Do Amish and Mennonites Get Along?


The Amish and the Mennonites both descend from the same religious tradition of Anabaptism. [1] Given this shared history, it’s understandable that many people wonder about the nature of the relationship between the two communities. For instance, do the two communities get along with each other?

The Amish and the Mennonites get along in that there’s no apparent animosity between the two communities. Additionally, when they do interact, they are generally on good terms. The two communities also do a lot of business with each other. However, in terms of theology, they have many differences.

In this article, readers will learn more about the relationship between the Amish and the Mennonites. It will also discuss the Amish and Mennonites separately to answer whether either community dislikes any other communities.

Amish farmer
What theologically differences do Amish and Mennonites have? See below

What Is the Relationship Between Amish and Mennonite People?

In practice, the Amish and Mennonites get along with each other. Theologically, however, the Amish regard the Mennonites as too worldly. The Amish belief that Mennonites were too worldly led the communities to split in the 17th century.

However, it’s important to note that the Amish and the Mennonites are not homogenous communities. On the contrary, there are many sub-communities within both groups, some of whom are more similar than others.

One example of such a subgroup is the Old Order Mennonites. This order is the Mennonite community that is most similar to the Amish. Like the Amish (and unlike other Mennonites), Old Order Mennonites reject modern technology, dress plainly, and use the horse-and-buggy for transportation. [2] Like the Amish, they also speak Pennsylvania Dutch. 

Old Order Mennonites and Amish have so much in common culturally that in some parts of the country, the two groups even run parochial schools together. [3]

However, while the Old Order Mennonites reject most modern technology, they are still more permissive towards everyday life than the Amish. For example, they have electricity at home and use telephones and tractors.

Thus, despite some similarities between the two communities, they still have significant differences. These differences are why more traditional Amish may consider even the most conservative Mennonites as being too permissive.

The easiest way to understand the relationship between the two communities is to think of them as two ends of a spectrum. [4] The most traditional Amish communities are on one end of the spectrum, while the most liberal Mennonite communities are on the other.

Different communities of Amish and Mennonites fall on different points of the spectrum. However, even the most liberal Amish communities tend to be more conservative than the most liberal Mennonite communities.

However, their close cultural affinities also allow members of the two communities to transition into the other. For example, as Old Order Mennonites fall on the “conservative Amish” side of the spectrum, they may find it acceptable (and perhaps even easy) to transition into an Amish community.

Similarly, more liberal Amish members may choose to transition into a Mennonite community, despite Mennonites being more permissive in general.

Also see Are Quakers Christians? to learn more.

Amish buggy
Do Amish people get along with everyone? See below

Are There People That the Amish Dislike?

There are no people that the Amish especially dislike. Amish society is generally closed to outsiders, but this includes all types of outsiders and isn’t limited only to one group. The Amish are usually tolerant of other religions and don’t evangelize.

While some Amish people will enjoy conversing with outsiders when they step out of their community, the Amish community avoids as much contact with non-Amish individuals and the outside world as possible. [5]

Some Amish communities are slightly more accepting of non-Amish people and will even allow them to join Amish churches. [6] For example, the New Order Amish will preach part of their services in English to accommodate non-Pennsylvania Dutch speakers. Other Amish settlements also accept outside visitors.

However, this acceptance is limited unless an outsider is committed to eventually joining the Amish community. While the Amish may not understand other religions, they’re generally quite accepting of them and do not discriminate based on faith.

Of course, individual Amish people may have their own beliefs towards particular groups of people. Generally, Amish people do not accept LGBTQ individuals due to a belief that homosexuality is a sin. [7] LGBTQ Amish members often leave the Amish community for this reason. However, some groups are making attempts to change this view. [8]

Amish Mennonite
Do Mennonite people get along with everyone? See below

Are There People That the Mennonite Dislike?

There are no people that the Mennonite dislike based on their theology. While individual community members may have personal dislikes and prejudices, there’s no widespread prejudice held by the community at large. However, the Mennonites have a fraught history of relationships with other people.

Based on theology alone, there are no communities that the Mennonites dislike. In fact, the community is against all forms of violence. [9] They have also put out statements against hate crimes targetting people of color. [10]

However, the Mennonite community does have a complex history of relations with other communities, particularly the Jewish community

During World War 2, the Nazis saw the Mennonites as “pure” Aryans. Many Mennonites were either active members of the Nazi party, denounced Jewish neighbors to the SS, or participated in killing Jewish people. [11]

However, this challenging history is limited to Mennonite communities in areas affected by the war, especially Germany, Austria, and Ukraine.

As with the Amish, most Mennonites believe that homosexuality is a sin. However, as a result of greater interaction with the outside world, this attitude is changing faster than it is among the Amish. 

Some Mennonite churches have been accepting homosexual members for years now, although this often puts them in conflict with other congregations who have opposing views. [12]

In 2022, Mennonite Church USA, the largest Mennonite denomination in the USA, passed a resolution committing to the inclusion of LGBTQ individuals and repealed guidelines that prevented church pastors from officiating over LGBTQ weddings. 

Though this does not mean an acceptance of LGBTQ marriages, it does indicate the changing attitude of the Mennonite community toward the LGBTQ community. [13]

Final Thoughts

The Amish and the Mennonites generally get along on an interpersonal level. However, theologically, the Amish think of the Mennonites as being too permissive.

References:
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Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see the About page for details.

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