Friday, March 10, 2017

The Resistance: Mennonites in the Streets

Not for nothing, but the last thing that got them this involved in politics was the Civil Fucking War.

Charlie Pierce:

Give the current administration credit. It's managed to energize American politics in the most unlikely places. And as I know from personal experience, and from a campaign a long time ago in an election far, far away, one of the hardest places to energize secular politics is in among the Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania. That takes a master's hand, as we can see from this report from McClatchy, courtesy of The Wichita Eagle.


The Mennonites are the kind of stubborn people of faith for whom the First Amendment was designed and for whom the American principles of religious freedom was a beacon—namely, those against whom the power of the state was exercised in a fashion more direct than having to provide birth control to their heathen employees.

The first of them fled to America to avoid persecution in Europe at the invitation of William Penn. In 1688, the Mennonites wrote the first formal protest against American slavery. They declined to serve in the military in any American wars, including the Revolution itself. (This became particularly acute during the Civil War, when the Mennonite opposition to slavery collided with their opposition to military service. In Pennsylvania, their great patron was abolitionist Senator Thaddeus Stevens.) Their idea of a separation of church and state is ironclad, but it's the product of centuries of debate and serious contemplation. Being apolitical during a war is a very political act.

So, while it's unusual to see Mennonites as active as they are today, it's hardly inconsistent with their history.


The Mennonites are in the street. Something's building out there.
You're not going to let the Mennonites hog all the fun, are you?


No comments: