Considering The Amish Culture

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by Frank Sanoica, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Been thinking about a lot of factors concerning them. While living in Missouri, a group of Amish from either Indiana or Ohio "spun off", moving to an area west of Salem, MO. I forget the name they go by, relatively unimportant. They consisted of perhaps 10 families, and gradually opened several types of businesses, based on what the Amish normally produce for themselves only. A bakery, open to the public, operated out of an old home, and a roof-truss design and construction business run by two brothers. Within a few years, those guys had established their operation as top-notch! Our neighbor drove all the way out to Licking, about 20 miles west of Salem, weekly, to buy Amish milk, as they did not Pasteurize or homogenize it. No point in the health concerns for now, but I wondered about the legal aspects.

    In northern Indiana, my wife born and raised there, a large contingency of true Amish live and flourish, centered around the towns of Nappanee and Shipshewana. They operate antique stores and several excellent restaurants, among others.

    Here is what I think I know about them. They keep to themselves as much as possible, commensurate with successfully operating publicly-accommodated businesses. They remain generation after generation within their own faith, nearly exclusively. They seem to have their own churches. They own farms, and raise as much of their own food as possible. In the store I mentioned elsewhere, in Sedalia, MO, they sell much produce and other food products directly related to their own farming operations. They are as a group, basically self-sufficient.

    Here's what I don't know, but seek to learn more about. Religious groups, Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, etc., are exempt from the obligation of paying taxes on their property, and their income, as they are considered no-income businesses. Poor way of saying it, maybe, but one factor which my Dad always resented. Comparatively, where do the Amish fit in? Must they pay property taxes on their farms? I suspect yes, though if that's so, it's hypocritical, is it not? How about income taxes, state and Federal? I do not recall whether they collected sales tax, in Sedalia, as some stuff offered for sale was not food, and thus taxable. That's yet another of my insufferable imponderables.

    Frank
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's."

    Yes, the Amish pay taxes. Many Amish colonies do not maintain a church building but those that do will not even claim tax-exempt status on their church building, choosing to pay taxes on it. Self-employed Amish do not pay Social Security, and those who are employed by Amish employers are exempted from paying into the Social Security system, as they do not participate in it. Those who work for non-Amish employers do pay Social Security taxes, but they do not collect Social Security when eligible. Otherwise, the Amish pay property taxes, state and federal income taxes, county taxes, sales taxes, etc.
     
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  3. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    You stated the facts, and I am glad to learn them.

    Now, would you state what you personally think of them?
    Frank
     
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  4. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    As you said - they are as a group, basically self-sufficient - which gives me an impression that those group of people can be used as a model for self-sufficiency particularly in the rural areas. I'm tired of hearing people asking help from the government. Why not make your community self sufficient? I like that idea of doing things in a traditional way like what the Amish do with their milk.

    There is a farm here called Gawad Kalinga which is owned by a certain Tony Meloto. He is making his farm a model by being self-sufficient by earning from the farm products like milk and cheese, eggs and other food items. We have plans of visiting that farm but will have to wait because it is in a distant province.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I discussed more facts and offered some opinions in this post, as well. Briefly, it is very difficult to be Amish. It's a way of life as well as a religion, but I think it would be a nice way to live. Both their religion and their way of life makes more sense than most people on the outside might think. Often, we find ourselves bemoaning the fact that things are changing so much that our values are being left behind, or they don't seem to fit into the culture in which we live. That's not so much the case with the Amish.
     
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  6. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Very Well-Known Member
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    When I was working on a road repair crew, we were sent to an Amish area to do some work. It was the summer of '88, a very hot, dry summer here. A buggy with a young Amish girl driving trotted by. Some minutes later, she came back by. Some of the guys waved at her. It wasn't too long, back she came.
    Then, our boss on the job says, "You guys without your shirts on, get 'em on, else she's gonna wear that horse out going back and forth like that".
     
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  7. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Them girls had pluck!
     
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  8. Jess Santorio

    Jess Santorio New Member
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    Are Amish folks more happy, more happy than non-Amish folks?

    Are Amish communities growing in number or diminishing in number?
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    That's hard to judge because they would probably use a different scale of measurement. To outsiders (English), they often appear to be dour and somber, but those who I have gotten to know well enough to be invited into their homes, at least, seem content. The head of the Smyrna colony, who serves as the bishop, although I don't think he holds that title, seemed particularly grim when I first met him, but he turned out to have a very sharp sense of humor, albeit subtle, of the sort where you sometimes don't realize until later that he had been joking. His kids were joyfully working in the fields and it was clear from their interaction with their father that he was someone they respected, but had no need of fearing.

    They are growing, mostly from within. Lacking an outreach system, very few people join the Amish church who weren't raised to be Amish, but they have a lot of children and most of them become members of the church. Many of those who may move away rather than joining the church at adulthood later return.
     
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  10. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Nothing like keeping it in the family. Good for them!
     
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