As I was writing last week's post I realized I had enough common misconceptions about the Amish to talk about to make it into a small series of posts rather than bombard my readers with information overload. In case you missed the first post of the series you can go here to read the first post. Common Misconceptions About The Amish.
This hot button issue relating to children is an ongoing conversation in many circles. Some feel it is the right thing to do, others do not. It's the same with the Amish. It is an individual's choice to inoculate their child(ren) or not.
Some Amish families place pressure on each other to not inoculate while others feel it necessary. I know of one family who didn't get vaccinated and when the measles made a visit to the area this family was of the first in line to get their vaccinations.
The church does not dictate if a child gets vaccinated or not though. It is the parent's choice.
A distasteful topic. It only came up one time, as far as I know, when a group of former Amish folks decided to take matters in their own hands. Sam Mullet, a cult leader disliked how the Amish church had dealt with him and his "congregation" after they left to start their own settlement a couple hours away. Sam was a manipulative and persuasive leader and was able to get his congregants to do evil and immoral things.
Sex with the women in his congregation to cleanse them, men imprisoned in cold corn cribs for not obeying and more have all been listed in a couple books authored by folks in the know. One such book authored by Sam Mullet's own grandson who was in the middle of it all.
Beard cutting was an orchestrated way of revenge and punishment by Sam Mullet for those he disagreed with in another community. He, rightly, sits in a prison somewhere and can no longer rule as he once did, however, there are reports his community calls him weekly and they still get advise from him and continue with business as usual on some level.
The real Amish do not cut each other's beards for revenge or punishment.
This is one of those subjects that seems a mystery for many folks. It is often assumed the Amish do not have or use insurance. I will try to break it down a little bit for you.
Health Insurance - Some sects of Amish feel strongly they should not have and use health insurance and if something comes up for one of their members the community helps each other out. Only a small percentage of Amish don't have any kind of health insurance, though.
If the bread winner has a position with a company who provides health insurance some of the Amish opt to go with their employer's health insurance. This percentage has grown over the years. There was a time when it was heavily frowned upon to use that kind of health insurance but as time passes many sects of Amish seem to have relaxed their hold on their congregants and the individual decides what they want to do.
A large percentage of the Amish have what they call "Amish Aid." It is their own health care coverage. They pay a day's worth of wages, monthly, or more often at times if there are more bills coming in than what they can pay for. They also have a deductible of sorts and then a percentage of the bill gets paid. Similar to what insurance companies require.
There was a bit of a split with Amish Aid, at some point the Old Order Amish decided the New Order Amish were no longer welcome and so the New Order now has their own version of Amish Aid.
For anything that isn't covered by whatever insurance they have; fundraising happens. The Amish get really innovative when it comes to fundraising. Auctions are a great way to raise funds, all items sold are donated and the money made goes to pay off bills. There are also pizza, stromboli, subs, popcorn, donuts fundraisers. They make "X" amount of whatever amount determined for the fundraiser and then hire up to 50 taxi van drivers to take them around selling their products door to door. It is very organized and each van has a map of which roads in Amish Country they are to sell on. This helps that a greater area is covered and people aren't knocking on the same doors multiple times.
Liability Insurance - Most Amish hold a liability insurance policy. One can never tell when an animal spooks on the road and the liability coverage comes in handy.
Life Insurance - As a whole the Amish do not seek out life insurance. They trust that if there is a need in their family that the church will take care of those in need. Some folks do work for employers who provide a small life insurance as a benefit and so they will often accept that. Some of the Amish are advanced enough that if I were the betting kind, I would bet there is a handful of Amish who do own life insurance policies, but it wouldn't be common knowledge because who needs to know that kind of information anyway?
I hope you found this post informative and it shed light on a few things that you weren't clear about because of all the misinformation that is floating around out there.
Next post in the series will address things like crime, school and pictures!