Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Amish are coming…to Missouri!


I just read this piece over at StLToday.com about a local community’s negative response to some new Amish neighbors.

Standard StlToday.com comment section warning – their comment section is regularly patrolled by trolls who may or may not drop rancid nuggets which will stay where they've been dropped because the only people regularly patrolling the comment section of StLToday are trolls.

Shall we?

My home state of Missouri is seeing an increase in the Amish population.  I found that interesting since most of the population shifts we’ve seen have been folks fleeing the state. 

One would think that the Amish would be welcome in the parts of the state they are moving to…but apparently that’s not the case.

According to the article, locals are not happy with the Amish because the Amish are…well, Amish.  They are religious, live separate from the modern world, drive buggies, dress differently, are pacifists and have their own schools.  The confusion about whether the Amish pay taxes has been out there a long time…and general misunderstanding about that issue has also taxed the wig of some locals. 

It’s worthy of note that the Amish are moving into Don’t Tread On Me territory in Missouri…so animosity toward them is particularly hypocritical given that the Amish have been living true to that motto from jump.

In many ways the negative reaction to the Amish is typical and another example of how humans react to difference.  But because the difference here is religious…and this state has a lot of folks who claim that religion in general and Christianity in particular is under attack by socialist lefty communist political correctitude…well, I find this negative reaction to a conservative Christian group moving in rather illuminating.

I’ve made a study of calls for American communities to integrate faith into everything from public schools to government.  A bitch has to give supporters of organized prayer in school their due – they’ve passed those Death Tax fools in the race to perpetuate nonsense for political gain and that’s quite an accomplishment.  The issue is and has been about organized prayer in the public school classroom, but when you hear people talk about it you’d think their little Missy had been stuck in the corner with a dunce cap for quietly praying before an algebra test.  Now that’s a masterful work of bullshittery!

People buy that bullshit because most of them can’t conceive of why there may be a problem with a teacher leading a class in prayer.

And people often can’t conceive the problem because the fact that teachers don’t lead public school students in organized prayer prevents the problem.

I was raised Baptist and never thought much about what that meant until I attended a Methodist Church and realized that there was a difference…and that the difference, though not extreme, made me uncomfortable.  And I’d never felt more Protestant than when I attended my first Catholic mass. 

Feeling difference, and the complicated emotions that come with it, increases when distance decreases.

Most folks who speak of building a Christian society…and yes, the Amish are Christians…are really talking about building a society around their specific version of Christianity.

Talk of bringing organized prayer to public schools is really a call to bring their kind of prayer to those classrooms.  Trust that the same people ranting about that shit would get litigious as hell if their Baptist child came home and tossed up a prayer at bedtime for Mary to pray for them.

Tis also true that calls for folks to tune in and drop out on a Don’t Tread On Me tip are really calls for folks to get their anti-government on in a certain kind of way.

Sigh.

As Karen Johnson-Weiner, professor of anthropology at State University of New York at Potsdam, says in the StLToday.com article "That's the problem when you enshrine religious freedom in the Constitution: Some people take you up on it."

Sigh again.

Keep an eye out for buggies on the road, y'all!

4 comments:

Rileysdtr said...

That's what always confused me about the issue - "prayer in schools" meaning whose prayers, exactly? If you want your kids to absorb tenets of Faith as part of their general education, do what my folks did and pony up private school tuition... we kicked off every morning with a Hail Mary and the Pledge of Allegiance and enunciated clearly so we didn't get our butts beat by the nuns.

I admire the tenaciousness of the Amish, but hate like hell their puppy mills..... and their attitudes on women aren't my cup of tea.

Ashleas said...

Sure. I'd be all for prayer in school on a number of conditions.

1. You would not force me, nor any of my hypothetical children, nor any child to pray to any God, Goddess or Diety and said child will have an alternate activity, even if it is just sitting in the reading corner for five minutes, getting to play with legos or feed the fish or whatever.

2. Any child can pray to any God, Goddess or Diety that they want and not be ousted, taunted, or harassed for it. That includes Allah. That includes the Mother Goddess. That includes Cthulhu if that is your cup of tea.

What's that? Do I hear outrage about heathen children? That's what I thought.

Honestly, as I kid.. I followed along with my more .. religious relatives - said the prayers at Easter dinner cause apparently there's some law that you have to make the youngest child do that (I don't get it. Is it cute or indoctrination?), but the whole time while everyone sat around with their heads bowed and their eyes closed.. I had my eyes opened thinking "C'mon folks, can we just eat? God don't care."

I think most kids would do the same - tolerate it, while at the same time, rolling their eyes.

I think I lost my point along the way too... Ah well. Sorry. :/

EHR said...

I've become convinced in the last few months that modern-day conservatives have become what they claim to hate most: communists who believe that everyone is (or should be) the same and lives (or should live) the same way, so that everyone is (or should be) treated the same. Of course, you and I know that that doesn't work - that there are too many differences for that to work and that there always will be differences - but conservatives would rather just get mad at those of us who "choose" to be different for making that choice.

Anonymous said...

Live and let live. These people have the right to their religion, culture, and beliefs. Isn't it better than drug dealers and thugs moving in?