Yet another installment of “I didn’t know God had a problem with this!” brought to you by the Amish. A particularly
backward conservative, traditional group, in fact. Yep, some of the same people who don’t believe in buttons, higher education, or dolls with faces take it even further by calling the enforced use of smoke detectors as an affront to their religious liberty.
In June 2007, St Lawrence County’s assistant public defender, Steve Ballan, got a call from his boss. A bunch of Amish men are in trouble, he was told. They need a lawyer. […]
[…] when he met with Andy Miller and the five other Amish men charged with contravening state building codes, he was certain that the town’s building inspectors had violated America’s first and greatest constitutional amendment – the right to worship freely.
What had provoked the inspectors to issue Stop Work Orders was the Amish men’s refusal to install smoke alarms in their newly built houses.
In court and in broken English – their first language remains a German dialect – Andy Miller explained that it would be against their Christian beliefs to have something so modern in their homes.
This reminds me of one of the first posts I wrote for this blog back in August. Remember the parents who were part of some Christian sect that believed in anointing and laying of hands, but not Penicillin? And how their kid – and many other children in the same religious circle – died of a completely preventable illness?
Yeah. Same thing, only they’ve been doing it longer so it can be called “tradition” now.
If you want to live alone in the middle of nowhere and build a cabin in the middle of bear country with no running water and only a vinegar-soaked rag to keep clean, go right ahead. But when you’re living in a community and you’re responsible for other people – like your nine children – you better render unto Caesar and buy a goddamned smoke alarm. Listen to this:
We talked at [one of the “rebels”, Mose Miller’s] doorstep with his nine children looking on. It was cold: -15C (5F). Most of the kids were in bare feet. Their clothes were roughly sewed together – like Victorian patchwork puppets. Their hands and faces were grimy with dirt from the farmyard. […]
“I use this,” he said pointing at his nose, “or him,” and his finger pointed upwards. “I don’t need a devil on the wall to tell me if my house is burning.”
Him? You know he also invented flesh eating bacteria and the bullet ant, right? I very much doubt he cares enough about your welfare to alert you of the fire he started in the first place. Maybe you didn’t think this one all the way through.
Also, consider the possibility that other things you might not be able to smell, like radon or carbon monoxide. You might fare better with something like natural gas (I don’t know if they’re even allowed to use it), but if you have a cold, you might not even be able to smell that either.
Such arrogant pride for a humble servant of God. That “devil on the wall” has saved countless lives since its invention, and you might want to invest in one if you value your life and the lives of your children …
I asked him what would happen if he did not wake up and all his children were burned to death.
“If God does not wake us, well, that must be part of his plan,” Mose told me.
… which you clearly don’t. Never mind. Your interpretation of God and what you think he wants you to do with your life far exceeds any natural biological imperative to do the right thing not only for yourself, but for the nine kids who depend on you because they’re too young – and too brainwashed – to be able to figure it out themselves.
And two years ago the Swartzentrubers fought the local authorities over their refusal to fix orange hazard triangles on the back of their traditional horse-drawn buggies.
In other states the Amish had accepted the move as a sensible safety measure but the Swartzentrubers saw the triangles as an ungodly and garish adornment.
I think “Swartzentruber” must be German for “use God as an excuse to exercise profoundly bad judgment in all aspects of life”. Hell, virtually all of the other Amish sects can see the practicality of putting something bright on the back of your wagon so you don’t get run over by a turbocharged 60+ mph physical manifestation of God’s will. These folks, on the other hand, see it as ungodly, and are arrogantly self-righteous enough to put themselves and other people at risk of getting involved in some potentially fatal accidents.
So let’s see … God hates shrimp, mixed fibers, smoke alarms, and orange triangles.
I’m assuming he also hates pink triangles too, huh? Just checking.
Last year their children were barred from entering Canton, the local town – for fear of being corrupted.
… or, more likely, from learning from firsthand experience exactly what the real world is like and running the very real risk of having them bail out on you the first chance they can get. Hell, they might even want to go to college and earn a degree instead of going back to the Land of the Pure … with no evil television, smoke detectors, modern medicine, or protection against loony religious fanatics who seem to get off on child endangerment.