money and be financially self-sufficient. Consider also that married women aren’t allowed to have a paying job; the exception is if the job is a home-based business, in which case the husband—except in rare instances—controls . . .

. . . the money even if he himself doesn’t earn it from that business.

This financial illiteracy and dependence on the male is designed to maintain control over girls and women and prevent them from upward mobility. This also means that they have no way out from abusive situations. Fathers, husbands, bishops, clergy members, and adult sons all enjoy a higher status than women and girls. How is a female to provide for herself if she doesn’t have access to transportation, a roof over her head, and a job that pays enough for her to make the rent? How is she to even begin if she doesn’t have a social security number? Such challenges are difficult enough for a single female. Imagine how next to impossible it is for a married woman with a dozen children. How is a woman in that situation to exit an abusive marriage, when the Church forbids divorce, refuses to provide shelter and funding to battered wives and children, and punishes anyone who reports to law enforcement or outside agencies?

Similar to financial dependence, educational deprivation is ultimately for the purpose of making it next to impossible for any child to smoothly and successfully transition to a life and community outside of the Church. Yoder explicitly acknowledges this, and approves of it: “During [the adolescent] period, the children must acquire Amish attitudes favoring manual work … and the specific skills needed to perform the adult role of an Amish farmer or housewife. They must learn to enjoy physical labor. … And, at this time in life, the Amish child must also grow in [the Amish] faith and his relationship to the Amish community….”17

17. Wisconsin v. Yoder. 406 U.S. 205. Supreme Court of the United States. 1972. Supreme Court Collection, Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/406/205. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.

Thanks to Yoder, we’ve been stunted in our development, both as children and as adults. We’re a nation of eighth graders, an ethnic minority that doesn’t speak English fluently. A good percentage of us don’t make it through the eighth grade or perform above a C or D.18 We’re forbidden from learning about science, technology, engineering, math, mental health, world history, music, current affairs, law, civics, the arts, and sex education. We don’t even have words in our Amish language for “vagina” and “penis.”

18. One of my classmates failed or barely passed most of his subjects every year; Joe Slabaugh, no longer practicing Amish, made it through the third grade only. In general, we learn only the three Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic) from 1950s-1970s textbooks taught by teachers who haven’t advanced beyond the eighth grade themselves. In my first year of high school, all my chemistry classmates laughed at me when I raised my hand and asked, “What does h2o mean?” And today many Amish children will never have heard of 9/11.

Yoder was justified on the premise that the only future for every Amish child is an Amish agrarian one inside the Amish Church. However, we’re no longer an agrarian people. The Amish family farm can’t compete with Big Ag, Silicon Valley, and globalization. The Amish child of today doesn’t have the same occupational path as the Amish child of 1972. But still our children (who grow up to be adults who repeat this educationally deprived cycle) are stuck with an inadequate education, with insufficient knowledge—or none at all—of climate change, artificial intelligence, the global economy, national and world affairs, health issues, human gene editing, GMOs, human trafficking, pedophilia, STDs, transhumanism, and dangerous drugs, etc. We’re expected to be able to put food on our table in the same way that we did in 1972. Yoder fantasized that we’d remain frozen in time. The outside world would change, but we wouldn’t.

This idea that we should remain frozen in time is perpetuated by self-proclaimed experts on us Amish who are neither Amish nor have they bothered to learn our language.19 Furthermore, with minor exceptions, their publications are based on interaction with Amish men only. The women’s voices aren’t represented. And the children’s voices aren’t represented. For example, the sociologist Donald Kraybill’s entire body of thirty-plus years of Amish “literature” is based on responses from male-only eighth graders—men who speak English as a second language, don’t know what H2O means, and ignorantly agree with whatever narrative Kraybill wants. What are those “experts”’ stakes in maintaining a rosy myth about us, one with devastating consequences in real life? The story that these academics crank out enables the abuse of Amish children. It manufactures an image that denies that the children are suffering. It makes sure that Amish rapists and child molesters’ interests are protected: by claiming that there’s no crime among us, or that we take care of our own issues, the criminals are free to continue to prey upon victims.

19. With the exception of John Hostetler, I know of no one raised traditional Amish who is or was an academic. It’s quite possible more academics exist but I haven’t found them or been informed about them. Hostetler doesn’t accurately represent us traditional Amish and he refused to fight for Amish children’s rights to a quality education; instead, he provided expert testimony in favor of the parents in Wisconsin v. Yoder. Of all people, he should have advocated for the children because he himself left the Church in pursuit of higher learning.
 
This legacy of insisting that Amish children aren’t harmed by being forced to stop going to school after the Amish eighth grade continues in Donald Kraybill’s Amish Studies industry. Time and time again, professors and others connected to Kraybill and affiliated with higher education––usually men––tell me that I’m wrong for wanting to overturn Yoder and that Amish children don’t need an education beyond whatever the Amish Church decides is good enough for them. For example, John Roth (professor at Goshen College) and Herman Bontrager (head of the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom and a trustee of Eastern Mennonite University) are among those who actively attack me for advocating for Amish children’s right to an adequate education. That they themselves have college degrees, and are clearly invested in higher education, but have made it their life’s mission to prevent Amish children from having the right to that same level of education is beyond hypocritical and appalling to say the least.

What Yoder has resulted in fifty years later is a platform for all sorts of religious actors to get away with committing crimes against children in the name of religious freedom. These crimes include sexual assault, which runs rampant throughout the Amish Church and diaspora. The criminals thrive because our children don’t understand what their rights and responsibilities are as US citizens, or that they even have rights. The adults don’t understand their rights either, except for the one percent of the patriarchy who control the Church and comprehend that their power lies in keeping us illiterate, dependent, and in fear of going to hell if we report them or break other rules. The Amish clergy and the self-proclaimed academic experts work together to keep sexual assault and other abuses of power covered up.

End of Part 2

Click here for Part 3.

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.



]]>
34582
This Devastating Lawsuit Destroys Your Right to Learn https://www.amishheritage.org/this-devastating-lawsuit-destroys-your-right-to-learn/ Thu, 14 Jan 2021 01:48:53 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34547 Introduction

When I was fifteen years old, I was forced to escape in the middle of the night in order to flee a childhood of abuse and go to school beyond the Amish eighth grade. The Amish religion, an insular fundamentalist form of Christian Protestantism that falls under the Anabaptist umbrella, forbids their members from acquiring an education that would ease the transition away from the Church and into mainstream society. Educational deprivation is in the best interest of the Amish institution: it is its most effective tool to keep children from questioning and challenging the authority of over three hundred years’ worth of male-only leadership.

In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Amish religion’s rights outweigh my individual rights to religious freedom, equal protection, and an adequate education. This ruling not only violates children’s constitutional rights, but it enables and fosters a gamut of child abuse. Sexual assault runs rampant within the Amish, children and women don’t know that they have rights as American citizens, and most individuals who make the leap to the outside suffer greatly due to a lack of culturally competent support.

After graduating from Columbia University, I founded The Amish Heritage Foundation to address these crises, with the hope that a time will come when losing the only world one has ever known isn’t the price to pay for safety and freedom.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

The Amish Revolution that Led to Wisconsin v. Yoder

I was born traditional Amish1 in, at the time, a mostly farming community in Buchanan County, Iowa. From birth to age three, I lived on my maternal grandparents’ farm in the Doddy haus, the small house attached to the big farmhouse. At eleven years old, I consciously realized that practicing the Amish religion wasn’t for me. For four years I tried to figure out a way to escape from my abusive parents and the only world I knew, and how to provide for myself before I turned eighteen.2 I craved learning and I wanted to go to high school. None of my dreams were compatible with the Church’s rules, such as going to school beyond the Amish eighth grade, driving a car, and travelling around the world. These visions of a happier future were a coping mechanism to make it through an oppressive childhood.

1. I use the term “traditional Amish” instead of “Old Order Amish” to refer to those of us who prohibit electricity, cameras, and cars, among other things. “Traditional Amish” is what the general public understands as simply “Amish”—or most often thinks of when they hear or see things about the Amish. The “Old Order” label isn’t used by us in our language; neither did we invent that label. We refer to ourselves as just “Amish.” There are many groups who spun off from the Amish who include an adjective with the word “Amish” as part of their group’s identity and to separate themselves from us traditional Amish. Such spin-off groups include Beachy Amish and New Order Amish, who are theologically different from and more modern (in terms of material conveniences) than traditional Amish. To make things even more confusing, there are groups within the traditional Amish who also identify themselves as “[adjective]” Amish. E.g., Swartzentruber Amish and Swiss Amish. They aren’t more modern or liberal than the range of traditional Amish but want to be identified as other than just Amish.

2. I didn’t want to graduate from high school at age twenty-one; I felt I needed to escape before I was four years older than the rest of my classmates.


I’m sometimes asked what the defining moment was—the moment I realized at age eleven that I needed to escape. That knowing crystalized when I asked my father to explain how airplanes could fly in the air. “Don’t ask dumb questions.” One corner of my father’s lip curled up. He glared at me and I knew never to ask that question again. I also knew that he didn’t know the answer. If he had, he would’ve told me. In that moment I realized that something was very wrong with a religion that made it a sin for a child to learn how planes flew.

To prepare myself for my escape, I started to read the local daily newspaper, which was my only source of information about the outside. One day the paper ran a front page story about a boy who became emancipated.3 The article explained that a sixteen-year-old could be given the rights of an eighteen-year-old if they were abused by their parents. The list of different forms of abuse included educational deprivation. Ah! I thought, That’s how I can leave and go to high school before I turn eighteen. They’ll have to emancipate me when I tell them about Wisconsin v. Yoder.4 Throughout my childhood, I endured a range of abuse—physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, religious, and sexual—from my parents and other members in the community, but I felt that expressing the desire to go to school would be the path of least resistance toward obtaining my freedom. (Even in 2020, emancipation isn’t a provision for all states; in Ohio, currently the state with the largest Amish population, there’s no legal process by which a minor may petition the court to become emancipated.)

3. I don’t know the article details for this story. I believe the story appeared in the Ludington Daily News in 1995 or 1996.

4. Wisconsin v. Yoder. 406 U.S. 205. Supreme Court of the United States. 1972. Supreme Court Collection, Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/406/205. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.


Not every Amish child is aware of the 1972 Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder, but I grew up hearing stories about it because the protests against state education laws started in the community I was born in. One or both of my parents and a number of aunts and uncles on both sides of the family were pupils when the 1965 “Amish revolution” made national headlines. I’ll come back to the details of this story in a bit. In the meantime, these protests led to Yoder.5

5. In legal speak, Yoder in italics refers to Wisconsin v. Yoder.


Yoder is what allowed the Amish to send their children to Amish-only schools, for only eight years, with an Amish-approved curriculum, taught by Amish teachers with no education beyond the eighth grade. It’s ironic that both my prohibition to learn and my freedom to learn came about because of Yoder. After my escape, one of my uncles who’d left the Amish got me an attorney who put me in front of a judge as soon as I turned sixteen. The judge ruled in my favor, citing Yoder as evidence that I was educationally deprived. It shouldn’t have been legal to emancipate me because Yoder agrees with the Church that, simply by virtue of my having been born inside the Amish Church, my only future is to remain an Amish housewife inside the Church. In the eyes of the federal government, as a child born Amish, I don’t have the right to any other future. I shouldn’t be sharing my story with you, wearing non-Amish clothes, having an Ivy League degree––or any degree––and living a life forbidden by the Amish religion and by the federal courts. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is explicitly denied to the entire population of Amish children post-1972. This is among the many reasons that Yoder needs to be overturned.

Yoder was and still is hailed as a landmark victory for religious freedom, but it was wrongly decided. It violates children’s human and constitutional rights, and furthermore, it enables and fosters child abuse, not only among the Amish but also among all other religious groups that use Yoder as a precedent for exemptions in the name of religious freedom. Yoder was instead, according to attorney and professor Marci Hamilton at the University of Pennsylvania, a landmark victory for extreme religious freedom and it remains an anomaly in the history of the Supreme Court.6 A special exemption was intended only for the Amish, but consequently that exemption affects all children in the us and on indigenous lands. Anyone can claim religious freedom as a reason for depriving a child from learning how to read.

6. Hamilton, Marci. God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty. Cambridge University Press, Revised 2nd ed., 2014.


But even claiming religious freedom isn’t a necessity to prevent a child from going to school, because the federal courts don’t hold that any citizen has a right to any education at all. Few Americans are aware of that. Today, several organizations are making the argument that citizens have an implicit federal right to an adequate education under the constitution, and that that right should be made explicit. If they were to succeed, such an explicit federal right would be meaningless as long as Yoder remains standing.

Over the course of the ten years prior to Yoder, my Iowa community protested the public school system’s attempt to transition Amish children out of rural one-room schools and into the consolidated local Independent School District.7 The ongoing battles between the Amish and the Iowa Department of Education8 came to a head in 1965 when what’s now an iconic photo made national news. The photo depicted Amish children fleeing to the cornfields to avoid being forced on to a school bus. One of the children in that photo is . . .

. . . my uncle.9

7. This paragraph and the following two are based on my memories from childhood stories and the following article: Clayworth, Jason and Rodney White. “1965 Amish school photo started rural revolution.” USA Today. Published May 12, 2015 in Des Moines Register. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/05/12/amish-lost-schools-iowa/27204767. Accessed 25 Mar. 2019.

8. The Iowa Department of Education was known as the Department of Instruction in 1965.

9. According to my uncle, he’s in that photo but I haven’t spoken to anyone else who’s confirmed that.


Public school officials in Oelwein, Iowa had sent the bus to an Amish-only school, Hickory Grove, expecting to pick up all the children and deliver them to the consolidated school. Having been notified about this plan by the school administrators the day before, some Amish parents stood waiting at Hickory Grove that morning. When the bus arrived and the officials tried to load the children up, one of the parents screamed, “Schpring! Schpring zu de velschken feldt! (“Run! Run to the cornfields!”) A photographer who’d accompanied the delegation that day snapped the photo that later went viral.

Outrage erupted from all parts of the us by those sympathetic to the Amish. That national outcry worked in the Amish’s favor. Local and state officials deemed the controversy a public relations nightmare and subsequently let the Amish Church educate their children without state-certified teachers.10

10. Throughout this time, my mother and her siblings attended an Amish-only school taught by a state-certified non-Amish teacher, Mrs. Nolan. Before and after 1965, the Amish in Buchanan County disagreed about whether their children should be taught by certified non-Amish or non-certified Amish teachers. My maternal aunts and uncles learned from the former, but my paternal grandparents sent their children to learn from the latter. The 1960s conflicts arose due to the issue of certification, not because the Amish children weren’t educated past the eighth grade, which was the point of contention later in Yoder.

End of Part 1

Click here for Part 2.

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.


]]>
34547
A Beautiful Poem from Mary Oliver to Guide You in the New Year https://www.amishheritage.org/a-beautiful-poem-from-mary-oliver-to-guide-you-in-the-new-year/ Fri, 01 Jan 2021 01:32:35 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34532 (Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

May this year be filled with unexpected good things for you. “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,” may you find solace in your imagination if there’s nowhere else to go. Because sometimes that’s all we have.

The poem below by Mary Oliver is my New Year’s inspiration (and the quotes I’m referencing). I sit here tonight reflecting on my past year and the one ahead. And because it’s the holiday season, inevitably I also think a ton about my childhood past years.

Those memories come connected with my favorite stories and books. In the past several years, I started a tradition of revisiting my childhood books and I’m always surprised by how much those stories influenced me. They made me believe in myself and feel that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I was different from everyone around me and the authors of those books guided me through a life that didn’t appreciate and value who I was. I owe so much to the writers for playing such a powerful role on my path. The world of imagination is no joke. I hope that I, too, will be a source of comfort and validation and inspiration for children long after I’m dead.

My 2021 vision is inspired by this. To create and produce good works/materials that will live on and make a difference for children, some of whom might also feel misunderstood and alone.

"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.


]]>
34532
5 Interesting Things About Christmas That Will Surprise You https://www.amishheritage.org/5-interesting-things-about-christmas-that-will-surprise-you/ Fri, 25 Dec 2020 20:12:34 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34478 Is Christmas really the day Jesus was born? Today’s topic is a history lesson about the true origins of Christmas and December 25. The first article includes more than five things that might surprise you, especially if you believe that Christmas is an original Christian holiday.

In addition, I’ve included some interesting articles related to the holiday season this year.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

History of Christmas
Amish
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/fGUU4m

https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas

EXCERPT: “By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced.”

SpaceX launches its 100th Falcon 9 rocket and uses its newly-upgraded Dragon capsule to send Christmas gifts to astronauts on the ISS
Amish Country
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/4SGqPMP

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9025895/SpaceX-Dragon-capsule-carries-Christmas-supplies-astronauts-ISS.html

EXCERPT: “Elon Musk owned SpaceX has launched its 100th Falcon 9 rocket, sending an upgraded Dragon capsule to the International Space Station with supplies and gifts.”

40 Easy DIY Christmas Gifts to Make for an Extra-Special Touch
Amish Carriage
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/fFNNxn

https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/holidays-celebrations/gifts/g33416427/diy-christmas-gifts/

EXCERPT: “Anyone who’s crafty knows how valuable DIY Christmas gifts are. Not only are they fun to make, but your friends and family will feel so touched to have something you made with your own hands.”

Santa delivers Christmas gifts to animals at Cincinnati Zoo
Amish Buggy
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/fGUSYq

https://www.wlwt.com/article/santa-delivers-christmas-gifts-to-animals-at-cincinnati-zoo/35047329

EXCERPT: “Santa delivered gifts to the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo on Tuesday, then quickly headed back to the North Pole to prepare for his busiest time of the year. All of the zoo animals were on Santa’s nice list, receiving some of their favorite enrichment items and treats.”

Millions Of Christmas Gifts May Arrive Late Due To Overload At The Postal Service
Amish County
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/dy1paM

https://www.npr.org/2020/12/23/949827797/millions-of-christmas-gifts-may-arrive-late-due-to-overload-at-the-postal-servic

EXCERPT: “If you’re the type to be disappointed by what’s under the Christmas tree, this year you may find yourself even more dismayed by what’s not under the tree. Millions of gifts may arrive late, as the U.S. Postal Service grapples with an unprecedented volume of packages from people shopping online, instead of at stores, and shipping holiday gifts instead of bringing them in person.”

Did you know that Amish American children are legally prohibited from going to school past the 8th grade?

This is thanks to 1972 US Supreme Court case, Wisconsin v. Yoder. Check out my post about that.
Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.


]]>
34478
A Seasons Greetings & Happy New Year Video – From Torah Bontrager and The Amish Heritage Foundation https://www.amishheritage.org/a-seasons-greetings-happy-new-year-video-from-torah-bontrager-and-the-amish-heritage-foundation/ Fri, 25 Dec 2020 17:00:31 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34418

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year! 2020 has been hard for so many of us. May 2021 be better for all of us.

Some 2020 highlights

Highlight #1

Helped Amish American refugee escapees become documented.

Highlight #2

Filmed a documentary about our work, the sexual abuse crises in the Amish, and the need for ensuring Amish children receive an adequate education.

Highlight #3

Grew our body of credible Amish literature with more interviews, talks, and research.

Some 2021 Goals

Goal #1

Reach more people with our message and work.

Goal #2

Get the funding we need in order to continue our work.


“Education should train the child to use their brains, to make for themself a place in the world and maintain their rights even when it seems that society would shove them into the scrap-heap.” – Helen Keller

The quote from Helen Keller is my 2021 mantra.

Did you know that Mennonite professors (e.g., John Roth at Goshen College) and otherwise pro-education Mennonite men (e.g., Herman Bontrager, trustee of Eastern Mennonite University) tell me that Amish children don’t deserve an education past the Amish 8th grade?

That we Amish children aren’t suffering in any way from having an average of a 5th grade reading and 3rd or 4th grade arithmetic level?

Many good wishes for the coming year and may it be better for all of us!
Torah and all of us at the Amish Heritage Foundation

Did you know that Amish American children are legally prohibited from going to school past the 8th grade?

This is thanks to 1972 US Supreme Court case, Wisconsin v. Yoder. Check out my post about that.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.


]]>
34418
3 Reasons Why Technology Is Forbidden in the Amish https://www.amishheritage.org/3-reasons-why-technology-is-forbidden-in-the-amish/ Tue, 22 Dec 2020 20:32:40 +0000 https://www.amishheritage.org/?p=34505 “Why do the Amish shun technology?” or “Why do some Amish have cell phones and others don’t?” are questions I get asked quite often.

Below are 3 answers that will help you understand, in a nutshell, what’s going on.

#1

As a general broad rule among traditional Amish, owning or having x technology or modern convenience is approved of by the Church only if it’s a necessity for earning an income. E.g., To date, electricity hasn’t been a necessity to keep food on the table, which is why Amish homes don’t have electricity.

EXCEPTION: Some Amish on the most modern end of the traditional Amish spectrum allow electricity powered by solar in their businesses; there might even be some who are allowed to use it in their homes, but those would be communities or case-by-case families in the vast minority.

NOTE: It’s important to not confuse the Church’s actual mandates with those individuals or families who are breaking or bending Church law by having solar power in their homes.

#2

What is approved of by the Church varies from community to community. That’s why some Amish have cell phones or land lines, and others don’t. Over the past 25 years, more and more Amish communities on the very strict end of the spectrum have been allowing even cell phones for those families whose occupation depends on non-Amish so much that not having a cell phone would mean not being able to earn enough of an income to feed their family.

NOTE: Cell phones, even in communities on the most modern end of the spectrum, aren’t supposed to be taken into the house. The official Church law is that cell phones must remain in a building or location outside, for the same reason that . . .

. . . land phones aren’t allowed inside the house. The reasoning for that is that phones are considered a necessary evil technology and by mandating physical distancing, one is less tempted to do sinful or idle things with the phone.

Again, a ton of rule-breaking or rule-bending goes on. E.g., If you see Amish kids or men on smart phones, that’s officially breaking Church law. They’re supposed to use only flip phones (the less technologically advanced, the less sinful….)

#3

An important concept to be aware of is that Church law distinguishes between the using of or benefiting from technology and the owning of technology. Unfortunately, how those lines are drawn aren’t universal, except in rare cases. What’s approved of varies so much, from community to community, and situation to situation.

Did you know that Amish American children are legally prohibited from going to school past the 8th grade?

This is thanks to 1972 US Supreme Court case, Wisconsin v. Yoder. Check out my post about that.

E.g., It’s universally forbidden for us to drive a car, but we can pay non-Amish to chauffeur us every day all year. And in communities that forbid even phones in barns, it’s not breaking Amish law to run to the non-Amish neighbor and use their phone to make emergency calls or coordinate certain events (e.g., funerals).

Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Torah
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
Amish Culture Courses: www.AmishHeritage.org/courses


FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/5Day

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.AmishHeritage.org/news

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers and law enforcement. Email me for more info.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.AmishHeritage.org/courses to view all of our Amish Culture courses available to you. New courses added monthly.


]]>
34505