A reader writes:

I am sure there must be some Amish kids that are gay. I wonder how their parents and church handle this, as well as how the gay kids deal with it. Any idea where I might find this info?

The short answer–and like Amish views on divorce, this isn’t really something you can soft-pedal–is that Amish view homosexual behavior as a sin. Amish feel strongly about this and you aren’t going to get a lot of variation or leeway on the issue.

Like other sexual sin, it is considered serious and would be expected to be confessed and likely result in some form of discipline.  In practice I don’t know how often this actually happens.  In Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years, Richard Stevick writes that “Amish themselves are confident that homosexuality in their communities is extremely rare. They simply do not consider it a pressing issue.”

I think it’s safe to say that in any population of size there are going to be individuals who have homosexual feelings, and the Amish are no exception.  But compared to non-Amish, in an Amish context it is simply going to be more difficult to act on those feelings.  This is both because of the Amish lifestyle–being openly gay and Amish is unheard of–as well as the strong belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Frankly if you are homosexual and Amish, there is a decent chance you won’t be Amish forever. For those who wish to remain Amish, counseling may enter the picture.  Like other sinners, Amish know that homosexual people need love too.  However since homosexual behavior is so stigmatized, it may be particularly difficult to deal with in an Amish context.

In mass society, homosexuality has been largely mainstreamed (I found it telling that in a recent survey the average respondent believed 25% of the US population to be homosexual-note: the reality is likely much less-according to this analysis, around 3.5% of adults).  This is not the case among Amish, nor is it likely to ever be.

Note: Comments are now closed on this post.  I explain why here.  The comments which were already posted are still viewable below.

  • Tom

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 06:26)   Edit

    Wow. This is a subject I have thought about for a long time and have searched the web for any information and have found nothing. Wish there were studies on this, you must be ex-Amish or living a hell on earth life if you are a gay Amish person. Thanks.

    Reply to Comment

  • Slightly-handled-Order-man

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 06:46)   Edit

    the gay Amish bachelor

    I seem to recall an Amish America report on lifelong bachelors among the faithful who never marry, or perhaps marry late. Could this occurrence, bachelorism, in Amish society be an outlet for a homosexual person in such a strict faith?

    Reply to Comment

  • mark

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 07:44)   Edit

    There is almost certainly a higher percentage of gay men among the Amish than in the general population considering their large families and studies showing that a boy’s chances of being gay increase with birth order. I.e. it is statistically more like for the second son to be gay than the first, for the third than the second, for the fourth than the third, etc… The explanation I’ve seen for this is that the uterine environment changes hormonally with each pregnancy and those hormonal changes result in an insignificant masculinization of the brains of developing male fetuses.

    Of course, the overall difference would be small. Certainly, the figure wouldn’t be as high as 25%. Seriously, what planet did the respondents of that poll live on?

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Casey

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 09:24)   Edit

      Mark, Just a thought..you ask how such a large number of people can think that 25% of the population is gay….very easily if you follow what the national news covers. There is a gay issue bought up daily. It would not be difficult to believe that these are of extreme importance to a very large segment of the population.

      Reply to Comment

      • mark

        Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 13:01)   Edit

        I get that, but come on. If 25% of people were gay we’d have gone extinct long ago. :). But seriously, don’t people think past what’s on the media? I mean, are 25% of people in their families, at their work, etc… gay?

        I remember hearing about a similar poll that showed that whites thought blacks were 40% of the population. The actual number is 15% Maybe something similar is at work there.

        Reply to Comment

        What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

      • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 16:37)   Edit

        It can make sense when you see what has gone on in this blog post. Suddenly all kinds of posters show up, hinting that they know of gay Amish, insinuating this or that, all with a subtle message.
        Those of us who visit and comment regularly on Amish America can recognize the high percentage of new posters on this page. What some people fail to realize is that all it takes on an open forum like this is for one person to sign in under several email accounts and create the illusion that there are a whole bunch of people out there on their side of the issue … in this case the gay agenda. Read down through this post now that it has been up for a day or so and just see if you dont get the feeling that there are probably all kinds of gay Amish lurking out there.
        But those of us who have grown up Amish or spent decades working and living among them know the facts. Of the thousands of Amish and ex-Amish, Mennonites and ex-Mennonites, Brethren, Apostolic Christian, Hutterites … I have yet to personally meet one that claims to be gay.
        Again, all it takes is one activist on an open blog like this to create an illusion of many. But to those of us who are familiar with the regular contributors and their writing styles (an activist can read other pages and imitate the same names of other posters, giving the illusion of being a regular contributor), this page’s comments certainly carry a lot of suspicion. I dont see some of the names of those who I genuinely know are ex-Amish and Mennonite.
        In our conservative Anabaptist churches, the issue of homosexuality is rarely even discussed. Why? It’s a foregone conclusion that when one has come to the place where he/she debates about whether it is an acceptable practice, he/she has already lost their way some where a long ways ago. It is like discussing whether murder or bank robbery is acceptable …
        Jacob Amman (from whom the Amish got their name) wrote:
        Nevertheless, in this way we may surely conform to God’s Word and say: If a miser does not turn from his selfishness, and a fornicator from his fornication, and a drunkard from his drunkenness, or other immoralities, [they are] thereby separated from the Kingdom of God, and if he does not improve himself through a pious, penitent life, such a person is no Christian and will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And if he is judged, we are not the ones who judge, rather Scripture judges. Just as Christ says: Whoever denounces me and rejects my teachings, the word that I have spoken has already judged him and will judge him on the last Day. For we know well that God saves no one apart from His Word, for it is truth and there is no lie in it. Where there is no faith, no new birth or rebirth, no penance and improvement, over these Christ has already passed judgment, for He says: If you do not believe that I am the One, then you will die in your sins.”

        Reply to Comment

        What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

        • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 17:54)   Edit

          Idealizing the Amish?

          My point in posting this was to underscore that, in contrast to much of mainstream society, this behavior is viewed as unequivocally sinful and not acceptable to Amish…and to look at how Amish might deal with this situation when and if it occurs. I didn’t really expect agendas to enter the picture, but in hindsight that was pretty naive of me.

          With all respect, however, I do think that the idea that of thousands and thousands of Amish, ex-Amish, etc, that not one would have dealt with homosexuality, to be frankly pretty hard to believe, and also a bit of idealizing the Amish.

          After all, if Amish are human and sinful by nature, why would they be immune, across-the-board, to this particular issue? I’ve run into this view before, and I find it rather baffling, but okay. I’m also not surprised when people say they’ve never met someone with an Amish background who’s openly told them they were homosexual. I’d imagine that’s not the most comfortable thing to share in most circumstances.

          At this point I’m not really interested in maintaining a forum for this topic, so my apologies. The reason, frankly, is that it is too much of an energy drain and inevitably gets into pretty negative territory (though some of these contributions were interesting to read). No offense to anyone here.

          So if anyone would like to make a final civil comment, go ahead now as I’ll be closing comments on this post soon. I hope you understand.

          Reply to Comment

          What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

          • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 18:17)   Edit

            You are correct, Erik, that Amish people deal with the same temptations as other people. After all, there have been Amish rapes, incest, and other similar sins, including a few murders. My comments were given to give us all a heads up to what happens to public opinion via website/newsites comments. Big companies have also been known to hire people to give them good PR on the web (Wikipedia articles are a common target), and it is not just related to social and political issues.
            My citation of not knowing any personally was not meant to say that none exists–I obviously only know a small percentage–but perhaps I should confess to feeling that someone needs to voice the other side of the issue, from within the conservative Anabaptist community.
            You are a brave man, though, Erik. How about trying something on the socialism vs. capitalism next? :). Or the Arab/Israeli conflict? More reader comments does drive up web stats you know! :).  Just keep that hardhat on!

            Reply to Comment

            What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

            • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 18:35)   Edit

              Sure thing, and I appreciate you taking that stance. I do really appreciate reader comments and insights–and I also appreciate the topic suggestions, but think I’ll steer clear of those for now! :).

              Reply to Comment

          • Galen

            Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 21:13)   Edit

            Erik,
            Thanks for letting us share and make our comments concerning a difficult subject.
            Galen

            Reply to Comment

    • Valerie

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 06:02)   Edit

      Not in my observation

      Mark, I have known quite a few gays in my adult life & only one of them would fit in this theory. The rest, totally not. Science tries to explain away God’s truth & can be a great deception. It is a Last Days attempt to deceive the multitudes away from truth. This prophecy has come to pass: 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
      We have entered this time-
      Another sign that we have entered the last of the Last Days before Christ returns for His Church: 2 Timothy 3: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lowers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.

      Who could deny that these prophecies have not come to pass?

      Reply to Comment

      What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Alvin

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 08:56)   Edit

    Having grown up Amish I must say the chances of being homosexual are extremely rare.It is a subject that was rarely spoken about simply because an Amish person very rarely came in contact with an openly gay person. Growing up I never heard of a gay Amish person or Ex-Amish for that matter.However about six month ago i read an article about an ExAmish man, Eli Stutzman,who was openly gay plus he spent quite a few years in prison on drug and murder charges.Personaly I think the few individuals that have homosexual feelings never come out of the closet or they leave the Amish community simply because you can’t be an Amish church member and homosexual.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Stephen

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 09:30)   Edit

    25% ?

    Wow, there’s no way 25 percent of folks are gay, and I say that as a gay person.

    I have long doubted the often quoted 10 percent figure for men is even true.

    As for finding gay folk among the Amish – I would think that the whole way Amish society is set up would make it largely self-eliminating of gays and lesbians.

    As well, up until fairly recently, it was very hard to live as a gay or lesbian person in a rural area just owning to the higher, non-anonymous way of life that rural living entails to begin with.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • mark

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 13:04)   Edit

      The General Social Survey asks people their sexual orientation. I remember reading that for men raised in uber-liberal homes about 6% were gay, which would seem to be the upper limit, since these men have few reasons to stay closeted. Lesbians are fewer.

      Reply to Comment

  • Matt from CT

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 09:40)   Edit

    >.you ask how such a large number of people can think that 25%
    >of the population is gay….very easily if you follow what the
    >national news covers.

    Or some of the popular TV shows. If you take the core characters of Glee…between those who are gay on the show, and those who are gay in real life but straight on the show…you’d be right around that 25% mark.

    Always makes me chuckle when the political left villifies Rupert Murdoch for Fox News…when the Fox TV network he also owns and is the namesake of Fox News is one of the main cultural bastions if not for the left, then at least undermining traditional “family values” and concepts of what you can get away with on TV in prime time.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 09:45)   Edit

    The cause of homosexuality is quite clearly outlined in the Bible:

    Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. …. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: …. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    And the next verse gives the summary of why people turn into homosexuals:
    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

    When we turn away from God willfully, perversion is our doom. Of course, the homosexual agenda has so taken over the mass media of our nation in the last years so that it is now politically incorrect to call sodomy perversion. And they are trying really, really hard to convince us all that we are more homosexual than we think. If we tell ourselves enough times that we are sick, we probably will become sick.
    If people dont want God to rule over them, He will not force Himself upon them. But they will have to suffer the consequences of their decision.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Christy Wickhorst

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 11:44)   Edit

      The Truth

      Couldn’t have said it any better, it does not matter what you are. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God and that an abomination is something God hates. There is simply no getting around God’s Word, it is the truth!

      Reply to Comment

    • Dena

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 12:51)   Edit

      Best and most logical answer Primitive.

      Reply to Comment

    • mark

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 13:10)   Edit

      Oh, is that why people are gay? I suppose we can set the science aside, then. You know, the science that you make use of on a daily basis. It has nothing to teach us on an issue that you find offensive.

      Reply to Comment

  • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 12:58)   Edit

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    Kinda seems if you’re gonna quote scripture that you ought to also quote where is says that having slaves is moral, eating shellfish is a sin and stoning women is also acceptable. And, oh by the way, the Bible was written by men, and edited over and over again by — you guessed it more men. So, taking it so literally seems rather naive. But hey, you’ve got a right to believe in whatever you’d like, just don’t force it on others. It’s actually an Amish belief, live and let live!

    Being formerly Amish, I knew Amish men and woman who I think, looking back, were gay and lesbian. I had an uncle who never married and still contributed to the community and I suspect he was gay for various other reasons. And to just clarify, my group of Amish never judged as harshly as you describe, Erik. Homosexuality was more or less off the radar and it was never described as “sin”. It was never construed in such a negative light — more off the radar, like you mentioned.

    Thanks for posting this, Erik. While I realize that you’ve got a few ‘Thumpers’, it’s nice to see that others are curious about such an interesting topic.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Tom

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 14:07)   Edit

      Marcus,
      I enjoyed your comments about scripture and finding scripture to support your personal view. Much has been made of a “Biblical Marriage”. Read genesis 2:24, Genesis 16, Exodus 21:4,
      Numbers 31: 1-18, Deuteronomy 21: 11-14 and Deuteronomy 22: 28-29 and pick the one you like the best.

      Reply to Comment

    • Valerie

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 06:11)   Edit

      Marcus, I feel sad when I read your post. I understand you wanting to be outside of Amish if that is for you. But in reading your posts I see so much influence of the world in your thoughts (mainly because I’ve read them many times elsewhere). When people share scriptures it is with the purpose of helping people see the truth not to thump on people. If you knew a family was in a burning house would you not try to save them? If you believe the Bible is God’s truth would you not want to save people from eternal damnation? You say it was written by men. 2 Timoth 3:16 says “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It is God breathed-The Creator of the universe is bigger than errors you see through translations-He wants us to KNOW HIM! Because of His great love for us.
      Jesus quoted scripture all the time, for those who didn’t want to receive it I suppose you might see Him as a “thumper” but I see him as my loving Savior who wants a relationship with me, and I love Him and that relationship and just want others to know this too! The truth will set you free.

      Reply to Comment

      What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

      • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 12:03)   Edit

        Valerie, thank you for sharing your well-meaning thoughts. If they make you more compassionate for others, that’s a very honorable thing. As much as I share your passion, I was curious to know more and to expand myself beyond what was told to me in my religious upbringing. Thus, my reason for leaving the order. I studied and traveled and broadened my mind. And, while you have a right to your opinions, beliefs, and passions, I know your reaching out is from a place of love. Just know that God is everywhere, in the leaves, in nature, in everything. But looking through life with only a biblical filter is narrow, limiting and ultimately not for me. Please respect that and please, please, please stop proselytizing!
        Thank you.

        Reply to Comment

        What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 14:39)   Edit

    Thanks, Tom. Not really interested. And, not this seems off-topic as we were not discussing marriage. We were discussing Amish views of homosexuality. Not that relevant to me anyway as I’m agnostic.

    I will say that you will never see or hear an Amish person speak unkindly about gays and lesbians — unlike so many in the evangelical movement. Judgement is really something left to God, at least in the Anabaptist tradition. There are so many more important things to be focused on like feeding the growing number of poor and hungry. If quoting biblical scripture helps guide you through life, that’s fine. But don’t expect others to subscribe to your beliefs, nor judge them either.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Tom

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 14:55)   Edit

      Marcus,
      I know a few Amish that are not so kind and nonjudgmental when it comes to gays. I sure would like to sit down and have a discussion with you some day. Have a great weekend.

      Reply to Comment

      • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 16:03)   Edit

        That’s unfortunate to hear, Tom. Which Amish community are you familiar with? Yes, it would be good to sit down with you one day.

        Reply to Comment

  • Maggie

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 14:59)   Edit

    I know the numbers change all the time, depending on who you listen to, but the CDC, and other national polls, have been consistently saying it is less than 5% that are gay in our society.

    My husband deals with statistics like this with his work, and says that they really think the number is more like 2%. The gay society would like for us all to think it is more like 25% however, for their agendas.

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 16:00)   Edit

      Maggie, you may not have meant it, as text has no tone, but your post came off as s bit insensitive. Who cares what percentage gay people make up of the general population — whatever the number is, there is no excuse to continue to allow for the daily inequalities Gay Americans face everyday with job discrimination, marriage inequality, no survivor benefits from social security, no hospital visitations, higher federal tax rates and the list goes on and on.

      You could say the same about the Amish in that they are a small group, a tiny percent of the population — does this make them any less valid? Their religious beliefs are at least recognized and specific rights are afforded to them because of those beliefs. Now, I don’t hear anyone talking about the “Amish Agenda”, do you?

      Is it really American for the majority to impose their will over the minority? I think not. So, pardon me if I speak out about the inequalities I face — if this is part of the “Gay Agenda” then so be it!

      Reply to Comment

      What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

      • Matt from CT

        Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 18:12)   Edit

        I think Donald is being overly sensitive to it rather Maggie’s post being insensitive.

        Maggie’s post was pretty neutral — giving the facts, and that overstating it does serve a definitive political agenda.

        The gay rights movement (and some others) don’t want the Government to judge people by their relationships; just if their actions are between two consenting adults. And that’s a standard I don’t have a problem with.

        At the same time, they want a special social status conferred by the state based upon a “loving” relationship.

        For the few who actually go beyond that and simply say any two persons who can legally enter into a contract should be able to form a domestic partnership…most on the gay rights movement pull back, because removing “loving” (or a sexual relationship) as a presumptive prerequisite for a marriage would undermine their attempt to use that status to effect changes in society’s attitudes.

        The don’t want the government to regulate conduct in the bedroom; at the same time they want the presumption of conduct in the bedroom to remain a requirement for a legal partnership to be formed. To simply view the civil portion of it as a contract would reduce the impact of what they’re trying to show by being married.

        (I am in the camp of abolishing civil “marriage”; let the legal union be a domestic partnership that any two competent persons may form, and leave “marriage” as an approximately parallel but solely religious status, the rules for which each religion may set.)

        Reply to Comment

        What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

        • Lattice

          Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 20:45)   Edit

          Well, Matt, I have to say that I was not even remotely interested in participating in this discussion, but your answer was so informative and intelligent, I just wanted to tell you so.

          You commented, “(I am in the camp of abolishing civil “marriage”; let the legal union be a domestic partnership that any two competent persons may form, and leave “marriage” as an approximately parallel but solely religious status, the rules for which each religion may set.)

          That’s an excellent idea, and one that everyone should be able to live happily with.

          Reply to Comment

          What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Carolyn B

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 15:15)   Edit

    Erik, thank you for writing this blog in an attempt to answer a reader. I admire your courage & sensitivity in dealing with such a delicate & divisive topic.

    Reply to Comment

  • Galen

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 16:11)   Edit

    I am gay and have known it as far back as nursery school and kindergarden. Back then, many mother’s blamed themselves, including my own. I grew up Nazerene and I sat through many a sermon as a youngster were they cast me down and compared being gay to beastiality. I have been prayed upon and prayed for many times. I’ll spare the coming out story but I would like to say this. Who would opt for this lifestyle? I’ve lost jobs, family and friends over it.

    It is so easy for the Christian right to judge something that they really don’t know much about, unless they are gay themselves. I also find it amusing what things we take as literal in the Bible and then the things people “choose” to not. “if you have a rebeliious child, take him outside and stone him to death.” or “a woman’s head should not be shaven.” My German Dutch Grandmother too this so far in extreme that she never cut her hair her entire life resulting in her hair falling out. I remember as a niave kid asking, “Grandma, where in the Bible does it say you can wear a wig?…..maybe God wants you to be bald Grandma.” I meant no disrespect as I was about 5 yts old.

    Please: I don’t want this to spark anti-gay attacks or critcisim, as this is not the purpose of this article nor this post. I merely prefaced this because I have met many gay men when I’ve visited Amish Country (Lancaster) so I know that there are more than people realize (or even want to).

    Most Amish gay men and women leave come Rumspringa and don’t return. A select few will tell their families out of respect for the truth as they don’t want to lie, while most will not want to sadden themk and I guess out of respect do not want to burden them.

    They say a mother always knows, and I would think that could apply to the Amish as well.

    The Bible says to Love one another and not judge. I have studied the Bible exensively. Did you know it’s a sin to mix Rayon with Cotton?

    Lastly, there is an underground network of sorts, that helps the Amish when they run away for all kinds of reasons and being gay heppens to be just one of those.

    There is a book written by an Amish man and it’s about him being gay. I think his publishing the book could have been very therapuetic in it’s own right, acting almost like therapy for the author.

    Erik, I understand if you would rather not post this to your site. I don’t want to start a huge debate. These gay men that I’ve mentioned not only have had to deal with the stigma that comes with being gay (whether you’re English or Amish) but also the loss of their Amish family as a result of blantant hatred. It is one thing to be banned for something you have control over while the other is being under the ban for something you don’t.

    Yes many argue “well, then just do not act on it and you’ll be fine” is many people’s approach, sadly, including my parents.

    Reply to Comment

    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Valerie

      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 05:49)   Edit

      To Galen

      Galen,
      My heart does go out to you. I won’t pretend to understand how in nursery school you could already realize this. But I hear your torment. I’m of the belief that ANY, not just gay, sex outside of God’s perfect plan is never going to do what it deceives people in to claiming it will satisfy. I don’t believe there will ever be true peace no matter how common this becomes in society. Any passion out of order, whether this kind or adults for children, or lust for someone outside one’s own marriage-or heterosexuals living together outside of marriage is sin, and the Lord wants us to be fulfilled not based on satisfying these passions but by a relationship with Him. As He said to the woman at the well who had 5 husbands (a life out of order) “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst, but the water that I give him will become to him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13,14. We ALL have need of this Living Water Jesus offers freely-or we will keep thirsting for that which does not bring peace nor satisfy.
      Please consider visiting www.exodusinternational.org. There are many who have walked in your shoes. I hope you don’t mind me sharing but your story gripped my heart.

      Reply to Comment

      What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 16:22)   Edit

    I remember reading a thesis on gays and lesbians being young in the 40s, 50s and 60s in Sweden and one of the things that surprised me was that most of the informants in this thesis got married even though the majority were clear on their attractions to the their own sex before they married. They often explained it as seeing marriage and sexuality as two different things. Some of these people also had sexual relationships with people they were attracted to while others were faithful to their spouse until death or divorce. Perhaps gay Amish have similar ways of compartmentalizing their sexuality and marriage and therefore disappear under the radar?

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 15th, 2012 at 21:59)   Edit

    It is interesting how one person can use different login names and email addresses and make it look like quite a few people have come out on the side of gay support (or whatever issue). It happens again and again on blogs and news comments. A small number of active activists can make a big impression that way.

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    • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 11:45)   Edit

      Oh dear, “Primitive Christianity”, I see you are living up to your handle! Please go spread your intolerance elsewhere.

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      • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 16:09)   Edit

        Actually, Christianity and heaven are pretty “intolerant” despite the talk that sometimes goes on about “inclusiveness.”
        “Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the FORNICATORS, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.”
        But somehow your preaching against intolerance rings pretty hollow when you have just told someone they are not welcome. :-0

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        • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 19:42)   Edit

          Yes, Primitive Christian, I am intolerant — intolerant of bigotry. I call it like I see it and, well, your post sure sounds bigoted to me. I mean come on…who doesn’t appreciate a good sorcerer or a well behaved dog…? I mean, you are casting a wide net..!

          Do you really have issues with dogs? “Dogs and sorcerers, and the FORNICATORS and the idolaters”. You really have a lot of issues. Perhaps you ought to seek help?

          But, really, in all seriousness, I’ve grown tired of BIGOTS standing behind the cloak of Christianity espousing hatred, judgement and intolerance.

          And please, don’t pray for me.

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          What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Tom G

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 04:47)   Edit

    Keeping On Topic….

    I appreciate those here that tried to keep on topic of how the Amish church, parents and gay Amish themselves handle the realization that one of their own is not hetrosexual. A couple of those posting here seem to have some real insight into this and I would be interested in hearing more from them, on here or per a direct email response.

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  • Allen Schwuhl

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 07:20)   Edit

    I know a little something about this….

    l’m a plain Christian who also happens to be gay. There is a support group and network for us called The Brethren/Mennonite Council which is a support/advocacy group. I will say this from my own experiecne, neither side quite knows what to do with us. We get scorn from the gay community for staying plain and within our churches. We often get scorn from our churches for being spiritual and gay. People have a hard time understanding that it is not our sexuality that makes us immoral it is what we do with it that can be immoral. I believe in the words and promises of Isaiah 56 as it relates to sexual outcasts within the household of faith. It is written ‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.’

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Mary Yoder

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 10:10)   Edit

    What if you’re Amish and Homosexual

    I am Amish and rarely comment.. I have my reasons. This time I have to speak up. I am 52 years old and have not known an Amish homosexual. Don’t make it sound like there are 25% homosexuals in the closet!! Like you say, they would leave the Amish, not because we are perfect, but the guilt and shame would be huge.
    I would rather not elaborate further, just to say that it has all been said in the other replies. If I get an urge to start dressing like an Indian, would you say that is just something that I inherited and God will surely see my heart. If my heart is right my urges follow. May God help you decide!

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

    • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 11:12)   Edit

      Mary I appreciate the comment on this rather taboo topic. Just to be clear, the 25% figure is what people responding to the survey thought about the US population–not what the reality is.

      I shared that survey result to give evidence as to how much people’s perception of reality can be altered by our surroundings (which I guess includes TV, media, popular culture, etc).

      From what I’ve read, the actual figure of people classified as “homosexual” is probably just in the range of a couple percent. So you can see how much people’s view can be influenced.

      Of course as it’s pointed out above there is a difference between people having those feelings and acting on them.

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      What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

      • Carolyn B

        Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 11:40)   Edit

        Erik and Allen, thank you

        I can’t hold back my thanks both to Erik and Allen Schwuhl for pointing out and emphasizing that there is a distinct difference between sexual orientation and practicing that orientation.

        Again, Erik, thank you for the risk you took in attempting this topic.

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        • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 11:55)   Edit

          Well, thanks Carolyn. I’m not out to offend anyone, and to be honest, this isn’t my favorite topic of discussion. In fact I imagine most people don’t wish to think much about it (in other words this is not a “Fun stuff” category post! :)).

          And as noted above, the number of people affected are probably few. But I thought the question deserved a fair hearing at least.

          We may be uncomfortable discussing this topic, but the reality is that there are people in these kinds of situations, and maybe some positive can come of it.

          Also, I do appreciate it when commenters keep things civil, which 99% of the time is the case on this site.

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          What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Annette

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 11:18)   Edit

    Hi, Mary.

    I think you may misunderstand what homosexuality is.

    Gays don’t wake up one morning with an urge to be homosexual and be attracted to people of their same sex.
    Did you wake up one morning with a sudden urge to be attracted to men? Or, is it a part of who you are as a heterosexual female?
    If you didn’t wake up one morning with a desire to be straight, it’s not right to insist that gays somehow just flipped an urge to be gay one morning either.

    When did God help you decide when to be heterosexual?

    Also, no one is saying 25% of gay Amish are closeted. I’m with you, there are probably extremely, extremely few gay Amish, and most of them would almost certainly leave the church. Some would certainly stay and hide who they were. Many people in many religions do likewise. I met an unmarried conservative Mennonite man the other day I’m almost certain was gay, but. . . I can’t know for sure because I wasn’t rude enough to ask.

    The 25% is a good example of the availability heuristic. Once your consciousness is raised to something, you begin to recognize it more and see it everywhere. It’s a logical fallacy! A mistake in reasoning.

    Have you ever experienced this–you learn a new word, and then you start hearing it Everywhere? And you wonder–why have I never heard this word before now, and everyone seems to be using it? The fact is, you’re just more aware of it now. Nothing else has changed.

    Let’s look at it this way. According to GLAAD, 2.9 percent of characters on American TV are gay. This is NOT A LOT! But it’s a lot more than existed 10 years ago. It is just the fact that compared with “0″, 2.9 percent looks HUGE, and therefore, people tend to go, “See, gay people are all over TV”! Not so, again, that’s the availability heuristic. If you were to ask people how many TV characters were gay, I’m sure they’d assume many more!

    More and more gay people are willing to come out to friends and family members now as they can find people who might not condemn them, and as more people realize they actually know gay people, the same thing happens. “Oh, really! I don’t know any gay people.” Then, suddenly you learn that the neighbor’s daughter, the one you’ve loved since she was a little girl, is a lesbian. Then, you learn about one or two more good people that you love that love God or Jesus, or are generally good and decent people are gay and then, you start hearing about gay people everywhere, then suddenly in your mind, 25% of people are gay.

    Hee! It’s just the way out minds deal with new information.

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Annette

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 11:32)   Edit

    @Valerie.

    When you were in nursery school, did you know you would one day grown up and, if everything went smoothly, would probably have a husband? Could you have imagined, or felt good about having a wife, instead?

    If so, perhaps you can more understand why Galen says he knew he was gay at such a young age.

    It might be hard to accept, but understanding isn’t that weird if you can just look at it from the light of your own experiences.

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?

  • Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 18:59)   Edit

    I agree with Erik and Primitive Christianity.

    Let’s just stop this blog on the subject.
    AMEN!

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  • Yoder

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 16th, 2012 at 19:35)   Edit

    Sodom

    Something else to consider is the Old Testament story of Sodom, found in Genesis 19. God destroyed the city of Sodom.

    Wishing you peace and grace.

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  • Allen Schwuhl

    Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (June 17th, 2012 at 04:03)   Edit

    A little bit more…..

    The city of Sodom as destroyed because it was inhospitable to the people God sent there. The Sodom story is one of the oldest misinterpretations of scripture in history. They were self centered and showed no hospitality to the visitors God sent there. Having said that, I encourage you read Isaiah 56, this is also the verse that Jesus quoted while he was throwing out the money changers making God’s house a house of prayer ‘for all people.” Like many Amish, Mennonites, and Brethren, I was born and raised in the Brethren denomination that I am still a member to this day. We are part of the Pietist tradition which does not necessarilyl make us Anabaptist. Being Gay and part of a plain church has had its ups and downs, however, I will also say that I have never been denied communion or lovefeast because of who I am. I live my life in accordance with the scripture and I know my Jesus. I’m also frequently mistaken for being Amish because of my hat and suspenders. As I also said earlier, there are enough of us in these traditions that a support group and network has evolved in the past 25 years or so. I can also tell you about many Mennonite churches who have been removed from their conferences for being open and accepting of their Gay members. I grew up speaking Pennsyvania German which has no word for homosexual and if someone went ‘for gay’ as I often heard it said, it meant that they chose the allure of the outside world and had left the plain community, it had nothing to do with sexual orientation. Lastly, I would also like to say that the only choice I’ve made about being Gay was that I decided to stop lying about it and be honest with my Lord, my parents and my denomination. I haven’t given up on my church because in many respects being gay hasn’t made me any different than the person I would have been accept for the person I come home to. We have raised two children to adulthood and have two beautiful grandchildren.
    Allen

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    What if you’re Amish and homosexual?