Amish Culture Essay

13769 Words56 Pages Amish Law: A Combination of Humility, Separatism, Social Avoidance, and Forgiveness by Kelly Baxter “In the little Amish community, toil is proper and good, religion provides meaning, and the bonds of family and church provide human satisfaction and love.”[1] To “modern” people, the Amish may seem like a community from the past, frozen in time. They lack a centralized government and have neither national laws nor a system of courts. Many non-Amish people may wonder how such an old-fashioned society can survive and perhaps even thrive in today’s technological world. Despite their reluctance to accept change and technology, the Amish have experienced significant population growth in recent years.[2] Since the twentieth century, the Amish growth rate has increased mainly because the infant mortality rate has decreased as they accept modern forms of medicine and because they continue to average six to seven children per family.[3] The Amish way of life may explain why the Amish have endured—they abide by social restriction, yet compromise and adapt when necessary for survival. This paper attempts to explain the Amish society and the influence of religion on their daily lives. Part I describes their historical beginnings as Anabaptists. Part II describes their system of values and their lives within the community. Part III explains the selection process for clergy leaders. Next, Part IV examines the Amish legal system and their use of social avoidance or shunning. Part V briefly describes how the Amish interact with the U.S. legal system. Finally, Part VI addresses whether the Amish society can survive the temptations of the surrounding world. I. The History of the Amish In 1525, reformers of the Catholic Church in

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