Four similar beard-cutting attacks followed, disfiguring nine victims and generating a tsunami of media coverage. While pundits and late-night talk shows made light of the attacks and poked fun at the Amish way of life, FBI investigators gathered evidence about troubling activities in a maverick Amish community near Bergholz, Ohio—and the volatile behavior of its leader, Bishop Samuel Mullet.
Ten men and six women from the Bergholz community were arrested and found guilty a year later of 87 felony charges involving conspiracy, lying, and obstructing justice. In a precedent-setting decision, all of the defendants, including Bishop Mullet and his two ministers, were convicted of federal hate crimes. It was the first time since the 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that assailants had been found guilty for religiously motivated hate crimes within the same faith community.
Renegade Amish goes behind the scenes to tell the full story of the Bergholz barbers: the attacks, the investigation, the trial, and the aftermath. In a riveting narrative reminiscent of a true crime classic, scholar Donald B. Kraybill weaves a dark and troubling story in which a series of violent Amish-on-Amish attacks shattered the peace of these traditionally nonviolent people, compelling some of them to install locks on their doors and arm themselves with pepper spray.
The country’s foremost authority on Amish society, Kraybill spent six months assisting federal prosecutors with the case against the Bergholz defendants and served as an expert witness during the trial. Informed by trial transcripts and his interviews of ex-Bergholz Amish, relatives of Bishop Mullet, victims of the attacks, Amish leaders, and the jury foreman, Renegade Amish delves into the factors that transformed the Bergholz Amish from a typical Amish community into one embracing revenge and retaliation.
Kraybill gives voice to the terror and pain experienced by the victims, along with the deep shame that accompanied their disfigurement—a factor that figured prominently in the decision to apply the federal hate crime law. Built on Kraybill’s deep knowledge of Amish life and his contacts within many Amish communities, Renegade Amish highlights one of the strangest and most publicized sagas in contemporary Amish history.-- Laura Miller
Found throughout Canada, Central America, Mexico, and the United States, these religious communities include more than 200 different groups with 800,000 members in 17 countries. Through 340 short entries, Kraybill offers readers information on a wide range of topics related to religious views and social practices. With thoughtful consideration of how these diverse communities are related, this compact reference provides a brief and accurate synopsis of these groups in the twenty-first century.
No other single volume provides such a broad overview of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites in North America. Organized for ease of searching—with a list of entries, a topic finder, an index of names, and ample cross-references—the volume also includes abundant resources for accessing additional information.
Wide in scope, succinct in content, and with directional markers along the way, the Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites is a must-have reference for anyone interested in Anabaptist groups.
This second book by the authors of the award-winning AmishGrace sheds further light on the Amish, this time on theirfaith, spirituality, and spiritual practices. They interpret thedistinctive practices of the Amish way of life and spirituality intheir cultural context and explore their applicability for thewider world. Using a holistic perspective, the book tells the storyof Amish religious experience in the words of the Amish themselves.Due to their long-standing friendships and relationships with Amishpeople, this author team may be the only set of interpreters ableto provide an outsider-insider perspective.Provides a behind-the-scenes examination of Amish spirituallifeShows how the Amish practices can be applied to the widerworldWritten by authors with unprecedented access to the Amishcommunity
Written in a lively and engaging style, The Amish Wayholds appeal for anyone who has wanted to know more about the innerworkings of the Amish way of life.
The founding of Eastern Mennonite School, later Eastern Mennonite University, in 1917 came at a pivotal time for the Mennonite community. Industrialization and scientific discovery were rapidly changing the world, and the increasing availability of secular education offered tempting alternatives that threatened the Mennonite way of life. In response, the Eastern Mennonites founded a school that would “uphold the principles of plainness and simplicity,” where youth could learn the Bible and develop skills that would help advance the church. In the latter half of the twentieth century, the university’s identity evolved from separatism to social engagement in the face of churning moral tides and accelerating technology. EMU now defines its mission in terms of service, peacebuilding, and community.
Comprehensive and well told by a leading scholar of Anabaptist and Pietist studies, this social history of Eastern Mennonite University reveals how the school has mediated modernity while remaining consistently Mennonite. A must-have for anyone affiliated with EMU, it will appeal especially to sociologists and historians of Anabaptist and Pietist studies and higher education.
The story captured the attention of broadcast and print media inthe United States and around the world. By Tuesday morning somefifty television crews had clogged the small village of NickelMines, staying for five days until the killer and the killed wereburied. The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor whenAmish parents brought words of forgiveness to the family of the onewho had slain their children.
The outside world was incredulous that such forgiveness could beoffered so quickly for such a heinous crime. Of the hundreds ofmedia queries that the authors received about the shooting,questions about forgiveness rose to the top. Forgiveness, in fact,eclipsed the tragic story, trumping the violence and arresting theworld's attention.
Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a centraltheme in more than 2,400 news stories around the world. TheWashington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, NBCNightly News, CBS Morning News, Larry King Live, Fox News, Oprah,and dozens of other media outlets heralded the forgiving Amish.From the Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) to Australiantelevision, international media were opining on Amish forgiveness.Three weeks after the shooting, "Amish forgiveness" had appeared in2,900 news stories worldwide and on 534,000 web sites.
Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their ownchildren, grieving Amish families accounted for half of theseventy-five people who attended the killer's burial. Roberts'widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greetedher and her three children. The forgiveness went beyond talk andgraveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for theshooter's family.
AMISH GRACE explores the many questions this story raises aboutthe religious beliefs and habits that led the Amish to forgive soquickly. It looks at the ties between forgiveness and membership ina cloistered communal society and ask if Amish practices parallelor diverge from other religious and secular notions of forgiveness.It will also address the matter of why forgiveness became news."All the religions teach it," mused an observer, "but no one doesit like the Amish." Regardless of the cultural seedbed thatnourished this story, the surprising act of Amish forgiveness begsfor a deeper exploration. How could the Amish do this? What didthis act mean to them? And how might their witness prove useful tothe rest of us?
Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt spent twenty-five years researching Amish history, religion, and culture. Drawing on archival material, direct observations, and oral history, the authors provide an authoritative and sensitive understanding of Amish society.
Amish people do not evangelize, yet their numbers in North America have grown from a small community of some 6,000 people in the early 1900s to a thriving population of more than 275,000 today. The largest populations are found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, with additional communities in twenty-seven other states and Ontario.
The authors argue that the intensely private and insular Amish have devised creative ways to negotiate with modernity that have enabled them to thrive in America. The transformation of the Amish in the American imagination from "backward bumpkins" to media icons poses provocative questions. What does the Amish story reveal about the American character, popular culture, and mainstream values? Richly illustrated, The Amish is the definitive portrayal of the Amish in America in the twenty-first century.-- Joel Gehman