Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Amish

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This is is not my typical post. It's topical and I believe newsworthy but I'm not posting links with it because it's more of a spur-of-the-moment observational thing.

The Amish.

Now most of you regular readers here know that I have very little respect for religion of any sort. In my view religion can be traced directly to many of the problems facing mankind on any given day. Judaism, Islam, or my particular most-hated, Christianity, are all guilty of systematically working to destroy all that is good and real within the human spirit.

But I have to say, within the sphere of this particular shooting incident in Pennsylvania, the Amish have impressed the hell out of me

I know very little about the Amish. I know they are ultra-fundamentalist in their worldview. I know they speak German. I know they give their teenagers that have been raised in their sheltered world the opportunity to live life outside their world to see what he "real" world is like. I know they call us "the English".

So my knowledge of these strange folk is maybe just a little better than average, but I'm still woefully ignorant of their ways.

Until now, they seemed just another kooky cult. Much less harmful than most, but still a bunch of religious nuts.

Imagine my surprise when this horrific crime showed the world what people of genuine peace and faith actually do when attacked.

The following stories are entirely anecdotal. I'm sure I could track them down and link to them, but trust me, all of this I've heard reported several times in the mainstream media. Take that for whatever it's worth.

During the standoff, 13-year-old Marian Fisher appealed to the gunman, Charles Roberts, to shoot her first so as to buy time and perhaps life for the other children.

Anybody out there got that kind of guts? I don't.

The body of the killer had not even been removed from the scene when a group of Amish men went to Charles Roberts house to tell his wife that they didn't hold this crime against the family and that they forgave Roberts.

Want to try an imagine that scene? Here's the home of a man that just murdered several of your extended families' children and you go out of your way to quickly try and bring some sort of comfort.

You think that a group of Southern Baptists would do the same? A group of Muslims? Imagine if you will, a group of Orthodox Jews traveling into the West Bank to comfort the mother of a suicide bomber.

Over a hundred mourners from the Amish community attended the funeral of the killer.

Today the school where the shooting occurred was torn down. A day after the tragedy, the elders of the Amish community announced that they would do so because "one of the children was having nightmares about the school. "

One of the children was having nightmares.

A woman in South Carolina smothered her newborn twins today because they were crying too loudly. She then rolled over and went back to sleep.

Do I have to list how many ways we are monsters in America when it comes to children?

Lots of kids had nightmares about returning to Columbine. They walled off the library and left the rest of the school standing. It was rather new after all and was a state-of-the-art learning institution and the state would have lost tens of millions of dollars if they had torn it...........

One kid had nighmares and the Amish decided that was too much pain.

Who are these people?


AmI losing my angry edge? Do I suddenly think religion is a good thing? No.

Am I going to run away and join the Amish? No. There are too many video games I have yet to play. I've also fallen deeply in love with SpongeBob SquarePants and I just couldn't leave him and Patrick.

I don't know enough about the Amish to say that this behavior is atypical. I'm sure there are plenty of horror stories out there about life in their perfect little world.....

But between the bloodthirsty Christians screaming for war and the bloodthirsty Muslims screaming for war.....

It's just really refreshing to see someone live up to the teachings of their faith. To behave as if there really is some peaceful and good force guiding their actions.

And to do it in such a brave and honorable way.



2 Comments:

Anonymous Nemo said...

They are the "plain folk". And a more delightful group of people -- the Mennonite "derivative" included -- I've rarely met. While I too know little about the finer details of their culture, it seems a profoundly humanist approach. For example, the Amish have no need of insurance: they are a true community . When one is in need, the others all pitch in. They seem to have long ago taken Walt Whitman's verse, "The World is Too Much With Us" to heart, and simply refused the imposition of such modern trappings, to the benefit of their own peace of mind. ==== One caveat: If you ever visit "Pennsylvania Dutch" [actually Deutsch -- German] country, be fully prepared to SLOW DOWN. They're in no hurry, conveyed only by horse-drawn buggies, nor need they be -- a potential lesson to us all. ==== One thing's for sure: "religious nuts" they're not -- simple, unassuming, and utterly unimposing of their own views on others, they are truly the "gentle people".

Sat Oct 14, 02:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Robert: Speaking of "religious nuts", it seems the Bush White House holds quite similiar views regarding the members of the Xian Right, though it's not at ALL above cynically exploiting them for votes while deriding them behind their backs and using those taxpayer funded "faith-based initiatives" as a mere "front" for crass political manipulation:
Book: Bush Aides Called Evangelicals 'Nuts' ==== A new book by a former White House official says that President Bush's top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as "nuts" and "goofy" while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections. ==== The former official also writes that the White House office of faith-based initiatives, which Bush promoted as a nonpolitical effort to support religious social-service organizations, was told to host pre-election events designed to mobilize religious voters who would most likely favor Republican candidates. ==== The assertions by David Kuo, a top official in the faith-based initiatives program, have rattled Republican strategists already struggling to persuade evangelical voters to turn out this fall for the GOP. === Some conservatives lamented Thursday that the book, "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction," also comes in the midst of the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, another threat to conservative turnout in competitive House and Senate races. ... ==== [The faux "piety" of the Bush Reich is very nearly demolished, it seems. And good riddance -- we've had MORE than ENOUGH of these arrogant "wolves in sheeps' clothing"!]

Mon Oct 16, 04:34:00 AM  

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