Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who's Amish Now?

I have a post up at KillingtheBuddha about Conservative's Amish-envy. Since folks like Michelle Malkin found out that the Amish and Mennonites are exempt from the health care mandate, there's been talk of conversion.

I show that such talk isn't just a denial of the country's founding principles but a profound lack of understanding of faithful conviction. Here's an excerpt:

From the stiff wooden pews of my grandmother’s Mennonite church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I often heard a story that perfectly illustrates the Anabaptist approach to profession of faith. It’s a part of Anabaptist lore, told and retold from the simple pulpits of unadorned churches across the country. As it turns out, the story belongs to one Rufus P. Bucher as much as it does to the Amish and Mennonites I grew up surrounded by. Chris Armstrong recently retold it at his blog:

When Brethren evangelist Rufus P. Bucher was asked by a stranger in a railway station, “Brother, are you saved?” he replied that since he might be prejudiced on the question, his interrogator should go ask his wife, children, and neighbors. “I’ll be ready to let their answers stand as my own.”

There’s a reason why the Anabaptists believe in showing and not telling. For a couple of hundred years they were sought out, tortured and murdered for their faith. And not just by their neighbors, but by their state. Fleeing from Switzerland to escape the horrors of the Radical Reformation, Anabaptists, who ascribe to adult baptism and are comprised of Amish and Mennonite sects, headed first to Germany, then to Russia and the infant United States. They never looked back. The need to escape religious persecution at home became the need to find religious tolerance wherever it existed. Today Mennonite and Amish populations live on every continent, in every country that will allow them freedom to live their modest lifestyle, outside the strictures of modern society or government laws. You won’t find a group of believers more versed in the necessity for strict separation of church and state; the Anabaptists know better than most what happens when a nation’s ruler’s adopt theocratic laws: somebody’s bound to get killed.

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