I watched the WGBH-produced film “The Amish” on PBS last night. Here’s the link to the PBS page, and conversation, about the film. And here’s a link to an article in Salon about the program. The title of this article uses the word “zealot”–which troubles me because the Amish do not proselytize, a practice I think intrinsic to true religious zealots.
I read many of the viewer comments on the PBS site and was shocked at the degree of animosity expressed by people who live near Amish settlements. If I had one criticism of the film it was that it wasn’t deep enough, and didn’t make it clear how varied the lifestyles of different Amish “churches” can be. Here in the North Country, for example, we have many Amish families who adhere to the strictest, or most conservative, practices, unlike those who live in Pennsylvania.
One of our local scholars, Karen Johnson-Weiner of SUNY Potsdam, was featured on the program. Karen has studied Amish communities and written extensively about them, including her book, “New York Amish,” a highly-regarded work that was published about a year ago.
Please share your stories about living near, working or interacting with Amish people in your communities.