More Illinois Amish Beliefs (3)
More Illinois Amish Beliefs
Question : Do the Amish pay taxes?
Self-employed Amish do not pay Social Security tax. Those employed by non- Amish employers do pay Social Security tax. The Amish do pay real estate, state and federal income taxes, county taxes, sales tax, etc.
The Amish do not collect Social Security benefits, nor would they collect unemployment or welfare funds. Self sufficiency is the Amish community’s answer to government aid programs. Section 310 of the Medicare section of the Social Security act has a sub-section that permits individuals to apply for exemption from the self-employment tax if he is a member of a religious body that is conscientiously opposed to Social Security benefits but that makes reasonable provision of taking care of their own elderly or dependent members. The Amish have a long history of taking care of their own members. They do not have retirement communities or nursing homes; in most cases, each family takes care of their own, and the Amish community gives assistance as needed.
Question : Is it true the Amish are exempt from Medicare and Medicaid withholding? What legal basis is used for this?
Medicare and Medicaid are a part of the Social Security system. Old Order Amish believe that if the church is faithful to its calling, many government programs and commercial insurance are not needed. That conviction forced them to testify before Congress because they did not want to receive Social Security benefits. What they wanted instead was the right to look after their own elderly. They were finally given approval, if self-employed, to be exempt from paying the tax. Seldom do Old Order Amish individuals accept Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
Question : Why do Amish men have beards, but not mustaches?
There are quite a few scriptures that mention beards in the Bible. An example would be Psalm 133:1,2. An Amish man does not shave his beard after he becomes married. A long beard is the mark of an adult Amish man. Mustaches, on the other hand, have a long history of being associated with the military, and therefore are forbidden among the Amish people.
Question : Why do Amish men wear black hats?
In the Arthur Amish community, the Amish men wear broad-brimmed hats of black felt. The width of the brim and hat band and the height and shape of the crown are variables between communities which gauge the orthodoxy of the group and individual wearer. A wide brim, low crown, and narrow hat band denotes the oldest and most traditional style. Within church groups, one’s age and status is often reflected by the dimensions of one’s hat. For warm weather, straw hats are preferred by plain men.
Question : What is the Ordnung that the Amish live by?
Donald B. Kraybill in his book, The Riddle of Amish Culture, writes: “The Amish blueprint for expected behavior, called the Ordnung, regulates private, public, and ceremonial life. Ordnung does not translate readily into English.Sometimes rendered as ordnance or discipline, the Ordnung is best thought of as an ordering of the whole way of life… a code of conduct which the church maintains by tradition rather than by systematic or explicit rules. A member noted: The order is not written down. The people just know it, that’s all. Rather than a packet or rules to memorize, the Ordnung is the understood behavior by which the Amish are expected to live. In the same way that the rules of grammar are learned by children, so the Ordnung, the grammar of order, is learned by Amish youth. The Ordnung evolved gradually over the decades as the church sought to strike a delicate balance between tradition and change. Specific details of the Ordnung vary across church districts and settlements.”
Question : Why are all the buggies black?
Throughout the United States and in Canada not all buggies are black. The similarity of Amish carriages in any given area allows little for status, but speaks of all being equal. Therefore, members of a particular group can be identified by the buggies they drive. In Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, for example, there are five distinct groups of Old Order Amish living in the Kishacoquillas Valley. The two most conservative groups drive white-topped buggies, another has yellow tops, and two others use black buggies. In Lancaster County, PA, the Old Order Amish drive gray buggies and the Old Order Mennonites drive black buggies. Around the Arthur area, only black buggies are used. Similarly, buggy shape and style vary by community.
Question : What language do the Amish speak?
In their homes and in conversations with each other, the Old Order Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of German. We understand that it is similar to Platt that is spoken in parts of northern Germany. When children go to school they learn English. In their worship services the sermons are given in German. The German language, Deitch, is also taught in Amish schools.