The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom was founded in 1967 at the University of Chicago for the purpose of preserving the religious liberty of the Old Order Amish (and related Anabaptist groups, including Mennonites) -- and hence religious liberty for us all.
The Amish are frequently threatened by laws and regulations made for modern industrialized society -- laws which could destroy the Amish religious community. Without realizing it, the Amish way of life could be wiped out by laws made to control a monolithic technological society.
The Amish are at a disadvantage when it comes to defending themselves in courts or before legislative committees. They do no believe in going to court to settle human conflict, for the Bible says "Turn the other cheek," and they do not easily complain nor do they have lobbyists.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees religious liberty, but without an advocate, the Amish cause is frequently misunderstood or the basic legal solutions are not raised in the courts. The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom seeks to be that advocate. For several decades, the Amish have suffered adversely from numerous court cases until the National Committee came to their aid. The most notable case was Wisconsin vs. Yoder where the United States Supreme Court unanimously sided with the Amish that they cannot be forced to attend regular mainstream high schools, which is against their religious beliefs.
The committee has assisted with other legal problems in several states, successfully representing the cause of religious liberty in most cases. The Committee seeks to make the United States a land where all religions are free -- including the Amish -- to practice their religious way of life as long as they pose no grave dangers to themselves or others.
The committee is made up of professors, lawyers, clergymen and citizens from many religious faiths, all non-Amish, whose only interest is humanitarian -- to aid the Amish and guarantee religious liberty for all. The committee chairman is a Lutheran pastor, the Rev. William C. Lindholm, who serves without remuneration. All monies are used for the defense of the Amish people.
The Old Order Amish are descendants of a division of the Mennonites dating from 1525 in Switzerland, where they were often martyred because they did not believe in union of church and state nor infant baptism. They accepted the generous offer of William Penn to come to America where they were promised religious freedom.
Since colonial days they have lived in this country perpetuating small-scale, familistic-like religious communities in several states. They maintain distinctive culture patterns in dress, religious practices, and a simple, humble and God-fearing style of living. They are law-abiding and loyal citizens, but they were accused of crimes because their parochial schools do not meet the legal requirements of state bureaucracies.
The Amish do not drive cars, install electricity in their homes or schools, do not follow fashion trends, nor will their teachers attend colleges where the "wisdom of the world" is taught. They have lived in relative freedom here for nearly three centuries, and there is scarcely a record of one being convicted of a felony or of accepting welfare from the state. Yet recently some left the United States for Central or South America in search of religious freedom denied them in some of the states.
Contributions are needed to support the work of the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom. Contributions are tax deductible. Receipts will be issued for tax purposes.
My gift in the amount of $_________ is enclosed
State: _______________ Zip: _________________
National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom
117 Barn Owl Rd
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone (717) 471-9567
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