Child Sex Abuse in the Amish Community Helps Us to Better Understand the Duggars and Evangelical Churches.

“There is a much greater skepticism toward the memories of those who claim abuse than toward the memories of those who deny it.” ― Sue Campbell, link


<Trigger alert: This post will describe instances of child sex abuse in the Amish community.>

Josh and Anna Duggar are about to be parents again.

Recently, People Magazine published Josh and Anna Duggar: How They Overcame Scandal & Infidelity — and Are 'Rebuilding a Life Together. Josh and Anna Duggar made the following announcement:

“As we continue our journey as a family and rebuild our lives, we are delighted to share with you that we are expecting a new baby boy later this year. Beauty comes from ashes and we cannot wait to see and kiss the face of this sweet new boy!” Josh and Anna signed the post.

The article also reviewed the past scandals involving Josh Duggar.

In mid-May 2015, Josh apologized for his “wrongdoing” after a 2006 police report revealed that he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. His sisters Jill, 25, and Jessa, 24, subsequently stepped forward as two of the victims.

Months later, in August 2015, Gawker reported that the oldest Duggar son appeared to have had active accounts on Ashley Madison, a website created to facilitate cheating on your spouse.

Josh ultimately confessed to having a pornography addiction and cheating on his wife 

The Duggars made a fortune showing off their 19 children. Well, actually they demonstrated how they were raising their children to avoid the pitfalls of sexual immorality. The girls were always dressed modestly- long jean skirts and polo shirts. The boys were told to look to the ground whenever the parents saw shapely women pass near their line of vision. The children were never allowed to go to the beaches where they might happen upon *revealing* swimsuits. They were supposedly always supervised while on the Internet and they were homeschooled. They live in rural America and attend a very conservative house type church. We have written about this before and so have many others.

I remember cracking a joke about how the girls were forced to dress and got my head bit off by people telling me to leave them alone since they were building a godly family who would not fall victim to *the world.* Except, as we would learn, at least one of them did. While touting their godly parenting style, Jim Bob and Michelle forgot to mention that it didn't work out as they had planned. They preened in front of the cameras-showing a perfectly clean kitchen, never showing us the second kitchen. They would refilm scenes so the whole family looked good. They were good at hiding the reality of their situation.

I now have some questions.

  • Did the Duggars show us only what they wanted us to see so they could make money and pretend they somehow had it all together?
  • Was part of the problem their isolation from the *world?*
  • Did the isolation assist them to hide the sins of their family? 
  • Were their kids any better than other kids who are not isolated?
  • What else are they hiding?

Sadly, I believe that Josh Duggar's children are at risk for abuse. We already know that their father had no qualms in touching his sisters without their approval. Is it possible that Josh could be tempted by his own children as they approach puberty? I sure hope someone is keeping an eye on that…except it is pretty hard to keep an eye on those who isolate themselves from the greater community. The family also believes that he has repented so all should be well…right?

It is important to stress that molesters and pedophiles rarely lose their compulsions. They can usually learn to control them but it takes a lot of work over the course of a lifetime. We have written extensively on this issue. For now, here is a quote to keep in mind from an article FACING DISTURBING TRUTHS ABOUT PEDOPHILIA COULD HELP US KEEP KIDS SAFER.

“One cannot choose to not be a pedophile, but one can choose to not be a child molester,” Dr. James Cantor, a professor at the University of Toronto medical school and a leading expert on pedophilia,  wrote in a CNN op-ed in 2012. He also said that pedophiles are most likely to abuse when they are most desperate and feel they have nothing to lose.

Also, I really want to emphasize the following. Your church or group is not bad because a pedophile chose to target the organization. Pedophiles go anywhere where there are children,especially if the enivronment is filled with trusting people. However, once a pedophile is exposed, your church MUST report this immediately to the authorities. The vitcims will need lots of help. 

What really goes on in the Amish community

It is my contention that isolated communities which are suspicious of *the world* are prime targets for pedophiles. One of those groups are the Amish. I also plan to do a post on another isolated group, the Hasidic Lubavitcher communities of New York. 

My husband's first cousins live in Lancaster which is Ground Zero for Amish communities. When were first met, I excitedly visited Lancaster because I had this romantic view of the Amish. They seemed to live a bucolic life: beautiful farms, cute families gathered around dinner tables with great food, horses and buggies, cute little girls in their sweet bonnets, etc. Isn't it great how they help each other to build barns, etc.?

I like this description of the Gentle People.

To the hordes of tourists who travel to Pennsylvania Dutch country each year to go to quilting bees and shop for crafts, the Gentle People, as the Amish are known, represent innocence. They are a people apart, removed in place and arrested in time. They reject the corruptions of modernity-the cars that have splintered American communities and the televisions that have riveted the country's youth. The Amish way of life is grounded in agriculture, hard work, and community. Its deliberate simplicity takes the form of horse-drawn buggies, clothes that could have come from a Vermeer painting, and a native German dialect infused with English words.
 

What do the Amish believe?

There is a helpful website called Amish America which attempts to faithfully convey their beliefs, lifestyles, etc. Here are some of their faith statements which, on the surface, fall in line with many evangelical churches. The article lists 20 so be sure to read them all.

1. We believe in one sovereign, holy, gracious, and living God, eternally existing in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Creator and Sustainer of all things that exist. (Ex.34:6, Deut.6:4, Col.1:16&17)

2. We believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, revealing God and His will, both in the Old and the New Testaments. (Luke 1:70, II Tim.3:16, II Peter 1:20&21)

4. We believe that man, through unbelief and disobedience, fell into sin bringing death and trouble upon the human race: that man as a sinner is self-centered and self-willed and needs Christ to redeem him. (Rom.3:10-18,23,5:12)

5. We believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, fully human and fully divine, and perfectly His Father’s will both in life and in death. offering himself as a ransom to all who will receive Him. (John 1:14, Matt.20:18, Col.2:9, Gal.4:4-6)

6. We believe there is one mediator between God and man, Jesus, who shed His blood and died on Calvary, was resurrected and ascended into heaven and is sitting at the Father’s right hand. (John 3:16, Heb.9:12-14, Col1:20-22)

7. We believe salvation is by grace through faith in Christ-a free gift bestowed by God to all who are repentant of their sins, are born again, and walk in newness of life. (Eph.2:8&9, John 3:3-5, Rom.6:1-7, Rom.10:9&10)

12. We believe that discipleship can thrive both in prosperous and difficult times for those who exercise faith, the fruits of the spirit, surrender to the divine will,love, and nonresistance to evil. (Heb.11, Gal.5:22-25, I Peter 2:21&22, 1 Cor.13)

Here are some of the faith statements that are slightly different than most evangelical churches.

14. We believe that the personal appearance and lifestyle of Christian men and women should be modest and free of worldly fashion and adornment, maintaining simplicity in all areas of life, living as strangers and pilgrims in this world, seeking a heavenly city not made with hands. (Rom.12:1&2, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17)

16. We believe the promotion of Christian values requires us to shun evil which includes the values of contemporary media, urban culture, and modernism. (John 17:13-21, Rom.12:1&2,1 Cor.15:33, 1 John 2:15-17)

17. We believe Christians should not take part in destruction of life, born or unborn, nor in any acts of retaliation. Instead, living a non-resistant lifestyle, demonstrating the love of Christ in daily life. (Matt.5:39-46, John 18:36,Rom.12:19-21)

Here are a couple of beliefs that are worth looking at more closely.

15. We believe God has established special roles for the man and the woman, therefore it is the man’s responsibility to be the spiritual leader in the home and the church and the man’s head should be uncovered in praying or prophesying, while the woman’s head is to be veiled signifying their acceptance of Christ’s order. (1 Cor.11:1-16)

18. We believe the church and state are ordained of God as separate entities in His plan and that believers should honor rulers and be subject to them and pray for them. (Rom.13:1-7,1 Peter 2:13-17)

US law and the Amish

In general, the US legal system has granted the Amish some remarkable freedoms, citing their law-abiding life style. In effect, these laws have allowed the Amish to insulate themselves from the eyes of the law. This is set up for pedophiles.

The Amish want to be left alone by the state-and to a remarkable extent, they are. They don't fight America's wars or, for the most part, contribute to Social Security. In 1972, noting their "excellent record as law-abiding and generally self-sufficient members of society," the Supreme Court allowed the Amish to take their children out of school after eighth grade.
 

The Amish believe in *repent and release* 

Enforcement of the law supposedly rests with the Amish bishops and other church leaders. But, they, like some churches, believe that once a person has *repented,* a that person should be allowed to function freely.

The Amish shy away from sending people to prison and the system of punishment of "the English," as the Amish call other Americans. Once a sinner has confessed, and his repentance has been deemed genuine, every member of the Amish community must forgive him.

Unfortunately, this could allow a pedophile to continue to offend. Never forget this statistic:

Male offenders who abused girls have an average of 52 victims each. Men who molested boys had an average of 150 victims each.

The reality of child sex abuse problems within Amish communities.

I first became aware of this issue a few years ago when I read Mary DeMuth's excellent post, Bonnets, Buggies and Sexual AbuseMary began to hear reports of child sex abuse from Amish folks who attended her speaking engagements in which she discussed her own abuse. She spoke with Pastor Larry Kaufman, pastor of Grace Mennonite Church, who offered insight into the issue.

Kaufman believes the why involves legalism.  “At the most basic level, it is the depravity of human beings (Rom. 3:23). More specifically, I feel like the strict rules and regulations within Amish culture sometimes unintentionally creates an environment where sexual abuse can flourish. Many Amish men have faulty views of a women’s role in the home, and place in society. Sometimes the guilt and the external pressure to conform to the Amish way is so strong that it causes rebellion in people and results in deviant behavior.”

Kaufman realized the deep pain of the problem when his congregants sought counsel. “We would trace their wounds back to a form of sexual abuse. These were people that were currently Amish, or grew up Amish and left the Amish group.”         

I believe that this statement on secrecy is key to understanding the issue.

I asked him to explain the extent of the problem. He said, “It is difficult to quantify it because of the secrecy within the Amish community. Many times, no one ever finds out, or at least not until years later. My hunch is that it is happening more than we realize. 

…Unfortunately because of the nature of the separateness of the Amish culture, truth tellers about the existence of sexual abuse find little help inside their community. To heal, they must leave. They need to find a safe community to share their pain and find healing.

Mary Byler's story.

ABC News reported on Sexual Abuse in the Amish Community which covered the Mary Byler story. This brave young woman, a victim of sex abuse, has opened a window into the abuse in the Amish community.

Mary says she'd use fantasies as an emotional escape from what she says was her horrible reality — a childhood and adolescence of sexual assault and rape. 

"If somebody was raping me, I'd look up to the ceiling, count the blocks or count the cracks in the wall, or just I was completely not there emotionally. I would have committed suicide many times over if I wouldn't be strong," she said.

Through the years, by Mary's account, she was raped by several different attackers. But one abused her more often than the others — her brother Johnny. Johnny, one of Mary's eight brothers, began assaulting her when he was 12 and she was 6. The assaults continued into her teen years, she said.

"I couldn't go to the outhouse because there was always somebody waiting there. I couldn't go anywhere alone. There was just no place I could be alone," she said.

As time passed, another brother, Eli, followed suit.

Mary's family were upset with her for pressing charges against her brother because he had *repented.*

In another article, Mary reported:

 Mary managed to escape the community and her abuse. She then proceeded to press charges against her brother, Johnny. Johnny couldn’t understand why Mary was taking the matter to court because he had been forgiven by the Amish community in confession.

According to ABC News, Mary assisted the authorities in obtaining information to use in convicting her brother.

So, Mary did something that drew more shock from her community than the sins of her brothers. She called authorities outside the Amish community, and she let them use her to gather evidence against her own brothers. She visited her brother Johnny wearing a wire and he admitted freely that he had sexually abused her. 

Don Henry from the Vernon County, Wis., Sheriff's Department said he had enough evidence to make an arrest in the case. When he spoke with Johnny, he freely admitted to raping her. The only question was how many times, according to Henry.

Henry said, "He wanted to know how many times she had said, and with him alone she said it happened between 100 and 150 times. He thought it was too many and that he thought it was between 50 and 75 times."

Guess who the Amish people supported during the trial? Her three brothers who received jail terms. Also both her her mother and father received jail time for refusing to protect her. Once again, since the family members confessed and repented, they were considered forgiven and should never have been brought to trial according to the beliefs within the Amish faith community.

 Johnny Byler's sentencing brought out the largest crowd — and the most tears — not in support of Mary, but in support of the confessed rapist.

The community's reaction did not go unnoticed by the judge in the case, Michael Rosbrough. "The thought occurred to me," he said, "How many of you have ever cried for Mary Byler? … You may have prayed for her, I don't doubt you have, but how many of you cried for her? For the loss of her childhood."

The rest of Mary's story reminds me so much of many of our readers. She left her community but is now helping others who have been abused. 

And she's on a mission to help other abuse victims, in and out of the Amish community.

Torah Bontrager's story

The Huffington Post reported another instance of abuse in Survivor Speaks Out Against Amish Rape Culture Ahead Of Sentencing

 …her ordeal started with severe parental physical and verbal abuse followed by uncles’ serial rapes. At 15, Torah fled to the false safety of a divorced paternal uncle in Montana who, shortly after her arrival, raped her more times than she could remember over the course of 7 months.

Torah emphasized that children are raised to always obey adults and were admonished to never say *no.*

The biblical commandment “honor your parents” is interpreted as a literal “obey your parents no matter what” and is constantly enforced. It’s one of the first things I learned as a child—before I could probably even talk. You’re not ever supposed to say “no” to your parents or “no” to adults, certainly not adults in positions of authority such as aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers and preachers.

If you say “no”, you get reprimanded and shamed at best and usually physically punished. Spanked, hit, beaten, whipped—depending on the perceived severity of the crime and disposition of the adult.

The Amish refuse to educate their children about even the basics of sex, so you’re also not taught to recognize the signs of sexual advances and predatory characteristics. They won’t even warn their children of known child molesters and rapists within the community. They pretend that the rampant sexual assault found in almost every community doesn’t exist. 

Sadly, Amish women who are raped are blamed and told to seek forgiveness from the rapist.

The Amish attitude toward sexual assault is so bad that when a female is raped, she is punished for “being too tempting” to the male and is required to ask the male attacker’s forgiveness for having tempted him.

Some Amish leaders do not think child sex abuse is *bad.*

Penn Live posted Amish bishop didn't report child sex abuse, says it 'wasn't really that bad': Police.

An Amish bishop in Dauphin County has been charged with failing to report two cases of child sexual abuse.

Christ M. Stoltzfus, 69, of Roller Road in Mifflin Township, told investigators that he was informed that one of the incidents "wasn't really that bad" during an interview in February, according to state police.

State police said that under the law clergymen are required to inform law enforcement about cases of child sexual abuse.

In January, a member of Stoltzfus' church told troopers he informed the bishop of the cases of child sexual abuse that occurred in 2011.

…During their interview with Stoltzfus in February, troopers told him it appeared as though he was covering up the cases of sexual abuse, police said.

Unfortunately there seems to be no end to reports of child sex abuse cases coming out of the Amish community. Try Googling the issue.

Parting points

  • Pedophiles seek out communities which are isolated from the outside world.
  • Pedophiles seek out communities with children.
  • Pedophiles seek out communities with easy "repent and forget about it" theology.
  • It is both illegal and dangerous when churches try to deal with child sex abuse *internally.*
  • Few church leaders are trained in how to deal with pedophilia. 
  • Churches are not to blame when a pedophile shows up in a church.
  • Churches are to blame when they attempt to cover up child sex abuse.
  • Pedophiles can repent but are never fully cured of their feelings. It is a life long struggle.
  • Repentant pedophiles should be willing to have the church notify its members of their presence as well as to always have an escort while on church premises. If they do not agree to this, then they are still in a hiding mode and are dangerous.
  • There are no idyllic communities or churches which are exempt from the pain of child sex abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. Wherever there are people, there are sinners.
  • No matter how hard you try (and the Duggars sure tried) you cannot guarantee freedom from these issues. 
  • Isolationism is no panacea for pedophilia or other forms of sin.
  • Churches should learn to trust the police and other authorities who are trained to deal with this problem/crime.
  • Churches must prioritze the victims and their healing. They should never make a convicted pedophile a church hero as Steven Furtick and Elevation Church did.

For those of you still interested in the Amish, this is Part 1 of what happened when a couple of Amish men begin to question what they are being taught. It is quite long but reveals some *insider information* into that community. The vidoe is shot in Amish country.

Comments

Child Sex Abuse in the Amish Community Helps Us to Better Understand the Duggars and Evangelical Churches. — 204 Comments

  1. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Since when have you ever been *proper?*
    BTW-I am going to be attending a wedding outside London in some castle at the end of next May. I am thinking about staying longer and trying to get to Scotland, Northern England, etc. So, what do you think about a *TWW Goes Global* gathering?

  2. “Torah emphasized that children are raised to always obey adults and were admonished to never say *no.*”

    This is a HUGE problem in Christian circles. In the two churches I was raised in, children were taught to be seen and not heard. Any immaturity, child-like behavior or signs of intelligence or independent thought were reprimanded severely and NO ONE under the age of 18 could question an adult. Ultimately, this led to children’ spiritual growth being stunted, as well as a lack of compassion and grace.

  3. I read the article the gentle people the other day which dealt with this issue, with the Mary story and several more awful ones. It talked about how many Amish get off light for some reason but are also easier to convict because they freely admit guilt.

    I do have to say this doesn’t sound like an issue where pedophiles are seeking out a community, but rather being grown out of the social and religious climate and then not adequately punished (much like duggar I suppose).

    Speaking of, I think it’s difficult to know how likely he as an adult is to reoffend with children since he was younger when this occurred (although certainly not enough to excuse his actions in any way!) It does seem that what we know of his adult issues are concentrated on other adults and for the sake of his children I hope that’s true. Of course if I were Anna I would be long gone

  4. Lea wrote:

    Speaking of, I think it’s difficult to know how likely he as an adult is to reoffend with children since he was younger

    That might be the case if he was 5 years old and playing doctor. He was a teenager. Any normal teen would not stick his hands in his sisters pants to satisfy his curiously.

  5. Thank you, Dee, for taking the time to put together this post. This topic is important to me– not because I have any vendetta against the Amish, but because my former cult uses some pseudo-association with Anabaptists to convince people of how innocent, pure, and holy they want people to think they are. I hope people realize that the Amish are neither better nor worse than anyone else Christian or secular. As you’ve pointed out though, their insular communities keep these crimes hidden away from the rest of the world. And victims will be shunned by the only people and life they’ve ever known if they speak up or go to the authorities.

  6. dee wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Speaking of, I think it’s difficult to know how likely he as an adult is to reoffend with children since he was younger

    That might be the case if he was 5 years old and playing doctor. He was a teenager. Any normal teen would not stick his hands in his sisters pants to satisfy his curiously.

    Yes doctor would be less concerning, because same age consensual behavior is not so predatory.

    What I am saying is that As I understand the data, juvenile offenders (yes including 14 year olds) are not necessarily comparable to adult offenders as far as recidivism goes. They can be but it’s by not a certain thing that they will continue a pattern with such young victims.

    It would have been much better for josh to have proper treatment of course, and to have been properly scared by law enforcement rather than coddled.

  7. Some of the commonalities within all the groups are : male headship, or patriarchy, legalism ( a formula to follow ) exclusive dogma, discipline of church members, whether it be shunning, or through excommunication.

    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.

  8. Mae wrote:

    Some of the commonalities within all the groups are : male headship, or patriarchy, legalism ( a formula to follow ) exclusive dogma, discipline of church members, whether it be shunning, or through excommunication.

    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.

    Yes. I think patriarchy creates its own abuse problems. How can it not?

  9. There are several Amish and Mennonite communities in our area. Some are modern (drive black trucks/vans, rather than buggies), and some are “old order”. We visit them occasionally for bakery items. In fact, we visited an old order Mennonite community last Friday. In almost every settlement, the men seem distant, the women oppressed, and the children sad. Sometimes they are friendly and that always surprises us. I know it’s a hard life for them, but the lack of joy which should come with their faith is evident. On the other hand, the behavior I describe is also characteristic of most rural Southern Baptist churches I have been associated with over the last 60+ years!

  10. I was thinking….that someone should have emergency numbers posted around the Amish as to a hotline the girls could use for support….then I remembered that that don’t have phones. Sad.

  11. Max wrote:

    but the lack of joy which should come with their faith is evident.

    I have read similar comments, and people have personally expressed to us the same observations about people from my former community. I can’t make assumptions about everyone, of course, but I wonder if there are some commonalities for this “lack of joy.”

    Like the Duggars, people in my former community are expected to home school. In my husband’s generation, many of them have, at best, a 7th or 8th grade education. Many were taught to work hard with their hands, as many Amish are. They might be able to find employment in a trade. Still, this severely limits their opportunities to make decisions for what to do with their lives. It’s as if they are intentionally being raised to only exist within the confines of this community.

    Even though we have left this community and way of life, we still home school. (Mainly because we are not satisfied with our local ISD.) However, my children are learning biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry, world and US history, all of the high school english levels, foreign languages, etc. We seem to question our decisions every step of the way. However, our hope is to raise them with the ability to make their own choices about what to pursue with their lives.

    And of course, heaven forbid that you should be an abuse victim in such a community. There is one victim that spoke on camera to WFAA about her lack of support from the ministers after her abuse was finally brought to the attention of law enforcement. They essentially called her a liar on their public website defending themselves. They instead chose to pat themselves on the back for eventually reporting it after waiting a whole year to do so.

    I get so angry at the long lasting effects this has on people’s lives. I watch as a few of them go on to succeed with an education and establish a life for themselves. I watch as some try and fail at further education. Most just try to use the skills they already have to live a modest life. Too many of them long for even a basic relationship with the parents and siblings they left behind. They are not invited to weddings and some family functions. They will be escorted off of church property by law enforcement if they attempt to just show up.

    How can there be any joy in such a life?

  12. Can someone please explain to me why evangelicals are so enamored of Amish fictional love stories? My church library is full of them.

    I’ve never read them because I personally can’t stomach most (maybe all?) of the slush in Christian romance novels.

  13. If you’re not aware, there is a ministry to Amish and ex-Amish called MAP – Mission to Amish People. http://www.mapministry.org/ It seems that leaving the Amish is a lot like leaving the fundamentalist LDS or Scientology – your whole world changes, and you lose your connection for salvation. Although a lot of Amish fiction consists of love stories and tends to portray their life as idyllic, sometimes in reality child and spousal abuse happens. Add to that the worries caused by the belief that one can never really know on earth if they’ve kept the Ordnung (rules) sufficiently to be saved (it can be considered prideful to think you are saved).
    In regard to phones, they do keep “phone shanties” away from the house for occasions when they need to do business with outsiders, contact emergency services, call for a driver for longer trips, etc. Also I’ve heard that cell phones are especially popular among teens, and probably mostly hidden from parents (charged when away from home). Another thing to remember is that there are wide variations among the various Amish groups, which have split up over the years, often over how strict to be with modern influences.

  14. Linn wrote:

    Can someone please explain to me why evangelicals are so enamored of Amish fictional love stories? My church library is full of them.

    RIGHT?!

    Honestly, I wonder if they are just popular because that’s the only option anymore. I still wander over to that section in the bookstore occasionally and it always looks the same.

    I tried to write a Christian contemporary fiction, but I was so bored with it. So I went back writing science fiction and that makes me happy.

  15. Mae wrote:

    Some of the commonalities within all the groups are : male headship, or patriarchy, legalism ( a formula to follow ) exclusive dogma, discipline of church members, whether it be shunning, or through excommunication.
    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.

    I would add to that the belief that once you say you repent, IF you are male, you are automatically believed.

    I found in fundamentalist culture, women are not so readily believed after admitting to sin, only men. They might not say it, but they will continue to punish women by expecting them act like they are showing the proper level of submission by working extra hard, being silent, and so forth. And there will be further insinuations that you are still prone to sin. Men generally do not have to show any signs of repentance, only words.

  16. Just want to note that the Mennonite umbrella includes groups very different from the Amish. My extended family in Western Canada is mostly Mennonite — former German-speaking farmers from Russia — and numbers in the thousands of people. (They rent a college campus for family reunions.) They are mostly non-fundamentalist, egalitarian people who are completely modern and integrated into their communities. The women are encouraged to go to university and pursue professional careers just as much as the men. Never heard of abuse of any kind.

  17. With respect to the Amish…. “If it looks to good to be true….”
    I get accused of being cynical, I prefer to say I am pragmatic, and take seriously the verse…. “for all have sinned….. “, and “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and ” even the best of men, are men at best”… for you egaliarians, replace “man/men” with “human”

  18. ishy wrote:

    I tried to write a Christian contemporary fiction, but I was so bored with it.

    As Alexei Sayle put it (also at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe):

    I’ve given up asking rhetorical questions. What’s the point?

  19. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I think real Christian life can be interesting. I just am not the writer to write it.

    Next series is on travelers of parallel universes, with the main character a seminary student. Much more me.

  20. ishy wrote:

    Mae wrote:
    Some of the commonalities within all the groups are : male headship, or patriarchy, legalism ( a formula to follow ) exclusive dogma, discipline of church members, whether it be shunning, or through excommunication.
    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.
    I would add to that the belief that once you say you repent, IF you are male, you are automatically believed.
    I found in fundamentalist culture, women are not so readily believed after admitting to sin, only men. They might not say it, but they will continue to punish women by expecting them act like they are showing the proper level of submission by working extra hard, being silent, and so forth. And there will be further insinuations that you are still prone to sin. Men generally do not have to show any signs of repentance, only words.

    It’s inevitable since women are regarded as, lower then males, in the order of creation. She sinned first, blah, blah.

    The short of it all is women, including young girls, serve the interests of a male dominant construct.

    Sexual sin conveniently is the females fault. She didn’t dress correctly, or she had a wanton look in her eyes, and so on with such accusations. Keeps the males from acknowledging any real repentance, accountability. They face no repercussions, punishment, for their abuse of women, including sexual abuse.

  21. Mae wrote:

    Sexual sin conveniently is the females fault. She didn’t dress correctly, or she had a wanton look in her eyes, and so on with such accusations. Keeps the males from acknowledging any real repentance, accountability. They face no repercussions, punishment, for their abuse of women, including sexual abuse.

    It’s particularly noticeable when men are accused, especially from the outside (as we’ve seen over and over at TWW). They are so accustomed to getting away with everything they do that they are incensed that someone would call them on their sin. The fact that they are so entrenched in their belief that they are entitled to sin as long as they use the proper words to cover it up is a sign to me that faith and theology are really unimportant to them. In their minds, they are equal with God and think they should be treated as such.

  22. Abigail wrote:

    I was thinking….that someone should have emergency numbers posted around the Amish as to a hotline the girls could use for support….then I remembered that that don’t have phones. Sad.

    One of the articles I read said that in the town of one of the victims, there was a phone that was technically registered to the neighbors but used by the amish for emergencies.

    But one of the girls reported her abuse and was sent back home and then she had all her teeth pulled as punishment.

  23. Lea wrote:

    But one of the girls reported her abuse and was sent back home and then she had all her teeth pulled as punishment.

    That qualifies as torture. I haven’t read the other articles yet, but I hope she got justice.

  24. Like so many in America, I am fascinated by the Amish. I am not sure what specifically piques my interest, but it probably started with the movie “Witness” and continues on through today. A few years ago my family and I made regular trips to the Lancaster area (Columbia, PA, specifically – an aside, Paul Prudhomme’s nephew David owned/operated Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen in tiny Columbia until he retired in 2016; this is not what brought us to the area, though) and we never minded being stuck in traffic behind a black horse-drawn buggy as we gazed out over the green fields being worked by a team of horses with a bearded plowman behind them.

    I am happy to report that the fascination does not extend to Christian-Amish-Romance-Literature.

    Last night my wife and I watched a special on Netflix that discussed the case of Natascha Kampusch, an Austrian woman who was kidnapped at age 10 and held captive for 8.5 years. (FMI, please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natascha_Kampusch). While not religious, Natascha’s story of being held psychologically captive makes me think of both Mary’s and Torah’s experiences, and also makes me think of Anna Duggar, who is held prisoner by bondage of DOING THE RIGHT THING.

    It breaks my heart.

  25. Lea wrote:

    juvenile offenders (yes including 14 year olds) are not necessarily comparable to adult offenders as far as recidivism goes.

    I get a one time incident. But Duggar engaged in multiple instances including one who was not a member of the family and one who was a little child. The rest were older. Remember the Karen Hinckley story? Her ex husband had admitted to pedophile like behavior as a teen if I remember the story accurately.

    I am going to make a prediction. We will eventually hear Josh Duggar’s name again in the news and not for going on a mission trip.

  26. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    With respect to the Amish…. “If it looks to good to be true….”
    I get accused of being cynical, I prefer to say I am pragmatic, and take seriously the verse…. “for all have sinned….. “, and “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and ” even the best of men, are men at best”… for you egaliarians, replace “man/men” with “human”

    Agreed.

  27. NJ wrote:

    That qualifies as torture. I haven’t read the other articles yet, but I hope she got justice.

    That’s not biblical justice, that’s just evil. I wouldn’t be surprised if on judgement day, Jesus hollers: “AAAAAMISHHHH! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!!!!”

  28. @ Sam:
    Its awful and stuck in my head.

    There was a guy a while back (zimbardo) who talked about the difference between a bad apple and bad barrel.

    I think the amish have set up a system, from the article I read, that leads to an awful lot of ‘bad apples’…and then they just shun them for a short period of time and let them back at their victims. But if the victims try to get away? Excommunicated. Backwards.

  29. @ dee:

    Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Josh offends again. That whole family, the religious community they live in, is a seriously unhealthy, sexualized environment.

  30. I agree with Dee that the fact that a pedophile targeted your organization doesn’t make your organization bad. It’s what is done after the abuse is known to members and leadership within the organization. Is the victim supported? Is the abuse exposed and reported to the authorities? The problem with many evangelical organizations is that they cover up primarily for financial reasons, because they believe their supporters will cease financial support once the abuse is made known. Well, sadly, they are probably right, because a lot of evangelicals don’t believe the truth in the first sentence in this paragraph. Once they’ve decided to cover up the matter, the victims by default won’t be supported, and often are belittled, blamed, and banished from the community.

    One such pattern of abuse and cover up that I’m most familiar with is that of New Tribes Mission (recently changed their name to ETHNOS360). Their pattern is documented in the Fanda Eagles forum http://fandaeagles.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1473

  31. Linn wrote:

    Can someone please explain to me why evangelicals are so enamored of Amish fictional love stories? My church library is full of them.

    I’ve never read them because I personally can’t stomach most (maybe all?) of the slush in Christian romance novels.

    I ran afoul of the pastor’s wife when I cleaned out the church library of all such trashy novels. My mom used to call them “bodice rippers”. She was very angry at me for throwing away what she “donated”. So yeah, I don’t get it either….

  32. @ NJ:
    That is what I was thinking. Her entire childhood consisted of sexual torture as a slave and trying to avoid it. Even knowing what she could expect from a trip to use the restroom. My blood is boiling.

  33. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    I ran afoul of the pastor’s wife when I cleaned out the church library of all such trashy novels.

    I don’t think I ever read any amish love stories. I did read all those love comes softly books as a kid/middle schooler. I got rid of them all a year or two ago.

    I’m guessing the answer to why they are popular is ‘no sex’ but I can’t really say from authority.

  34. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Linn wrote:
    Can someone please explain to me why evangelicals are so enamored of Amish fictional love stories? My church library is full of them.
    I’ve never read them because I personally can’t stomach most (maybe all?) of the slush in Christian romance novels.
    I ran afoul of the pastor’s wife when I cleaned out the church library of all such trashy novels. My mom used to call them “bodice rippers”. She was very angry at me for throwing away what she “donated”. So yeah, I don’t get it either….

    Don’t understand the lure of Romance novels at all. Never mind, Christian romance novels. Worse yet, Amish ones…. yikes!

  35. Lea wrote:

    But one of the girls reported her abuse and was sent back home and then she had all her teeth pulled as punishment.

    That was one of the worst accounts, though they’re all awful. In their eyes, she committed the greater sin by involving the “world.” Can you imagine how such a story would be broadcast by the major news organizations if it had been perpetrated by a non-Amish family? Yet, these stories rarely see the light of day.

  36. Mae wrote:

    Don’t understand the lure of Romance novels at all. Never mind, Christian romance novels. Worse yet, Amish ones…. yikes!

    The closest I’ve come to reading romance novels is Jane Austen, plus Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre.

  37. Max wrote:

    There are several Amish and Mennonite communities in our area. Some are modern (drive black trucks/vans, rather than buggies), and some are “old order”. We visit them occasionally for bakery items.

    My writing partner is an Anabaptist pastor in Pennsylvania Dutch country. He described the relationship between the various sects as follows:
    He is Anabaptist.
    Mennonites are one step beyond Anabaptist.
    Old Order Mennonites are one step beyond Mennonites.
    Amish are one step beyond Old Order Mennonites.
    (I don’t know what’s one step beyond Amish — “Old Order Amish”?)

  38. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    I ran afoul of the pastor’s wife when I cleaned out the church library of all such trashy novels. My mom used to call them “bodice rippers”.

    Except for the “Bonnet Rippers” set among the Amish (“Just like Bodice Rippers, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”)

    I remember a comment in some blog about Bonnet Books that went something like this:
    “When I read a book about Amish, I want to read about the Amish. NOT what some Evangelical THINKS the Amish are like!”

  39. Linn wrote:

    Can someone please explain to me why evangelicals are so enamored of Amish fictional love stories? My church library is full of them.

    I’ve never read them because I personally can’t stomach most (maybe all?) of the slush in Christian romance novels.

    The name for them is “Bonnet Books” or “Bonnet Romances” (“Bonnet Rippers?”), and they DOMINATE Christianese women’s fiction. Amish Harlequins.

  40. Lea wrote:

    @ NJ:
    BTW, there are teeny bopper romance novels about nephlim. #readsalot

    I predicted this long ago, when Twilight was at its peak. One of my spies on the Lost Genre Guild attended a Christian Writers’ Conference during that period and was told that “Christian Paranormal Romances” (AKA “Just like Twilight, Except CHRISTIAN!”) were The Next Big Thing.

    And substituting an Angel for Sparkling Eddie was an obvious knockoff. (After all, like pop culture Angels “EDWARD (sparkle sparkle)” resembles a Greek God or Demigod more than He does a classic Vampire.) I think that thread coined the term “Nephilim Breeders” for such Christianese Paranormal Romances.

    I would have expected Nephilim Breeders to surface around now, and not just due to usual knockoff lag time. Christians are notorious Late Adopters, always a day late and a dollar short to the point that the Christianese knockoffs always surface AFTER the mainstream fad they’re copying Jumps the Shark and burns out.

  41. I have also heard of animal cruelty among Amish, often in association with work animals and/or puppy mills.

  42. Lea wrote:

    @ NJ:
    BTW, there are teeny bopper romance novels about nephlim. #readsalot

    I believe you, Lea.

    As I stated two comments above, it’s an obvious “Me, Too!” knockoff once Twilight hit the big time.

    Can you give any specific examples other than a hashtag?

  43. The Duggars and the Amish fail to understand the significance of what Jesus said to the crowd when they accused His disciples of being defiled for eating without washing their hands,
    “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” –Matthew 15:17-20

    It’s not the outside influences that corrupt us as much as the thoughts and intents of our own hearts. As humans, we have a serious heart problem and no amount of trying to keep away from the influences of the world will solve it. Only through the life-changing power of Christ, making us new from the inside out can transformation truly occur. Legalism, isolationism and following endless lists of man-made rules is NOT going to cut it. Blaming the victims for your sin won’t work on Judgment Day, either!

    Once again quoting the Master, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”

    They may have all the appearances of “religion”, but when the layers are peeled back, something completely different comes to light. God help the victims as they recover.

  44. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Can you give any specific examples other than a hashtag?

    I read the ‘hush hush’ series by somebody named Becca Fitzpatrick. I don’t think these are especially Christian, but I know nothing about the author. They sell them at Target (or used to). I also read the mortal instruments books, by Cassandra clare. There are probably more.

    I went through a teeny bopper novel phase but then they all started to be the same story…which is true of most genre’s if you read enough in a row but this one in particular I think.

  45. Mae wrote:

    They face no repercussions, punishment, for their abuse of women, including sexual abuse.

    One example of repercussions: my daughter is a young teen and was recently at a community festival. A boy her own age grabbed her friend’s derriere flagrantly (and apparently had been doing it to others that night). My daughter smacked him hard enough to make him cry and told him off loudly for “groping” her friend. More embarrassment for him because there were lots of other kids watching. We didn’t hear about it until the next day, and though I had to tell her that hitting isn’t the best option, inside I was really thinking, “You go girl, maybe the little creep will think twice about repeating that behavior next time!” Head one off when they’re young, I hope…

  46. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Can you give any specific examples other than a hashtag?

    This kind of romanticization/tolerance of predatory behavior has often been seen in tv shows like Buffy (vampire Angel stalking a teenage Buffy, anyone?), Game of Thrones, Rome (heck, anything on HBO) and Dawson’s creek. It’s also abundantly present in Anime (you KNOW which ones I’m talking about, and if you don’t…just thank God you don’t).

    There’s a big pull in media to show molesters as “sympathetic” or “misunderstood” and the whole “we should FEEL BAD” for judging them” when they destroy a child’s innocence thing. (Still trying to figure out how that works BTW.)

  47. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Can you give any specific examples other than a hashtag?

    Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series is the big one. That’s a TV show on Freeform now.

    Then there’s:
    James Patterson Max series
    Lauren Kate’s Fallen series
    Elisabeth Chandler’s Kissed By an Angel series
    Threshold series by Christa Kinde

  48. Mae wrote:

    Some of the commonalities within all the groups are : male headship, or patriarchy, legalism ( a formula to follow ) exclusive dogma, discipline of church members, whether it be shunning, or through excommunication.

    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.

    Good observation. It seems to be a common thread even in the non-Abrahamic religions.

  49. Arlene wrote:

    Also I’ve heard that cell phones are especially popular among teens, and probably mostly hidden from parents (charged when away from home). Another thing to remember is that there are wide variations among the various Amish groups, which have split up over the years, often over how strict to be with modern influences.

    Yes. And ours here on the outside is at the other extreme, almost as if our lives are totally consumed by high technology.

  50. Lea wrote:

    But one of the girls reported her abuse and was sent back home and then she had all her teeth pulled as punishment.

    Not covered under our freedom of religion clauses as law of the land.
    Nor is FGM (female genital mutilation) as practiced by some sects in the Islamic world.
    Can you supply a link as to the facts surrounding this horrific charge?

  51. Sam wrote:

    It’s also abundantly present in Anime (you KNOW which ones I’m talking about, and if you don’t…just thank God you don’t).

    Hentai and Yandere?

  52. ishy wrote:

    Lauren Kate’s Fallen series

    Oh! I read that one too.

    Back to the amish, it seems like they were ignored by the authorities. Is this because of tourism or disbelief that the amish could do these terrible things or just falling through the cracks, do you think? (I guess probably all three, although I bet in some areas, cracking this wide open would be bad for business)

  53. Lea wrote:

    I’m guessing the answer to why they are popular is ‘no sex’ but I can’t really say from authority.

    Well, “Bella and EDWARD (sparkle sparkle) Save Themselves For Marriage” WAS the stated reason Twilight was pushed among (and by?) Christians. Completely missing the creeper stalker angle and the lack of ANY personality in the female lead (other than “Whatever You Want, EDWARD…”).

  54. Muff Potter wrote:

    Can you supply a link as to the facts surrounding this horrific charge?

    I was in the article The Gentle People By Nadya Labi . I believe it was linked, although I can’t get it to come up at the moment.

    According to the article, she told someone and was returned home. Later when they went to the dentist, the mom (I think) told the dentist to pull all the teeth, not just ones with cavities.

  55. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    what’s one step beyond Amish — “Old Order Amish”?

    There are “Old Order Amish” in my area. They are definitely the most closed group of the Mennonite and Amish sects that I am familiar with. One community in Seymour, MO had a very publicized sex abuse case in which one of their elders told investigators “that it was against the Amish Rules to report child sexual abuse.”

    https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2010/10/22/amish-elders-plead-guilty-to-failing-to-report-sex-abuse-in-ozark-community

  56. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Hentai and Yandere?

    Got three words for you: Neon Genesis Evangelion.

    If that doesn’t ring any bells try Bleach, Hetalia, Nightwalker, Excel Saga, Ranma 1/2(just to name a few…)

  57. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Hentai and Yandere?

    Got three words for you: Neon Genesis Evangelion.

    If that doesn’t ring any bells try Bleach, Hetalia, Nightwalker, Excel Saga, Ranma 1/2(just to name a few…)

  58. And there is an Amish settlement somewhere in Southern California, on or near the Amtrak “Surfliner” route between Los Angeles and San Diego. I see Amish on the platforms at Fullerton station around once a week, dressed Plain and speaking German. Usually on the South/Eastbound Track 3 platform used by the Surfliner, though sometimes on the North/Westbound Track 1 platform.

  59. Sam wrote:

    If that doesn’t ring any bells try Bleach, Hetalia, Nightwalker, Excel Saga, Ranma 1/2(just to name a few…)

    Oh, yeah, Ranma 1/2. I used to know a guy who was obsessed with Ranma 1/2. Guy was fascinated by Ranma’s instantaneous (and involuntary) sex change ability. (Guy also used to insist on running hermaphrodite/intersex characters in the local FRP game group…)

    The others you listed came after I got out of the loop.

  60. Lea wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Completely missing the creeper stalker angle
    Anything Edward did was completely eclipsed (ha) by everything Jacob did. Talk about creepy!

    Jacob was the Werewolf with the pecs & abs, right?

    “Twlight Trilogy: A total nobody can’t decide between necrophilia (vampire) and bestiality (werewolf).”

  61. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And there is an Amish settlement somewhere in Southern California, on or near the Amtrak “Surfliner” route between Los Angeles and San Diego.

    When I was in Haiti, I was surprised to see male and female Mennonites disembarking the plane with me, with their non-power tools, to work in a Haitian Mennonite community. They were traditionally dressed and I thought – you poor people; you’re traveling to hell wearing a snow suit. Until that time I had not realized there was a Mennonite community in Haiti.

  62. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    their insular communities keep these crimes hidden away from the rest of the world. And victims will be shunned by the only people and life they’ve ever known if they speak up or go to the authorities

    I have a feeling that life for most Amish and Mennonite women and children does not resemble “Little House on the Prairie.”

  63. Lea wrote:

    According to the article, she told someone and was returned home. Later when they went to the dentist, the mom (I think) told the dentist to pull all the teeth, not just ones with cavities.

    What dentist in their right mind would obey such an order? That is idiotic!

  64. Lea wrote:

    Yes. Also ‘how dare you put me in the friendzone, oh nevermind I’m in love with your baby so it’s cool’.

    I never got into Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey (thank God!), due to the exact same reasons. (Not surprising when I found out that Fifty Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fanfic. *facepalm*)

  65. This reminds me of Lourdes Torres/Doug Phillips, SGM cases, the Household of Faith story in WA state where the pedophile was protected. I’m just sick over this kind of thing. And it seems to be in churches where women are devalued and their place is at the same level as children in a home. Even dogs are treated better in these circles!

  66. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I see Amish on the platforms at Fullerton station around once a week

    According to a couple of websites, it is not uncommon for them to travel by train to Mexico for alternative medical treatments.

  67. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    According to the article, she told someone and was returned home. Later when they went to the dentist, the mom (I think) told the dentist to pull all the teeth, not just ones with cavities.
    What dentist in their right mind would obey such an order?

    An Amish dentist (even if Gone English)?

  68. Max wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    what’s one step beyond Amish — “Old Order Amish”?

    There are “Old Order Amish” in my area. They are definitely the most closed group of the Mennonite and Amish sects that I am familiar with.

    What happens when Old Order Amish are too English for you?
    (Not sure how much deeper the rabbit hole CAN go…)

  69. I am of the same ‘persuasion’ of Mennonite background as this, and abuse is rampant. You are fortunate to have been spared, but it also sounds like you may have been in more progressive communities than my earlier years, and that of my relatives. In both Old Colony (aka Russian or Mexican Mennonites), and in Kleine Gemeinde this was a big problem, especially the former, and my childhood was laced with it. Of my five best friends, one was not abused. I’ve worked for almost 8 years with sexual violence in religious communities (almost 100% Mennonite/Amish, with only a handful of clients with other backgrounds, and it seems to be a big problem, especially the more conservative you get, but still present in other settings. (This is also true of Baptists, Pentecostals and other Christians, with an *apparent* increase in prevalence indirect proportion to the level of fundamentalism and isolation. Glad you were spared!

    @ Paul D.:

  70. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    There were laws in NY state protecting animals from cruelty before their were laws against domestic abuse….

    Considering that women used to be considered “chattel”, you’d think the same rules would apply.

  71. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Like the Duggars, people in my former community are expected to home school. In my husband’s generation, many of them have, at best, a 7th or 8th grade education. Many were taught to work hard with their hands, as many Amish are. They might be able to find employment in a trade. Still, this severely limits their opportunities to make decisions for what to do with their lives. It’s as if they are intentionally being raised to only exist within the confines of this community.

    “As if”?

    Feature, not Bug.

  72. FW Rez wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    I see Amish on the platforms at Fullerton station around once a week.

    According to a couple of websites, it is not uncommon for them to travel by train to Mexico for alternative medical treatments.

    Still, the only rail link to Mexico from there is the Surfliner (Southbound Track 3, Northbound Track 1), which means the San Ysidro border crossing at San Diego. The only long-haul passenger train through Fullerton to points east is the Southwest Chief from Chicago (always Track 1), which runs one train per day in each direction (Westbound at 7 AM & Eastbound at 7 PM). I haven’t noticed any pattern in where the Amish are except they’re usually on Track 1 in the late afternoon, which would fit with taking the SW Chief eastbound. Other than that, there is no discernible pattern.

  73. I’ve been aware if Amish abuse (physical as well as sexual) for some time. Many communities don’t want to address it openly for fear of hurting tourism. 🙁

    The Amish are also notorious for their puppy mills. That’s on a whole different level from that of human child abuse, but it’s still disturbing.

  74. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    According to the article, she told someone and was returned home. Later when they went to the dentist, the mom (I think) told the dentist to pull all the teeth, not just ones with cavities.

    What dentist in their right mind would obey such an order? That is idiotic!

    I read that story too. Lord have mercy!!

  75. Max wrote:

    . One community in Seymour, MO had a very publicized sex abuse case in which one of their elders told investigators “that it was against the Amish Rules to report child sexual abuse.”

    Apparently there’re no problems with abusing children ……… The real problem is reporting abuse??. Do they know how messed up that is?

  76. One of the stories I read, the offender confessed to the bishops of the sexual assaults. The local authorities arrested the offender but subsequently he pleaded, not guilty of the attacks. The bishops found his lying to the authorities more egregious then the rapes. Lying in this Amish community is viewed by the bishops, as a much more serious offense then the multiple rapes.
    I have absolutely no words to express how twisted in thinking this is, or how to begin to root out such, errant practice.

  77. Lea wrote:

    the difference between a bad apple and bad barrel.
    I think the amish have set up a system, from the article I read, that leads to an awful lot of ‘bad apples’

    This is an excellent comment, and the post, @ dee: is also excellent. Linking the Amish and the Duggars, and the dangers in a closed community is highly insightful. This is getting to the core of the problem, that causes harm to children. Good work.

    The other extreme is when a pedophile is camouflaged, hiding in plain site among normal people and society (Jerry Sandusky?), as other research informs us. Equally tragic, different MO.

  78. I was wondering the same thing about all the Amish fiction in the inspirational market and why it sells so well. I think the Amish are appalling and not biblical.@ Linn:

  79. Linda Castillo is one of my favorite authors. Her Kate Burkholder series is a real eye opener into the Amish community. For anyone who enjoys mysteries or thrillers along with insight into the Amish culture, these books are must read.

  80. Mae wrote:

    One of the stories I read, the offender confessed to the bishops of the sexual assaults. The local authorities arrested the offender but subsequently he pleaded, not guilty of the attacks. The bishops found his lying to the authorities more egregious then the rapes. Lying in this Amish community is viewed by the bishops, as a much more serious offense then the multiple rapes.

    Multiple rapes are Sins of the Flesh but lying is Sin of the Spirit?

  81. Has anyone drawn any parallels between Amish culture and “The Benedict Option”?

  82. Brad-Futurist Guy? Eagle?

    Something that might have a bearing on why some Christians seem so enamored of the Amish (and not just bonnet rippers).

    Yesterday out of curiosity I did a little research into one of the battle cries used by the neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville riot — “Blood and Soil” (“Blut und Boden” auf Deustch). And what I found had parallels.

    “Blood and Soil” was NOT originated by the Nazis. It was a term in use at the time for a romanticized rural ideal, a “pastoral utopia” about simple traditional rural/small town life, simple “salt of the earth” farm families. An idealized past, a simpler time. Sort of a German equivalent of Little House on the Prairie seen through heavily rose-tinted glasses.

    “Blood and Soil” was also the name of a related pop culture genre in fiction set among “salt of the earth” simple Germans in this pastoral utopia. Kind of like Amish “bonnet books” in Christian fiction.

    This probably became popular as a respite from the one-two-three punch of World War One, the postwar economic collapse, and the Great Depression. Happy German peasants singing as they work the fields in a romanticized rural past.

    At this point a LOT of unrelated items in my mental database all came together as parallels of this:

    1) A long-ago documentary titled “Art and the Third Reich”. Specifically, a portion about how before the Nazis pulled their 1933 coup from within (when they still had to appeal to German voters), they originally positioned themselves as the Guardians/Restorers of Traditional German Family Values. (Under threat from Weimar decadence and Berlin cabaret sleaze.) A clip from a propaganda film in the documentary looked and felt like a German version of “Motherhood & Apple Pie”, again set in a soft-focus sentimentalized past.

    2) One of Slacktivist’s comments about Left Behind, about the attitude of Rural Righteousness vs Urban Sinfulness. In LB, what kicks off the Rapture/Armageddon clock is the invention of a magical super-fertilizer that turns harsh desert into tons-per-square-meter lush cropland literally overnight (no rainfall/irrigation needed). Slack and his commenters tied this into a mythic contrast of Righteous Rural vs Wicked City, and how this Super-Miracle-Grow would shift the balance of power from the city back to the rural areas, who deserve it because of their Superior Moral Righteousness.

    2.1) Someone I related this to pointed out how this sounded like nomads painting settled townsfolk as Sodom & Gomorrah to keep their children from fleeing the sheep dip in the desert to the prosperity of the townies.

    2.2) And in LB Volume 13 (set AFTER the Second Coming/End of the World), the “New Heavens & New Earth” is entirely covered by an eternal American Midwest, no mountains, no oceans, only endless prairies and plains dotted with immortal Mayberries and Pleasantvilles. White picket fences and all. (Triumph of the Rural?)

    I’m not sure what to conclude about all this. It seems that the enamorment with the Amish is some sort of American Christian “Blood and Soil” mythology (original definition), harking back to an idealized rural past in a time of troubles and perceived decline and decadence. A mythic Simpler and Better Times with a generous helping of Godly Moral Righteousness.

    And like a lot of mythologized pasts, the mythic surface diverges from the reality.

  83. Mae wrote:

    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.

    Yes, indeed. Women are considered Jezebels, just by the walk they walk, or talk, or smile, or dress, or wear their hair/make-up, or….. Why is it that men, who are considered stronger and more responsible in these Christian communities, considered weak victims of women’s wiles?

  84. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I’ve been aware if Amish abuse (physical as well as sexual) for some time. Many communities don’t want to address it openly for fear of hurting tourism.

    The Amish are also notorious for their puppy mills. That’s on a whole different level from that of human child abuse, but it’s still disturbing.

    Always follow the money.
    It explains a lot.

  85. Lea wrote:

    I think patriarchy creates its own abuse problems. How can it not?

    Definitely! When women are taught to be quiet, submissive doormats, and told that to be assertive is unbecoming to their sex, it sets up a situation where women will be sexually/physically abused. And then on top of that, they will be made to believe that they are to blame.

  86. Abigail wrote:

    I was thinking….that someone should have emergency numbers posted around the Amish as to a hotline the girls could use for support….then I remembered that that don’t have phones. Sad.

    Your comment got me to wondering if the sexual abuse in Amish communities is mainly against females, or if boys are also victims. So far, all the articles I’ve read about Amish communities site females being sexually abused.

  87. ishy wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I think real Christian life can be interesting. I just am not the writer to write it.
    Next series is on travelers of parallel universes, with the main character a seminary student. Much more me.

    Christian fiction is so boring, I agree. I believe one of the factors that contributes to that is the narrow parameters of what is *acceptable* in that genre. Soooo many issues that are not considered proper to address. So many things that are considered taboo. Life is ugly, brutal, and cruel oftentimes. Many Christians don’t want to write about that stuff. Let’s keep it sweet and – what’s that word? Oh yeah, WINSOME. 🙂

  88. GMFS

    dee wrote:

    I am going to be attending a wedding outside London in some castle at the end of next May. I am thinking about staying longer and trying to get to Scotland, Northern England, etc. So, what do you think about a *TWW Goes Global* gathering?

    Sorry, Dee – meant to reply to this yesterday. I assume you’re on about Windsor Castle there?

    Anyway, a TWW-UK™ venture is a spiffing idea. Especially now I’ve tracked down a new source of lemon grass (no longer obtainable locally, for whatever reason, unless the Co-Op do sometimes get it without telling me) so I can do Thai-like sauces again.

    It’d be fantastic to meet up IRL after all this time online!

  89. My experience is a bit skewed but I think the worse sin a follower of Jesus can commit in the industry is to actually need Jesus. A true follower of God does not need anyone, ever, no matter what ever. One moves on and gets over it, one is an over comer, one is efficient, effective and goes in for the big win.

  90. GMFS: Part 2

    Part 1 is in customs, for reasons I can’t fathom and on which, in keeping with the spirit of TWW, I will not speculate. But we’ve all been there!

    From the original post:

    Once a sinner has confessed, and his repentance has been deemed genuine, every member of the Amish community must forgive him.

    There’s a basic problem with the idea of “must forgive”.

    We can never forget the truth that Jesus tells us we need to forgive. This is the same Jesus who knows what it is to be singled out for abuse, victimised, betrayed, abandoned, slandered and set upon by a brutal gang with the ultimate free licence to treat him like a lump of dead meat, with literally no accountability or protective social mores. But there’s a very important reason why Jesus issues this instruction. He’s doing it for our benefit. That is, he wants us to forgive so that we ourselves can be free.

    But he also identifies with us when we are victimised, invests us with respect and dignity, and raises us up with the authority to forgive – because (and I’m sorry to go on about this) forgiveness is an act of judgement. A victim can never forgive; only a free agent, with full power and authority, can forgive. That’s what Jesus wants for us.

    When human authorities, or abusers, demand your forgiveness, they are doing it for their benefit, not yours. They want you to shut up and drop it so that they can get on with living their lives in peace, and/or enjoy the fruit of their crimes without you pestering them. It’s not, perhaps, that their own consciences bother them; but as long as there’s any opposition to them, they can’t have the control or status they crave and it’s an ongoing reminder that they haven’t quite won. A person demanding forgiveness has never repented. Indeed, they themselves are doing their best to make forgiveness impossible, because they’re trying to take away their target’s authority: the very thing on which forgiveness rests.

  91. Pingback: Wednesday Link List | Thinking Out Loud UNITED STATES

  92. Hmm. While I appreciate the honesty and sincerity of many people on this thread, and I understand that you’ve been hurt and are frightened to be hurt again, it’s evident to me that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it, because you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,
    Arnold Smartarse

  93. Darlene wrote:

    Abigail wrote:
    I was thinking….that someone should have emergency numbers posted around the Amish as to a hotline the girls could use for support….then I remembered that that don’t have phones. Sad.
    Your comment got me to wondering if the sexual abuse in Amish communities is mainly against females, or if boys are also victims. So far, all the articles I’ve read about Amish communities site females being sexually abused.

    That a valid question and one worth exploring. Is it just females being violated, or are young males victims too?
    It seems a little off for predators to just pick one sex.

  94. Darlene wrote:

    Mae wrote:

    Women tempting men to sin, is the ever present undercurrent.

    Yes, indeed. Women are considered Jezebels, just by the walk they walk, or talk, or smile, or dress, or wear their hair/make-up, or….. Why is it that men, who are considered stronger and more responsible in these Christian communities, considered weak victims of women’s wiles?

    The devil made them do it…..women are the ultimate tempsters….goes right back to Eden.

  95. I don’t know any Amish but closed communities are definitely problematic. It’s interesting how cult like behavior can manifest. My co worker’s son quit his high school football team because of overly controlling behavior by his team mates.
    Remove any accountability & throw a manifest destiny ordained by God and boom – that’s a massive force multiplier.

  96. Darlene wrote:

    I believe one of the factors that contributes to that is the narrow parameters of what is *acceptable* in that genre. Soooo many issues that are not considered proper to address. So many things that are considered taboo. Life is ugly, brutal, and cruel oftentimes.

    This sort of dovetails into Kevin young’s (now two!) articles about how dare christians watch Game of Thrones. Because sex (the violence doesn’t matter).

    Now, I’m certainly not evangelizing for the show, but it does show abuses of power, the damage to the little people that fights amongst the bigwigs cause, etc. It’s about a lot more than sex. But it’s not sanitized. Life isn’t sanitized. Even christian life. Even the bible, which is also full of abuse of power.

    Reading your other comment, I was thinking about all the examples of violence and power differentials being used in the bible and how these patriarchal men wish to be kings of their homes and churches…but god didn’t even want israel to have a king. Maybe there was a reason. Maybe Kevin should be watching game of thrones if he doesn’t get the problems inherent in power.

  97. Mae wrote:

    That a valid question and one worth exploring. Is it just females being violated, or are young males victims too? It seems a little off for predators to just pick one sex.

    It makes perfect sense within that system, because girls are the most vulnerable and because I think they are likely creating this problem and teaching each other this behavior.

    However, I would also be interested to know if their are male victims who are simply going unreported. It seems likely there would be a few, statistically present in any society.

  98. Mae wrote:

    I also wonder to if any pregnancies occurred? Some of the girls raped were adolescents.

    They were probably shunned for that too… It wasn’t enough for them to be raped and scolded, then they get pregnant and shunned for their “sins”.

    The definition of holiness, the Amish are not – Yoda (I’m pretty sure he said that in one of the movies…)

  99. Darlene wrote:

    Christian fiction is so boring, I agree. I believe one of the factors that contributes to that is the narrow parameters of what is *acceptable* in that genre. Soooo many issues that are not considered proper to address. So many things that are considered taboo. Life is ugly, brutal, and cruel oftentimes. Many Christians don’t want to write about that stuff. Let’s keep it sweet and – what’s that word? Oh yeah, WINSOME.

    Small-press author Simon Morden’s seminal essay on the subject:
    http://www.simonmorden.com/about/essays/sex-death-and-christian-fiction/
    Guest editorial at my writing partner’s blog:
    http://alanloewen.blogspot.com/search?q=christian+sf
    (Which confirmed my own observation on the subject. NOT ANOTHER NEAR-FUTURE PERSECUTION DYSTOPIA!)

  100. Arnold Smartarse wrote:

    Hmm. While I appreciate the honesty and sincerity of many people on this thread, and I understand that you’ve been hurt and are frightened to be hurt again, it’s evident to me that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it, because you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,
    Arnold Smartarse

    Wow. What a triggering comment that was. I have to get some fresh air and scream at the top of my lungs now.
    Comments exactly like that are why I am a “none” now.

  101. Mae wrote:

    @ Lea:
    I also wonder to if any pregnancies occurred? Some of the girls raped were adolescents.

    This is truthfully where I get very uncomfortable when we talk about abortions in cases of rape or incest. Because in these kinds of cases, how often is an abortion used to cover up a crime, more than protect a child? (not wanting to get off on the abortion debate, truly).

  102. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Comments exactly like that [by Arnold Smartarse] are why I am a “none” now.

    I, too. Or rather, I’ve found that comments like that have incessantly dribbled my way since becoming a None, and they’re a major reason why I’m staying a None.

    It’s frustrating that Arnold Smartarse’s avatar fotie looks like mine. Nobody wants to look like A. Smartarse.

  103. Lea wrote:

    Now, I’m certainly not evangelizing for the show [Game of Thrones]…

    On the plus side, it’s got that wee lassie from Doctor Who in it. Oh, and Charles Dance, who’s one of my favourite actors (although I think his character is dead now).

  104. Loosely on the topic of Charles Dance, I want to evangelise for Alien 3. It gets a really bad press from fans of the franchise, but precisely because it’s all about a bunch of really odd characters, I really like it. It even had Brian Glover in it. And it has the funniest use of the word s**t in any sci-fi movie ever.

  105. Sam wrote:

    Mae wrote:
    I also wonder to if any pregnancies occurred? Some of the girls raped were adolescents.
    They were probably shunned for that too… It wasn’t enough for them to be raped and scolded, then they get pregnant and shunned for their “sins”.
    The definition of holiness, the Amish are not – Yoda (I’m pretty sure he said that in one of the movies…)

    I wondered, if it were true a pregnancy occurred, if they’d be sent away to hide the crime, in another similar community.

  106. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Christian fiction is so boring, I agree. I believe one of the factors that contributes to that is the narrow parameters of what is *acceptable* in that genre. Soooo many issues that are not considered proper to address. So many things that are considered taboo. Life is ugly, brutal, and cruel oftentimes. Many Christians don’t want to write about that stuff. Let’s keep it sweet and – what’s that word? Oh yeah, WINSOME.
    Small-press author Simon Morden’s seminal essay on the subject:
    http://www.simonmorden.com/about/essays/sex-death-and-christian-fiction/
    Guest editorial at my writing partner’s blog:
    http://alanloewen.blogspot.com/search?q=christian+sf
    (Which confirmed my own observation on the subject. NOT ANOTHER NEAR-FUTURE PERSECUTION DYSTOPIA!)

    A buddy of mine worked at a Christian bookstore and brought the first “Left Behind” book. Horrible writing, stupid premise. I got 1 chapter in and that was all I could stomach.

    Pretty much gave up on any “Christian” fiction at that point. I have no idea how those books became popular. LOL – around that time I saw a bumper sticker “In case of Rapture this car may be unmanned” – I immediately felt the need to stick the “Darwin” fish with legs sticker on mine. So I did.

    The irony is the “unMANNED” car was being driven by a woman.

  107. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Tell ya what! I will get the exact castle wedding location and let you know. My husband and I are considering spending an extra week or so to do some sightseeing.

    I will post something on the blog- a sort of *Save the Date* thing.

  108. Burwell wrote:

    Maybe you and Dee will wait until Spring 2019,

    The wedding will not wait so May 2017 is firm. It will take place over the Memorial Day weekend. My husband and I are included in this event since we are relatives albeit from the other side of the tracks.

  109. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    oosely on the topic of Charles Dance, I want to evangelise for Alien 3. It gets a really bad press from fans of the franchise, but precisely because it’s all about a bunch of really odd characters, I really like it. It even had Brian Glover in it. And it has the funniest use of the word s**t in any sci-fi movie ever.

    It’s interesting you bring Alien 3 up, considering its themes of repentance, celibacy and punishment for crimes/sins. (That would make it not only underrated but also Christian bible-study material).

  110. @ dee:

    Hahaha. Surely your relative will wait a year to accommodate my tentative travel plans! 😉

    I realized that it was a wedding after I wrote it. Lol

  111. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Has anyone drawn any parallels between Amish culture and “The Benedict Option”?

    I think the possibility for parallels is there, especially if you throw in a little Wendell Berry.

    Something that struck me while watching the video that Dee posted (just thinking out loud here) is how the Amish focus more on following traditions than following Jesus. Keeping the culture as dictated by their bishops is more important than following the example and words of Jesus. There’s definitely parallels between that and Evangelicalism today. If the Benedict Option becomes the next Evangelical requirement by which someone is judged to be a true Christian or not . . .

  112. dee wrote:

    … anticipating a creepster or two who would say something like that and mean it.

    I obviously can’t speak for anybody as self-satisfied and obnoxious as Arnold Smartarse. But if, hypothetically, I were to make such a statement, it would be echoing any number of christian parrots who have said something like that and meant it.

    Hypothetically.

  113. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Something that struck me while watching the video that Dee posted (just thinking out loud here) is how the Amish focus more on following traditions than following Jesus. Keeping the culture as dictated by their bishops is more important than following the example and words of Jesus. There’s definitely parallels between that and Evangelicalism today

    I’d agree. I’ve got Amish friends and ex-Amish friends. Seems like the sects are getting more loosely defined over the years, especially with the advent of the internet – many of the Amish are in public libraries doing business on the net, and I’m sure they are experiencing awakenings from reading forums like these.

    One of my Amish friends can text me with no problem, but can’t do pics. 🙂 Drives cars and trucks like we do.

    Now, my ex-amish friends got out of the cult at age 18 or so having never officially joined the Amish cult. They love Jesus and see clearly the dangerous traditions the bishops control. Yet, they are still somewhat accepted in the Amish communities around them and do business with them all the time unlike the Amish that leave the church after joining.

    If you want to see legalism to the hilt then check out the Hutterites. Some are in the states, but more are up around my Canadian friends. Very scary.

  114. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But there’s a very important reason why Jesus issues this instruction. He’s doing it for our benefit. That is, he wants us to forgive so that we ourselves can be free.

    I’m also of the opinion that in the larger picture, the violence stops where it is when the victim does not respond in kind to the perpetrator. The outward ripple effect is halted.

  115. Muff Potter wrote:

    I’m also of the opinion that in the larger picture, the violence stops where it is when the victim does not respond in kind to the perpetrator. The outward ripple effect is halted.

    I don’t know. Though I think that’s a big step, I still think the victim can turn around and abuse others if they cannot or do not address their victimization. The cycle will probably continue with their children and grandchildren. Some in these closed communities have been taught that those they abuse are less than people and deserve that kind of treatment.

    And personal experience with that kind of abuse has shown me that people can totally block out the memory of being abused, so they will deny being abused and mean it. When they start to abuse others, they may not even consciously know why.

  116. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Loosely on the topic of Charles Dance, I want to evangelise for Alien 3. It gets a really bad press from fans of the franchise, but precisely because it’s all about a bunch of really odd characters, I really like it. It even had Brian Glover in it. And it has the funniest use of the word s**t in any sci-fi movie ever.

    Agreed on Alien 3. I gotta’ say though, I was disappointed in Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant (sequel to Prometheus).

  117. Sam wrote:

    That would make [Alien 3] not only underrated but also Christian bible-study material

    I once actually used Groundhog Day in a bible study. (Alien 3 would be pushing the boat out a bit, because sometimes people use swear-words in it, and as everyone knows, you can become demon-possessed if you hear swear-words.)

    There being no swearing in Groundhog Day (that I can remember), the point was that Bill Murray’s character constantly fails to persuade Rita to fall in love with him as long as he’s trying to fake it. She always sees through him. But when he gives up faking, and starts to become the kind of person she’d love – unselfish, kind, honest – she falls in love with him without his having to try to persuade her. By analogy, as long as you try to fake being a follower of Jesus, you’ll always fail sooner or later. But if you just walk with him, listen to him, and be real with what you pray, then eventually you become like him without trying to.

  118. kin wrote:

    dee wrote:
    The wedding will not wait so May 2017 is firm.

    May 2018?

    No – this is a faster-than-light wedding.

  119. Jack wrote:

    A buddy of mine worked at a Christian bookstore and brought the first “Left Behind” book. Horrible writing, stupid premise. I got 1 chapter in and that was all I could stomach.Pretty much gave up on any “Christian” fiction at that point.

    I thought the Left Behind series was an absolute dumpster fire. Most Christian writing is. C.S. Lewis is another matter, though, he could write and think and put together a pretty good story.

  120. dee wrote:

    This is a tongue in cheek comment from one of our regulars, anticipating a creepster or two who would say something like that and mean it.

    I couldn’t possibly comment.

    Best regards,

    God

  121. ishy wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    I’m also of the opinion that in the larger picture, the violence stops where it is when the victim does not respond in kind to the perpetrator. The outward ripple effect is halted.

    I don’t know. Though I think that’s a big step, I still think the victim can turn around and abuse others if they cannot or do not address their victimization. The cycle will probably continue with their children and grandchildren.

    Hmm. I would say that maybe processing and acknowledging and truly grieving over what was done to you is a step towards true forgiveness? (whether that be a release, stopping the cycle of violence or otherwise) Denial is not somewhere you want to get stuck and I don’t believe you can just check a ‘forgiveness’ checkmark and be all better.

    I think some segments of Christianity think you can skip the hard stuff and jump to the ‘desired end result’, whether it be forgiving someone who has wronged you or ‘respecting’ an evil and abusive husband or trusting a person who has lied to you. I suppose it’s easier to blame the person who can’t get there, rather than the person who caused the rift in the first place.

  122. kin wrote:

    Now, my ex-amish friends got out of the cult at age 18 or so having never officially joined the Amish cult.

    On Permanent Rumspringa?

  123. @ Lea:
    I would say this ‘jump to the end’ perspective on forgiveness, with zero precautions taken to protect the community from individuals who have proven themselves a danger, does seem to be a big part of the problems described in the amish community.

  124. kin wrote:

    many of the Amish are in public libraries doing business on the net

    I should preface this comment with a disclaimer that my former community is not Anabaptist though they claim to have “Anabaptist roots.” They actually broke away from the UPC. However, they are often mistaken as some sort of Mennonite or Amish community. Now that that’s out of the way . . . 🙂

    I think the internet has probably had a large impact on the Plain People. My former church banned the internet at one time except for the church library where the PCs were in a public area. Then the ministers allowed those with businesses to have internet access in their offices as long as the office was not in the home. When smart phones dominated the cell phone market, they allowed iPhones so that the ministers could lock down the adults’ iPhones with a passcode to block access to browsers and certain apps. Last I heard, they now require anyone with internet access to install Covenant Eyes so that they can monitor usage. The legalism never stops.

    They fellowship occasionally with local Mennonite churches, and we even had some Hutterites visit once.

    I think on an individual basis, there are some incredibly wonderful people in these sects. But they don’t handle the deviancy appropriately in some. There are some sick people everywhere.

  125. Jack wrote:

    A buddy of mine worked at a Christian bookstore and brought the first “Left Behind” book. Horrible writing, stupid premise. I got 1 chapter in and that was all I could stomach.

    And Left Behind isn’t the worst.
    Far from it.
    Scare up a little something called 666 by Salem Kirban sometime. (Book, Sequel, Bible Study, or the musical Cantata.) It is literally The WORST End Times fiction ever written. Makes LB look like Nobel Prize for Literature material. Literally “The Eye of Argon” of Christian Apocalyptic. I kid you not.

    When I was getting pubbed in a series of small-press anthologies with a Catholic theme, I noticed a LOT of the stories were Near Future Persecution Dystopias. And this was a Catholic-themed anthology; the official Christian(TM) fiction was far worse. Above and Beyond the usual genre confusion of SF with Christian Apocalyptic.

    In the now-defunct Lost Genre Guild, one of the sysops/mods had written and small-press pubbed a series of Christian Cyberpunk novels that were said to be pretty good. But even they were set in a Near Future Persecution Dystopia with End Time Prophecy nudge nudge wink winks.

    Christians need a future other than Late Great Planet Earth and Left Behind.
    Something other than “Signing the future over to The Antichrist and waiting to get beamed up.”

  126. Lea wrote:

    I think some segments of Christianity think you can skip the hard stuff and jump to the ‘desired end result’, whether it be forgiving someone who has wronged you or ‘respecting’ an evil and abusive husband or trusting a person who has lied to you. I suppose it’s easier to blame the person who can’t get there, rather than the person who caused the rift in the first place.

    Definitely agree. A lot of Christians will go on and on about God doing miracles, but what they really want in life is for everything to be easy and for there to be no consequences to their actions. That’s why formula books are soooooo common in Christian bookstores. That and there are people who know there are a lot of gullible Christians who will buy formulas that won’t work.

  127. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    By analogy, as long as you try to fake being a follower of Jesus, you’ll always fail sooner or later. But if you just walk with him, listen to him, and be real with what you pray, then eventually you become like him without trying to.

    True dat. 🙂

  128. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    There being no swearing in Groundhog Day (that I can remember), the point was that Bill Murray’s character constantly fails to persuade Rita to fall in love with him as long as he’s trying to fake it. She always sees through him. But when he gives up faking, and starts to become the kind of person she’d love – unselfish, kind, honest – she falls in love with him without his having to try to persuade her. By analogy, as long as you try to fake being a follower of Jesus, you’ll always fail sooner or later. But if you just walk with him, listen to him, and be real with what you pray, then eventually you become like him without trying to.

    This. One of the most profound things I have read in a long time. (typed while sucking on throat lozenges…)

  129. Law Prof wrote:

    I thought the Left Behind series was an absolute dumpster fire.

    I’ve heard it described as “BAD Book of Revelation Fanfic”.

    In my past few years in the Brony community, I’ve read a LOT of fanfic of varying quality; according to Slacktivist’s descriptions (and other Christian novels written by the same authors over at Heathen Critique), it does hit most of the tropes of Bad Fanfic. Including poorly thought out background worldbuilding, See-How-Clever-I-Am plot twists and character names, and especially Wish Fulfillment Mary Sue Author Self-Inserts. (Including Unintentional Canonical Slashfic Setups every time the two Author Self-Inserts are in the same scene. “Yo Gay” on a level with Ray Comfort and his Banana.)

    LB was also compounded by a bad strategic decision from the start (also characteristic of bad Author Self Insert fanfic). Christian Apocalyptic is completely plot-driven, plot being Rapture-to-Armageddon as a linear checklist where the plot has to hit ALL the checks in order. Characters exist only as mobile points of view, witnessing each event on the checklist and turning to the reader to idiot explain how “What we saw fulfilled such-and-such Prophecy”. But LB took that one step beyond: Telling a story of not just Global, but COSMIC scope ONLY from the viewpoints of the two Author Self-Inserts. This necessitates the two Author Self-Inserts to jet-set around everywhere so they can Witness each checklist event. Since this is physically impossible even for bad Author Self-Inserts, LB fills the gaps with secondhand accounts — “As-You-Know” idiot conversations over the phone.

    It (and the authors’ other Christianese best-sellers) read like really bad fanfic. Check out a site called “Heathen Critique” and check for a trilogy starting with “Soon” whose titles all begin with “S” if you really want to see some snarking. (My snark comments there mostly come from an SF litfan’s perspective; a litfan who has actually tried to write the stuff as well as read it.)

  130. ishy wrote:

    Definitely agree. A lot of Christians will go on and on about God doing miracles, but what they really want in life is for everything to be easy and for there to be no consequences to their actions.

    The most extreme example of this being the Rapture Escape Hatch among “Christians for Nuclear War”.

    CfNW was not an actual group (at least I hope not), but my term for an attitude I saw among End Time Prophecy types during the heyday of Hal Lindsay. Lindsay had defined most-to-all the plagues of Revelation as the effects of Global Thermonuclear War (“Plain Reading of SCRIPTURE”) and let others run with it.

    Including a widespread belief among such types that the Rapture would happen as the ICBM’s cut atmo overhead and the “physics packages” began their detonation sequence. Raptured out to catered box seats in Heaven to watch the Ultimate Spectator Sport of Tribulation/Armageddon before anything bad could personally happen to them. Thank you Hal Lindsay.

  131. Law Prof wrote:

    I thought the Left Behind series was an absolute dumpster fire. Most Christian writing is. C.S. Lewis is another matter, though, he could write and think and put together a pretty good story.

    While I wouldn’t consider John Grisham’s books as Christian fiction, he does sometimes incorporate some compelling presentations of the Christian faith (avoiding the overused term “gospel” here) through very sympathetic characters.

  132. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    My former church banned the internet at one time except for the church library where the PCs were in a public area. Then the ministers allowed those with businesses to have internet access in their offices as long as the office was not in the home. When smart phones dominated the cell phone market, they allowed iPhones so that the ministers could lock down the adults’ iPhones with a passcode to block access to browsers and certain apps. Last I heard, they now require anyone with internet access to install Covenant Eyes so that they can monitor usage. The legalism never stops.

    Yeah, forced accountability structures fall short of producing life/love for Jesus in his New Covenant, but rather produces attitudes of self-righteousness. The Mennotite folks up the street I do biz with don’t touch the internet and are very proud of it. Reminds me of Paul’s “touch not/taste not” argument.

    The downsides to a blog that is rooted in bringing light to dark practices is that cynicism often grows in our predictions (like in the case of Josh Duggart), instead of vigilant prayer on behalf of these people loved by God just as much as those of us who escaped/are escaping the bondage they are in. God’s grace changes lives. I know I try to remember to intercede on behalf of the folks in the buggies and bikes I often pass.

  133. @ Trudy Harder Metzger:
    That is absolutely horrendous & this post was a really hard read. What on earth is going on? Another question I have is what happens to the pregnancies that must happen through this? It seems that having a child out of wedlock will probably be considered more sinful than the rape that caused it.

    I just can’t get over that little girl’s brother casually talking of amounts of rapes, as though dozens & dozens & dozens is somehow ‘better’ than a hundred? This made my head clang.

  134. ^^^^ Clearly someone didn’t read the whole thread. Are these babies brought up as younger siblings as used to happen in other big families?

  135. @ Lea:

    Don’t get me wrong, I never meant to imply that forgiveness means all water over the dam, ‘restoration’, or anything else from the panoply of christianese such and such. Nor does it mean that you (generic you) are obligated in any way to hold hands with and sing kumbaya with the perp that done ya’ wrong.
    It only means that the cycle of violence went no farther than the perp who did the wrong in the first place.

  136. Trudy Harder Metzger wrote:

    Of my five best friends, one was not abused.

    That is…astounding. And disturbing, as is all of this.

    I think abuse is much more rampant in general than we like to think, but that is still substantially more than could be expected to happen.

  137. Injun Joe wrote:

    Don’t get me wrong, I never meant to imply that forgiveness means all water over the dam, ‘restoration’, or anything else from the panoply of christianese such and such.

    No, not you, but these communities (and others) do teach that sort of thing. That’s what I was more responding to, as well as ishy’s point.

  138. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    See-How-Clever-I-Am plot twists and character names, and especially Wish Fulfillment Mary Sue Author Self-Inserts. (Including Unintentional Canonical Slashfic Setups every time the two Author Self-Inserts are in the same scene. “Yo Gay” on a level with Ray Comfort and his Banana.)

    Oh my goodness, I know exactly what you’re talking about. Years later, looking back on slash fanfiction readings, I now facepalm. Just last night I was re-watching Rurouni Kenshin (I can’t believe that people would pair Sano and Saito together! As in the ridiculous: “Well, Saito called Sano worthless and beat him up, just to prove to Kenshin how weak Kenshin had become… They are totally gay for each other!!!!)

    It’s official. Fanfiction is not built on healthy relationships.

  139. I heard of a hashtag called #kissmyleftbehind. Not that I know what hashtags do or why I would use one. But it expresses my attitude toward Hal Lindsey. And it’s also an End Time book parody.

  140. Injun Joe wrote:

    It only means that the cycle of violence went no farther than the perp who did the wrong in the first place.

    The science doesn’t back that up, though. Abused children are quite likely to become abusers when they grow up, or they just move to another relationship where they continue to be abused. With those that move to spouses that abuse, that spouse will likely abuse their own children. There are also very high rates of suicide among those abused.

    Add that to the fact that in many of these closed societies, there is often no punishment or very light punishment for abusers, especially if they are male, so the abuse continues for many years. The abuser is free to keep abusing. And each abuser usually has many victims.

    https://cdv.org/2014/02/10-startling-domestic-violence-statistics-for-children/

    http://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

  141. @ Injun Joe:

    Forgiveness is potentially, ISTM, a really big thing.

    The idea of laying hands on a person with cancer, HIV or a broken (or missing) limb and healing them is easy to imagine if placed in the gospel accounts, but much harder to imagine in this day and age; for the most part, our faith/theology/practice is incapable of reliably accomplishing this and many segments of christendom have solved this problem by declaring that God no longer heals.

    It’s much easier to pretend ones “gospel” has magic powers to create “inner transformation”, because that’s harder to measure or disprove. And it’s also easier to shift blame for it not happening.

  142. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    I hope people realize that the Amish are neither better nor worse than anyone else Christian or secular. As you’ve pointed out though, their insular communities keep these crimes hidden away from the rest of the world.

    I’m reminded of this bit of wisdom, born of experience, from Sherlock Holmes:

    “It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside…the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish… But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.”
    — The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

  143. Trudy Harder Metzger wrote:

    an *apparent* increase in prevalence in direct proportion to the level of fundamentalism and isolation

    Yes, a common thread is emerging! Fundamentalist “Christian” systems which are authoritarian and patriarchal in nature seem to be at the top of the list on abuse reports. Their victims suffer isolated from those who could intervene and help them out of that hell.

  144. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Has anyone drawn any parallels between Amish culture and “The Benedict Option”?

    I have. Isolated intentional communities are ripe for abuse. It is naive beyond belief not to recognize this.

  145. Is there any good Christian fiction? Well, Chaucer, Dante, and Bunyan might be worth a read. Bodice rippers not so much. 😉

    For my money one of the most profound Christian novels ever written is Mauriac’s Vipers’ Tangle. Absolutely shattering.

    And then, of course, there’s CS Lewis. And Flannery O’Connor, though she may be an acquired taste. 😀

  146. ishy wrote:

    The science doesn’t back that up, though.

    In some ways I suppose not and there many ifs, ands, buts, and specific caveats that should be added to my original statement on violence and how it escalates via the thirst for revenge and the darkness it feeds on.

  147. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ Arnold Smartarse:
    And now he’s even posting as me.

    Nick…er…Arnold…er…Roger…God?…How many aliases do you have at this point? Could this be a case of multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder)? Hmmm…me thinks a visit to the psychiatrist might be in order. 🙂

  148. nmgirl wrote:

    New (to me) cult busted in New Mexico http://www.kob.com

    Not a new cult.
    ACMTC, “Aggresive Christian Missionary Training Corps”, AKA “Free Love Ministries” under “Brigadier General Lila Green” (AKA God’s Number One Prophet) and her husband Jim. I read about them in Donna Kossy’s Kooks: a Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief back in ’94. Pages 40-45; here’s an excerpt:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20081204123158/http://www.pacifier.com/%7Edkossy/ACMTC.html

    Kooks describes them as “an updated, ferocious version of the Salvation Army, brings Fightin’ Jesus to the demon-possessed heathen around the globe”. Back in ’94, they wore uniforms based on the USMC, “short hair, polished shoes, and a general lack of emotion.”

    P.S. All the names mentioned in the news article end in “Green”. Guess ACMTC keeps it all in the family.

  149. Sam wrote:

    Oh my goodness, I know exactly what you’re talking about. Years later, looking back on slash fanfiction readings, I now facepalm.

    Definition of “Slash” = Same-sex “Shipping”, i.e. fan-made derivative content centering on homosexual relationships between two same-sex characters (usually lead characters) of a story, movie, TV show, etc.

    With 40 years in SF fandom, I am old enough to remember the ORIGINAL slashfic coupling, Kirk-slash-Spock. By the Eighties, I had run across Cagney-slash-Lacey, Starsky-slash-Hutch, Baloo-slash-Kit (Talespin/Disney Afternoon), and Babs-slash-Shirley-slash-Fifi (Tiny Toons).

    And since most of the characters in the latest My Little Pony are female, MLP fanshipping quickly becomes slashing; some Brony actually did a diagram of the “Ships” (Slashes) in Pony fanfic and pretty much every mare was slashed with everypony else (Rainbow Dash being the center of the resulting web). There’s even a joke card game about it: Twilight Sparkle’s Secret Shipfic Folder: http://www.secretshipfic.com/ It is INSANE.

    My attitude re LB’s Unintentional Canonical Slashfic Setup? Any show or story with same-sex leads is gonna get Slashed; WHY MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM?

  150. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    kin wrote:
    many of the Amish are in public libraries doing business on the net
    I should preface this comment with a disclaimer that my former community is not Anabaptist though they claim to have “Anabaptist roots.” They actually broke away from the UPC. However, they are often mistaken as some sort of Mennonite or Amish community. Now that that’s out of the way . . .

    BTDT: I don’t know if you recall me saying this a while back, but I encountered some members of your former community while living in New York City. The women were always staring downward at the sidewalk, and when I saw them in the public showers they had no interest in talking to me. It was very odd behavior. And that’s something coming from a person like me who was living in a Christian communal cult at the time

  151. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Is there any good Christian fiction? Well, Chaucer, Dante, and Bunyan might be worth a read. Bodice rippers not so much.
    For my money one of the most profound Christian novels ever written is Mauriac’s Vipers’ Tangle. Absolutely shattering.
    And then, of course, there’s CS Lewis. And Flannery O’Connor, though she may be an acquired taste.

    I was immediately drawn to Flannery O’Connor’s writing style. Few writers have been able to weave interesting tales within the context of Southern culture/society as she did.

  152. Three comments in customs and now I know why. For some unknown reason, there are two periods after my name. I must have an alias without my knowledge. Time to make an appointment with the shrink. 😉

  153. Three comments in customs and now I know why. For some unknown reason, two periods appeared after my name. I must have an alias without my knowledge. Time to make an appointment with the shrink. 🙂

  154. Darlene wrote:

    I must have an alias without my knowledge.

    Bah. Typical of this blog.

    You’re all rubbish.

    Up Yours,

    Roger Bombast

  155. Roger Bombast wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    I must have an alias without my knowledge.
    Bah. Typical of this blog.
    You’re all rubbish.
    Up Yours,
    Roger Bombast

    Ah…Roger Bombast. Just wait till you read my response to you from 12:17 AM up thread, which is still in customs. Or am I speaking to Arnold, or Nick, or God? Hmmm….

  156. Darlene wrote:

    Or am I speaking to Arnold, or Nick, or God? Hmmm….

    You’ll NEVER KNOW – BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!

    Yours in Infamy,

    Nice Kekbulb

  157. Injun Joe wrote:

    my original statement on violence and how it escalates via the thirst for revenge

    I don’t actually see much ‘revenge’ violence related to child abuse, though. IF anything, that might be more healthy than what does happen because it might protect other children. The only such stories you usually hear are children who are beaten by a parent and reach an age and size where they can successfully fight back.

  158. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Has anyone drawn any parallels between Amish culture and “The Benedict Option”?

    I have. Isolated intentional communities are ripe for abuse. It is naive beyond belief not to recognize this.

    But if it’s YOUR Isolated Intentional Community…
    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! DO MY PROPHET NO HARM!”

  159. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    I’m reminded of this bit of wisdom, born of experience, from Sherlock Holmes:
    “It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside…the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish… But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.”
    — The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    Remember my long comment above on “Blood & Soil” Pastoral Utopia Syndrome?
    Especially when combined with Godly Moral Righteousness(TM)?

    P.S. The Amish (who started out this thread) have another thing going for them. They’re EXOTIC. Like Tibetan Buddhism in the 1920s, various Theosophian shticks in the 1980s, and Extreme Islam today. They’re NOT your father’s lukewarm Religion; the High Commitment required in their Intentional Community means they are Acquire-the-Fire SERIOUS.

  160. Lea wrote:

    This sort of dovetails into Kevin young’s (now two!) articles about how dare christians watch Game of Thrones. Because sex (the violence doesn’t matter).

    In this, you echo an author on the Lost Genre Guild some years ago, whose novel used sex scenes to illustrate selfishness and abuse. Everyone outside the Christianese Bubble realized what she was doing, but the Christians all denounced it Because Sex (including counting every act in every scene like a Ted Bear Christian Movie Guide). Her reaction:

    “Making Christians look like sex-crazed ninnies with nothing else on our mind.”

    Now, I’m certainly not evangelizing for the show, but it does show abuses of power, the damage to the little people that fights amongst the bigwigs cause, etc. It’s about a lot more than sex. But it’s not sanitized. Life isn’t sanitized. Even christian life. Even the bible, which is also full of abuse of power.

    From my comment in a thread four years ago regarding Game of Thrones:

    Considering when you get past the rampant sex Game of Thrones is at heart an epic about power politics and raw power struggle (what do you think the title means?), maybe these Pastor/Dictators have other motives for forbidding their sheeple from watching. Might hit too close to home. (Come to think of it, the sex-among-the-powerful might, too…)

    (End original comment.)

    According to my roomie (who has a hobbyist’s interest in actual medieval history), GoT accurately portrays the attitude of “spoiled noblemen who’ve never heard the word ‘No'”, the rampant nepotism of Family and House, and what happens in a culture where position and Power are inherited like any other personal property, and general victimization (including sexual) of the powerless by the Powerful. And Patriarchy keeping women in their place (political alliance/manipulation by marriage) – What was the late Tywin Lannister but the archetype of a Paterfamilias?

    (Hmmm… All the above sound like any churches TWW has covered?)

    He also states that the sex scenes are a loss leader “to get you interested and tuned in long enough to get hooked on the characters and story”. He now DVR’s fast-forward past the sex scenes to get back to the story.

  161. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    He also states that the sex scenes are a loss leader “to get you interested and tuned in long enough to get hooked on the characters and story”.

    I would say the sex scenes were basically HBO’s deal. HBO: Because We Can. Only a few were actually important to the story and they’ve dropped them way, way back the last few seasons too.

    It’s kind of like Harry Potter is about good and evil not ‘witchcraft’. I could totally understand if someone decided Game of Thrones was too much for them, some of the violence has been a bit much for me and I actively ffw’d through a scene last season. But stop telling everybody else what to do. Bunch of busy body control freaks.

  162. __

    Enlightened Thought Life: “Liberty And Justice For All, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    That individuals, adolescent and adult are raping the women in their families and local religious communities under the radar in ever identifiably increasing numbers –is extremely distressing and certainly a justifiable cause for further direct state action/interference/legislature/local law enforcement in these isolated pockets of religious community.

    The Amish apparently are given a choice by community church leadership. They can either bow down and worship the golden community tradition idol that these religious leaders have precariously erected over time or the dissenting members of their community could be placed into a a fiery furnace of shunning (community exclusion). It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that.

    “But If Not”

    Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their local commmunities?

    RYRYRYRYRYRYRY

    (sadface)

    Addendum: Jesus Christ, in the pages of the New Testament Bible proscribes for all those who follow Him a chaste thought life, last time I checked.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    🙁

  163. ___

    It is important to all those who follow the ways of Jesus, to love ❤️ God Almighty first with all, and to love ❤️their neighbor as themselves.

    😉

  164. ___

    “A Review Of The Summation Of ALL Christian Religious Law, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “The author of Matthew presents a second summation of religious law at Matthew 22:40, where Jesus tells his followers there are but two laws: to love God and to love neighbour. While phrased differently, these two basic laws are essentially the same…”

    …least we forget…

    ATB

    Sòpy

    😉
    ___
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_7:12
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l38DRxfJ5fQ
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=frwqETIth3k

  165. Burwell wrote:

    SkyeBlue wrote:
    One such pattern of abuse and cover up that I’m most familiar with is that of New Tribes Mission (recently changed their name to ETHNOS360). Their pattern is documented in the Fanda Eagles forum http://fandaeagles.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1473
    I was not aware of that (abuse and cover up within NTM) either. Some friends of ours serve overseas with NTM/ETHNOS360 in Africa. I doubt they are aware of it either.

    They may not be. NTM has been trying to distance themselves from this since the GRACE report, and the history I compiled and linked to shows the very clear change from a desire to conceal nothing to a desire to minimize exposure.

  166. I watched the video and the main character reminded me of too many others who start out with good (maybe) intentions and end up going default to do what they know from growing up. Will he make up other rules if he gets a group of people following him?

  167. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Max wrote:

    What happens when Old Order Amish are too English for you?
    (Not sure how much deeper the rabbit hole CAN go…)

    Schwarzentruber Amish! They’re an even more conservative sect of Old Order Amish. Even more strict about technology. They tend to only wear dark clothes, longer skirts, maybe even fuller bonnets I think? They’re quite often identifiable by their buggies. Lanterns instead of battery lights, and they refuse to use those orange reflective warning triangles because it’s submitting to the requirements of the world. And I think it’s them who travel in open buggies (maybe just when courting) so that everyone can see they’re not canoodling in there.

  168. If the author or the commenters truly cared, they would take action. Sitting behind a computer tapping out poor grammar is completely futile. Find a quality organization that rescues women from the sex trade and get involved. If your heart is with the Amish, create a rescue for them. But, get off your butts and DO something. We never have enough help rescuing both women and men.

  169. @ Jojo Popoff:
    Actually, JoJo, before you pop off and tell us to *do something,* why don’t you ask yourself if we are doing something? Your assumptions are unwarranted and totally wrong as you will see. As for the poor grammar, would you like me to comment about the grammar in your comment? You seem a bit angry and *popoff* is a great name.