Radical Reformation Spread of the early Anabaptists, — The early history of the Mennonites starts with the Anabaptists in the German and Dutch-speaking parts of central Europe. These forerunners of modern Mennonites were part of the Protestant Reformationa broad reaction against the practices and theology of the Roman Catholic Church. Its most distinguishing feature is the rejection of infant baptisman act that had both religious and political meaning since almost every infant born in western Europe was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Other significant theological views of the Mennonites developed in opposition to Roman Catholic views or to the views of other Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli.
From the time they arrived in America during the late s until today, Old Order Anabaptist communities have been inseparably tied to agriculture. Their farming practices have also made a significant impression on the larger society, not only because of their unusual, often antiquated, agricultural technologies, but also because of their consistent agricultural successes.
Commentaries on Amish farming practices during the s consistently praised them as being among the best farmers Cosgel,and earlier in this century Kollmorgan stated that it is doubtful that any other socio-religious bodies have so consistently distinguished themselves in agricultural enterprise as the Amish and Mennonites Another essential factor that distinguishes Old Order Anabaptist agriculture from the remainder of the farming population is the Anabaptist view that farming is not just a method of economic survival but also a primary means of preserving their entire culture.
Hostetler states that the charter of the Amish requires that members make their living from farming, rural, or semi-rural occupations Cosgel demonstrated that the Amish were not always as productive as other farmers during the mid and late s, but he concluded that the reason for their lower productivity was their sacrifice of current income to increase their bequests to the next generation Other researchers have shown that the more successful Amish parents are at getting their children into farming, the more likely that the children will remain Amish Ericksen, et.
Amish leaders decry dwindling farmland, and the corresponding difficulty with keeping children in farming, as one of their greatest frustrations Ericksen, et. Although the Old Order Anabaptists have such an inseparable link to agriculture, and even though by they had settlements in nearly half of the American states Friesen and Friesen, ; Redekop,centralized statistics regarding farm-related injuries and interventions among the Old Order Anabaptists have been sparse.
A review of over 50 published farm accident or injury reports from more than 30 states revealed none that specifically addressed work-related injuries within Old Order Anabaptist communities or categorized data such that these cases could be identified.
Even in the three states with the largest Amish and Mennonite populations, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, this type of summary had not been done. To help bridge this information gap and to assist with developing an appropriate response, this paper focuses on the problem of farm-related injuries within Old Order Anabaptist communities.
Basic cultural, historical, and religious beliefs are examined, farm-related fatality statistics are summarized, and best-practice intervention strategies are explored.
The authors believe that current evidence suggests that certain Old Order Anabaptist choices concerning farm safety issues may be directly related to their socio-religious beliefs. Researchers who have explored the problem of farm-related injuries have largely ignored, or dismissed as irrelevant, the contributing roles played by personally held religious beliefs or religious worldviews held by certain groups of agricultural producers or the community in which they live.
This omission is reflected in the near absence of published research on topics relating to agricultural safety and health in which even secondary attention is given to the religious beliefs of those impacted by farm injuries.
Even articles published by rural sociologists, economists, agricultural historians, geographers, and other social scientists have rarely addressed the relationship between religious beliefs and agricultural practices Swierenga, The few studies that have been done, however, appear to suggest that different religious views do, in fact, influence how farmers view agriculture, how they work and how they approach risk taking Winter, ; Swierenga ; Cosgel ; Salamon, ; Van den Barr, As the topic of Old Order Anabaptist farm-related injuries is examined, especially in relation to their religious beliefs, the authors also believe that important implications beyond Old Order communities will become apparent.
For example, Amish farmers not only use production methods similar to those used by the larger agricultural community years ago, but their overall worldview, based on a scriptural framework, is also similar to that of many American farmers of the nineteenth century and earlier.
Therefore, by taking a close-up view of Old Order Anabaptists and the possible effects of their religious beliefs on farming practices, it may be possible to make inferences about some of the underlying beliefs and related behaviors of the larger agricultural population.
Such beliefs and behaviors may, in fact, have had their roots in religious principles but with time have become diluted as rural society has become more urbanized and the overall society influenced by secular humanism. In other words, Old Order communities may provide a "window to the past" not only in regard to the farming practices of earlier generations but also in reference to some of the underlying, shared beliefs of the larger agricultural community that affect aspects of farming such as risk taking.
Using such a lens may provide additional insight that would be helpful in designing more effective injury prevention strategies.
Though these issues cannot be fully addressed within this paper, they are worthy of further consideration. Cultural Background Information As previously indicated, consolidated farm injury data concerning Old Order communities are rare.
There are undoubtedly multiple reasons for the lack of information, and some probable contributors relate to cultural factors. Within the rules of their society, the Amish, especially, stress separateness from the larger culture Hostetler,and that results in little information about their activities being communicated to outsiders.
In addition, this separation creates a tendency among the Amish to shun assistance from those outside their communities Kollmorgan, ; Kraybill, For example, they rarely participate in health or disability insurance programs, a common source of data on injury and disease.
Old Order Anabaptists are seldom a vocal political force, especially on the national level, and most Amish do not pay Social Security taxes Kraybill, or participate in government farm programs Kollmorgan, Consequently, there is little political pressure for federal or state governments to give special consideration to their situation, especially with respect to safety and health issues.Old Order Anabaptists, such as the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, hold a unique place in American agriculture.
From the time they arrived in America during the late s until today, Old Order Anabaptist communities have been inseparably tied to agriculture. Old Order Mennonites, a name applied to certain conservative groups which separated from the Mennonite Church (MC) in the United States and Canada , maintaining the "Old Order" of customs of worship and church life.
The Old Order Mennonite Church in Ontario, the oldest and largest of the Old Order Mennonite groups in Canada, is today a moderately traditional group. Like most Old Order Mennonites, they utilize horse and buggy transportation, and wear plain clothes. According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia in there were approximately 17, baptized Old Order Mennonite members in the USA and 3, in Canada.
There were more than 27, adult, baptized members of Old Order Mennonites in North America and Belize in /9. Mennonites and Amish come from a Protestant tradition known as Anabaptism (meaning to be baptized again) begun in the 16th century.
The first Anabaptists separated from the state church because of their belief that a relationship with Christ is an adult choice and baptism must come out of an adult decision to follow Christ in every aspect of life.
The Old Order Mennonite are living a lifestyle similar or a bit more liberal than the Old Order Amish. There were more than 27, adult, baptized members of .