Hanna Pylväinen: ‘Breaking Amish,’ Burning Bridges

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Liberation is a peculiarly American love. And these days it seems particularly beloved when the liberation is one from the tyranny of faith.

Mainstream culture prizes those who convert to secularism, the side of the thoughtful and the free. We read of their escapes—books in recent years include "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance," by Elna Baker, and "Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots," by Deborah Feldman. And we watch their oppression by religion on movie screens and television—"Jesus Camp," "Sister Wives," "Big Love—and are relieved by the distance between their lives and our own.

And now we have TLC's new series "Breaking Amish," a reality show that follows the lives of five young Amish and Mennonite men and women as they "forgo horses and buggies for New York City's taxis and subways." The Hollywood Reporter lauded TLC for acting "not only as documentarian but as liberator."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

2 Comments
Posted September 28, 2012 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. jkc1945 wrote:

I live smack in the middle of one of North America’s largest Amish communities.  I cannot speak with complete authority, but I am close friends with several Amish bishops, and I am acquainted with hundreds of Amish folks here in northeast Indiana.  And I can guarantee - - the people who ‘have left’ the community would always be received back, if they chose to come.  The Parable of the Prodigal is well understood by this community.

September 28, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
2. driver8 wrote:

I haven’t seen the show but I believe it has been powerfully critiqued for, how shall we put it, “misunderstanding” the histories of the individuals involved. https://www.facebook.com/BreakingAmishTheTruth

September 28, 4:12 pm | [comment link]
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