I have long had a deep affection and respect for the Amish. People who have been able to maintain the integrity of their culture – grounded in peace, respect for property and contracts, resistance to wars and other acts of coercion and violence by the state, opposition to compulsory schooling and Social Security programs, and an insistence on living according to their religious beliefs. I have used their example in my Informal Systems of Order seminar, and challenged my students to discover how to live with such integrity in Los Angeles. Part of their culture involves coming to one another’s assistance when health problems, injuries, or other unexpected problems arise.
About one week ago, a 20 year old Amish woman – Fannie Yoder – was severely injured, and her younger brother killed, when their horse-drawn buggy was hit by an automobile. Some thirty-five families make up this Amish community near Pawnee City, Nebraska, and they have come together to help her. Of equal interest has been the response of many non-Amish people in the Pawnee City area, who have been engaging in various fund-raising activities, providing transportation for the Amish to visit Ms. Yoder at the hospital, preparing meals for the Yoder family, and other voluntary help. Ms. Yoder is apparently going to have to undergo a great deal of rehabilitation after leaving the hospital, for which the family apparently will have to pay on its own.
Others may wish to join me in providing some financial help to the Yoders. A local church in Pawnee City is helping to facilitate this effort. I spoke with the church’s pastor, Sherry Sklenar, who told me that any such contributions – made out to the Pawnee City United Methodist Church – would qualify as charitable contributions for tax purposes. For a culture that has done so much to provide us with an example of how to live peaceful, independent, non-violent, non-political lives, I want to reciprocate to them. Anyone who is interested in doing the same can send their contributions – as made out above – to this address: Pawnee City United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 486, Pawnee City, NE 68420.5:03 pm on July 30, 2013