Q. What goes “clip clop, clip clop, bang bang, clip clop?”
A. An Amish drive by shooting.
Yeah, I agree. That was a totally tasteless joke. But just go with me on this one, and you may see that it’s really not that far from the truth.
A few weeks ago, we were exploring the back roads of Indiana’s Amish country, east of Elkhart. Driving past a group of young Amish schoolboys on their way home, I waved at them, and was shocked when a boy of about 11 or 12 flashed me a gang sign in return. Did I really see that? Naa… it couldn’t be. I must have been mistaken. It was probably just a friendly wave of the hand. But it sure looked like a gang sign to me, and believe me, I’ve seen a few of them in my time. Where the heck would an Amish kid even learn something like that?
I’ve always respected the Amish for their simpler lifestyle, which shuns most of the conveniences of the “English” world, as they call those of us who are not part of their religion. It’s not a lifestyle I could embrace, but more power to them. Okay, power may not have been the correct phrase, but you get the idea.
At the same time, I understand that the Amish are people, just like you and me, with all of our human failings. Still, a news story out of Holmes County, Ohio this week really blew me away.
It seems that a group of religious outcasts of the faith, who have been shunned by the mainstream Amish community for their association with a leader recently convicted of sexual contact with a minor, are accused of several home invasions against other Amish families.
Police reports said that the incidents have happened in four Ohio counties with large Amish populations. The suspects are accused of entering homes at night and forcibly cutting off the hair and beards of their victims, who have ranged in age from a 13 year old girl to a 74 year old man. Amish men traditionally do not cut their beards once they marry, and Amish women do not cut their hair, following their religious beliefs.
The police reports say that the attacks have involved as many as 20 or 30 men and women attacking victims at once. In some cases, the cutting was done inside the homes, while in others the victims were dragged outside in the middle of the night and assaulted. One elderly woman was slammed against a wall in one of the home invasions. Another report said at least one victim was attacked in the daytime while driving his buggy. Would we call this a buggy jacking?
Say it isn’t so! If we lose the Amish, what’s next? Jehovah’s Witnesses distributing pornography door to door along with the Watchtower? Mormons selling knockoff designer tennis shoes on street corners? Rigged bingo games at the Catholic church? And I don’t even want to think what the Baptists might be up to! Oh Lord, save me from your people!