Do The Amish Practice Communism?

Writing in to the Finger Lakes Times in early December, a reader made the following claim as part of a review of communism and socialism through history:

The only form of communism today that is the same from several hundred years ago is the Amish. Yes, they practice a true form of communism right here in the USA!

Last week a reader named Ivan Martin responded to this claim of the Amish as communists. Here is the most relevant bit:

But the real zinger is the claim that the Amish “practice a true form of communism right here in the USA!” This is blatantly false. For the record, the Amish may live in localized communities, but they do not live communally. The church and its elders neither manage nor dictate any aspect of their economic activities. They are tax-paying citizens of the USA, and their properties are owned individually, not by the church.

Image: Don Burke

They are a Bible-based, freedom-loving culture that is committed to personal integrity, a strong work ethic, and personal responsibility. When they encounter true community needs, they are willing to help, but it will not be with much fanfare and at their own discretion, rather than by political edict. They generally resent the rapacious, stifling fiscal policies of the unaccountable politicians and petty bureaucrats.

From time to time I have heard claims similar to the first writer’s. Where do such claims come from? And are there any elements of Amish society that suggest communism?

Are the Amish a communist society?

I came up with several reasons why some observers might describe the Amish as “communist”. For one this might be due to the association of the Amish with church community, and their well-known collective work events like the community barn-raising and other work frolics. A community of people of similar appearance dressing alike in drab clothing may also call to mind pictures of communist societies of past eras.

Moving a barn

What about actually owning goods in common? Among the few cases that might qualify would be the church owning their benches and related implements used for bimonthly service. Schools and cemeteries, which are common areas used by all or nearly all Amish in a community, are handled differently. Amish people own their homes, buggies, land, animals, tools, businesses, and all other private possessions. So the church owning benches, a wagon, and cups and some silverware is hardly a significant example of communal ownership.

Church wagons. Photo by Don Burke

Amish do informally “pass the hat”, collecting alms at church service to help support members of the church who have medical needs or face disaster, so this might be seen by some as leaning in a direction of “communism”. Unlike in historical examples of communism, this is not coerced or forcibly taken however, and is meant to be done in a spirit of Christian aid.

Another aspect that might be perceived as reminiscent to some of “communism” is the practice of trusteeship which comes into play when a household is facing business and financial difficulty. For example in cases where a business is in dire straits, three members of the community may be chosen to manage the company’s finances, along with legal power of attorney. But this is meant to be a temporary assistance and not a permanent state of affairs, and is not an especially common situation.

Amish businesses in Randolph County, Missouri. Photo by Don Burke

If you observe the flourishing of entrepreneurial activity in nearly every Amish community – some of it quite competitive – and understand that every household has its own bills to pay and affairs to manage, the idea of “Amish communists” loses credibility pretty quickly.

What about the Hutterites?

In his letter, Martin instead points to the Hutterites as an example of religious communism. I can’t speak for any Hutterites, but I suppose some might prefer to avoid the loaded term “communism” in describing how they live. When I asked Manitoba Hutterite Linda Maendel about this, she rather discussed “living communally” and a community of goods.

So there might be other aspects of Amish life that I’ve not thought of in composing this post, but I would say that Ivan Martin’s claim, in refutation of the first writer’s claim of the Amish as “true” communists, is by far the more accurate of the two.

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    45 Comments

    1. Rozy

      Voluntary vs. By Force

      As I understand the Amish they are free to leave their communities, and dissent is handled with firm love and opportunity to repent. That alone would challenge the assertion that they practice communism. Communism as a political scheme is by force and totalitarian, which allows no dissent and punishes it with death or being sent to slave labor camps; economically all means of production are owned and operated by the government. It is the antithesis of the biblically based voluntary community life of the Amish. Those who spout such nonsense are not well educated in either way of life.

      1. Karen Baker

        Communism

        Communism, in its true, pure form, is an ideal way to live. Everyone puts all possessions into the community pot. Those who are in need, take what they need, and no more. Everyone shares ideas, votes on the best way to run things, and a central committee abides by the majority decision.
        It could be how humans originally lived. A division of labor according to who were the best gatherers, best farmers ( when people decided to stay in one spot for a season), best hunters, provided the best child care, everyone doing what they could to ensure the safety and future of the clan or community. Because, with so many natural enemies, who saw humans as prey, with tentative housing, the vagaries of weather, group safety meant not only continuation of the species, but individual safety too.

        But. Having said that, modern humans are a different creature from prehistoric humans. Everyone, me included, wants more. More money, and a bigger house to put all the extra stuff we want, in. We are all trying to keep up with the Joneses-or Bylers. I’m sure the Amish are not immune to this, in their way. Why not, in secret, want a new team of younger, stronger percherons, who can plow more land faster than your old team can plow? Why not want a buggy like your cousin’s, that doesn’t feel as if it’s shaking apart everytime the horse does a trot?
        The Amish are human beings, and not immune to human faults. Perhaps this “wanting more,” is why many leave. They want more individuality, more education, more money for less work, more modernization. A form of keeping up with the neighbors, if you will.

        Modern communism, as I have seen it reported, is nothing more than a bully state. Which, of course, we’ve also seen in monarchies, republics, and democracies.

    2. Robert Strikwerda

      Not communist or communal but . .

      Though describing, as Martin does, the Amish as a “freedom-loving culture” seems off the mark. They certainly appreciate the freedoms Canada and USA provide such as education only up through 8th grade, but in general I wouldn’t characterize them as freedom-loving.

      1. Karen Baker

        Freedom

        I’ve met a number of Amish in SW NYS. Clymer Amish aren’t the strictest Amish, but they do have some rules that, if disobeyed, will be met with disapproval, even shunning, by the local Bishop and community.
        I’d say the Amish are more concerned that the members who stay, after rumspringa and all that, conform to community rules, and if they express individuality, they do so without breaking those rules. So, we see a certain style of carriage in the Clymer/Sherman area of Chautaqua County, NY. Only certain colors of women’s dresses or men’s shirts-which can be a way to express individuality. I’ve seen tiny ornaments on buggies, different styles of horse harness, which I was told was not due to the needs of the horse-although if anyone asked, the horse had “a weird mouth.”. People look the other way, on some things, in any society.

        1. James O'Connell

          re: Clymer/Sherman buggies

          My friend, Ben, is Plain, and part of the Conewango community.

          As I recall, he told me the ‘ornaments’ – and here I forget the name he gave them – are generally used as identification aids. I suppose it helps when a dozen or so are all parked together without the horses (generally, it’s easier to know your own horse with individual markings, rather than otherwise identical buggies.

          I expect to see him next week (or once this snow is melted), and i’ll try to remember to ask about it.

          1. Karen Baker

            Buggy ornaments

            I wonder if your friend ever used a modified roach clip to identify his buggy?!I’ve seen them on family buggies, being driven by the parents! Of course, Ive also seen the regular roach clips, with lots of feathers, beads, and ribbons on buggies, on Saturday nights. Which leads me to believe that the teens had the buggy, not mom and dad.

      2. Amish and communism

        The Amish don’t practice communism. No country does. A dictatorship is not communism. Russia (USSR at the time) tried communism. When Lenin realized communism didn’t work, and they might lose control of the populace, they transitioned to a dictatorship and forbade the citizens from practicing freedom of choice, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. They went after dissenters from all wakes of life. Especially those with critical thinking skills. Real communism doesn’t work because it goes against human nature. I do think that all organized religions practice some form of dictatorship.

        1. Stephanie Berkey

          Janice, sounds like you don’t understand Marxism, probably due to how you been “educated”. It proposes the best of goals, but the means are very evil. That’s the most glaring hallmark of the Father of Lies, who is the author of Marxism.

          List Of Communist Countries Today
          https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/list-of-communist-countries-today.html

          My escape from North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdxPCeWw75k

          Jordan B Peterson on “But That Wasn’t Real Communism, Socialism, or Marxism” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXBjVau1w7Y

          1. Amish and communism

            Stephanie: What is it you think I don’t understand about Marxism? How have I been educated? Please inform me.

            1. Stephanie Berkey

              Janice, did you check out the links? They are very enlightening. Jordan Peterson is a brilliant Canadian professor at the University of Toronto. He’s helped educate millions of people in many ways.

              1. jessica

                Jordan Peterson is a quack if ever there was one.

                1. Stephanie Berkey

                  Jessica, why do you feel JP is a quack?

              2. Amish and communism

                Stephanie: I have heard of Jordan Peterson. He is popular among right-wingers. In 2016, he spoke out against Canadian law Bill C-16, which added “gender identity or expression” to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The law made it illegal to discriminate based on gender. On his YouTube channel, Peterson has criticized the theory of white privilege as a “Marxist lie” and has claimed masculinity is under attack. Some of what he writes makes sense, but, a lot is racist, homophobic/transphobic and supportive of hate speech. He rails against liberals’ “obsession” with identity. He markets himself as an intellectual who isn’t afraid of asking tough questions, yet, he often blurts out unscientific claims, i.e. his fixation on lobsters, and the supposed similarity between crustaceans and humankind, which he uses to justify the existence of unjust hierarchies. Then there was his promotion of his daughter’s diet of solely beef, salt and water. Peterson hangs out with Stefan Molyneux, a Canadian far-right white nationalist, white supremacist, podcaster and banned YouTuber. He is best known for promoting conspiracy theories, scientific racism, eugenics, and racist views. As of September 2020, Molyneux has been permanently banned or permanently suspended from PayPal, Mailchimp, YouTube, Twitter and SoundCloud, all for violating hate speech policies. As for my knowledge of Marxism, I will say this: as a teen, because my father was a US diplomat for the United Nations, we visited most of Eastern Europe, prior to the “Iron Curtain” coming down. We drove through Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Yugoslavia. One of my close high school friends was from Belgrade. She actually ended up working for Tito. Most Eastern Europeans were afraid to be seen speaking to foreigners with big, American cars. Some locals spoke a little English, French or German and were thrilled to speak with us. My mother being French, born and raised in Alsace/Lorraine, grew up speaking French and German and English. We also learned Arabic. I learned how communism affected the wealthy vs the poor. Religion was a no-no, but, some people still secretly practiced it in their homes. I met many Atheists. Despite communism being mandated for everyone, it wasn’t practiced by the powerful or those with lucrative black market businesses. Any country that claims to be communist, is really just a dictatorship. FYI, I grew up in the Middle East because of my father’s job at the UN. I also lived in France for several years. I have two siblings who live in France, and one who who lives in the Middle East. That’s another topic.

                1. Stephanie Berkey

                  Janice, that’s quite a family you have, and an upbringing. Thanks for sharing that. My family moved around a lot too, so I can relate somewhat. It can be good for learning many things, including about different cultures. Our upbringing greatly affects our view of the world, but can also contain some inaccuracies, which can be hard to see and accept. Would you agree?

                  Jordon Peterson does have some unique ideas, but anyone that intelligent will. I don’t like everything he teaches, but find most is helpful to millions of people, especially young men who struggle a lot today for various reasons, mainly from lack of enough good fathering. He does teach using comparisons or analogies, but so did Jesus who compared us to sheep. Jesus also associated with all kinds of people, so I don’t think it’s fair to judge JP by who he hangs out with, though I understand the concern. I’ve never seen him with Stephen Molyneux, but I have seen him with people like Rex Murphy, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, Patrick Bet-David, and Glen Beck. My perception is that his objection to gender identity has more to do with possible unconstitutional laws regarding it than to any phobias. I’ve not seen him participate in hate speech, except hate against ignorance and genocide.

                  I understand the idea that communism is run like a dictatorship, but it has teachings that are unique and specific only to it. As Jordon Peterson said in the link I shared, in Europe it was peddled as a cure for the poor but that it didn’t work here. Marxists use a tactic of divide and conquer. This is why they stir up discontent and misperceptions in areas of identity. The ones who end up calling the shots don’t really care about the issues nor the people, just the power they gain in dividing people. It doesn’t have the safeguards of the Rule of Law and balance of power of our US Constitution, which was a gift from He that can liberate us from all phobias, false traditions, lies, and indoctrinations.

                  Can you consider how Jesus suffered and died for us all, and bore every pain, sickness, and oppression, and is willing to help us all our lives to conquer it all? Can you see how that’s’ the exact opposite of a dictatorship?

                  1. Amish and communism

                    Stephanie: I’ve only mentioned a tiny portion of my life.

                    I wouldn’t compare Jordan Peterson’s hanging out with white supremacists’ to Jesus hanging out with liars and thieves, etc. Jesus hung out with sinners in order to get them to see the light. Peterson hangs out with Molyneux, because he agrees with him, not because he is trying to make Molyneux see the light! I’m surprised you would refer anyone to Peterson’s musings, since he does not profess to be a Christian.
                    Rex Murphy, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, Patrick Bet-David, and Glen Beck, as witnesses for Peterson’s character, do not impress me. They’re your stereotypical, run-of-the-mill, conservatives. I used to watch Glenn Beck, occasionally, when he was on CNN, but stopped when he became too full of himself and moved to FOX, where he was given a platform to criticize former President Obama and liberals.

                    Communism was peddled as a cure for poverty everywhere, not just in Europe. It didn’t really take here because, Americans don’t enjoy having constraints on their freedom to be greedy and selfish.

                    Marxism does have some good in it because it advocates against the exploitation of the working class by capitalists. Marx, not being much of a psychologist, did not take into consideration, human nature. The majority of people want the opportunity to better themselves and to climb up the ladder of success.

                    The reality of communism/Marxism, is that it always leads towards a huge wealth-to-poverty gap because the desire to compete is forbidden. Without competition, there’s little incentive to work hard and produce, resulting in the populace works just to survive. That is why the USSR broke apart and turned to capitalism. The same with Chine. Both countries still consider themselves Communists, in reality, they are just capitalist dictatorships.

                    I still believe that organized religion is comparable to dictatorship.

                    As for the Constitution and your belief that it was given to us by God, is it also your belief that it was God who gave the American people, Trump? Was he the same God who incited the insurrection? Was he the same God who exhorted the criminals to storm the Capitol and cause so much damage, threaten peoples’ lives, cause several deaths, and then told them to blame it on ANTIFA?

          2. Moe Lester

            MoeLester

            Stephanie, that list of communist countries is the most bs i’ve seen today, and i work with telemarketing

    3. Marilyn Sullivan

      Uninformed, as usual

      I will never understand why people go so crazy with their ill-informed comments about the Amish. I guess going by the examples you cite, like helping out with a big project like a barn raising, then everyone who helps out his neighbors is a practicing communist! Silliness. I realize that almost nothing is true about “all Amish,” but this bit about communism is just not so.

      1. Karen Baker

        Barn raising

        Well, I guess we’re all a bunch of communists, then, because I know all of us can think of times when we helped out on some project, in our community, at work ( my union is famous for lending a LOT of hands in our area), or just helping a neighbor with a household or yard job. I guess Habitat for Humanity is a communist organization, and I guess, given President and Mrs Carter’s active involvement with that great organization, we’ve already had a communist president! EEK!!!
        Marilyn, you’re so right! Silliness!!!
        I think people just don’t want to research things. No one wants to educate themselves, on what a thing is, or isn’t. It’s easier to parrot what other uninformed people have said.

      2. Karen Baker

        Educate yourselves, PLEASE

        It amazes me, also, the number of people who think they know so much about any group of people, when all they’ve ever done, is read a few articles.
        C’mon! Different cultures, ethnic, religious, political groups help others within their common, all the time. Many help people outside their communities, even. Many engage in communal work, such as planting
        , harvesting, cleaning cities of litter, as I pointed out earlier, in things like Habitat for Humanity and so on. I think I mentioned my own union local’s community service programs-I’d like to point out that many schools have similar programs, and that some make these programs mandatory for their students. It doesn’t mean they espouse communism.
        People help others people. Some have to be ordered to do it, some just do it. It’s not a sign that someone or a group is communist. It just means, they believe in pulling together, either to simply give an individual a hand, or to help or improve their community.
        But, if this is communism to some, well, I’d be proud to be considered a communist. And more people should want to be considered a communist also.

        1. Jerri

          “Reading a few articles” is the realistic method by which most people would educate themselves, so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. It behooves me to say the best would be to talk to those who are directly involved with the creation and advocacy of a given idea. What do you do? You’re making the assumption that those who oppose the accepted definitions of communism and socialism haven’t read sympathetic material…for example, I disagree that the cooperative nature of primitive societies is in the same level of complexity to warrant being retroactively called by the same terminology as “communism”, so to your main point I’m going to stick to staying away from considering participation in Habitat for Humanity Communism, or being proud of being called anything related to Communism.
          I don’t think anyone in this whole conversation is acting a Scrooge by saying that helping people is a bad thing.
          Unless this is a troll. “C’mon, man!”

    4. Re: Robert Strikwerda's Comment

      On the contrary, Robert, the Amish DO love freedom, & in fact moved here from Europe to freely practice their chosen religion & lifestyle. You don’t cite any examples of them NOT being “freedom-loving”, so I wonder what leads you to think that way.

      1. Robert Strikwerda

        Reply about Amish freedom

        Compared to standard American culture, Amish accept restrictions on
        — transportation, only horse-drawn
        — clothing
        — years of education, etc.
        Accept church discipline stricter than most American churches.

        1. Re: Amish Freedoms

          Those restrictions are self imposed & chosen freely when an Amish person joins Church. Communism gives ZERO choices.
          A Catholic priest chooses celibacy, plenty of people choose not to wear fur or leather, vegetarians choose not to eat meat. Plenty of mainstream Americans don’t drive or own cars
          Not all high school graduates choose to go to college, & in fact, trades are now seeing an upswing.

        2. Karen Baker

          Freedom and restraint

          Robert, mainstream American society has a ton of restrictions.
          We are limited to the type of vehicle we’re allowed to drive on our roads. We have to license them, insure them, in many states, inspect them, to be allowed to drive them on the roads. We have speed limits. Well, I don’t, but all of you have speed limits.
          We’re told we must complete a certain amount of education. If we’re under a certain age, we need our parents permission to drop out of school.
          We are restricted to what clothing we can wear, and where we can wear it. My one time reporting for jury duty, the letter told me to dress respectfully, and NO JEANS. That put restrictions on what I could wear to court.
          If we are an employer, there are laws that tell us what to pay employees, and what yo pay them if they work a Sunday, whether or not any of us is particularly religious.
          I don’t see the examples you put in your entry, as applying solely to the Amish. Each society has restrictions that are obeyed, or those who don’t, are subject to legal or cultural ramifications.

          David Stear, GREAT POST! I’m not Catholic, but I was thinking about Vows of Poverty and the way certain Orders live.

          As far as socialism being so horrible, a lot of programs run by our own government in this country, would disappear if we banned all socialism. The Veterans Administration. Obamacare. Welfare, unemployment, SNAP. Even public projects that keep our infrastructure going. If only we could include potholes, in those programs, in March.
          Socialism is not the worst thing that can happen to a country. Yes, our taxes would go up if we had a National health care system as so many other countries have. But in those countries, people are healthier, and Scandinavian countries, famous for socialized health, routinely top polls as the happiest people on earth. In Norway, companies pay tax-but the more people they create jobs for, the less tax they pay. There’s an incentive to create jobs, increase their markets, employ more people-who can then pay into the tax pot, that supports the government’s socialized programs, which in turn, benefit everyone.

          1. Stephanie Berkey

            Communism advertises a perfect society but is founded on principles that create the opposite. This has been proven by history, which is why communists work to obliterate and rewrite history. There’s no property rights under communism, nor does it recognize God as the source of our freedoms. Government alone claims the right to grant or deny human rights. Charity and compliance is forced.

            Bezmenov on demoralization in America, nanakosakura
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlpODYhnPEo&feature=emb_title

    5. Joe Donnermeyer

      Wow!

      The Amish are ideal more community-minded than most of mainstream North Americans, but they are not really communal per se. They do value mutual support, that is, helping each other. Also, keep in mind that Hutterites do practice a form of socialism. The problem here is that there are not only misperceptions of the Amish, but most North Americans have no idea what communism really is, or how it is different from socialism. So, with that mix, it is not really surprising to read such a comment. The good news is that it provides an opportunity to educate with a reply.

    6. David R Stear

      There is communism and then there is Communism...

      If I’m not mistaken, there is a passage in Acts in the New Testament about the early Christians “owning things in common”. This may have inspired latter day Christians of certain schools of thought (often German speaking) to emulate this. Specifically I’m thinking of the Amana Society in Iowa, the Perfectionists under John Humphrey Noyes in New York (makers of Oneida silverware), the Harmonists under Father Rapp, the Shakers (of whom there are fewer than 10 left at Sabbathday Lake in Maine) and as mentioned the Hutterites. Many Americans are brainwashed to think of Socialism and Communism as one big totalitarian scheme of government and make little distinction between the two. Joseph Stalin or Mao tse-Tung, who perhaps justifiably imparted the reputation of “Communism” being a brutal dictatorship, would be the first to admit that they were “building SOCIALISM in order to one day achieve communism, which, by the way is characterized, according to Karl Marx, as having a form of government which, after “withering away” because it is no longer needed in the effort to build socialism, would conceivably result in a peaceful form of anarchy–therefore “true” communism and anarchy go hand in hand. I think part of what we are missing here is that the Amish stress “gelassenheit” which can be translated from the German as “serenity”. In the case of the Amish that concept is closely related to the Christian ideal of humility which would refute the claim in one of the other posts here that the Amish are “competitive” and “desire more” supposedly being a natural human tendency. On the contrary, and I think most Amish people would agree with this: “happy is he or she who know they have enough”, not unlike the Marxist formula “from each according to his or her ability and to each according to their need”. Stalin, in his socialist model changed “need” to “desserts”. Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth on what has been commented here and no, the Amish don’t generally reflect a “communal” way of life but rather striving toward one of Christian charity toward their neighbors who, by the way, may or may not be Amish or even Mennonite.

    7. Anne-Marie Ramsey

      People Mistaken

      I have problems with people who do not know what communism is. When our history in the new world started it was certainly a communist endeavor. Many noted scholars have written books on this. Today people throw out socialism and communism with no understanding of what they are. The Amish are very devout which is frowned upon in a communist country. Perhaps some of their way of life could be more socialist because they strive to leave no one behind. I love the Amish! They are to be admired for living as they do and being “in the world, but not of it!”

    8. Avail

      Like said,
      Personally, from my view, it’s become a familiar practice of older beginning.
      If one needing help, they willingly.
      If you are able to help, please…
      But, their local struggle may be
      timely, beneficial.
      They aren’t, Communists.
      Amish,
      demonstrate,
      Friendship..

    9. Aj

      I would say that if the person was looking for a form of communism or communalism, they could look at religious communities of the FLDS, Old Colony Mennonites, and Hutterites. Those groups do practice a form of communalism, though those communities are often less stable than the Amish. The Amish way of life has shown itself to be more resilient due to private ownership than say the Hutterites, which have modernized more and more due to the communal growth and pressure from everyone living under one roof.

    10. James O'Connell

      Other communist religious groups in the US

      One might mention communities of Religious Orders, such as the Roman Catholic order of Friars Minor – better known as the Franciscans. Any religious group that takes a Vow of Poverty, such as the Franciscans might qualify as “communists” in that sense.

      Friars in particular:

      May not own anything, even clothing. What they have is owned by the community, but they are given the use (and use only) of items they need.

      Have little say regarding assignments or Ministries (although individual talent and abilities are always considered). Friars go and do what their Superiors direct them to do, where they are needed.

      These reflect their Vows of Poverty and Obedience. Their third Vow – Chastity – is otherwise well-known, and not related to ‘communism’ per se.

    11. Jerri

      I’ve also been on the receiving end of comments linking Christianity with socialism, it’s become a popular “debate” tactic to convince people of the merits of communism/socialism. Of course as others have noted, American socialism is not Godly-minded, it’s not voluntary (otherwise it’s not charity), and that’s just the beginning of how it’s totally different, but that’s all it is to the original commenter – a surface argument.

    12. thom

      Communism?

      The Amish certainly don’t practice communism although they do have some practices that would be too community focused (rather than individualism) and be too “socialist” for a lot of Americans. In matters large and small the community voice almost always wins out over individual wishes and autonomy. Wilhile it may be true that the Amish Aid fund for healthcare is on a technically volunteer basis it is also true that it is expected that all families pay and their standing in the Church could be affected if they refused. My Grandpa had the job of going around to all the families in his Old-Order community and collecting the funds and helping to calculate what each family would contribute. Also, “freedom loving” is a doing a lot of work. I think it’s very difficult to explain to people outside of the community just how difficult it is for many people to leave. From the moment you’re born everything in your life is aimed at keeping you in the church. Everything from your restrictions on education to your spiritual teachings to your lack of transportation to your lack of financial protections if you choose to leave.

    13. Terry Berger

      One needs to differentiate

      One needs to differentiate between communism which is a political construct and “the community of goods” which is a Christian/spiritual construct. The plain church groups including my own church, Moravian Brethren, practice or practiced this as a way of loving our neighbor, making sure that everyone’s needs were taken care of. Groups like the Moravians and Society of True Inspiration (The Amana Colonies) have abandoned this aspect of their discipline while the more conservative plain groups, most noticeably the Hutterites retain this. This is practiced in other groups by sharing certain farm implements among members or shared work projects to assist neighbors. This part of the spiritual discipline practiced by these faith groups which is not communism.

      Terry

    14. EDDIE HINES

      LIVEING IN COMMON WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR

      THE BIBLE SAYS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE IN COMMON WITH OUR NEIGHBOR AND KEEP OUR GRAINERYS FULL. COMMUNISM AS IT IS PRACTICED TODAY IS STATE SOCIALISM, REAL COMMUNISM IS LIVEING IN COMMON WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR.THE AMISH DO NOT REALLY LIVE COMMUNALLY TOGETHER BUT THEY DO SUPPORT EACH OTHER. THE HUTTERITES LIVE COMUNALLY TOGETHER AS DO THE BRUDERHOF.

      1. Stephanie Berkey

        Eddie, that’s very interesting. Thanks for sharing that. My understanding is all property is owned by the group, so there are no property rights. Do you know if the Hutterites practice infant baptism? My impression is some do because of being pressured to do so in Russia before migrating here.

    15. EDDIE HINES

      REPLY TO STEPHANIE

      IN THE HUTTERITE COLONYS ALL PROPERTY IS OWNED BY THE GROUP HOWEVER THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO THE AMISH THE HUTTERITES ARE ANABAPTISTS AS ARE THE AMISH AND MENNONITES. ANABAPTISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN COMMUNION OR INFANT BAPTISM.THE MENBERS IN THERE TEEN YEARS MUST ACCEPT THEY WAYS OF THE CHURCH AND THAT IS CONSIDERED THIR BAPTISM.THE REASON IS A GOOD ONE AND IT HAS GREAT HISTORICAL SIGNICANCE.

      1. Terry Berger

        A slight correction

        Eddie, All the plain churches practice communion, the reinactment celebration of Jesus last supper with his disciples; it is a Christian sacrament like baptism, and in some groups footwashing also falls under a sacrament.

        Terry

    16. Stephanie Berkey

      Eddie, that’s very interesting. Thank you for clarifying that.

    17. Stephanie Berkey

      Janice,
      Our two political sides are becoming increasingly polarized because of the devil. The Father of Lies inspires negative feelings and events by appealing to the pride of both sides (Proverbs 13:10) and by attacking freedom, first through sin and then through physical slavery. Vigilance for freedom under the US Constitution is vital, as we strive to repent.

      We all have room to improve and need the good from both left and right. We can come together and work in unity again as much as possible with those who will dwell on the good we have in common to uphold freedom under the supreme law of our land.

      An ancestor of mine, William Bradford, the second governor of the pilgrims in Plymouth, tried communism but it became impossible because it created lack of motivation to work, so he changed it to capitalism and that helped the people be productive and prosper.

      Jordon Peterson has said he is a Christian and explains in this link: Am I Christian? Timothy Lott and Jordan B Peterson
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIB05YeMiW8. From what I can see he lives like the first son in the parable in Matthew 21:28-31 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/nt/matt/21?lang=eng

      We all fall short. Marxists work to exploit, isolate, manipulate, and destroy people for their weaknesses. Jesus died to offer us chances to learn from our experiences and weakness. Anyone who can’t discern which system is dictatorial has a problem with their perspective, regardless of who they are.

    18. Amish and communism

      Stephanie: You prove my point: Communism doesn’t work because it goes against human nature by taking away motivation to succeed from those who are either lazy, or see no reason to work hard if everyone benefits equally, regardless of effort. By the way, by the time Braford and his Pilgrims had arrived at Plymouth, there was already plenty of information available to anyone who wanted it, on how to successfully build a colony, based on the area and all it offered. Not to mention, learning how to work with the Natives. It wasn’t “communism” that nearly killed that particular group of colonists, although Bradford claims it was, in reality, it was their lack of common sense!

      “Our two political sides are becoming increasingly polarized because of the devil. The Father of Lies inspires negative feelings and events by appealing to the pride of both sides (Proverbs 13:10) and by attacking freedom, first through sin and then through physical slavery. Vigilance for freedom under the US Constitution is vital, as we strive to repent.”

      The Devil is to blame for everything that happened? Not the terrorists? W What is your version or understanding of freedom under the Constitution? Freedom to do what? “Vigilance for freedom under the Constitution”? Whose freedom? What kind of freedom? Who is attacking freedom? Who are the sinners and physical slaves?

      As for JP, different sites make different claims about his Christianity. Still, he’s not really my cup of tea.

    19. Stephanie Berkey

      No, I didn’t prove your point. Don’t twist it. Freedom under the US Constitution includes the Rule of Law and a separation of powers. It’s freedom from unjust laws, from things like being forced to have abortions, or being killed for your organs like they do in China today. Have you heard of, “The Law”, by Frederick Bastiat? http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

      Because we all have good and bad in us, tyranny can occur on either side. Vigilance for freedom includes keeping ourselves in check as well as our government. Anything more or less than the Constitutional law of our land will bring evil and should be forsaken.

      It’s incredibly arrogant to assign motives to the pilgrims and criticize them to justify Marxism. Clearly you feel the right people could make it work, which has never happened. It appeals to our baser side. Its fruits have been devastatingly destructive and horrific worldwide historically and today. Most people who know of them have been and are extremely grateful for the pilgrims’ courage, work, sacrifices, and common sense, which greatly helped established this free nation, and blessed and inspired the world for over 400 years! We would do well to follow their example.

    20. Mark

      It's capitalism

      The Amish (and similar societies) are capitalists. Capitalism comes from the protestant work ethic. They own their means of production, they have strong private property rights and do not believe in welfare. They also do not pay medicare tax. They are the complete opposite of communists.

      They follow the original Christian capitalism, they believe work is beneficial and keep the “fruit of their labor” (profit) and invest in their own industry to create a robust society that is free from co-dependency (actual capitalism) and when they get hurt, they pool their money together and pay for the medical expenses via their church.

      We used to do a similar thing, people had full-time employment and part of our pay was invested in the company we work for, and then we received Christmas bonuses (because it came from Christianity) but now we live in a consumerist society that is secular, not a capitalist one.

    21. Amish Are Anarchocapitalists

      They live and own their own properties. They trade and sell to others. They have their own system in laws and a strong moral code. The Amish don’t take kindly for government to intervene in their own ways. To say they’re communist is ludicrous at best. Amish own their own means of production. They compete in business.

    22. Amish and communism

      Republicans are obsessed with communism or the perception of communism. Most have no clue what communism actually is, which is why they label liberals as being, “communists” or “socialists”.