Amish Culture - Essay 2

Topics: Amish, Amish Mennonite, Mennonite Pages: 5 (1549 words) Published: May 7, 2012
Rebels of society are often times considered deviate and choose not to adhere to society’s customs and norms. However, would one consider the Amish communities as rebellious? The Amish are a unique subculture of the United States that do not adopt customs, norms, and lifestyles of the broader society (Sternheimer, 2012). Just because they set themselves apart from social norms, does not make them deviate. The Amish is an old religious group that originated in Europe. In the sixteenth century, Jakob Ammann and other devoted followers broke away from the Anabaptists and establish themselves as the Amish. Due to a disagreement with the laws and order set by the Anabaptist, the Amish felt the need to set themselves apart. Largely, order of worship and dress is what distinguish the Amish from the Anabaptist (Powell, 2012). Due to religious wars, poverty, and religious persecution in England during the eighteenth century, the Amish began to migrate to America—Pennsylvania in particular. Now, the Amish communities has spread to regions of Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maine, and Canada (Kraybill, Nolt, and Johnson-Weiner, 2012). In depth, the Amish social organization, gender relations, and beliefs are customs that are held strong in their community and will be observed in this text.

The Amish are stereotyped as having “distinctive dress and horse-drawn buggies” (Kraybill, 1989). They are also known for the not using current technology and sticking to old, conservative ways. There are four distinct types of Amish communities: Beachy Amish, Amish Mennonites, New Order Amish, and Old Order Amish. The Older Order and New Order Amish groups do not use public utility electricity and use horse-and-buggy transportation. However, “the Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites own automobiles and use public utility electricity” (Kraybill, Nolt, and Johnson-Weiner, 2012). Most Amish groups as a whole, however, dismiss car, television, and radio and computer ownership. They also forbid electricity usage and self-propelled farm machinery usage. Interestingly, most Amish communities outlaw attending college, joining the military and initiating divorce (Kraybill, Nolt, and Johnson-Weiner, 2012). However, the social organization is more complex than those simple generalizations. Just as many other communities in society, the Amish community is diverse. One level of diversity is the economic range. There is a wide range of impoverished and wealthy communities. Secondly, there is a variety of language. Some communities speak German or Swiss, while others speak English (Kraybill, Nolt, and Johnson-Weiner, 2012). The primary mode of subsistence in the Amish community is farming. The agriculture way of life provides the typical Amish family with its necessities. Family farming helps maintain the community financially and provides food, by raising livestock and various crops. The average size farm is about ninety-six acres. However, working outside of farming has become increasingly necessary because of the recession and the decline of availability in land (Rank, 2011). In concerns of government and order, “the Amish emphasize the separation of church and state. They prefer not to receive subsidies from government programs.” Therefore, the Amish choose not to participate in paying Social Security because they consider it a form of insurance. Yet, they do pay state and federal income taxes, sales, real estate taxes, and public school taxes. Typically, the Amish do not serve in government committees or commissions, and avoid holding public office and engaging in political activism. However, they do practice their rights in consulting with local officials (Kraybill, Nolt, and Johnson-Weiner, 2012). Many people who live outside of the Amish community disagree with their social order; therefore, causing...
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