Are These “Fake Amish”? (Updated: Not Fake)

The Amish are in the news again, this time as a backdrop to a speech given by President Trump in Lititz, Pennsylvania yesterday. You can see several young Amish-looking fellows in this clip below. This has gotten some strong reaction online, with multiple people claiming they are “fake Amish” or even “paid actors”.

Jump to Update

At first look I don’t see anything that looks particularly fake about them – they look like youngish Lancaster County area Amishmen to me, probably business people on the more progressive side of their communities.

Lititz is not the most heavily-Amish area of the county, but it would be on the northern more progressive end of the settlement. That said, different Twitter users, some of whom have gotten hundreds of retweets, are claiming multiple problems here:

  1. They’re being filmed
  2. They don’t vote
  3. Someone is wearing a zipper jacket
  4. Someone is wearing earbuds

Do I know for sure that these are baptized members of an Amish church? I do not, but if I had to guess, I would guess that yes, they probably are. Here are my comments on each “problem” brought up by the Twitter users:

1. They’re being filmed – I will take this opportunity to say that people still act shocked to see Amish people being photographed – but it’s not really a big deal in 2020 that Amish appear on film. There have been many examples of it in the media in recent years.

Now, it’s true that Amish don’t seek the camera, and it doesn’t mean people should go around poking cameras in Amish people’s faces, and some would really like to avoid the camera.

But there are plenty of examples of Amish people willingly captured on film, either in still photos or even on-camera interviews (and that includes the most conservative Amish as well). Here is one example that I was personally involved with dating back to 2010, when Amish business owners appeared on camera discussing their businesses:

When you see someone online categorically claim “Amish shun photos”, what they have just told you is that they don’t understand too much about the Amish in 2020. They’re operating on an old blanket conception, and also probably don’t understand there are differences across Amish groups.

Amish don’t seek the camera, but many tolerate it to varying degrees. And perhaps most importantly for this example, the type of Amish person who is going to attend a public political event like this is not going to become indignant when they happen to show up on camera. They know what they’re getting into.

2) The Amish don’t vote – we’ve been through this before, but a small number of Amish do vote. If you want an extensive academic study of this, look at Donald Kraybill and Kyle Kopko’s article “Bush Fever: Amish and Old Order Mennonites in the 2004 Election”.

In an article this week in the York Daily Record, historian of the Amish Steven Nolt says that from the 1990s to early 2000s, Amish voting was typically in the range of five to eight percent. That number jumped to 13% in the 2004 election, but in 2016 was back down to a “historically typical” seven percent.

Whether Amish should be voting is an issue for Amish people to sort out for themselves. That said, I think more Amish people would say no they shouldn’t, while others are okay with it. Generally speaking, the Amish prefer to pray for their elected leaders than to pull the lever for them. The articles linked above go into greater detail as to why. But in short, here’s an Amish writer to The Diary cited in Kraybill and Kopko’s article:

“I rather believe as a Bishop once said, ‘One Christian on his knees is worth more than twelve at the polls.’ If we vote we can be just one vote, if we pray to the Lord we depend on Him to make the right decision. We are so little, the Lord knows what is best for our Nation.”

Kraybill and Kopko found that in the 2004 election, around 2,000 Amish voted, when looking at just the two largest communities – the Lancaster County (PA) and Holmes County (OH) settlements. That was at a time, 16 years ago, when the overall Amish population was much lower. It also leaves out a large chunk of each state’s Amish population.

With around 350,000 Amish alive today, that could mean that thousands of Amish people will cast ballots in this election. And with two of the main swing states being the two states with the greatest Amish populations, there may be thousands of Amish just in Pennsylvania and Ohio voting this election.

3) Someone is wearing a zipper jacket – one Twitter user claims to see a zipper jacket and finds this evidence that these are not Amish. While it’s true that Amish famously don’t use zippers on their trousers, for instance, some more progressive people might wear zip sweatshirts and pullovers and the like.

Here is a photo of Amish entering the Lititz event (or “men dressed in Amish garb” as the caption describes it) via the York Daily Record (these might be some of the same fellows in the video). You can see one man with what looks like a Columbia-brand pullover:

In 2020, some, usually younger, Amish people in wealthier and more progressive places wear this type of exterior clothing on top of traditional Amish clothing. While traditional Amish clothing is not going to have zippers, some of their accessory garb very well might.

4) Someone is wearing earbuds – This was the oddest objection, but I guess the person thinks these are buds for listening to music. To me it’s rather hard to tell, but they look more like ear protection than, say, Air Pods. Amish people certainly do wear ear protection, for instance furniture shop workers operating loud equipment. I imagine these rallies can be loud events, and he might have popped in a pair of plugs he happened to have with him.

Are these “fake Amish”?

So I think I’ve addressed the main objections about these people at the Trump rally. So are these “fake Amish”?

I don’t know these people and can’t definitively say they are Amishmen, but to me they do appear to be youngish progressive Lancaster County Amishmen. Some Amish people are politically aware, opinionated, and even “active”, and especially with efforts like the Amish PAC and the overall politicization of all aspects of society, I could see political activity increasing this year among Amish people. Eight Amishmen from Pennsylvania and Ohio, for example, even visited the president at the White House last year.

I rather doubt they are “paid actors”, as is being claimed. On the other hand, it is possible that these are Amish-raised men who have left the church and are now attending a non-Amish church, but are still wearing Amish clothing. There are churches who have formerly Amish members who still wear plain attire.

That said, if I had to guess, I would say that what you see is what you get here, and that these are progressive-leaning Amishmen. I get that it must be shocking to see Amish-looking participants at a political event, especially if you’ve heard somewhere that “the Amish don’t vote”.

I also suppose that people just don’t like the idea that a segment of the Amish might support the president, and thus the strong objections. I’ll end with the video clip with the comments made about the “Pennsylvania Dutch”, which sounds like the blanket term the president is using for the Amish.



UPDATE: Not “fake Amish” – So, after this post went up, I was contacted by someone who wrote that he knows some of the men in question, and after following up, I feel confident that he is on the level.

Respecting confidentiality, I can’t give all details, but he knows several of these men personally, and confirms that what you see is what you get – that is, they are not “fake Amish”, but real Amish people.

And as I suspected, at least two are business people, in what we might generally call the building/home industries. One of them he says he knows “very well”, and two others via business relationships.

He also says that the “ear buds” are actually tissue paper “for lack of better hearing protection”.

Finally, he adds that Amish voting this time will “definitely be more than the norm”.

UPDATE 2: More Amish attendees – Penn Live has published an article on the Lititz event, with photos of more Amish in attendance.

In total, in looks like about ten more Amish people visible between these additional photos.

As far as the Amish voting question, there are also several good points made by Steven Nolt and Kyle Kopko in the article. On Amish voter registration:

Most sources reached for this story, however, said the person-to-person effort being led by people like Zimmerman and other elected officials in Lancaster has a better chance of turning interest into action. George W. Bush met personally with a group of Amish leaders during his re-election run in 2004.

On the other hand, Nolt said it is also plausible that some Amish simply are registering to end a conversation nicely.

Door-to-door registration drives produced more new registered voters than turnout in 2004, Nolt said. Anecdotal evidence after the fact, he said, showed that “Amish people also were kind of awkwardly polite enough to register when a neighbor’s coming and asking them to do it, but they sort of more registered just to get the person to leave. That’s kind of another wild card.”

On the trend towards mail-in voting potentially increasing Amish “turnout”:

To a lesser extent, some believe the advent of mail-in voting in Pennsylvania may encourage Amish voting, too.

Nolt noted that late October through early December is Amish wedding season in the Lancaster settlement, and those weddings traditionally take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some families that know they have a wedding on Nov. 3 have voted by mail, Zimmerman said.

Others may simply like the privacy that voting at home offers.

“It could be that not showing up at the polls physically would reduce some of the stigma that some Amish people might feel” about breaking with past traditions, Nolt said. The Amish church does not prohibit voting, but it has never been encouraged, either.

I mentioned in the original post that the Amish population is a lot larger than it was in 2004. Kyle Kopko with more on that:

Kopko, an adjunct professor of political science at Elizabethtown, noted Tuesday the Amish population in Pennsylvania, because of their tradition of having large families, has been doubling about every 20 years.

“If you do move the needle (on Amish voter participation) even just a few percent given how fast the population is growing, you could be talking about some meaningful numbers, and this is all happening in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan,” he said. “So, I think that’s one of the many reasons why this is getting a fair amount attention.”

The clout of any Amish vote this year, the experts say, will ultimately come down to how close this year’s Pennsylvania race is. If it’s within a percentage point, like in 2016, then every vote everywhere matters because the entire election will come down to margins of victory in the different regions across the state.

With that demographic reality in mind, you can see why there would be even greater incentive to attempt to get out the Amish vote today than there was 16 years ago.

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    57 Comments

    1. Jacalyn Thomas

      Amish at Trump rally

      My biggest problem with this is that the Trump campaign carefully picks the people that sit behind Trump. I am surprised that they would seek out such a position.

      1. CheriLeigh

        Seeking Out?

        I may have missed it, but where is there evidence of them seeking out sitting behind the President? Maybe the people working on the campaign sat them there, but there is no reason to believe that they sought out sitting anywhere specific.

      2. KAREN BAKER

        trump rally

        I saw a regular on Fox say once, that trump had certain people placed behind him at his rallies, to show that he had their support. Black men, Latinx, young white women, have been asked to sit or stand behind the podium, so the camera can show that they are supporting trump. If I were running for office, I’d do the same-especially if it was said that I was denigrating these groups of people.
        So, if these men are Amish, I believe they were asked to be in that position behind the podium, and most likely knew they’d be seen on camera
        .
        I’ve known many Amish,of the Clymer Amish in NY, which is considered a more progressive Order. They can have computers and cell phones for their businesses, which range from logging operations in partnership with an English who has a pick up truck and horse trailer, to leather working to furniture making. But, get on Facebook, and chat, or use the computer to look up something for a homework assignment? Definatly not.

        And, they do not usually allow themselves to be photographed. For example, an Amish friend was giving my young nephew a walking ride on his horse, and I raised my camera to take a photo of my nephew. Andy immediately took off his hat, and raised it to cover his face. I told him, I was only photographing my nephew, and he answered that he wasn’t sure if he was going to be in the picture.

        So, with “stricter” Orders by and large being in Pennsylvania, I’m thinking these were NOT Amish men, but imposters. Whether or not they were paid to pose as Amish, or thought it’d be a good joke, I don’t know. Who knows, they might have dressed up as Amish, to see if they could fool anyone. I wouldn’t put it past anyone to do this, because I’ve seen some idiots do it. If so, then its not the rally organizers fault, if they got fooled, and thought they were showing representation of a group that many think have an idyllic, pure life, and are envied.

        If they only knew! I’ve met as many dishonest, alcoholic, mean, lazy jerks who were Amish, as I have among any other group of people.

        And, there’s nothing to envy, about getting up well before dawn, to milk cows, doctor them, do farm chores all day long, run a business on the side, try to figure out why your horse is lame and if its a big problem needing a vet, or will resolve itself with a few days rest. There’s nothing to envy, about keeping a generator running (if your Order allows a generator), or working with no electricity, nothing powered even by propane. Its a very hard life, and not one most people raised with electricity, hot water, indoor plumbing, computers, tv’s, etc, would last longer than two days at.
        Ok, reading back through this, I want to say also, I’ve met a lot of really kind, hardworking, funny, generous, intelligent Amish. Just as I have among my own group of English.

        1. CAROL GLOSHEN

          Amish vs Mennonites

          ,We have close friends who are Amish and some that are not Amish anymore, but Mennonite. Has anyone ever thought that these guys might be Mennonite? They are usually much less strict and more progressive in their views. They drive dark vehicles, use electricity, appliances, have phones in their homes , use cell phones and can be seen wearing store bought clothes. I do know it is difficult for most to tell them apart? The Amish I know are for Trump!

      3. Richard Traunero

        So?

        Every campaign chooses who sits behind the candidate in view of the camera. And why not? Makes sense. Just another strategy.

    2. CheriLeigh

      They look Amish to me...

      They certainly look Amish to me and not just by the hats or clothes. Let’s face it, their gene pool isn’t the largest and they resemble the Amish I know in that area. My thoughts were that they are New Order Amish. I thought at first that they may be in Rumspringa, but if they have beards, it means they are married – so I don’t think it’s a Rumspringa thing.

      I was in Lancaster last month and spoke with some of my friends who are Amish about voting. While I believe there are many that just won’t vote no matter what, I do believe we will see many more voting this year. One of my friends told me how the police broke up a few of their prayer groups. She said the policeman was uncomfortable doing it and it looks like someone reported them. When things like that happen and they are told they cannot pray together, it’s likely the Bishop will loosen their reigns on voting. I also spoke with a man who is an Old Order Mennonite and they are very, very concerned about our country taking a turn towards socialism. For those reasons and more, I think the Amish will be voting in much larger numbers than usual.

      1. Geo

        Shocking

        Police broke up an Amish prayer meeting? There must be more to that story. If there is any truth to it I hope someone will fill in the facts.

        1. CheriLeigh

          on Trump Rally

          I’m sure of it. I have no reason to believe a 62 year Old Order Amish lady would be lying to me. It wasn’t church, but a prayer meeting with women and their daughters. The Amish are not going to call the newspaper or local authorities and put up a fuss about it, so it’s likely why people wouldn’t have heard about it, but she told me directly.

          1. Geo

            Objection

            Hearsay: a statement made by someone other than the witness.

          2. Amish trumpers

            Amish never lie? Hmmm…

          3. Amish trumpers

            CheriLeigh: Where is the proof of an Amish prayer meeting having been broken up by the police? I have looked and found nothing! Was it a prayer meeting being help by the Amish for the missing Amish girl? Did the police show up to ask questions? That is not the same as the police showing up at a prayer meeting and breaking it up!

        2. Karen Baker

          Earbuds

          When I worked on the assembly line, we were divided into teams of 7-9 people. Every three teams shared a stereo, and voted on which stations to listen to. I really liked working to hip hop and rap, as those genres have definite, steady beats that really help you get a rhythm going as you work. I found I worked faster when listening to rap and hip hop. And I’m a 62 year old white woman!
          Now, I work in a different part of the factory, the machine floor. They are basically huge CNC machines, all computerized. I usually have around 14 machines to keep running-which means I’m running all day long, trying to figure out why one machine or another has gone down and has stopped running. Probably because they’ve been running 24/7 for years, and are only designed to run 16 hours a day for 5 days, then have scheduled maintenance ( LOL, what’s that?!) performed. I’ve brought in a radio, but I rarely get a chance to listen to it.

      2. Amish trumpers

        CheriLeaigh: The Amish fear this country will turn to “socialism”? Seriously? If they are, then I have a suspicion that they, just as most trumpers, have no clue what socialism really is. If you are against socialism, then you must be against: social security, public schools, Medicare/Medicaid, driving on asphalted roads, welfare, prisons and jails, the military, police/sheriffs, etc. Who pays for the president’s salary? Congress? FYI, a woman by the name of Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under FDR, begged and pleaded with FDR to institute a 40-hour work week and unemployment. Look up the “New Deal” and Frances Perkins. What I’m getting at is this: trumpers cry: “Socialism!” every time a Democrat comes up with an idea that benefits everyone, but, has to be paid for by everyone. Yet, once those programs become law, they are more than willing to avail themselves of those programs. How many trumpers do you know who would be willing to give up Medicare or Medicaid? How many would be willing to give up social security? How many of them would be willing to forego unemployment after losing their job? That stimulus check everyone eagerly accepted? A “socialist” idea! By the way, most of those stimulus dollars meant for needy Americans, actually went to billion-dollar corporations. Billion-dollar, CAPITALIST, corporate board members have no issue with socialist ideas as long as they also get to benefit from them, even when they don’t have the need. These programs are paid for with OUR taxes. With socialism everyone has a chance to succeed if they work hard, yet need a little help. With capitalism, no one gets a push; you sink or swim. No matter how hard you work, you need luck to succeed. Are there abusers of social programs? Certainly! There will always be the lazy and the greedy. That is one of the flaws of human nature. That doesn’t mean social programs are evil. It just means there are evil people.

    3. Wilbur VanDyke

      on Trump Rally

      I used to live in Ohio close to Holmes co. Some of those are real good on the computers I seen them at work use ing them at Charm Lumber co. They no all the rops on this computer stuff!! A lot of cell phones also.

    4. Richard Traunero

      Amish supporting the President

      Why do some have such difficulty believing that some Amish people might just support the President?

      Would this be such a big deal if they had been spotted at a Biden rally? I think not.

      1. T. Miller

        Amish at Biden Rally

        According to friends who were there, I understand there WERE some “real” Amish at a Joe Biden Rally recently. I understand that most Amish who will vote will likely be voting for Biden. They seem to like his empathy and genuineness.

        1. CheriLeigh

          Highly Unlikely....

          It’s highly unlikely that there was Amish at a Biden Rally. If they vote at all, they usually always vote Republican. They would never support the Democrat’s esp. with regards to their stance on abortions, gay marriage, etc. If they do vote, there’s a 95% chance they will vote Republican. I guess we will know after the election the percentage that voted compared to 2016.

          1. T. Miller

            Yes, Amish Were at the Biden Rally Too!

            There most certainly were a number of horse and buggy Amish at a couple of the Biden For President rally, men and women. Yes, some were also at the Trump rally, however, most of them were NOT real Amish, mostly “run-aways” and a few New Order folks. There were also a few excommunicated ones and a few fake Amish, too. Many Amish have voted for Democrats for some time, and a few have voted Republican. In one state the “plain people” vote actually was sufficient to elect a US Senator, who happened to be a Democrat. Their vote put him over the top in a tight race. Amish do not tend be partisan, but will look at the whole picture, which is always somewhat of a mixture, and then will vote for the lesser of the two evils. Of course, most do NOT vote. Instead, they pray, believing it is God who puts the leaders in, and He takes them down. In any event, they will be respectful and will pray for whoever wins. Many (most?) Mennonites also vote, and sometimes even run for office. One active Mennonite actually served as a State Governor (a Democrat)a few years ago, and another as the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. Yes, there are “plain people” who are Democrats as well as many who vote Republican. Most who do vote are probably quite independent.

            1. CheriLeigh

              Well, your opinions on the political affiliation of Amish when and if they do vote is quite different than what has been studied and written about and what I know to be true by my personal interactions with many that I have been friends with for years. Not one out of many that I know would vote Democrat, if they vote at all. If you know an Old Order Amish person that voted for a Democrat in 2016, I would love to know how that rationalized it knowing that they support abortions and gay marriage.

          2. Amish trumpers

            CheriLeigh: The Amish would never vote for a Democrat because of their stance on abortion? What is their stance on LYING? Infidelity? Divorces?, Cheating on taxes? Filing bankruptcy five times to avoid paying debts? Cheating business rivals? Bullying the vulnerable? Making fun of the handicapped? Russia? Voter suppression by having ballot and mail boxes removed, removing mail processing machines in the post offices to slow down the processing of mail, (my husband works for the USPS, so don’t bother making excuses,)? Draft deferments claiming “bone spurs”? Cheating to get into college? Separating children from their parents claiming that those parents were criminals? LIES! Over 500 children with no parents to be found! Please, tell me how the Amish feel about such a candidate? Are you saying that, like evangelicals, the Amish are selective about which of the 10 Commandments they follow as long as their pocketbooks will not be negatively impacted??

        2. Most Amish who vote will be voting Biden...??

          If it’s true that most Amish who vote will likely be voting for the Democrat presidential candidate this year, it would be a really interesting development.

          It would be counter to just about everything that has been known about Amish voting tendencies in recent history.

          For instance, in the Kraybill/Kopko linked article, they note that the party registration of Amish in 2004 was over 92% Republican, and less than 1% Democrat.

          See page 186: https://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/files/2013/06/Bush_Fever.pdf

          If you have more details or sources to share, I would be interested to hear more about it.

          I’ll also express surprise that there was no coverage of the Amish that you report were at the Biden rally. Or if there was, I missed it – it seems like something that would similarly get a lot of attention. If that’s the case, maybe it was due to the event being comparatively low key compared to the Trump rally. I remain skeptical but curious.

          1. Lancaster Democratic Chair: "We have spent zero time reaching out to Amish families”

            Following up on this topic, here is the Lancaster Democratic Chair, from an article yesterday in Penn Live:

            ‘PennLIve reached out to Lancaster Democratic Party leaders to see what their approach has been .

            They said that while they are busily trying to build itself into a viable alternative to the GOP in solidly red Lancaster, their focus is on other voter blocs at this point.

            “We have spent zero time reaching out to Amish families,” Lancaster Democratic Chair Diane Topakian said. “I seriously doubt if we could connect on issues.”’

            https://www.pennlive.com/elections/2020/10/trump-claimed-support-of-the-amish-on-monday-but-can-he-get-that-support-to-translate-into-votes.html

    5. Thanks for the interesting article, Erik.

      Concerning the “ear buds,” I thought your suggestion that it might be hearing protection was a realistic possibility. However, when I first saw the picture I thought hearing aid. Might that be a possibility as well?

      1. KAREN BAKER

        ear plugs?

        I work in a factory, which is pretty noisy. Most of us wear ear plugs. But recently, we got a notice from health and safety, that ear buds that look like ear plugs, are not to be worn any more, and anyone found wearing them, will be subject to disciplinary action.
        I guess I’m really out of the tech loop! I never knew, there were ear buds that look like ear plugs! Apparently, some younger workers were wearing them, and they are bluetooth compatible with music aps on cell phones. So, they were listening to music all day, not wearing ear plugs as it looked like they were.
        might these “Amish” be wearing these ear buds, and not ear plugs?

        1. Karen interesting, I guess they don’t want people listening to something that might be distracting especially if there is dangerous equipment (or just to keep them focused on the work). I think something like a podcast would be more distracting than music which might help you keep your energy level up.

      2. Don I hadn’t thought of a hearing aid, though interesting idea. Well, I actually got some information from someone who knows the men personally, and says it was actually tissue stuffed in his ears for lack of better hearing protection.

        I guess these rallies do get pretty loud, might be speakers right near them since they are front and center. More here: https://amishamerica.com/are-these-fake-amish/#update

    6. Jeffrey C Masters

      These gentlemen certainly look “Amish” to me. I have seen my Amish friends wear zippered clothing, break out a guitar and sing, vote, and I have tons of pictures of them. These are not Amish laws we are talking about, there are many differences in certain communities, and even families within those communities. Instead of trying to tear them down for what we think of as non-Amish behavior, lets build them up for the life they lead that is so much simpler than ours.

      1. I liked your comment Jeffrey and good points on some surprising realities in some Amish communities and the differences between communities, families, etc. The only thing I tend to quibble with is when Amish life is described as simpler – for instance I think plugging in a conventional electric washer to an outlet is actually simpler than having to fire up a gas powered generator (hopefully you have enough gas) in a shack outside to generate your power, or just jumping in a car and pressing the ignition is a lot simpler than dragging out a buggy and hitching a horse up, but I acknowledge there are examples that cut the other way in the Amish vs. English “simple life” discussion 🙂

    7. Am Afraid This Is Very Real

      A friend and I visit a group of Old Order Amish in PA every year. I distinctly remember talking to them about the last election and being shocked that they had never heard of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. This year when called to let them know we would not be traveling because of the virus, I mentioned seeing your post about Amish supporting Trump. They said they supported him too. What has happened since the last election? I tried posing this question on an Amish Facebook site and was surprised by the emotional commitment to the president. My interpretation was they all seem to be genuinely afraid. They feel certain that if Trump is not reelected they will lose their right to freedom of religion. Anyone else has any insight on this?

      1. Gail

        Amish Facebook site?

        an Amish Facebook site

        Oxymoron (and anti-Amish belief system) if ever there was…

    8. Andrea Zug

      Fake Amish? I think not.

      I used to live in Mountville, PA and am very used to seeing the Amish. I
      know many Amish who are now where I live in Northwestern PA and they do
      vote. My guess is they will vote for Trump again, as everyone should.
      Before this ‘pandemic’ hit America was doing better than anytime I can
      remember. Obama/Biden was a disaster for the American people, so Biden is
      in my rearview mirror, forever. Besides he is too tired, forgetful, and
      is definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
      The Amish have leaders and how they behave and what they are allowed or
      not allowed to do is based on the leaders view. Some now have electricity
      but are still not permitted to drive. It all depends on the sect. They
      are amazing people and I’m glad to see they have moved into the area.

    9. Al in Ky

      Thanks, Erik, for including the link to the Kraybill/Kopko article. I read it and it helped me understand much more about Amish attitudes about voting, especially amongst the Amish ministry. It is a long article, but just by reading pages 168-171 in the section entitled, “Old Order Views of Political Participation”, a person can get a much better understanding of the varying degrees of Amish participation/non-participation in politics/voting. Steven Nolt’s comments in the other article you cited are also helpful.

      I’m wondering if a member in a conservative Amish district with strict teaching against voting/political participation is subject to church discipline if the local ministry learns of the member’s participation in these type of activities. If the ministry does not require that the member go before the church and confess, it seems like the member would at least get visited by the ministry for words of counsel.

      1. It is long – they went into great detail which I appreciate – but good that you point out the section on the degrees of participation in voting. I’ll also note that on pages 197-201 they discuss some more anecdotal comments on voting in 2004 in other communities, including Holmes County and Arthur, IL. Interestingly, Geauga County was described as typically being more politically active than Holmes County.

    10. Ellie

      T.Miller

      T. Miller, how can you say that Amish like Biden, “They seem to like his empathy and genuineness.” Biden & Harris support abortion up to birth. Biden has promised to sign an executive order on day one to give funds to the murderous organization, Planned Parenthood. Amish don’t support murder. Murder is not empathy. What genuineness. Ex. All of his lies about his involvement with Hunter & the China company.

    11. Walter Boomsma

      We see what we want to see...

      I’ll avoid the political discussion only to note that once again, Eric is “the voice of reason.”

      1. Appreciated Walter, and I’ll also express appreciation to commenters for the overall civil tone of these comments in an understandably heated pre-election period.

    12. Ellen

      Mennonite

      All the viteral! The Mennonite vote in my area. And the democrats are so innocent. They’d never do anything like this. Ha!

      1. Ellen Sabin

        Sometimes Hearing Aids Look Like Air Buds

        Dear Mennonite,

        I think you saw an earbud when I was a hearing aid so I hope, with a little story, you will see my post from a different perspective.

        I have had the privilege of being invited to visit the homes of several old order Amish families for a number of years. During my visits, I have slowly witnessed the gap between their lifestyle and remaining separate from the modern world narrow.

        For example, in the beginning, we could arrive at Amish homes unannounced because we knew everyone would be at home, working. Current visits require calling in advance and speaking to them on their phone because mom is cooking or cleaning at a local restaurant, dad is working at a local business, and kids are at grandmas. A local driver gave them rides to work in their van. I hope you can begin to see the picture.

        I also hope you will now see that my “fear” is based on a love for the simple life that is quickly becoming complicated.

        1. Good anecdote Ellen and I think that’s a concern for some Amish as well, that their lives are getting faster and busier compared to previous generations. I think it’s easy to slip into gradually, and especially when economic realities nudge (or shove) you in that direction. This also relates to the point I made earlier about Amish life not being as simple as we might suppose.

          As for the ear buds vs. hearing aid, I was told by the person who knows these men that he was using tissue paper as a makeshift hearing protection. They play music at these rallies and with the crowd, speakers etc., I imagine it can get loud. I have had minor hearing issues in the past, so I tend to carry ear plugs if I’m going to be at a loud event but have forgotten once or twice.

    13. Update: Not Fake

      I just updated the post after hearing from someone local who knows the men – it’s at the bottom of the post, or just paste this into your browser to jump right to it: https://amishamerica.com/are-these-fake-amish/#update

    14. Pat Monti

      Not Wearing Masks

      Initially when I saw it on the news last night for several reasons I thought they weren’t Amish; possibly Mennonite. Since they weren’t wearing masks, I continued that thought. I haven’t noticed even one in our area (central, IL) ever wearing masks. Of course there are many English in our area that don’t wear them either. I’ll just stop there.

    15. Jesse Kinger

      Another explanation

      It is important to remember that there are three Anabaptist sects in Lancaster County — the Amish, Mennonites and Brethren. And within each there are various “subgroups.” Old Order Mennonites and Old Order Amish are the most restrictive in their views of modern technology, but there are Amish,Mennonites, and Brethren who wear “Amish style”clothing but are receptive to some worldly conveniences, including cars, electricity and telephones.

    16. John P Raber

      My take on the Amish behind Trump

      I am an Amish minister and I think most of us can spot”fake” Amish from as far as we can see.These are not fake Amish!I have an Amish friend that is a personal friend of the Trump family and has been to the White House at least once a year for a long time.I have seen his security pass “badge”.Most of the people commenting know little about the Amish.As for Amish people supporting Liar Biden is about as likely as them going to the moon by horse and buggy.

      1. Amish trumpers

        John P Raber: “Liar Biden”? An “Amish minister”? You think trump is a truth-teller? As the saying goes: “None is so blind as he who will not see.”

      2. Miller

        "Amish" Girl Driving Horse and Buggy in Shorts

        What do you think about the “Amish” girl driving a horse and buggy in shorts, in one of the parades? I tell you Raber, there are mostly FAKE Amish at these events. Yes, real Amish have been spotted at some Trump rallies, but also seen at rallies for Biden, and even Bernie Sanders, a few months ago. The real Amish present in these gatherings are mostly just curious, trying to get a glimpse of any political celebrity (!) passing through town. Most won’t vote, and you Mr. Raber as an “Amish minister” most certainly will NOT be voting, and neither will I.

      3. Yoder in Ohio

        Seriously? Please don’t talk for us all. I agree that those ARE real Amish men, but I’m ashamed of how you refer to Biden as “Liar Biden.”

      4. Fake Amish

        John P Raber himself is a Fake Amish! The most liberal of church districts do not allow members to own personal computers…business computers, yes, but personal computers, no! No Amish – let alone, a Minister – would ever stoop to call another (Even an English) person a liar – especially in print.
        Hopefully, within a few days POTUS 45 won’t be using deception upon anyone.

    17. Amish vote

      I was recently at my cottage in Holmes County, Ohio where I have close friends among the Amish. Some of the younger Amishmen were in Rumspringa so they were driving trucks in a Trump parade with American Flags and Trump flags, and they were signing up to vote! Many already vote, but usually only for school board and local politics, etc. (They are very concerned about who is on the school board and who are their commissioners.) This year many are planning on voting for Trump this year, and why wouldn’t they? They are Conservatives, and that’s what they do best! Why would they vote for Liberals? It’s not what they do. You DO know that 8 Amish men went to the White House and had a personal visit with the Presidents, don’t you? 4 of them were from Holmes County, and I understand the other 4 were from Pennsylvania. And don’t forget, many Amish work on farms and they are Conservative.

    18. Miller

      But Trump is NOT conservative

      Yes, in certain ways many Amish are conservative in their lifestyle, but also very communal (what Trump would likely see as a form of “socialism”) Trump, of course, is not a conservative. His morality alone would stop most Amish from voting for him, as well as his support of gay marriage. Of course most Amish will not be voting anyway. Oh, yes, there have been many Amish at the Biden gatherings as well as the Trump gatherings. Most of them will not vote. They are simply curious. They know neither of these guys represent anything even remotely Anabaptist. Amish can smell fake and make-believe Christians from a great distance. They are not easily fooled.

    19. Amish trumpers

      Amish trumpers who agree with his economic policies because they are of benefit to them. The fact that he is the kind of person he is, matters not to them. They are trumpers, after all! There are opportunistic hypocrites in every branch of every religion!

      1. Deborah Rouse

        "Trumpers"?

        My goodness Janice!

    20. Fake Amish

      Erik:

      A true Amish minister would never, ever call Joe Biden a liar. I’m afraid you’ve been taken in by a fraud. There are different degrees of dress, modes of transportation – bicycles, roller skates, scooters – and even living the Amish life. Knowing Amish from numerous church districts in Wisconsin, I have witnessed many of these differences and I can tell you that the one who hired the English to portray Amish men attending the Trump rally made one glaring mistake: he bought them “all” exactly the same hats from one source. A foolish and simple mistake! Note that all the men are wearing brand new “work” hats. Were they authentic Amish, they would be wearing either a black hat or a black stocking cap, the kind worn at special occasions – church, weddings, etc., just like one would never see an Amish woman out in public without her black bonnet.

      Yes, Erik, I’m afraid you’ve been John P. Raber, a phony himself!

      1. Try again

        Ken Tibbetts : 1) do you understand what the phrase “taken in” means?

        You’re suggesting I have endorsed or expressed agreement with a random comment on the site – one which I have nothing to do with, and have not even responded to.

        You do realize that just because a comment is posted on the site, that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it?

        That said, my conclusion that these are real Amish has not changed. And there were more Amish than the original men in question at the event, which you can see in the additional photos I added to the post update.

        2. What does this mean?

        “Yes, Erik, I’m afraid you’ve been John P. Raber, a phony himself!”

        I’ve “been” John P. Raber. What?

        3. From where are you speaking with such definitive tone about these men and what you apparently deem are universal Amish cultural practices? It sounds like you’ve taken your Wisconsin experience to be “the way Amish are everywhere.” Btw, the prayer coverings Amish women and girls wear in public are usually white.

        What a head-scratching comment.

    21. Miller

      Amish "Minister" (?) Calls VP Biden "Liar Biden"????

      It’s highly unlikely that any Amish minister anywhere would call VP Biden “Liar Biden”. That sounds like something a non-Amish Trumper might say. I challenge “Minister” Raber to identify himself further. Who is his Bishop? In which local congregation is he a “minister”??? With all due respect, once again almost all of the so-called Amish at the Trump rally certainly were not the real thing. I’m not saying some Amish won’t vote for Trump, but some will also vote for Biden. Most won’t get involved and simply let the world people look after the world.

    22. Uninformed

      “I can tell you that the one who hired the English to portray Amish men attending the Trump rally made one glaring mistake: he bought them “all” exactly the same hats from one source. A foolish and simple mistake! Note that all the men are wearing brand new “work” hats. Were they authentic Amish, they would be wearing either a black hat or a black stocking cap, the kind worn at special occasions – church, weddings, etc., just like one would never see an Amish woman out in public without her black bonnet.”

      Please tell us more!

    23. Romain S.

      Latest News from Alsace

      This morning while browsing my newspaper, which is the local press “Latest News from Alsace” there was a great article about the Amish vote. Somehow I’m not surprised, they are part of our local history and the fact that our French president brought them back to the fore with 5G a few weeks ago, has brought the Amish back to life here.
      The journalist seemed well informed, I did not find any incorrect clichés on the Amish as we find in France about them.

    24. Jane D

      Amish with radios and computers??

      We have always had Mennonites in our small community, with many traditional and Old Order Amish only miles away, many across the state line. We are used to Amish work crews, especially in the building trades and farming. There are people in our area who make a living transporting Amish to stores, doctors, etc. where buggies cannot go. But recently we are encountering an expanding “Amish” presence that differs from predecessors. Buggies with built-in heaters and radios – often loudly playing local rock and rap stations – even cell phones and computers. Taking on-line college courses. And their language can be rather different, rather salty… Amish. Not Mennonites.
      Since when?