What's with the Amish on the Greyhound?

Recently I took a trip from Texas to Kentucky, and a week later back again. Both ways, I saw Amish or some similarly attired people waiting around for buses. The first time it was a guy and his wife, though I have to say that if wearing black is supposed to be humble, I think the black straw hat is a mistake because it looked pretty bad-ass to my heathen eyes. Anyway, on the journey back, there was one lady who looked Amish at one station (Louisville?), with a bonnet and everything, though she was wearing sneakers. And there was a separate group of Amish on the other side of the station, three men and a woman, if I recall correctly.

I had no idea the Amish, if I’m identifying them correctly, traveled this much. What’s the story here?

There are a number of Anabaptist groups that dress in a similar fashion, and not all of them are as insular as the Amish.

House Amish vs. Church Amish? You may be thinking of House Amish who use no moden conveniences (incl buses) but saw Church Amish who live more modernly yet still maintain the Amish religious ways.

Just guessing. Could be Anabaptists, yes, and what are Mennonites?

There are Amish populations all over the country, and they visit each other. Also Amish people can be related to English (non-Amish) people who no longer live in the community and might go to visit.

There’s no rule that Amish people can’t travel. They simply cannot own or drive motor vehicles (except for the ones who can/do).

I rode the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago with a group of Mennonites. That one surprised me at the time but it turns out the do the same things most other people do.

The people you saw were probably not Amish but Mennonites or some other Anabaptist group. I say this only because of the travelling far away from home and not the fact that they were riding a bus. Contrary to popular belief, Amish people are not strictly against any particular technology. Some of them use powered machinery and even computers if they have a job outside their community that requires it. They do not use much modern technology within the community but that isn’t because they are anti-technology per se. They try to minimize any outside distractions that could compromise their culture but different Amish groups have their own rules on that. They may have a shared telephone for business or emergencies in one but such things may be prohibited in others.

Because community and family are so important to the Amish in particular, they don’t tend to travel very far from home. Mennonites and other Anabaptists aren’t as strict about travelling and mixing with ‘the English’. There is no way to be sure because some Amish do travel but it would be more typical of similar groups.

Anabaptists is the general term for Amish, Mennonites, and other related groups who follow Anabaptist religious practices. The Amish are Mennonites but they are the strictest and most conservative among them like Orthodox Jews are to Judaism. Other Mennonite groups have a broad spectrum in their beliefs. Some dress in the traditional styles and others just wear modern clothes and use modern technology just like everyone else.

Here is a primer on the difference between the Amish and other Mennonite groups:

to the above poster: Thank you for your well-written and informative post.

Adding to Shagnasty’s points:
I once saw a group of Amish when I was in upstate New York, they were leaving Denny’s and getting into a van driven by a non-Amish person.

I asked someone and they told me the following:

  1. Lots of different groups of Amish and each can have their own set of rules
  2. In this case they won’t drive but it’s ok if someone else does
  3. Many of the Amish groups make exceptions for cell phones because they need to sell their agricultural products and it’s mostly handled by phone

Also, while Amish mostly stick close to home, it’s possible that they may have relatives in another Amish settlement, and travel to visit them.

I’ve seen a ton of Anabaptists (I think Amish) at Union Station in Chicago, taking Amtrak trains as well. (The Greyhound station is down the street a few blocks.) I take the local diesel commuter trains which end up at the same station, and I probably see at least one Anabaptist group/family at least once a week. Typically the men wear broad-brimmed straw woven hats, and women wear white bonnets. The men usually have dark blue or similarly plain colored shirts, with a black vest and black pants, and the women have some muted, dark-colored dress (often blue or black) on.

One snarky comment I’ve made here before is that I’ve never run into an Amish person who doesn’t understand escalator etiquette, like continuing to walk once you’ve reached the end of one instead of standing there and blocking the path for others trying to depart, but plenty of “English” (their term for non-Amish) people seem quite confused by this. :stuck_out_tongue:

Amish and other related sects vary in their practices. Many will ride in a vehicle, they just won’t own one. And some will own some community items that they would not accept personal ownership of. Some Hutterites communities own and use the best available agricutural technology while at the same time refusing to watch TV or use phones. I assume there’s some group that shuns the use of all technology, but they must be small in number relative to the rest.

Doctrine in Anabaptist sects tends to be very localized. This shouldn’t be surprising–it’s very hard to coordinate far-flung congregations without phones, e-mails, or cars. The popular image is of one collection of Pennsylvania Dutch Old Order Amish, but that’s really only a tiny fraction of the larger group, and there’s a lot of variation. Even relatively liberal denominations like the Church of the Brethren, who have annual conferences to settle on common doctrine nationwide, show a tremendous regional variation on what’s actually accepted. (In my northern Illinois congregation, we had cars and had no real ‘dress code’. CotB congregations in other parts of the country, you might have thought were Amish, or at least conservative Mennonites, at first glance.)

(I wonder if there’s be any interest in an ‘ask the lapsed Anabaptist’ thread?)

Speaking for myself, I would be much more interested in your subject than the “Ask the Pornographer” thread/advertisement that’s currently burning up Cafe Society…

To start off with, can you tell me all about Anabaptist porn? :smiley:

Seriously though, can a faithful, practicing Anabaptist drink alcoholic beverages?

Are there separate, sectarian-run religious courts for various (low level) crimes committed within the community, or would you just go ahead and call the local cops if Brother Josiah broke into Brother Noah’s barn and stole a cow?

If the opportunity presents, say hello to the Amish(ish) on the bus. They’re pleasant traveling companions and a decent chat. Had a friendly conversation with one when I was taking the bus up to Toronto once.

Wanton hussies with their ankles and wrists uncovered!

The Amish aren’t nearly as prudish about some things as you might think. Well, they are by modern American standards but see the accepted practice of bundling during courtship where the male and female sleep together in the same bed to ensure they bond and are compatible before marriage. That is an accepted practice by the community and the parents.

There is also the practice of the Rumspringa where Amish adolescents about 16 years old get to abandon the Amish ways for a year or two and they have to make a choice to be baptized and let back into to the traditional lifestyle.

Amish teenagers have a bad reputation during the Rumspringa with all of teenage rebellion forced into a short time-frame and everything that goes with that including drug and alcohol abuse and rampant sex with the parents nodding in approval to just get it it out their system. I don’t know how typical that is but there have been documentaries made on it that were eye-openers. There was at least one prominent poster who was terrorized by Amish teenagers during their Rumspringa and wished he didn’t live near such hellions.

I live in Lancaster, PA. I know Amish. That post was meant as a joke…

Ok, I have a question for you. Are the Amish teenagers really as bad as they say? I have only seen it on documentaries and from the accounts of one other poster from Amish country Pennsylvania. They probably aren’t that bad compared to other groups but the contrast with their normal culture during the Rumspringa seems striking.

What goes clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, BOOM!, clip-clop, clip-clop?

An Amish drive-by shooting

I haven’t actually encountered any, that I know of (which can mean that they generally don’t hang around our part of town or that they’re generally well-behaved enough that you don’t really notice). I do know there were several stories of local kids on rumspringa getting arrested and convicted for dealing drugs a while ago.

Really, the Amish don’t come into town that much. They generally stay out in the county. You’ll pass a buggy or two on the roads, or see families at Wal*Mart (thought it can be kind of difficult telling the stricter Mennonite sects from actual Amish), but there aren’t hordes of Amish actually in the city. I can think of maybe a handful I’ve seen around the neighborhood in the last ten years.

The Amish also vacation in Florida!