Gunshots Fired At Amish Homes In Wisconsin (UPDATED)

Over the past week, gunshots were fired at two Amish homes in the community in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin. There was also a third reported incident involving a school in the settlement.

bullet-hole-in-windowThere’s not a lot of information in this article, but there are a few more details, including on a fragment of bullet found in between panes of glass in one home.

Eau Claire County is home to the community which has had some high-profile conflicts over smoke detectors, recently resolved thanks to a change in state building code.

Who is shooting at Amish homes, and why? There have been many cases of harassment against Amish, and worse, over the years. These have included shooting a horse, vandalizing buggy warning signs, and arson.

The Amish are different, and are outsiders, and often misunderstood. It creates a situation where it is easier to dehumanize them. Furthermore, personal conflicts can simmer and breed ill will.

None of those are reasons to fire a gun at another person’s home.

Hopefully whoever is involved will be stopped before someone gets hurt.

UPDATE – Sep. 11 4:44 AM: According to a report by WQOW, the shooting occurred Friday night, and in fact targeted three separate homes, and an Amish school.

Video, which you can find here, shows the homes, school, and the bullet holes. You also hear from Mary Schrock, the teacher at the school.

The new report:

Augusta (WQOW) – Three Amish homes and one Amish school-house was targeted in a drive-by shooting on Friday night.

News 18 spoke with Rudy Gingerich, one of the home owners on Wednesday. He explained that his family of nine woke to a gun shot on Friday night around 11 p.m. They contacted the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office who investigated the situation Saturday morning and found that two more homes and a school-house were damaged by bullet holes as well.

“Well I came Monday morning and saw it there, it was pretty scary, but I have no idea why it happened,” said Mary Schrock, an Amish school teacher.

Investigators believe the shots were fired from the road from a gun that uses 22-caliber, but they do not know who did it or why. The Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public. Anyone with information is asked to contact them at (715) 839-4972.

Image credit- bullet hole in window– tedengler/flickr

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    1. See Both Sides

      Mirrored Threats

      The Amish present three threats to the uninitiated. First, Amish tend to be clannish. Second, they can be judgmental. Amish are decidedly different.

      When this trinity meets a sect of equally clannish, judgmental, and different “English” (even if their heritage is French, German, etc.), the results is an inevitable conflict if both sides fear the other is there to destroy them.

      At the same time, while the Amish are pacifist, the “English” tend to be aggressive. This frequently results in Amish victimization.

      A similar conflict exits between Jews and Gentiles. Each often portrays the other as a caricature-like stereotype.

      When dealing with Amish, the “English” would do well to remember the Golden Rule. Treat others as they wish to be treated. The Amish aren’t going away.

      In this clash of cultures, neither side has all the answers. Each can learn from the other. Besides, like it or not, both the Amish and the “English” can learn from each other.

      In particular, the “English” would do well borrow some Amish “family values” instead to treating marriage as expendable and unnecessary. The “English” could also benefit from absorbing some of the Amish work ethic and non-violent conflict resolution.

      On the other side of the fence, the Amish need to stop feeling threatened by “English” education. Not everyone’s schooling ended at the eight grade.

      If the discussion with an “English” person drifts onto some unfamiliar topic, at least take the time to ask a few questions and listen instead of becoming obviously uncomfortable.

      Most “English” are there to do business. In the process, there will be an inevitable exchange of culture and ideas. Quite literally, that’s how the world has worked for thousands of years. There never will be enough Amish to change that.

      The moment the Amish forget that reality, they will go the way of the Shakers and similar theocratic experiments! In the process, they will become an irrelevant historical curiosity.

      1. Tom Geist


        I would be interested in knowing more about what you mean when you say about the Amish “Second, they can be judgmental.”

        While we are all human and have certain negative thoughts, in my experiences, for the most part, the Amish have not viciously verbalized their dislikes of the English. On the other hand, some English can and will say what they think of the Amish in a loud tone.

        I believe that we English have a duty to say something when we come across loud mouth English that disparage the Amish. All it takes is a few good people to stand up to keep this kind of assaults quashed.

        To be clear, it is fine not to agree with this or that lifestyle but when it starts to get out of hand, turns to violence, loss of property and potentially lives, people need to step up. It is not the duty of only the Amish to stand up for themselves but all good people.

        *steps off his soapbox*

        Tom in Lincoln

        1. Verity Pink


          I think that it’s more that people *feel* judged when they see anyone with such a holistic approach to following Christ that it even governs their dress. Which, like sermons seemingly directed at a given individual, reflects a guilty conscience and/or the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

        2. See Both Sides

          knowing more about "can be judgmental”

          Point arises both from interactions with Amish, former Amish, and “English” labeling for non-Amish.

          The latter isn’t that different from goyim appellation applied by members of the Hebrew community to non-Jews. Basically, unlike the self-applied label of Amish, it means not one of us.

          Just for the record, I’m not particularly offended by it. Nevertheless, I see it as evidence of a the Amish self-imposed wall of separation.

          At the same time, although some of my ancestors departed from the island before the American Revolution, I’m not English. I’m American. Then, so are Amish. Therefore, I am willing to be my brother’s keeper.

          1. Dirk

            Interesting SBS, reading your comment again about you labeling the Amish use of the term ‘English’ for non-Amish as judgmental, I have to wonder what do you call the Amish? Perhaps Amish?
            Yet you do not find this term ‘Amish’ which separates them and places them into a different category from you as offensive. Yet when they do the same with the term ‘English’ that places you in a different category to themselves, this you find offensive.
            It seems to be a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

            Regarding the ‘goyim’ appellation you mention used by the Jews to mean non-Jew, it came into popular usage since the founding of the State of Israel and the revival of the Hebrew language. Previously the popular term was ‘yok’, the Yiddish word for non-Jew and still used by the older generation.

            One last thing, your sentence “members of the Hebrew community” does not sit well with me. You are either using the word ‘Hebrew’ in error because you are trying too hard to be PC, or you have just inadvertently given us a flash of your true colors, namely that you are a bigot and an anti-Semite.

            Which would explain why you feel insulted when groups whom you deem are beneath you, should dare use words that you feel diminish you superiority, such as ‘English’, ‘goyim’, etc. and hence you criticism of it here.

            1. See Both Sides

              A few clarifications for Dirk

              Tracing Amish origins to 1525 in Zurich, Switzerland does not put them in America at that time. There most certainly is no record of significant Amish influence in the founding of the United States.

              In fact, the number of self-identified Amish only seems to have numbered a few thousand in the early 20th century. At the time, the total population of the country was over one million. This translates into something like 5/1000 of 1 percent!!!

              The Religious Wars in Europe began before the Amish became a recognized sect. Back then, the Amish were victimized among with other non-Catholic sects.

              Amish were not alone in facing opposition in the United States. Almost every religious and ethic group coming to this country has faced persecution. Quakers were among the first victims. That was in the 17th century.

              At one time, there was whole political party devoted to opposition to Irish immigration. Thus far, that fate seems to have eluded the Amish!

              It is unlikely that anyone opposed to being called Amish would put up a sign identifying their place of business as an Amish Market.

              Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be any widespread protests regarding descriptive phrasing such as Amish furniture and Amish quilts. Even the name Amish appearing on this website doesn’t seem to inspire any great resentment among poster to this forum.

              By the same token, members of the Amish community with whom I’ve interacted use the term Amish.

              Of course, if there is any opposition to the name Amish, what should these items be labeled for the politically correct among us?

              Basically, goy (singular) and yok for non-Jews are the same word with a slightly altered, but reversed, spelling.

              Sorry that “members of the Hebrew community” offends you. It was unintentional. Then, apparently, it doesn’t take much to offend you.

              1. Amish Girl-Rebecca

                Do you realize that most of the businesses (at least in this community) using Amish as the name of the business, are actually not owned by Amish, but by others capitalizing on the Amish name for the dollar signs?

                1. See Both Sides

                  identifying Amish businesses

                  Thank you for bringing up the point of non-Amish businesses.

                  Having had similar reservations, I asked an Amish business owner how I could be sure an “Amish” business was indeed Amish. He could offer no definitive answer.

                  Do you have any suggestions?

                  1. Amish Girl-Rebecca

                    SBS, At the Heritage Center we usually tell them if “Amish” is part of the name it is usually not truly “Amish” owned, though they may be selling “Amish ” made furniture and /or have “Amish” working for them. Amsi businesses are more likely to have last names or place names as part of their business name, such as Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery or Farmerstown Furniture. Or words like Dutch, Heritage, Quality are common- like Dutch Quality Stone or Holmes Heritage Furniture for example. But this is not a fool-proof method either. I guess you could always ask the proprietor, Is this an Amish-owned business?

                    1. See Both Sides

                      Amish businesses

                      Thank you. Best answer I’ve gotten thus far.

            2. Amish Girl-Rebecca

              Seriously, someone considers the term “English” to be judgemental. We mean it only as the people who speak English. In PA German we actually call non-Amish people “hoch”, which actually means high. So, if you prefer that we could start using that term more. How about it ?

              1. See Both Sides

                calling non-Amish people “hoch”

                I could care less. A name is little more than a word. All too often, it is a distraction.

                I’ve been called worse, including a few names that would probably be censored on this forum.

                I’m more interested in how people treat me and each other.

                Quite often, people call other people names out of anger, frustration, or previous experiences beyond the control of a particular individual.

                Usually, it helps to find out why someone thinks as they do rather than being instantly offended by what they say. Sometimes, it is possible to bridge differences. Other times, it’s not.

                By the way, since it was brought up by another poster, is there any name Pennsylvania Amish would prefer to be called other than Amish?

                1. Amish Girl-Rebecca

                  I don’t mind being called Amish as a general term as that’s what I am. But I also like to be recognized as an individual with my own feelings and opinions and not to be lumped up with all other Amish, as sad to say there are those who bring shame to the name, but there are many more who make it honorable, so it goes both ways. I really enjoy reading and learning about other cultures. I have a great fascination with Islam and historic Judaism. I think there are too many people who judge before they understand, so sorry if I sounded sarcastic earlier, but it was only in response to feeling judged by a name.

                  1. See Both Sides

                    being called Amish

                    Thank you once again.

                    The only way to get any of this clarified is to sit down (figuratively speaking) and talk about it.

                    We need not so much agree on every point so much as be able to understand the other’s point of view. At least, then, we can perhaps find points of agreement and expand on those in order to find some resolution on matters of discord.

        3. Rose Ruby

          Step up for all people

          Good comments Tom. I concur.

      2. Interesting points, SBS, and no one can argue with the Golden Rule. But given how adaptive Amish have been, I would hesitate to predict their doom.

        Or especially to compare them to Shakers, as I think celibacy has something to do with that group having essentially died out. We know the Amish are anything but celibate 🙂

        1. Dirk

          You are absolutely right Erik about celibacy being the root cause in the demise of the Shakers, which interestingly are not yet extinct. Last I heard there are still three living members left.

          It would do SBS well to remember that the Amish can trace their origins back to 1525, that’s long before there was an America for his ancestors to leave their Island for. The Amish aren’t going anywhere.

          Considering some of the persecutions the Amish have been trough over the last 500 years, I doubt these Wisconsin shootings can even compare to them if their intention is to scare the Amish off. And after watching that Amish documentary where the runaway Amish kid burnt his uncles buggy out of spite, I would point the police in this direction first, to question all runaways in the area. Taking pot-shots at a house has a decidedly juvenile ring to it.

        2. See Both Sides

          Celibacy is only one way to go extinct

          Celibacy is merely one way for a religious sect to become fodder for history books.

          As Southern Baptists are discovering, another way is to alienate large numbers of youth by claiming ignorance reveals truth.

      3. Jonathan Edwards

        Interesting post...

        That was an interesting post, SBS. If nothing else, it gave these folks something to talk about.

    2. Australian Anonymous

      Amish Shootings!

      Good Grief Eric; 70 years Post 2nd War ending &
      14 years Post 09-11 why can’t the Amish have a Cell Phone for Emergencies Only! It’s the only way to catch any Harasment Behavior Towards the Amish! I respect their Custome; but it comes to a point to show Initiative; which avoids; anymore Harasment Behavior against the Amish! All it takes are freaks to copy cat & risk going to Jail! To charge up their Cell us to; asked a Neighbor that’s trustfully! Eric my point being is; shootings @ a Amish School in the Lancaster PA area!

      I assure you that I’m NOT a spamrer!
      I want to be Anonymous; which is my right to be; futhruemore; I also assure you that; I’ll respect; & I demand to be Equally Resoected! Thank you!

      1. Tom Geist

        To the Anonymous person from Down Under….

        Even if they had phones (actually some do have phones and/or share one with other Amish, or use English neighbors phones) you still have the situation that Amish live, for the greater part, out in rural areas, not in big metropolitan areas where the police can be there in the matter of a few minutes to throw a dragnet out for the bad people. Some areas (like Jamesport Mo) don’t even have a police force for the town.

        Tom in Lincoln (who just came from a vacation to see the Amish in Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa) 🙂

        1. Carl Oliver

          Tom's travels

          Did you go to Buchanan county Iowa by any chance?

      2. Dirk

        There is a better than average chance that even if the shooter was seen shooting the house and was known to the Amish, the Amish would not report it nor prosecute the shooter.
        That is why the Amish are such easy targets for bullies and cowards.
        I think if the Amish were to report all the anti-Amish abuse and attacks they received during the year, people would be horrified.

    3. MaryAnn


      It’s sad to think that this wonderful country has the highest rate in the world of shootings. People who do this not only hate what’s different but hate themselves. A happy person with God’s love in their heart could never do this.

    4. Andy


      I’m praying for the Amish Community to be kept safe by the Lord. For the shooter to be restrained by the Lord and that the Lord works mightily to save this person and bring them to know Jesus. And that what ever the differences are between Amish and Mennonites and the “world” that the Lord work by the power of the Holy Spirit to cause His people to love one another and their oppressors and enemies as well. In the Holy name of Jesus, I pray. Amen

      1. I can only imagine that it must be very frightening to think a bullet could come flying through your window at any time.

        Related, I read a news story the other day about random shootings on a stretch of highway in Phoenix, something like 10 of them in less than 2 weeks, though no deaths.

    5. Gary Counterman

      Targeting the Innocent

      If this shooter is found it’s likely they will have a history of mental illness and will have been able to purchase their gun without difficulty. Like the Amish in this sad example it’s always innocent and unsuspecting people, just going about their lives, who are randomly targeted and too often hurt or killed. Hopefully this shooter is found before something more tragic occurs and hopefully our larger society more seriously and responsibly acts to solve the larger core issues before us.

    6. Ken Tibbetts

      It's Inevitable

      Conflict always arises when “cultures” differ. However, the English have a whole different take on life. Just look at those who call themselves “good Christians.” The Amish, I’m sure, are good Christians also. However, the English good Christians hate African-Americans, Hispanics, Gays and Lesbians, Poor people, Asians, Women (in general), Politically Progressive People, anyone belonging to any other Religion but theirs, anyone who isn’t “exactly like they,” On the other hand, they “love” separation by ethnicity, separation by religion, separation by culture, separation by money, separation by political ideals, separation by appearance or color of skin, separation by geography, and most of all they love conflict and “war.”

      The Amish on the other hand live life as they interpret it according to their “Christian” Bible. They are honest, hard working, God fearing, pro-family – very pro-family – pacifistic, all around decent people who truly live by the “Golden Rule.”

      The Amish do not wear their religion on their sleeves; they do not proselytize nor try to force their beliefs on others. Their way of life is admirable and laudatory. I’m too old and set in my ways to ask my Amish friends to accept me into their fold as one of them so I try to help in my modest and honest way by sharing what I have, driving them where they might find it necessary to go, go to bat for them where the “system” has failed them.

      My Amish friends know they can count on me and vice versa.

      If only “everyone” could live by the Golden Rule this world would be a much better place.

      1. Bill Rushby

        What One wears on His Sleeves

        Ken wrote: “The Amish do not wear their religion on their sleeves”

        I would say that the Amish do wear their religion on their sleeves. That’s just how it is!

      2. Monty

        Oh come on...

        “The English good Christians hate African-Americans, Hispanics, Gays and Lesbians, Poor people, Asians, Women (in general), Politically Progressive People, anyone belonging to any other Religion but theirs, anyone who isn’t “exactly like they,” On the other hand, they “love” separation by ethnicity, separation by religion, separation by culture, separation by money, separation by political ideals, separation by appearance or color of skin, separation by geography, and most of all they love conflict and “war.” ”

        I can’t believe a generalization like this was allowed to slide. Do you really think that all English Christians are like this? Do you think your depiction of “good Christians” as hating gays, blacks, the poor, Asians(!), etc… is any less hateful than, well, a racist’s depiction of blacks would be, or an elitist’s depiction of the poor would be, and so on? And before you backpedal and say, “I wasn’t referring to all non-Amish Christians…” remember that you had ample opportunity in that post to make all the necessary qualifications that would have kept it from sounding downright bigoted and chose not to do so.

        For someone who wants everyone to abide by the golden rule, you seem to carve out some pretty significant exceptions for yourself, my friend.

        1. Thanks for your comment, Monty. Ken, do you really believe those are typical “English good Christian” beliefs, or just trying to get a reaction?

        2. See Both Sides

          English as good Christians

          One important factor missing out of the equation is that the English, aka Great Britain, used Christianity to spread imperialist ideology rather than brotherly love.

          As the English said about the Normans after 1066, they were good churchmen, but not very good Christians.

          As a result the British brand of god-and-countryism, both Africa and the Middle East became colossal messes in the 19th century that world leaders are still trying to sort out in the 21st century!

          During the late 19th century, the United States did much the same thing as the nation began its climb to empire status. That how, as the old truism goes, Christian missionaries traded Bibles for land in Hawaii.

    7. Alice Mary

      Just got back (last Thurs.) from another (2nd) trip to the Amish area of Shipshewana/Middlebury in Indiana. I understand that Amish community is among the most progressive in this country. We all (Amish/English) treated each other respectfully, and it was obvious the English who share the area (living there, not just tourists) have respect & appreciation for their Amish neighbors.

      I believe the shooting at Amish homes (etc.) is the unfortunate extension of other shootings (Phoenix, the streets of Chicago, etc.). Apparently there are many people who feel their only sense of power & validation comes from the muzzle of a gun aimed at the innocent and often unknown victims.

      God/nature/whomever, save us from one another! I’m GLAD the Amish are pacifists! We need more people to follow their example.

      Alice Mary

    8. Don Curtis

      Shootings in Logan County, Ohio

      My son, Mark, related to me that there were similar incidents here in Logan County, Ohio a few years back. Shootings at Amish homes. Amish farm animals set on fire and injured. Etc. These incidents happened to the Amish community at Degraff, Ohio. It is a very conservative Amish group. These incidents did not happen to Mark’s group at Belle Center. The Amish at Degraff didn’t call the police, they just suffered in silence. But one of the Amish talked about the persecution to an English friend and he took it upon himself to call the polce. The perpetrators were caught. A couple of teenage boys. In court they admitted to the crime and their motivation was because: “Them Amish are dirty.” The Amish wouldn’t press charges or appear in court. I don’t know what the boys received as punishment. Should be ashamed of themseleves.

      1. Gunshots Fired At Amish Homes In Wisconsin

        If the Amish are such “pacifists” and “suffer in silence” then, how did this story make into the mainstream media?

        1. Some Amish are simply more likely to report crimes to the authorities than others. And I would say the likelihood increases if lives are at risk.

          I just updated this post with new info, watch the video at the link, you get a sense of the fear from the schoolteacher’s comments and reporter’s description of one of the fathers.

          1. Gunshots Fired At Amish Homes in Wisconsin

            Then by definition they are NOT truly “pacifists” then are they!

        2. Amish Girl-Rebecca

          Fran, there’s more ways than one way for something like that to become public and just because there are quotes from the Amish it is very likely that another neighbor reported it and the public media came out and asked questions, thus the story and even if the Amish themselves reported it ,they likely won’t press charges, but for safety’s sake you still report something like that to prevent something worse from happening,that would only be your Christian duty. I would feel terrible if I knew something like that and didn’t report it and later someone would get hurt or killed, it would seem like it’s my fault, if it could have been prevented by calling the police.

          1. Gunshots Fired At Amish Homes in Wisconsin

            If you talk the talk, then walk the walk! Otherwise, you know what you are!!! Would Ghandi go against his core beliefs of peaceful resistance for ANY reason? I will answer that with a resounding NO! Why, because his beliefs ran deep. Obviously, the Amish beliefs aren’t that deep!

            1. Okay Fran, Rebecca took the time to give you a thoughtful reply, including the possibility that it wasn’t reported by Amish. It sounds like your mind is made up, precluding any discussion here. Is there a reason for that?

              1. Gunshots Fired At Amish Homes In Wisconsin

                Yes Eric there is, and I will start by saying that I have taken a lot of heat on this site for some of my comments, but I can assure you everything I have said I have seen with my own eyes. There are 4 Amish farms within 1/4 mile of my home and I have never met a group of people who could care less about their neighbors than the group that surrounds me. They are stubborn, belligerent and less than friendly. In fact, the entire district knows exactly when the community outreach in the village receives their food delivery and the buggys pull up to load up with free food. The Amish have always made it known that they don’t want anything to do with the “English” but, they have no compunction about taking free food or anything else from us that happens to be free. As far as the issue of manure on the road, do you think we like walking to our mailboxes and having to step in it to retrieve our mail, get our cars, sidestep it while out for leisurely walks? But the Amish don’t care. They don’t or refuse to see the logical side the argument. They only want things their way! When there are many different people’s living in a society there has to be comprise. The Amish have proven way too many times they are unwilling to compromise. How many times have they moved just because they haven’t gotten their way? Is that mature? Is that willingness to work with their neighbors? In my opinion the Amish are holding on the fact that their ancestors were persecuted far too much. Get over it! Move on and get off your pity pot! Change is inevitable and can actually be beneficial!

                1. Fran, first of all I am sorry that you are carrying such anger around, against this group of people. I don’t know how, but I hope you can get to a place where you don’t have that anymore.

                  The other thing I’ll say is, I understand you’re essentially posting anonymously but it’s maybe not the best approach to put it all onto a fairly diverse group of 300,000 people, the vast majority of whom you have had no personal contact with.

                  It’s been repeated on this site that there are good and bad in every bunch. Different cultures make life interesting but there is also the inevitable clash or clashes as it sounds like in your case. There tend to be more issues with the most traditional groups which sounds like is who you are dealing with.

                  If members of your local Amish community are not doing their best to be good neighbors, then that is on those individual people. I understand it must be frustrating. Hopefully they will be moved to be more accommodating.

                  I wish you the best in dealing with the situation and hope it works out.

              2. Gunshots Fied At Amish Homes In Wisconsin

                Yes Eric there is, first of all I will say thank you for being concerned enough to ask why I feel the way I do. Ever since the Amish settled this area in 2005 I have wondered why they weren’t all they are cracked up to be so to speak. I have never met a group of people that were so standoffish, unfriendly, stubborn and belligerent. After a period of time there became an issue with manure in the road. It was continually in front of my mailbox and driveway. I admit I got tired of cleaning it up and finally decided it wasn’t my responsibility. So, I went to see the Bishop. We had a nice productive conversation. He assured me he would take care of the problem, he would have his people start carrying pails and shovels and clean up after themselves. I even left a shovel in front of my house to help in the effort, too. Needless to say the manure problem still exists right to this day, not once has a buggy stopped out front, not once!! We used to walk up and down the road for exercise, haven’t done it since 2005, can’t do it without getting manure on your shoes. I ask you is that right! Is that working with your neighbors? Let’s talk about the triangle issue in St. Lawrence County. The Amish refuse to.use an orange triangle as requested by NYS for public safety. They claim if an accident happens it is “Gods will.” What about the non-amish person who has to live with that guilt for the rest of their life? And one poster stated the Amish don’t wear their religion on their sleeve! I disagree, not only do they wear it their sleeve they force their beliefs upon others in my opinion by being so stubborn and empathetic towards their non-amish neighbors. Also, it’s a well known fact that the Amish want to be left alone, be self sufficient. Well, I will also tell you that they know exactly what day the Community Outreach gets its delivery of food for needy people and the buggys are the first ones there to clean the shelves, barely leaving anything for the other families in the community that are in need. Quite frankly the Amish don’t give two shakes about the non-Amish and when they say they do, then it is just words! Their actions in this community sure as heck are talking another talk! One more thing, they shoot guns in the cornfields right next to my house. I have told them I am concerned for my families safety from a stray bullet, not to mention that it is illegal to discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a residence or the road. Again it has fallen on deaf ears! So this is way I hold a bias towards the Amish.

                1. Geniene

                  There is a need to talk about issues

                  It is no secret that the Amish get romanticized. I think Jonathan Edwards’ words were that they get defended to the endth degree on this site. That makes it very hard for someone like Fran to process the real issues she encounters. It is one thing to want to remain neutral, but the arbiters of neutrality are almost always biased on the side of not being reasonably critical. Bigotry is a problem, but there is also such a thing as a bigotry of low expectations. Those uncomfortable with how Fran raises her issues, live in a world where reason and logic is accepted currency in resolving the issues they encounter. If the Amish-non Amish relationship is to be sustainable and functional we’re going to have to be able to talk about the issues that arise between us. Those professing to respect and admire the Amish aren’t doing them any favors by attacking the messenger who wants to address issues. In every relationship there are always issues. Insisting that one party is beyond reproach, or short circuiting engagement with the issues is a sure way to wreck the relationship.

                  1. Points well taken Geniene; however Fran is the one who has come on strong on this issue. I believe Rebecca’s and my responses have been reasonable given that. I am not sure who “attacked the messenger” but perhaps you are not referring to this thread.

                    What you say is probably true about romanticism. Though there is plenty of room to discuss issues here and that is always welcome.

                    I do appreciate when people do it in a respectful way. I spend too much time in comments sections on other sites which are full of negativity, and a) life is too short to be sifting through and policing that all day and b) I believe we are all adults and should treat each other respectfully, regardless of whether our real identity is known online or not.

                    On the point of open discussion, I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, but there is a long list of posts and threads delving into the more uncomfortable and less romantic sides of the Amish. Check the “Amish Controversies” tag for some examples.


                    Also, with respect to Fran, we have been hearing about the issues with the group of Amish in her area for some months now. We have attempted to address this before to whatever degree an online forum can do that.

                    Below are some previous examples of the issues arising. Looking back, I realize some of us could have probably shown more patience, though I feel Mark and some others have tried to genuinely address the issues Fran has brought up.

                    I understand it is a frustrating situation, but we have been through it on other threads and it’s not exactly the point of this one. I understand people need to vent and online is a prime place to do that nowadays. I use the word “vent” because I don’t feel like we are going anywhere constructive with this at this point.





                    1. See Both Sides

                      Problem bigger than Amish

                      The United States has always been polarized over religion.

                      The present problem began after World War II. A consortium of business leaders and right-wing clergy concocted the mythology of the United States being founded as a Christian nation. It wasn’t.

                      Not only is there no mention of God in The Constitution of the United States, the original purely secular document specifically forbids religion being a qualification for public office. Meanwhile, freedom of religion was added a few years later.

                      Right-wing efforts to rewrite American history, along with various church scandals in recent years, have antagonized a large portion of the American public. Consequently, no matter how honest or upright a religious sect tries to be, any failings on their part is often seen as evidence of hypocrisy.

                      Dressing and acting differently merely magnifies that suspicion.

                      Nor is this difficulty confined to Amish. Muslims with their burkas and beards face the same problem.

                      Then, there is the problem of Amish pacifism. This, in turn, raises questions concerning patriotism similar to that experienced by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

                      In other words, Amish are victims of guilt by association. It matter little whether Amish don’t mingle with Jehovah’s Witnesses or Muslims. Their distinctive lifestyle can easily be translated into meaning “not one of us” or unAmerican.

                      This, in turn, tends to magnify human imperfections. Failing to attend to unwelcome gifts deposited by one’s horse being one of them.

                      Although considerably larger in size, the problem of horse s__t on the road isn’t all that different from doggy poop on the lawn.

                      While someone walking their dog in more posh neighborhoods may be expected to pickup after their pets, this is impractical for someone driving a horse and buggy. For one thing, depending on roads and conditions, it can present a traffic hazard.

                      Baring voluntary compliance, one solution might be for county health officials to require all draft animals using public roads to be fitted with manure-catch bags. That way, the farmer gets to keep his fertilizer and the neighbor gets to have her clean driveway.

                    2. Geniene

                      Kites rise against the wind

                      I’m not here to defend Fran, but to suggest that, her coming on strong may be a result of an unbalanced relationship. My experience is that when an aggrieved party’s concerns are validated and they’re confident that their voice is heard, there is an almost instant deescalation of conflict. She may be an irascible crank, but I’m not interested in that so much as the issue of whether, as you say, we’re going anywhere constructive. Then of course, there is the issue of what and who determines, “constructive.”
                      I’d love to hear Jonathan Edwards’ take on this. He seems to have an in depth, Anabaptist oriented, theological knowledge. The Amish have a special vulnerability in their relationship with, what I think of as their host society. Use of the term “host society” is appropriate in light of their separatist and non engagement practices. Their doctrine literally asks of them to, be like strangers in a foreign land, in their relationship with the non Amish.
                      This term suggests that they’re not supposed to become indebted to their host society and to not become entangled in the political wrangling of their non Amish neighbors. They’re faith also expects them to, in all things, in so far as it doesn’t require them to betray their allegiance to God, be at peace with their neighbors and to do everything in their power to not offend those neighbors.
                      It is my understanding that this tenet isn’t some vague part of their doctrine, but is central to their separatist function. You can’t have one without the other. In basic, real world, practical experience, being separatist, can’t work unless they also practice the, live like strangers in a foreign land concept.
                      I detail this for the sake of asking another question. Consider whether there is a symbiotic relationship between the Amish and the non Amish. If the non Amish entertain and create an overly favorable narrative about the Amish, is it possible that the Amish will start relating to the non Amish, based on that narrative? For example, per Fran’s example of the Amish depleting the food bank, meant for the poor, is it, at least in part, a matter of no one daring to think critically about what is happening and so it becomes like the emperor with no clothe. Is this a case of the bigotry of low expectations? Are the Amish in this case being enabled, even encouraged to be parasitical?
                      Viewed from this perspective, shouldn’t Fran’s issues be seen as a canary in the coal mine scenario? If the Amish lose the good will and respect of their neighbors, what will that do to their capacity to function as separatists?
                      Fran and the “defending the Amish to the endth degree” tone on this site are just a tiny part of this dynamic. The case in Morristown where a deep pocket law firm from Washington DC sued the municipality for violating the religious freedom of the Amish, is another example. What is relevant for the Amish in this case, is that a deep pocketed law firm from D C can’t be trusted to fight for the best interests of the Amish. Who paid for the municipality’s defense? The local tax payers did. Part of the settlement agreement is that, local tax payers will pay to install smoke detectors in Amish homes, free of charge, which the Amish are then free to remove. This is not the behavior of strangers in a foreign land, but smacks of entitlement. And even if it isn’t, just the appearance of favoritism is far more harmful to the Amish, than a locally authored compromise, even if it wouldn’t have been fair, could ever be.
                      Did the D C firm serve the Amish community’s best interest, or was their primary objective to push small, limited, government, and how that agenda affected the Amish secondary? What is the unintended consequences of the attentions of these proxy lawsuits? Is it carving a special status for the Amish? Does it appear that way to the non Amish? These are questions that deserve serious contemplation and analysis. Engagement of these issues won’t happen though if Amish issues aren’t given legitimacy. Speaking favorably of the Amish and defending them is the chic thing to do, but does it serve the Amish to do so? Enquiring minds want to know.

                      1. See Both Sides

                        Kites rise against the wind

                        Fascinating analysis. Good food for thought. Thanks.

                      2. Jonathan Edwards

                        Great post

                        Great post, Geniene. It was very thoughtful and engaging. The kite analogy was especially relevant to this discussion. In Christian thought, it was out of the death of the Son of God that new life sprang. It was through suffering, pain, and misery that God defeated death and Satan. It is from this “tension” between Fran and the Amish that good things are able to sprout, actually some special.

                        Your explanation of the symbiotic relationship between the Amish and North American society was spot on. I am interested in hearing what others have to say about your individual points. Hopefully they will engage the substance of what you wrote.

                    3. Jonathan Edwards

                      Concurring with Erik; arbiters of neutrality; critical thinking; and Fran as trend-setter

                      I concur with much of what Erik stated. It has been a repetitive cycle with Fran. This much is clear from the posts Erik cited. I cannot remember any time that she was willing to reason through the issues, to engage in genuine dialogue with others in this forum. I understand Harriet’s frustration and appreciate Erik’s response. In the end, I trust we all wish Fran the freedom that comes through forgiveness, and hope that her neighbors will love their non-Amish neighbors as themselves. I don’t think D.M. did anything to help Fran but I also don’t want to complain because the Lord knows that I have shared unhelpful words too many times.

                      Geniene hit the nail on the head when she stated that “the arbiters of neutrality are almost always biased on the side of not being reasonably critical.” This is a common problem among plain Anabaptists. Although written as an introduction to philosophy, Mark B. Woodhouse’s ‘A Preface to Philosophy’–especially chapter three on critical thinking–is a great resource on engaging abstract concepts and thinking critically. Some folks here aren’t reasonably critical because they aren’t “critical thinkers” at all. For some people the only tool left in their pouch is their hammer; so they have tried to club the messenger.

                      This pattern was especially obvious in a recent thread. In an attempt to balance the discussion of failed conversions, I made observations that were logically coherent, sensitive to the flow of Anabaptist-Amish history, and supported by empirical data. Did anyone engage the issue of two-kingdom theology? No. Did anyone engage the role of the Schleitheim Confession? No. Did anyone discuss boundary-making? Not really. Did anyone venture a guess at how many congregations practice Streng Meidung and how this practice relates to failed conversions? Nope. There were plenty of issues to discuss. Nevertheless, some folks insisted on trying to club me over the head.

                      We were talking about “failed conversions”-in-general, not just failed conversions in Belle Center or Holmes County, or failed conversions to certain affiliations such as the Roman people or the New New Orders. Thus, it is only reasonable to include failed attempts to join the Swartzentrubers, the Andy Weavers, the Roman people, the Swiss Amish, the Nebraskans, and others because they too are Amish. But some people kept on trying to make the practice of their district or fellowship appear normative. New Order practice might be good but it isn’t normative. New Orders are a small sliver of the larger tapestry, and a sliver that a surprising number of Amish communities would like to exclude from the Amish fold. Evidence of this is how many communities would excommunicate and shun a member who moved to Belle Center. But some people just don’t seem to care much about facts; they are more interested in patting each other on the back and making their version of Amish life normative even when the statistics clearly indicate otherwise.

                      In case someone has failed to make the connection…the habits that so many folks dislike about Fran are the very habits exhibited toward me in a previous thread. Has Fran become something of a trend-setter?

                      1. Don Curtis

                        More "getting a grip" needed

                        Jonathan Edwards you surely have a thin skin for somebody who likes to throw stones. You’ve made a lot of accusations and criticisms of the Amish and when others respond then you say you’re being “hit over the head.” As far as emperical data, that’s all we were ever asking for. And you never provided any. Just broad unsupported statements in rambling and disjointed discourses. If you can’t handle criticism then don’t dish it out.

                2. Don Curtis

                  Oh come on!

                  Fran, I don’t own a horse but my son owns two and drives them on the public roads. All of the Amish around here (there are about 80 families) drive horses and buggies, etc on the roads. There might be some horse plop, once-in-a-while out in the middle of a road. But, good grief, you’d have to have herds of thousands of horses going down the road to cover it so completely that you couldn’t walk on the road without getting horse poop on your shoes. It washes away and decomposes quickly and is good for the soil. What about all of the road kills along the roads caused by autos, those aren’t caused by Amish and you don’t mention that. How often do you walk down the road and get possum or coon on your shoes? The chance is about the same as getting horse poop. You’d have to aim for it got get it on your shoes. As far as horse poop in front of your mailbox how often has that happened? A horse and buggy travels down the middle of the lane. The horse would have to back the buggy into the ditch to put a pile in front of your mailbox. You need to get a grip.

          2. D. M.

            Rebecca, please don’t dignify this with a response. Entering into dialogue with a person like this only fans the flames. This poor woman has a deep grudge against the Amish from the tone of her past comments and I, for one, have no interest in seeing her use this site for her bigotry. So, Rebecca, just let this one go. I personally have no interest in checking back to this post for that reason.

            1. Harriet

              DM…I couldn’t agree more. I, for one, am really very tired of her ranting. I realize we are to love everyone, but some people make it very difficult!!!

    9. Dirk

      This article reminded me of something I heard many years ago.
      A Jewish Rabbi once told me after graves in the Jewish cemetery had been desecrated, that persecution is a blessing from God, it helps to remind the Jew that he is a Jew.

      He told me a story about the Karites. In the 8th century about half the Jewish community at that time gave up their strict rabbinical Judaism to follow a less stringent form of Judaism. They called themselves Karites.
      Over the centuries the Karites were spared anti-Semitic Jewish persecutions, they were never expelled from any country, never forcibly converted, never had their property confiscated, never attacked in the pogroms, never sent to the gas chambers in the Holocaust.
      Today the persecuted Jewish branch numbers about 14 million and the non-persecuted Karite branch about 30 000. As the Rabbi explained, persecution helped to remind the Jew that he was different from his neighbors, that he was a Jew, forcing him to be clannish and marry within the fold. The non-persecuted Karites forgot that they were different from their neighbors and they assimilated.

      I suspect persecution will have the same effect on any people group if it does not destroy them first.

      If we are to believe that God is good and that God is in control, then everything that happens is good and part of God’s divine plan, even if we as mortal fallible humans feel otherwise about it. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1Th 5:18

      And this is what scripture says on the matter of persecution for anyone interested to understand from a biblical perspective why the Amish do as they do when persecuted.

      Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

      Mat 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

      Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

      John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;

      Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

      Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:

      1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

      1. Amish Girl-Rebecca

        Dirk, You make some very good points there. I agree with the fact that persecution makes a people group strong. I know many leaders feel the prosperity of today will be much more likely to cause a downfall among our people than the days we were more “looked down upon”. Thankfully there are still many sincere Christians among our churches even though we see (sadly) too much lukewarmness.

    10. Dave

      It may be a random act of violence committed by someone who believes the Amish will not retaliate. They are a troll feeding off the damage, and more importantly fear, they will generate for those people and specific community.

    11. Jeannie C

      Wow what a turn we took from the initial post related to gun shots, now its all about this and that

      Anyones home being shot at is just wrong I dont care whos it is, someone out there has some serious issues.

      Second lets not forget that Christ was not about FORCING PEOPLE to BELIEVE…

      Third, The Amish family to whom whose daughters were kidnapped well over a year ago, had returned a loving gesture to the one who found their kids.. Remember they rebuilt his GARAGE…

      Fourth: There are NO PERFECT GROUPS OF PEOPLE.. WE ARE ALL FALLEN SHORT. We are not to esteem one over the other…

      Five: This comment section got way OUT THERE beyond the initial article.

      SIX: Why cant we be friends(Singing this to yall)

    12. Amish homes fired upon in Ohio

      A similar incident to the above was reported last week in Ohio. Two homes were shot at in the Kenton community in the wee hours of Sunday March 20:

      Multiple people were in each home, including some children, Hayden said.

      Incident reports were filled out Monday afternoon. At least one witness reported seeing a black pickup leave the area. No other description was provided.

      Occasionally, homes are accidentally hit by gunfire, especially during hunting season. In this case, the homes were targeted, one on the left, the other on the right side of the roadway, Hayden said.

      “Whether is was someone being out of control or drunk, or something else, we can’t establish at this time.”