Posts Tagged ‘Amish’


Donald Kraybill on The Amish (Encore Presentation)

As we take a short summertime break, we bring back a superb interview by Donald Kraybill regarding the theology and lifestyle of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

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Mark David Hall on Religious Accommodations and the Common Good

As a number of religious accommodation cases are winding their way through the U.S. court system, we invite Prof. Mark David Hall (George Fox University) to discuss the history of religious exemptions in American history. In addition to whether or not a florist or baker should be exempted from providing services to same-sex weddings based on religious beliefs, we also examine rights of conscience accommodations granted to religious groups for military service, the swearing of oaths, mandatory school attendance, and vaccinations. Prof. Hall explains how “Americans at their best” have accommodated religious views since colonial days and speculates on what the future holds.

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Larry Iannaccone on Sacrifice, Stigma, and the Economics of Religion

Why do strict churches that demand much of their members, including seemingly irrational sacrifices and stigmatizing behaviors, perform so well in the religious marketplace? Prof. Larry Iannaccone of Chapman University discusses the economic logic behind sacrifice and stigma and what studying the organizational requirements of churches can tell us about society more generally. We also discuss the growing field of “economics of religion.”

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Donald Kraybill on The Amish and Old Order Mennonites

One of the most distinctive and recognizable Christian groups in the United States are the Amish. But how much do we really know about this group? Prof. Don Kraybill, a noted scholar on Old Order Mennonites and Anabaptists, provides us with a historical background of the Amish and the related “horse and buggy” Mennonites. We also discuss their theology, ethnic/cultural practices, demographics, and economics. Along the way, we explode many of the myths and stereotypes in this wonderfully comprehensive interview.

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David Smith on Episodic Religious Persecutions

Despite being a nation prided upon religious freedom, the United States has witnessed several episodes of intense persecution of religious minorities. Prof. David Smith (University of Sydney) discusses why these episodic violations of civil liberties happen with specific reference to the Latter Day Saints in the mid-19th century and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 20th century. He links these (and other) events to the threat that they generate towards the political status quo. We also discuss how this may relate to harassment of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in US history over the past two centuries.

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Mike McBride on the Economics of Religious Leadership

Why is religious leadership so important? And what do rituals have to do with establishing authority and leadership? Prof. Michael McBride of UC-Irvine discusses the underlying economic logic of religious leadership, particularly as it relates to coordinating group activity. Central to any leadership position is the issue of coordinating expectations among followers. Mike shows how various rituals, normative values, and sacrifices can assist in make leadership effective. We also discuss the implications of his theory with some surprising extensions to secularization theory.

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Phillip Muñoz on Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, and Health Care Mandates

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently released a document on religious liberty that criticized a new regulatory provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., Obamacare) requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Prof. Phillip Muñoz (Notre Dame) helps us wade through this controversy explaining the bishops’ argument, the politics surrounding this issue, and the various streams of Catholic social thought including the principle of subsidiarity. While primarily focused on health care (and specifically issues related to reproductive health), we take our discussion into other areas of religious freedom that the Catholic Church and others have considered important.

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Eli Berman on Religious Terrorism

Eli Berman, professor of economics at UCSD, discusses the economics of religious terrorism, explaining why strict religious clubs have an advantage in securing collective action and why they can be so lethal.

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