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Despite horses and buggies, Amish aren't necessarily 'low-tech'
Eric Brende, shown with his wife, Mary, left a PhD program at MIT to live with an Amish community for a year.
June 22nd, 2011
09:36 PM ET

Despite horses and buggies, Amish aren't necessarily 'low-tech'

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - It's old world meets new.

An Amish man driving a horse and buggy was arrested this week in Indiana for allegedly sending lewd text messages to a minor.

Forget the arrest part for just a minute. Horse and buggy? Mobile phones? Texting? These images don't seem to mix, especially since the common wisdom about Amish people is that they eschew virtually all technology - including electricity, which of course, you'd need in order to power a mobile phone.

But for people like Eric Brende, a tech expert who left a PhD program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to spend more than a year living in an Amish community in the Midwest, this kind of thing - again, minus the sexting part - isn't surprising at all.

Brende, author of the book "Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology," says the Amish do use technology frequently.

They just consider gadgets on a case-by-case basis.

Read the full story about the Amish take on technology
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Amish • Technology

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Gayle0713

    I live near a large Amish community, and have know several Amish and former Amish. They won't own a landline phone or a TV, but when they are hired to work at peoples' houses, they have no hesitation in using their phone or watching their TV. They will go to the local dollar stores and buy cheap porcelain figurines for a dollar, then take them to Amish markets and label them as "Amish made" and sell them for $5 to $8. They will speak English to each other in stores...until an "English" person walks near. Then they go into the whole German thing. How rude. And yes, they ARE judgemental. In one of the factories where a lot of Amish work, my son and some friends worked alongside them. They said the younger Amish tended to be more friendly, but when the older Amish men would see the younger ones talking to the "English", they would scold them and call them over to the other part of the floor.
    My sons met an Amish teenager when they helped on a farm one summer, and he came to our house frequently. He ended up leaving the order, as did his older vrother (it's referred to as "jumping the fence" and both guys were shunned totally by the Amish community.

    June 24, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • Zelda

      Gayle, can't you learn German from the Amish? It'll do good to American brains.

      June 24, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Zelda

      Gayle, your memory of experiences with the Amish is selective. Get to know more of them; I'm sure you will come to respect them and their order.

      June 24, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  2. edward

    Looking for help and support?..come to http://www.wpray4u.com and you will find it

    June 24, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  3. Artist

    I still cannot get over his freakish head.... it is really freaky.

    June 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Balon Gong Show

      He is part of the advance scout force from Bighed 7, the underwear group. They will wear your underwear on their heads when they take over your puny-headed race.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  4. Artist

    The dude in the picture has a huge head. 😮

    June 23, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  5. Adelina's Cruise Director

    Our Amish neighbors are always coming over to our vacation home and asking to use our phone. Constantly.

    June 23, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Artist

      Tell them they are going to hell and shut your door on them. Talk about living in the dark ages *rolling eyes*

      June 23, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Zelda

      Atheists, your dear trusted scientists are the ones who say you will all live in caves unless we start living like the Amish people right away. With your blasphemous stupidity, everything is too late to recover the planet.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  6. Zelda

    The Amish lifestyle must be something the whole world must adopt except in military and space exploration. The Amish are nature-preserving AND clean. Really nice. Cleanliness and orderliness is the disciplined Christian white people's another real strength. Something everyone must learn.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe some are. The Amish that I'm familiar with, in central PA, weren't clean at all. Their kitchens were absolutely filthy and I wouldn't eat anything made in them. Furthermore, they do not treat their farm animals with the care that one would hope for from people who consider themselves stewards of the earth.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      However, none of them were as stupid as you are, ZelDUH.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Lindsay Lohan Chooses Amy Winehouse as her AA Sponsor

      I have the same experience with Mormons out here, Tom-Tom. The majority have houses that are just filthy! The ones my daughter played with were very often left at home alone for hours as the parents rushed off to some important temple thing. Yet they all felt certain that they were the true family people, not the rest of us who kept our houses clean and did not leave our young children alone.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • John Richardson

      The Amish are notorious amongst animal rescuers for their cruel puppy mills.

      And the LAST thing anyone needs if for the populace to be technologically backwards while the military is technologically advanced. If that happened, it would be instant dictatorship everywhere.

      And I love the part about allowing cars, but then banning them when young people left in droves after discovering the outside world. It's clear that the limitations of technology is all about limiting contact and is a way to enforce ignorance and a sort of fear and loathing towards other people. It's quite disgraceful and certainly not worth emulating.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • Zelda

      Tom, it's me, Frederica. How are you? Did USA get freedom of speeches for the religious people yet? Okay, guys, animal cruelty must be stopped but the Amish are still cleaner and better than the rest of you guys. John, where everyone is disciplined, well-purposed and excellent academically, abuse by dictatorship is not possible. Addiction is as bad as having a dictator. USA needs liberation from her own filth.

      June 23, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      ZelDUH, you are so dumb it sits on you like a second skin. You don't know any Amish, you moron, and you haven't even read the story, obviously.

      Do tell us all what is "freedom of speeches"?

      June 23, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Zelda

      Tom, America needs freedom of speeches to declare sin as sin in any public place. People like you sanction sin so much that a right to blaspheme is much more important than protecting human babies. What a nation. Shame on you.

      June 23, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Zelda (The real one)

      Disregard that, I suck cocks.

      June 23, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Adelina

      Zelda, Germans in the 1930s were "disciplined, well-purposed and excellent academically." "Abuse by dictatorship is not possible"?

      How do you come up with this stuff? It's so obviously wrong, yet you just make it up and spew it on this forum.

      Do you actually believe the freakish bullsh!t you make up as you go?

      June 23, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • FairGarden

      We all know Zelda's totally off her rocker.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • ....

      Yeah, you should zelda so now shut u[ as the good book requires of women.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Zelda

      The last 4 commenters are fakes except for the nameless one. Atheists are bullies.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • .....

      "The last 4 commenters are fakes except for the nameless one. Atheists are bullies."

      No, Christians like you are Zelda only your are too blind and deaf to see it.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Zelda

      @****, Read your fellow atheists. They are altogether meaningless and downright evil. No shred of truth in them. Why can't you see it? What do you have for mankind? Nothing. Just attacking every true, good and meaningful thought. Admit you are evil. That is the starting point of finding truth in your life.

      June 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  7. frank

    Is she petite, or does he have gigantism?

    June 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  8. Oswald Cobblepot

    What a perfect example of irony: "An Amish man driving a horse and buggy was arrested this week in Indiana for allegedly sending lewd text messages to a minor." So many levels to the irony. Such fecund grounds.

    Interesting that CNN found the use of technology to be the story, and not the crime it was used for by a religious person who is supposedly more moral.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Frogist

      Astute observation. And coming from no less than the Penguin himself...

      June 23, 2011 at 9:49 am |
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