December 6, 2011

Do the Amish get Autism? And other things....

So, I've seen this article floating around recently:

You can read the whole thing here if you want, but most of it is pretty predictable. The same old "if we would only leave our modern ways of using prepackaged food and medicine all our problems would disappear."

So, I did what I think any rational adult should do (but no one I know who shared the article did): I found an Amish and asked him about it.

Well, a former Amish.

Joe Keim is the director of Mission to Amish People, an outreach group focused on helping Amish people transition to "English" (modern) life and share the gospel with them and those still living Amish. It's a great organization and you should go check it out, it's got lots of information about the Amish lifestyle and religion, most of which you probably don't know because they don't put it in the movies.

Anyway, I messaged Joe on facebook and shared this article with him and asked if it was accurate. His response:

‎"Most of what is written in this article is untrue. The Amish I know, pretty much all get vaccination shots and deal with most of the physical illnesses that outsiders do. They have a fairly high cancer rate, battle with diabetes and heart disease. I question where this author is getting her information."

Several other former Amish friends of his commented on the article, and pointed out that also, the article treats the Amish like one big homogeneous group of people, when they aren't. There are many different sects of Amish, some that do vaccinate, some that don't, but none of those groups are free of cancer, heart disease, or yes, even Autism.

I'm not going to take sides in this post on the vaccination argument. But I will say this: if your position has genuine merit, you shouldn't have to lie to persuade people to agree with you.

And, again guys, don't repost something without at least trying to verify it.

There's another article I ran across I wanted to share as well:

You may not be able to read the excerpt in that pic but I highly encourage you to read the article here. The author of the article is spot-on about the topic in general. I had several people flash though my mind as I was reading it. The ones who like to tell women they're ugly, fat and stupid, and then, when called out, cover it up by saying, "What? It's just a joke! Get over it!"

And he's right that those people have serious psychological issues. But I think he goes soft by simply calling it "emotional manipulation." That's not manipulation. It's abuse.

The whole time I was reading this article, I was thinking about a friend of mine. A beautiful, intelligent, compassionate friend who allows herself to be treated this way by a man in her life. Who has endured it so long, I honestly don't think she knows she deserves better anymore. It breaks my heart.

Of course, the problems with articles like this is that the people they describe - abusers - rarely identify themselves as being described. If they even read articles like this, which they probably don't.

By the way, if you haven't seen the movie the article talks about, Gaslight, DO! It's one of my all-time favorites and Ingrid Bergman earns her Oscar and then some.


  1. Thank you so much for.. again.. posting such an informative post. I've seen this spreading like wildfire and have been cringing. Not because I KNEW it wasn't true, but because I knew it would fuel people's fire and change people's minds about vaccinations. If a parent is going to choose not to do it, it should at least be for correct reasons. And sadly, most of us just go off of what any ol' article will tell us. I love that you always verify!
    Would you mind if I shared this on FB?

  2. I've gone back and forth over the vaccination issue. I feel concerned that doctors will be giving my baby shots, some of which I didn't get until I was a teenager, and at the same strength. Not to mention all of the combined shots. It's really unnerving, but at the same time...I feel like I should be more trusting of the medical system at our disposal. Not to mention I should be more trusting that if God wanted to give me an Autistic child, He would and it would have very little do with vaccinations.

    Now, I want to say THANK YOU for posting that second article. Remember when he says, "The can't tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good"? That is so, COMPLETELY me!! It was only while I was in college - maybe even after - that I realized my dad was emotionally abusive. To my mom and myself. I don't know if my mom just learned it or if she was always that way, but she's extremely critical....clearly. I've really always wondered why I can't fully express what I'm feeling, especially when I'm talking to Joe about something that NEEDS to be talked about. I guess now I know. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. We're not vaccinating (well, right now we're delaying vaccination), but not because of the autism issue. But I agree, people really need to be informed about their choices, whatever they decide to do.


I was nice and didn't turn on word verifications. Please reciprocate by having your reply-to email set and not posting anonymously.