I have really tried not to clutter this blog with politics, but I just saw an article about Donald Trump visiting the Amish in Lancaster Pennsylvania. I have to wonder if the Amish will really vote. Many of my friends say no. They will keep to their non intervention in worldly society, but others express horror at the thought that Hillary Clinton can think that crushing a baby's skull is in any way anything but murder. Some also see that Hillary Clinton's appointment of pro-choice supreme court justices is not in keeping with God's law and they must speak out with their vote. The thought that such unborn children are not protected by the law is abhorrent for many....I would say all, but there are some Christians I know who are for Hillary due to Trump's brash attitude. I do not know what is right, but I invite you to pray and vote your conscience. Likewise, for the most part, many Amish are content to put this issue in God's hands and pray. Certainly, I see the power of prayer, but I also feel that God has given us a brain to discern what is right.
If we look at Scripture, there are many verses which say to let the fate of evil-doers remain in God's hands, but there are also those which espouse justice. Psalm 106:3 tells us, "Blessed are those who keep justice." What does that really mean? to "keep justice"? It speaks of practice, not prayer. Micah rails against powerful people who are unjust. They have taken property from the poor in Micah 2:1-2. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah speak of God's justice. Isaiah 61:8 says "God will not act wickedly" and verses 40-66 also says "no justice was found among these people" and delineates this fact. I wonder, will the Lord say the same of us when He comes again? Repeatedly in Scripture we are challenged to stand for justice. Where will we stand this day? Isaiah explains God's justice. I challenge you to read, ponder and pray and the vote your conscience on November 8.
In my latest series, Amish 9/11, I explore some of the dilemmas which face Christians in today's world as we struggle to be God's people. Can we be truly Christian if we silently allow evil to flourish around us without standing up for justice? Benjamin struggles with this question as he wonders if he has strayed too far from his Amish upbringing. How does he balance justice with his Amish need to stand apart, and yet, here he is in New York City. Has he already immersed himself in the world?
I was lead to write this story after Donald Trump said that Muslim people in New Jersey were dancing and cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11. I had to find out for myself. Was this true? I remembered seeing the newsclip on September 11, but I didn't remember where the people were from. I wondered if I was mistaken. Were they really from the USA or did the newscasters make a mistake. I knew they had made mistakes in the heat of the moment, once saying the wrong tower had fallen. Of course it didn't matter since the next fell moments later.
Still, I began to wonder as I researched, what would an Amish boy think of the temper of New York City on that fateful day? I named him Benjamin Lapp. and thought he had to become a New Yorker as well as Amish. I began slowly letting him learn what it was to be Englischer first, and then a New Yorker, fully immersed in the world he had once rejected. I wondered, what if one of his best friends sought out military service after the fall of the towers? What if someone he cared about died? How would this test his faith? How does violence test all of our faith? What does God really want from us? All of these questions are considered in the series Amish 9/11. Some are answered, but many are up to your own conscience, just like your vote on November 8 is your own. Read to find out what Benjamin Lapp decides is right.
I do believe that the Lord will call us to task on what we do this election season whether we vote or not and how that vote counts. Will we stand for justice? Will we be silent? Please pray for our country and our world. Come Lord Jesus!
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Read the first book in the series: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZR0SIN
Read more about Trump's visit with the Amish in Lancaster PA.
While doing research on my new series about Benjamin Lapp, the Amish 9/11 Series, I ran across an on-going impasse that has been brewing in the USA concerning the FDA regulations. I think the regulations may be getting out of control. This is about two questions: what constitutes "distribution" and if one owns the cow, does one also own the milk?
I talked to some of the local Amish about the problems with regulation and learned a little more. Apparently, the FDA regulations which govern the distribution of all produce and milk have hit against the Amish farm markets. While most of us feel that buying produce from an Amish farm market may be the freshest and most wholesome fruits and vegetables we can find, the FDA claims that raw food could not be sold in such a way without inspection which is of course paid for by the farmer. (Raw food is the food that you get right off the tree or bush from the farmers market without going first through FDA inspections which may take days, weeks or months, lessening the freshness of the food) The FDA said that the food must be inspected and graded before sale, no matter that the Amish have sold at farmer's markets for generations and the produce is clearly marked as such.
Prior to 2010, as long as the food was labeled that it was not inspected, the consumer had the right to choose to eat what they wanted to eat. Apparently, that has changed. The USA government now not only "protects us" but says that we are incapable of deciding this for ourselves. I am amazed that Amish food must be labeled but GMOs do not have to be labeled. I am just shaking my head here. In any case, I could not find any law that said this labeling law changed, but lately, Amish farm markets have been raided, with, believe it or not GUNS! Yes, that's right, armed federal officials have raided farm markets to impound the food which may or may not be okay for human consumption. Ironically, some of the Amish ate the food in front of the armed officials to prove a point. The food was good. I venture to say, much better than some of the stuff in stores!
I would venture to guess, the government that allows our food to be laced with mercury (fish) and water (In Flint, MI) with lead has no real interest in our safety. What the government does have an interest in is the money that the Amish is NOT paying to have the food inspected. There were serious charges laid, claiming that the Amish were engaged in racketeering and other crimes because they distributed food without the inspections. After this, some Amish decided to pay to have the government inspect. After all, they knew their food would pass. There was nothing wrong with it. This was just how they were selling for generations. This means though, that the consumer had to wait while the inspection was performed and the food was no longer "tree fresh" by only hours off of the vine.
The drama continued with raw milk. The milk was claimed to be "distributed" even though the milk was only given to the members of the gmay who also owned the cows. They were well aware that the milk was raw, ie not pasteurized or homogenized. The initial finding is that it was illegal to "distribute" raw milk. The Amish are fighting for their right to drink their own raw milk if they so choose. They also contest that since the cows belong to the gmay in a co-op the milk also belongs to the group. The finding was in favor of the FDA stating that no, the milk is not owned in a co-op because the cows are. Makes you wonder if the judge knows where milk comes from, doesn't it? This issue is still pending. Google: Amish raw milk and raw milk raid.
If you wish to read more, here are links to some of the articles I found. I am amazed that there are so many problems and so much corruption in our government and yet the Federal Agents felt that they had to attack the most peaceful among us, the Amish. We must all choose our battles, and apparently the Amish are no different. We all struggle to be a peaceful people, and yet we also espouse justice. What happens when those two clash? Isaiah says we must not just speak, we must act.
Benjamin Lapp, my character, in the first of the Amish 9/11 series must confront the issue of peace and what it means to live apart from the world when he moves to New York City circa. 2001. For those of you in the USA, you can guess that Benjamin will come face to face with violence in the Big City. How will he react and how will he serve God? I think many of us have struggled with this thought. I hope Benjamin's thought will help bring you closer to our Lord. Please pray for our county and our world. Amen.
Please find Book 1: Benjamin in the Big City on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZR0SIN
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More References about the Amish and the Raw Milk Raid
It's official: Trump has the Republican nomination. His running mate, Pence is a solid conservative Christian, but Trump certainly doesn't seem like the sort of candidate that the Amish would support....or is he?
An Ex-Amish Ben King is campaigning for Trump among the Amish. Can he get the Amish to actually vote for him? It is true that some Amish voted for Bush, but that was because he went to them and campaigned in a calm quiet way. Donald Trump seems to be the antithesis of Amish. He is brash and prideful. And yet, in the wake of the number of government interferences in Amish farming perhaps Trump will receive a welcome, even if it is not a warm one.
Any who have read my books, or tried to buy farmland, knows that land is terribly expensive. With land being bought up in the Lancaster area for everything but farming, it has pushed many Amish farmers to Ohio or Indiana, but simply owning the land....or the cows....is not enough.
In 2012 a battle began telling a farming co-op which included the whole gmay, that shared raw milk that their "sharing" within all of the members of the gmay, who owned the cows cooperatively, was in the government's eyes racketeering and a way to slip past government regulations for dairy farmers, and a way to avoid the fees involved.... The ruling was that this same farm co-op was told the milk from THEIR OWN COWS was not their milk! (I found this information when researching the Simon and Sarah books.) If you think it is amazing that the court could rule that even though it was clear they owned the COWS together, they did NOT OWN THE MILK, you are not alone.
The Amish may believe that they should stay separate from the world, but the world, in the form of the US government certainly is not advocating staying separate from the Amish.
In other various lawsuits over the last 5-7 years, the selling of produce, especially organic produce has attracted the attention of the US government. Various regulations have been sited and the Amish, who generally go to court without a lawyer if they go at all, tend to lose the lawsuits. Unfortunately, armed with "truth" is not always enough. Let's remember what they did to Jesus, who IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Amish have not fared well with our US legal system. They may find an advocate in Donald Trump.
One Amish farmer who re-built his barn after it burned, was charged with not having the proper permits to sell his fruits and vegetables even though he had sold them at a curbside stand for years. Since he decided to sell "inside his barn" he now had to have industrial/retail permits due to the fact that his "barn" was zoned "agricultural". He was fined and told he could not sell his vegetables without obtaining a retail license, and because his barn was zoned agricultural, he could not get a retail license for this property. It was simply refused. This sort of unfair practice by the US government may bring out the Amish vote, since they would like less government interference in their lives.
603 Anderson Road, Enon Valley, PA 16120