11 responses to Amish Heritage Foundation Challenging Wisconsin v. Yoder
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    Jim Cates
    Comment on Wisconsin v. Yoder a Betrayal? (August 14th, 2018 at 09:42)

    Wisconsin v. Yoder a Betrayal?

    The Amish Heritage Foundation lays out a hefty task in proving that Wisconsin v. Yoder betrayed the academic future of the Amish. It left a choice, granted, that is not given to those with other religious beliefs. But nothing in W v. Y asserts that the Amish cannot attend school past 8th grade. As one example I think of Joe Wittmer, raised Amish and left before joining the church. He earned his doctorate, turned, and spent the majority of his life as a champion of the Amish. And I think of the struggle in mainstream America now as those with a college education look for employment in their chosen field, and the meaning and purpose of the entire educational system is in turmoil. I applaud small groups that question the large majority. They are needed, always. But in this case the Amish spoke, and continue to speak to their own choice in overwhelming numbers. If you challenge that, challenge with a focus, precision, and thoughtfulness to your words.

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      Comment on Wisconsin v. Yoder a Betrayal? (August 15th, 2018 at 09:40)

      Wisconsin v. Yoder a Betrayal?

      Thank you very much for your response, Jim. Having read your book, I greatly respect your perspective. I am afraid Elam Zook’s argument is that of a disaffected former Amish person. He has the choice to go back to the Amish way of life if that is what he desires. He can continue in the lifestyle he has now but somehow he has to get over the “former Amish” thinking and get on with his life, finding contentment in today.

      To identify as Amish or Mennonite is to identify with a religious community, with all that goes along with that. My older brother could, to use Elam’s term, identify as a ‘non-compliant Mennonite” since he was raised the same way I was but chose not to follow in this path. There are certain parts of the culture he was raised in that stay with him 56 years later, but that does not make him a Mennonite nor does he claim to be one.

      We have often asked the question about Amish and Mennonites; is this first a matter of faith or of culture. I will argue that faith is first and that culture follows. In terms of the Wisconsin v Yoder case, the parents have the Biblically mandated responsibility for their children from birth to the age of accountability (whatever that is). That includes choosing the means and level of education. If the child, upon reaching the age of accountability chooses to seek further education while recognizing where that puts him/her in relation to the church, he/she is free to do so.

      All people are a product of the culture in which they were raised and there will always be a remnant of that culture stay with them regardless of what other choices they.

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    Comment on Amish Heritage Foundation Challenging Wisconsin v. Yoder (August 15th, 2018 at 07:57)

    Well said!!!

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    Comment on Education (August 16th, 2018 at 07:50)


    Why don’t the communities have a school of their own like the Baptist do? Would the Amish be allowed to join a Bible college? Aren’t their educational goals set by the communities and enforced for home schooling? I am sure that there would be a way to combine religion and culture within the bounderies of the Amish culture..

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    Comment on Betrayal? (August 16th, 2018 at 15:46)


    I don’t quite understand why these ex-Amish think Wisconsin v. Yoder et al. is a betrayal of the Amish academic futures. The law that was in question at the time of the landmark case was about compulsory school attendance. In my law classes, our professor discussed the case (it was in the textbook, and we were just east of the Elkhart/Lagrange community) stating that the law was intended to ensure the youth of America would leave school as productive members of society, not as future wards of the state. Part of the response given by the Supreme Court Justices noted that the Amish faith prepared their youth for productivity and being a part of the larger workforce. In other words, the professor said, the Amish were fulfilling the purpose of the compulsory attendance law in their own way before the law was even enacted. Adding this to the danger of Amish youth leaving the faith after exposure to higher education, the court ruled in favor of the Amish and Mennonites involved in the case.

    Some of the Hutterites have currently developed a course of study with Canadian universities to educate their young people and provide them with teaching degrees that are to be used in the colony schools. Perhaps that would be path the Amish in question could take. Getting a “religious freedom victory” overturned and asking the government to be involved in church run education could easily come back to haunt you.

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    jim boles
    Comment on follow up (August 18th, 2018 at 10:17)

    follow up

    Hopefully this site can do a follow regarding the outcome of the meeting.
    “Disrupting History: Reclaiming Our Amish Story”, or, point to where to find information on the web regarding the meeting’s outcome.

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    Comment on Compulsory Education (August 19th, 2018 at 14:14)

    Compulsory Education

    Societies dating back to biblical times have recognized the value of an educated populace versus an ignorant one. It is difficult to find good employment (with benefits) in America without at least a high school diploma. When you are an Anabaptist with only an 8th grade (at best) education, your employment choices are very small. You must be self employed or remain within the clan to make a living. I am unsure if the state of Wisconsin oversees any type of educational standards for the Anabaptist schools like they do for other students. I have patiently stood by many times while Amish gentlemen try to calculate a simple bill and add the sales taxes. It is frustrating. Some of the signs I see on Amish farms have poor spelling and improper syntax. Discussions of history, civics and government and many other topics are difficult or impossible. The phrase “ignorance is bliss” comes to mind; but in the U.S. we are free to choose the level that we educate the next generation if we choose to “opt out”.

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      Comment on Amish Heritage Foundation Challenging Wisconsin v. Yoder (September 9th, 2018 at 15:43)

      Utterly false. Millions of foreigners with no English language skills at all, and less than a high school education, have come to the United States for job opportunities. It is one of the best countries in the world for persons with low educational attainment to make a living.

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        Comment on Amish Heritage Foundation Challenging Wisconsin v. Yoder (September 10th, 2018 at 08:40)

        I agree with Roger. Look at all the wealthy Amish business owners & prosperous looking homes in Holmes County, Ohio!

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        Comment on Compulsory Education (September 12th, 2018 at 10:57)

        Compulsory Education

        You are correct. ‘Millions of foreigners with no English language skills at all, and less than a high school education’ They are called illegal aliens: 15 million or more. Many on welfare. Most don’t speak English and perform menial labor. Our area hosts a lot of them who are exploited working on large dairy farms. But that is an entirely different problem.

        My point is that a nation and society benefits when all it’s citizens have a basic level of education. All children should be given the opportunity to learn and make individual life choices. Even Anabaptist’s.

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