Over a dozen Amish appeared in a central New York court last week to express displeasure over plans to build a casino in their community.
“They could not imagine staying here with a casino,” explained their spokesman, Lynn Barbuto.
What problem do the Amish have with the proposed gambling house?
For one, traffic, which according to the article at 13wham.com (Update: article no longer online) would reach up to 9,000 cars per day.
There are likely moral qualms as well. Amish avoid being around vice activities like gambling (one reason they don’t settle in or near cities).
It also doesn’t help that the casino’s entrance would lie across the road from “the leader of the Amish community”. We can probably assume that means a bishop.
There are quite a few Amish communities in the region. Based on the area mentioned (town of Tyre), this likely concerns the Clyde settlement of Seneca and Wayne Counties (3 church districts in size).
According to WHAM, “seventy percent of the population of the town of Tyre is members of the Amish and Mennonite communities.”
You can see Amish men pouring out of the courtroom in the video below (removed). When Amish show up in court in such numbers, it’s a good sign they feel pretty strongly about something.
The anchor describes them as “a powerful, and up until now, silent force.”
How would you feel if a casino opened in your neighborhood?
No doubt there are benefits to having a $350 million investment in your midst. Though with an unemployment rate of 6.4%, the area is not hurting terribly for jobs.
This is the Finger Lakes region of New York, known for its tourist appeal. Maybe this is just what comes with the territory?