E109: The Amish w/ Torah Bontrager

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As an offshoot of the Mennonites, the Amish have been around since the 17th century and are well known for their public-facing quaint and austere lives. However, along with their historical and religious cousins, the Mennonites and other Anabaptists, those who are on the inside know it's not at all an idyllic life within these isolated religious communities. In this RfRx talk, we'll discuss what the Amish believe and how it's shaped their communities and activities; how it's different from other Christian belief systems; the difference between the Amish and Mennonite beliefs; and the harm that can come from these beliefs, specially when it comes to education and integrating into the modern world around them.
Torah Bontrager escaped in the middle of the night at age 15 so she could go to high school. She’s the author of Amish Girl in Manhattan and, to her knowledge, the first female Amish escapee to graduate from the Ivy League. Her story’s been featured on MTV and Forbes.com, among others. Today, she advocates for the right of Amish children to go to school beyond the 8th grade. Torah founded The Amish Heritage Foundation, which focuses on making education a federal right and overturning the Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder.

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