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When the “Amish” ain’t “Amish” enough…

January 9, 2013

Well, we are back in Halifax after the holidays. The Mayan world did not end. The American fiscal cliff has been put off for another day. And (First Nations) people are again protesting in the streets (but that’s for another day).

The strangest news story – and one of the great signs of our times – that came my way over the holidays is the New York Times article I happened upon one afternoon in a Toronto cafe about some Amish parents in Ohio who were assaulted by their own grown children for not “being Amish enough”. 

The group of young adults had worked together to hold down their parents and cut their fathers’ beards, and their mothers’ hair, because, they said, they didn’t deserve to look Amish, because they were not strict enough, in following the tenants of their faith.

After dealing with their own parents, the wandering group went on to assault other Amish community members they deemed faithfully inadequate.

(If anyone wishes to look into the eyes of the fundamentalist thinking – whether it is Jew, Christian, or Muslim – here is a prime example of that way of thinking; and what people will do in the name of their faith.)

The community was finally forced to have the police intervene and the police have charged members of the group with “hate crimes”, “conspiracy to commit a crime”, and “destroying evidence”.

Now everyone in the community thinks that the charges have gone too far – the parents have come out and said their children only acted out of “compassion” (a bit of a stretch-but as a parent I understand where they are coming from) – but, how we would apply hate laws say if a group of Christians were going around cutting Muslim mens’ beard, or a Muslim group was cutting (male) Orthodox Jew’s Pe’ots (ringlets)?

But, what for me, was the sign of the times, is the idea that the growing political conservatism of our times affects all communities. That religious orthodoxy turns a child on his/her own parents. And then on their own community.

Human Rights, as we have come to define them in a multi-cultural United Nations universe, may have reached its high-point in History, and will be, over this century, eroded back and away from the individual and onto the group/tribe/state (whatever you want to call it).

When Amish kids start accusing their parents of not being “religious” enough – you know the shit is starting to hit the fan.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. yourothermotherhere permalink
    January 9, 2013 3:21 pm

    How strange.

  2. Marcia Weiner permalink
    January 9, 2013 10:24 pm

    Hi Sherwood,

    Wow, this is scary! Thanks for sending it on. And thanks for all the photos. I must say they were sobering as I looked at myself. What happened? I am 21, nor 51 no longer.


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