Friday, 10 August 2012

Men in Black

According to the Ohio dispatch, the quiet and humble Amish are having a population explosion with their numbers doubling every 22 years and expected to reach one million by mid century. This is due to their refusal to use contraception methods, a tradition of large families and a low exodus of children from the communities due to strong social cohesion. Because of the high fertility rate, there is a diminishing supply of land so only 17% of Amish are farmers today versus 75% forty years ago.
Holmes County, in northeastern Ohio, could in the next 20 years become the first county in the United States to have more Amish than English (the common term for their non-Amish neighbors).

"For the past 10 years, I have told myself that they can’t keep growing at the pace they are,”said Joseph Donnermeyer, a rural sociology professor at OSU who led the Amish census project as part of a larger study on religions. “I’ve been wrong every single year.”

There has been a shift in the population in a westerly direction with an increase in Amish sightings in Wyoming and Idaho from spotters bringing back photos of horses and buggies driven by men in black to verify their claims at the local Legion halls.
Amish Population distribution 2012

Maybe Arizona law enforcement will stop them for documentation. The GOP certainly has them in their sights for the current 2012 election cycle with their prevalence in this year`s swing states where even a small movement from the Democrat to Republican ledger could have a significant effect on the national electoral college numbers. Their social conservatism has already brought them to the attention of conservative strategists who have read (some of those right wingers can actually comprehend text with a low Gunning fog index) the paper by  Donald B. Kraybill and Kyle C. Kopko entitled, `` Bush Fever: Amish and Old Order Mennonites in the 2004 Presidential Election, `` which documents the efforts by Republicans to register and encourage Amish to vote in Pennsylvanian during the 2004 election with comparisons to Mennonites.
In a book entitled, `` An Amish Paradox: Diversity and change in the world`s largest Amish community,” the authors, Charles E. Hearst and David L. McConnell referring to the paper by Kraybill and Kopko  state that while 43% of the Amish registered to vote in the 2004 election, only 17% actually voted due to their belief in the separation of the “material and spiritual kingdoms.” Republican voter suppression techniques in the 2012 election cycle involving requiring photo ID for voting have backfired with respect to the Amish since they refuse to have their pictures taken due to biblical injunctions against ”graven images” so some states like Illinois are preparing special no picture voter IDs especially for the Amish.
For the past decade, a member of the Amish community could simply present a letter from his bishop stating that he was in good standing with his church and a non-photo ID would be administered. However, with the new voter identification law, the Amish and other religious groups opposed to posing for photos are required to complete an 18 question open-ended survey with short essay responses. Dr. Donald Kraybill, distinguished college professor and senior fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, described the questionnaire as “onerous and complicated,” stating: “I myself would not vote if I had to fill out an 18 point survey. It’s just ridiculous.”
Some applications have been denied because the applicants left questions blank. Some questions included: “What is your religion?”; “What are the main beliefs of your religion?”; “How many people are in your congregation?”; and “Do other members of your family share the same beliefs?” “[The survey] was poorly conceived,” Kraybill said.

No comments:

Post a Comment