Amish in the Time of Coronavirus

This is not the Amish Church’s first time dealing with a public health crisis.

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By James Schwartz

While the world has been devastated by the coronavirus there is one religious sect that has been slow to deal with implementing social distancing — the Old Order Amish. In a recent article by Lancaster Online several Amish men describe the virus as “a hoax” to undermine the political fortune of President Donald Trump.

While the Amish are mainly apolitical, this has changed in recent years due to the creation of an Amish super PAC and right-wing conservative groups driving Amish turnout.

Various religious churches have been directly tied to the spread of COVID-19 and based on the lackluster response (refusing to discontinue church services), the Amish are as well.

In a stunning article by Goshen News an Amish bishop explains that each church district will make their own decisions, however, “the church is the most important thing.”

This is not the Amish Church’s first time dealing with a public health crisis: several years ago the Amish communities dealt with a massive measles outbreak yet today many Amish refuse to vaccinate because they dislike any form of government control. Ohio’s Amish are “very aware”, however, that there is no cure for the novel coronavirus at this time.

Non-practicing Amish activist Elam Zook wrote in a blistering Facebook post:

They are not canceling services. I wonder if they’ll decline medical services. Seems selfish to want to ignore the recommendations of science but then be willing to place a burden on medical facilities. But this is the Amish we’re talking about. Nothing ever matters. No rational engagement is ever relevant.

What will end up being particularly vulgar is that this death cult mentality will be cheered on by right-wing sycophants.

The timing of the coronavirus comes as the Amish communities are dealing with a sex abuse crisis as recently reported by Cosmopolitan Magazine and New York Daily News. A powerful piece via Medium examines the limits of self-determination and religious freedom.

Follow the CDC guidelines for information on COVID-19 and keep washing your hands!

This story was originally published on The Good Men Project.

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