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The Amish Are Getting Fracked

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the if-they-survived-the-iphone-they'll-survive-this dept.

Businesses 367

An anonymous reader writes "Old school meets business school. From the New Republic: 'The Amish interpretation of the Christian bible prohibits the use of the courts: Except in rare circumstances, the Amish do not sue. This has created a unique problem in the region. Home to the largest Amish community in the world, Eastern Ohio sits squarely on top of the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations, which contain billions in oil and gas recoverable through advances in hydraulic fracturing technology, or fracking ... When it comes to the oil and gas industry, this means that any agreement an Amish farmer makes with a company is, for the farmer, practically unenforceable. A rare case in which the plaintiffs were Amish suggests that Ohio's oil and gas companies know this and have been willing to take advantage.'"

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367 comments

Religion and ethics vs. money (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935843)

I know who I'd bet on every time.

Re:Religion and ethics vs. money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936459)

Rich religious people seem to win rather a lot.

But, Corporations are People! (5, Insightful)

cphilo (768807) | about 10 months ago | (#43935851)

Except they have no ethics or morality. Or shame.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935935)

they have no ethics or morality. Or shame.

I'd say this applies to government more than private corporations.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935989)

really? You must be a total fucking idiot.

or a CEO, though the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (3, Insightful)

an00bis (667089) | about 10 months ago | (#43936265)

You must work for the government.

You must be an idiot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936341)

And you must be an idiot.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 10 months ago | (#43936061)

Who enforces environmental law, consumer rights, and worker safety more in this relationship?

Re:But, Corporations are People! (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 10 months ago | (#43936425)

Who taps every Verizon Wireless phone.

Who targets the enemies of the administration via IRS

Who use tax payer money to fund junkets to Anaheim (Disneyland) (IRS)

Who claim they need to review rules, regulations and procedures (they violated) in the tapping of Reporter's phones.

The government and corporations are the same. They are people, without conscience.

"Is it Legal"

"I will make it legal"

Re:But, Corporations are People! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936087)

What would ever compel a private corporation to act ethically towards entities that neither own shares in the said corporation, nor are among their customers?

That's right: Nothing.

At least the government is elected. Private Corporations with turnovers the size of the BNP of a smaller European country? Not so.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936227)

What would ever compel a private corporation to act ethically towards entities that neither own shares in the said corporation, nor are among their customers?

That's right: Nothing.

Laws and enforcement thereof.

Laws is our way of creating common ethics among a lot of people. If everyone had the same ethics laws wouldn't be necessary.
In an ideal world what is legal and what is ethical should be the same and in the cases where they differ the laws should be updated.

If a person doesn't behave in a way that is ethical then law enforcement should use force to correct this behavior, it should not matter whether the person does this on behalf of a company or not.

You'd be surprised how many companies think that it is desirable to avoid a situation where board members end up in jail.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 10 months ago | (#43936443)

Same thing can be said of Government. We have laws the government violates all the time. It is worse, because government is supposed to enforce the laws.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#43936437)

What would ever compel a private corporation to act ethically towards entities that neither own shares in the said corporation, nor are among their customers?

That's right: Nothing.

It's actually exactly the same thing. When you disagree with a company, you can stop giving them your money, When you disagree with the government, you can stop giving them your money.

Oh, wait...

Re:But, Corporations are People! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935971)

Except they have no ethics or morality. Or shame.

That can generally be said of any sufficiently large group of individuals whose sole purpose is to make money - not just corporations.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936071)

But, Corporations are People!

It's odd how this became an ironic meme when "Corporations are People" is exactly what a corporation is, an artificial entity to be treated as a person under the law. It's like people are running around saying "The Sky is Blue!" and thinking they're being ironic and exposing an untruth.

Persons also are divided by the law into either natural persons, or artificial. Natural persons are such as the God of nature formed us; artificial are such as created and devised by human laws for the purposes of society and government, which are called corporations or bodies politic.

That's from America's first law book, Blackstone's Commentaries, and the concept goes back to Roman times. The word "Corporation" is Latin for a reason.

It is also silly to see a comment about "corporations" to an article where someone got ripped off by another human being, not a faceless corporation.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#43936513)

Corporations have only been treated as entities that have the exact same rights as people in the U.S. over the last 150 years or so. Otherwise in the U.S. they were treated as legal entities with limited rights.

Re:But, Corporations are People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936117)

And people do?

Re:But, Corporations are People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936215)

Meh, abusive cult meets abusive corporations. No matter who wins we all lose.

lawsuit by proxy? (5, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 10 months ago | (#43935855)

Can't they just give someone else the authority to sue on their behalf? There must be a loophole somewhere in the Bible...

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (3, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about 10 months ago | (#43935899)

They probably could but if the property owner is not a party on the lawsuit there's nothing to compel a third party to share any restitution from the court.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (2)

t1oracle (1908404) | about 10 months ago | (#43935965)

What they need are some non-Amish cousins. Keep your friends close, but keep the heathens closer because one day you might need them to go to court for you to file lawsuits...

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#43935957)

You're used to the kind of Easter/Christmas (or at most Sunday) Christians that you meet every day on the street. The Amish aren't like that. They live every day of their lives neck deep in their interpretation of the bible. They pray a dozen times a day, not because it's mandated, but just because that's what they do. They do not go out looking for loopholes to that interpretation, even something as simple as allowing bright colors on their children's clothes takes endless meetings and councils.

You have to say this, at least they are consistent in their belief system, unlike most self proclaimed religious people. And generally speaking they are happy with their lot and comfortable in their lives, but sometimes it leaves them wide open for exploitation.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#43936113)

Somewhat. There are Amish who will 'not use electricity', but will use a diesel generator at the barn to run the dairy equipment.

Is that a loophole or a nuanced interpretation?

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936153)

That is just you not understanding.
They have no problem with electricity, the problem is being tied to the grid. Some take this so far as to only use air powered equipment. To remove any temptation for grid tie.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 10 months ago | (#43936155)

Somewhat. There are Amish who will 'not use electricity', but will use a diesel generator at the barn to run the dairy equipment.

Is that a loophole or a nuanced interpretation?

There is also supposedly a "Black Bumper" flavor, who will use automobiles, so long as they don't have decorative chromed components.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936315)

I think you are confusing the Amish with Mennonites. They do not wear anything that is overly decorative, as that is vanity. This modesty extends to their vehicles.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936397)

Those are Mennonites, not Amish.

Back in the eighties, I was talking to a Mennonite, and the black bumpers came up. He had a good chuckle when I told him that blacking out bumpers was in style at the time for the hot rodders.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (3, Informative)

Tyler Durden (136036) | about 10 months ago | (#43936249)

This [amishamerica.com] article discusses in what situations they might use electricity, and the reasoning behind it. Using a generator to acquire electricity is viewed as being less reliant on the outside world than, say, getting it from the power grid.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936311)

Neither, actually. This stems from the Ordnung (governing covenant, basically) used by the Amish, Anabaptist, Mennonites, etc. which outlines behavior and rules that each community has agreed to follow, which may (and likely is) be different from another nearby community. Many view that their communities are separate state-like entities -- thus the fact that Ordnungs differ between communities only miles apart -- and thus, must be disconnected from the larger society as a whole. If they pay for electricity, rather than generate it themselves via generator, they are connecting with a society that does not conform to their ideals of what society is or should be and thus, should not be interacted with as much as possible. If they allowed the power company to come onto their land and build power lines and poles, it would invite outside forces to their community which do not conform to Ordnung and thus, could disrupt their social mores or displace their traditional values.

It sounds weird because, to us, it is but is entirely normal for Old World Anabaptists.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936327)

There is a wonderful piece done by NPR which explains this. A summary paraphrase is something like this. They only do something if it brings them closer to their god. Anything that could be a distraction from that is removed from their lives. So using a diesel generator that gives them more time and money to spend in their community and with God is a good thing for them, television that takes time from their family and their focus on god is a bad thing. I may not believe as they do, but exploitation of any people gets me kind of riled. As an atheist, no one deserves to be abused just for how they choose to live or believe, especially if it does not infringe upon others. The law needs to come down supremely hard on these people abusing the Amish.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#43936343)

Well, technically a diesel doesn't require electricity for its nonexistent spark plugs, so that might work out for them. But to be a hundred percent legit it should be mechanically connected to the pumps to avoid using a generator.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#43936481)

Not at all, if they use it it is necessary to the survival of their family's way of life, which is the primary reason that modern machinery is allowed. FDA and USDA guidelines don't allow for hand milking and require refrigeration for obvious reasons. Families that had been dairy farmers for generations were left with a choice, abandon their family's traditions or modernize to the minimum extent necessary to continue.

But even if they chose to bring the necessary equipment they reduce the intrusion to the maximum extent possible; they don't wire up the home as well, most of them don't even wire up lights in the barn. They don't wire their equipment to the mains because that would make them reliant on the outside world. Using a generator and fuel moves that reliance one tiny step further away; a generator can be repaired, fuel can, in theory, be found from any number of sources, there are no power lines installed by 3rd parties and a tree coming down 50 miles away won't knock out their power.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936147)

True; they are mostly harmless. They bring their children up to be non-competitive in the real world. Actually most theists do that, but as you say many theists are "theists in theory and not in practice" and so they are mostly able to compete with normal, non-brainwashed people (even though they may have a few less hours per week in which they can be productive).

I think he's dealt with other orthodox types (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 10 months ago | (#43936241)

It isn't so much the Easter/Christmas Christians. I mean when you have someone that only has a passing involvement in their religion, it is not at all surprising when they ignore some (or many) of the rules. However you see it in the really orthodox as well. They find what they believe to be loopholes and use them.

Orthodox Jews are some of the best examples:

So Exodus 35:3 says "Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day." This relates to Exodus 16:23 which says "This is what the LORD commanded: 'Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'" Basically the idea is, as far as biblical scholars can tell, that making a fire was a lot of work (try making a fire rubbing sticks together, it sucks) and the Sabbath is a day of rest. So none of that, you make your food on Friday, rest on Saturday. Remember that we are talking the ME/Mediterranean here, so you didn't really need fire for warmth.

However, for whatever reason, the Talmudic interpretation has decided that electricity is fire. I'm not sure why, but that is what the orthodox churches teach. So, you aren't allowed to operate electric devices on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath), in particular your oven. Well that's pretty damn inconvenient in the modern world... So they find all kinds of "loopholes". You can get ovens that have timers longer than 24 hours. You set them up the day before, and they'll heat up (and down) at the prescribed times. Also while an Orthodox Jew can't go and push the buttons to operate an elevator in their building, it is 100% fine to have a Gentile who does it for you. Or, since elevator operators are a rather unnecessary expense these days, elevators can be (and are) set in to 'Sabbath Mode' where they automatically stop at every floor and open up, and just keep cycling. Takes longer, you have to get on and wait, but you can use it without 'operating' it.

This is real, and it is big. There are plenty of Orthodox Jews that seem to think it is important to obey that part of the bible, but that they can find ticky loopholes and gotchas to get around it and god will be ok with that. I don't claim to understand it, however it is what it is.

On the flip side you'll see some weird stuff like stores that won't let you order on the Sabbath. B&H Photo Video, one of the best camera stores in the US, is like that. They have a big, well designed, online ordering system. However it won't let you order on the Sabbath. You can browse, but if you try to place an order, it won't allow it, you have to wait, it won't queue it into the system. The servers don't get the day off, but they aren't allowed to take orders :).

So you can see how, given things like this, people might assume the Amish would be similar. It is not from dealing with people who are casually religious that you get the idea, but from dealing with those that are deeply religious and seem to care about certain rules, but are 100% fine with going around those rules in tricky ways.

Now lest someone think I'm picking on the Jews here, I just chose the example because it is one you see a fair bit in America. You should see some of the things various orthodox Muslims do that are against the Koran, but they've found a loophole that makes it "ok" in this particular case.

Social Darwinism (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 10 months ago | (#43936345)

They are extremists/fanatics, even if they are not violent. This is just another form of themselves pushing themselves to the fringes.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936349)

, even something as simple as allowing bright colors on their children's clothes takes endless meetings and councils.

Ah. Perfect enterprise architect material.

True Amish Lifestyle (5, Interesting)

Chordonblue (585047) | about 10 months ago | (#43936507)

It's funny when people talk about the Amish as if their assured piety somehow comes from genetics or something. The truth is, the Amish have ALWAYS sought for 'loopholes' in their situation - what the Bishops allow for is a different tale altogether.

I could give you LOTS of examples, but here's a oldie AND a goodie. Back in the early 90's, I worked for a Commodore dealer in Lancaster County, PA (BIG Amish and Mennonite community). C= had kind of a non-sequitur deal: Buy an Amiga 500 bundled with a 1080 monitor, get a 'free' VCR - which was kinda silly. The A500 had no color composite out, so actually hooking it up to a VCR required this phallic-looking 6 inch long module (the A520), which of course, was not included.

And yet...

The Old Order Mennonites and even a few of the younger Amish were buying into this deal - big time. We sold more A500s than ever during this time - and the vast majority were going to that community. While the A500 didn't have a true color composite out (C= = STUPID!), the VCR did, and it just so happened that the monitor that came with the bundle did as well. I found out what was going on when I suggested to a conservative-looking young couple that, with an antenna connected to the VCR's tuner, you could actually watch TV on the monitor.

I was taken aback by their shocked and seemingly terrified response, "Oh no! Don't SAY THAT! We don't want to watch TV on it!" What they DID want to watch was VHS video though. Because the Bishops were not up on the latest technology, they could claim that the computer system was the primary purpose of the deal - the VCR would not be mentioned, and they could watch all the tapes they wanted in the secluded privacy of their bedrooms.

Today, if you see an Amish or Mennonite woman on the stoop of their house, cradling something close to their ear, you can bet it's a cell phone. There are cell vendors who specifically cater to the Amish's 'cash only' lifestyle.

Folks, the Amish are as human as any of us. There are pious ones, but many are essentially trapped in a lifestyle out of necessity. Imagine this: With only an 8th grade education, and all of your friends and family belonging to the community, you'd probably stay because you'd fear the total abandonment of the only life you've ever known. But that doesn't mean they don't get rebellious or 'get up to dickens'... ;)

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#43936535)

And generally speaking they are happy with their lot and comfortable in their lives

I can't help it, being a sceptic, but I wonder - how common is it for people living in strong, patriarchal, authoritarian societies to claim that they are happy when they actually aren't, relative to other societies?

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936033)

It's about not casting doubt on the morals of others and passing judgement (only God should do that). With all due respect, finding a "loophole" in the Bible is sacrilegious and immoral.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936169)

Oh get over it. The entire Bible is a mass of conflicting rules and loopholes. People spout leviticus at gays while having tattoos and wearing mixed fabrics.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (3, Funny)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#43936521)

That's because in Acts, the church told the Gentiles to ignore all the rules in the OT except for the sexual ones and eating blood. So it's actually very consistent with the text. Tattoos and mixed fabrics: rules to make Israel appear different. Gays: rule for everyone.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936551)

So then blood sausage is not ok?
You had better go inform the world.

Either way, interesting but very silly. I like to study religion, as one would study any mythology.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

julesh (229690) | about 10 months ago | (#43936171)

Can't they just give someone else the authority to sue on their behalf?

Generally speaking, no. The legal concept of privity of contract means that except in unusual circumstances it is impossible for somebody to sue for breach of contract who was not a signatory to the contract. There are exceptions, but they're rare and usually have to be made explicit in the contract itself.

IANAL; the above does not consitute legal advice.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 10 months ago | (#43936199)

I don't know where they get their logic to avoid courts, but the bible does speak out directly against banking which they utilize quite readily. There is always moral or religious justification until you get to cold hard cash. The Amish are not any more moralistic, no matter their community practices, than a corporation. I have lived in a community with them most of my life, I don't have any reverence for them. They are just people, just as a corporation is people. Any altruism they exhibit is derived from an extreme amount of brain washing that starts young and is persisted throughout their life by a lack of integration with society. But they will take your money.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936289)

No, the bible speaks out against usury. The Koran forbids this as well. So they don't accept it. Instead they take the same loans that devout Muslims take. These are loans without interest, but instead other forms of fees. So for instance I might lend you $10,000 with $1000 down for 5 years, and you just pay the $10,000 back over that term. The $1000 down does not go against the principle but instead is my fee for this loan.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936259)

Can't they just give someone else the authority to sue on their behalf? There must be a loophole somewhere in the Bible...

But they are still suing.

That's like if I have some moral problem with committing murder, so instead of me doing it I have someone else do it. By my hand or indirectly I am still committing murder.

And the amish don't do loopholes because they try to be better and more honorable people than us.

They also tell the kids parents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936429)

When kids are causing a ruckus, they, like everyone else, will tell the kids' parents and let THEM sort the punishment out.

Since these corporations are the child of government edict, and the cours are the government's method of controlling the excesses of their children, this can be seen as merely the same thing.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936291)

Can't they just give someone else the authority to sue on their behalf? There must be a loophole somewhere in the Bible...

Sorry, no loopholes. It is against the Amish belief to sue evil people.
Evil people are in liaison with the Devil and must be either burned or stoned to death.

Re:lawsuit by proxy? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 10 months ago | (#43936531)

Can't they just give someone else the authority to sue on their behalf? There must be a loophole somewhere in the Bible...

How to do you say "shabbath goy" in Pennsylvania German?

PROXY? (1)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about 10 months ago | (#43935873)

I'm pretty sure with billions involved, the Amish will think of something. After all, somehow they got themselves hooked into that electric Amish heater infomercial. I mean, that's all kinds of amish-wrong.

Re:PROXY? (4, Insightful)

thoriumbr (1152281) | about 10 months ago | (#43935915)

The Amish are not thinking on the billions, they are thinking on their land. They rarely rely on money anyway, so the billions would not be that compelling to them. But frackle their soil and wreck their land, and they will be deeply concerned.

Re:PROXY? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936041)

For most of them this is not true anymore. They might not care about wealth, but they are as impacted by drought as any other. Often they have to get loans for farm equipment as well. These wells could have let them avoid those loans or even make each other loans, as they prefer to do.

if they were benefiting from the Amish heater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935937)

would they need money from the oil companies to cover their bills

not like they live beyond their means

Re:PROXY? (1)

t1oracle (1908404) | about 10 months ago | (#43936035)

Is that billions with a "B?" Umm, ok for 10% I'll be whatever kind of liaison they need. Who do I have to call? I can live in a barn until it's over I don't mind at all! :-D

Re:PROXY? (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#43936203)

Is that billions with a "B?"

Umm, ok for 10% I'll be whatever kind of liaison they need. Who do I have to call?

Your last sentence indicates that you lack the knowledge to properly represent the Amish.

Re:PROXY? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936353)

Actually most/many Amish sects now allow prepaid cell phones. This is because they do not involve debt, can be bought from stores they already go to and do not require any infrastructure to be built on their land.

A Secret Life - BBC documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936119)

If you believe for one minute the Amish had anything to do with an electric fireplace made in China by children/prisoners, I have some ocean front property in Eastern Ohio that might interest you...

In all seriousness, anyone who wants to learn about Amish life should check out "Amish - A Secret Life" by the BBC. Although it could be argued the subjects are no longer "true" (you'll have to watch to understand why) the documentary is probably the closest thing to Amish life anyone reading Slashdot will see. Check it out when you have an hour to spare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaBnmSyNxHE

Re:A Secret Life - BBC documentary (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43936247)

They Amish just make the mantle. That is the scam. It has been suggested that the Amish are in fact only assembling Chinese made mantles, so they can use this name.

Amish frack like anyone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935875)

They just frak with only their spouse.

Wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935885)

There are actually several different "sects" of Amish, all with differing interpretations. Saying that they don't make use of the courts is incorrect. Some don't, but for most the prohibition is in filing lawsuits for personal gain.

In any event, it's really not something anybody should be concerned with. The Amish have the right to take advantage of the courts, and the right to choose not to use them. If their belief system says don't use the courts, well that's too bad but it's a burden they've placed on themselves.

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 10 months ago | (#43936045)

Right. If the fracking did something like destroy their land so it couldn't be used for farming, they would likely be able to sue to get justice.

What they probably won't do is sue if the energy companies don't give them all the money they agreed to, but at the same time, it doesn't prevent the Amish from living their lives.

Although the Amish are not idiots, they have decided to live their lives without many modern conveniences. Presumably, they aren't going to be necessarily interested in extracting as much money as they can as there is no benefit to them in a lot of money except keeping score. Since mineral and resource rights are money that they would make without working for it themselves, it's a windfall that they may well not need or even want.

That's not to say that they will or want to give this stuff away, but at the same time, if the energy companies are not actively hurting them, lawsuits are just a contentious issue that they don't need. Of course, nothing prevents them from pointing out that the energy companies are cheating them to interested parties and having those people publicize it (as seems to have happened here). This may give outsiders the idea that the Amish are being cheated and taken advantage of, but I just see it as them placing their priorities in a place where most people would not in modern society.

Re:Wrong (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 10 months ago | (#43936175)

Right. If the fracking did something like destroy their land so it couldn't be used for farming, they would likely be able to sue to get justice.

They would certainly be able to sue; getting justice is a different matter.

Re:Wrong (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#43936307)

Although the Amish are not idiots, they have decided to live their lives without many modern conveniences.

Not quite, they've decided to live their lives without being beholden to and dependent on outsiders. Why don't they wire up their houses to electricity? Because their way of life would rapidly change to make them dependent on it. Same reason they don't use cars or tractors. I don't know why, but I find this to be an important distinction... maybe it's because people think that the Amish just made this weird choice for no justification when there is a more fundamental, and more understandable reason for their denial of modern conveniences.

Re:Wrong (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#43936279)

it's a burden they've placed on themselves.

Because a monopoly 'justice' system that's forced on them and violates their right of conscience and religious teachings is not an externally imposed burden at all.

Re:Wrong (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43936295)

In any event, it's really not something anybody should be concerned with. The Amish have the right to take advantage of the courts, and the right to choose not to use them. If their belief system says don't use the courts, well that's too bad but it's a burden they've placed on themselves.

While we're at it, let's take those "oath or affirmation" lines out of the Constitution. An oath should be good enough for anyone. If Quakers can't serve in office because they won't take an oath, that's a burden they've placed on themselves.

Re:Wrong (1)

slugstone (307678) | about 10 months ago | (#43936395)

In any event, it's really not something anybody should be concerned with. The Amish have the right to take advantage of the courts, and the right to choose not to use them. If their belief system says don't use the courts, well that's too bad but it's a burden they've placed on themselves.

I would hate to live in your world. More like I really hate being a minority in your world. Having to fight and scratch for every little thing just because my belief system is different than the majority.

Re:Wrong (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#43936517)

It's not about the courts, or the Amish. It's about companies not living up to their end of the agreement because they know the Amish won't come after them in court. It's about moral decay and the sociopathy of large corporations.

electic amish (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43935959)

Ohhh, you gonna paint that barn tonight
Ohhh, down beside da lantern light
Ohhh, you gonna finish all your chores
Black bonnet girls you make the Amish world go round

Yah

I was just an Amish boy
Full of purity und joy
Knew damn well that I was holier than thee
Left alone with Cousin Greta
What a naughty baby sitta
Heathen woman, you made a Mennonite out of me

Yah Yah

I know girls who never curse
Chicks who know their bible verse
Every one of them wore a dress down to da floor
Though their chastity and charm
Made them quite pleasant on da farm
There ain't nothing like a good old Amish whore

Ohhh, you gonna paint that barn tonight
Ohhh, down beside da lantern light
Ohhh, you gonna finish all your chores
Black bonnet girls you make the Amish world go round
Yah
Black bonnet girls you make the Amish world go round

Hey Carl
Yah Graeber
What's the difference between Greta and my buggy.
I don't know Graber what is the difference
Well, not everybody has been in my buggy.
Ha ha ha ha

Yah listen now
I've been on my knees all day
All I do is sit and pray
Thought I saw the Lord but I can't really tell
But I knew from da beginning
With this lust and all this sinning
Black bonnet girls and me will surely burn in hell

Yah dig this
Ohhh, you gonna paint that barn tonight
Ohhh, down beside da lantern light
Ohhh, you gonna finish all your chores
Black bonnet girls you make the Amish world go round
Yah
Black bonnet girls you make the Amish world go round

Get on your buggies and ride
Black bonnet girls
Man that Greta's built like a brick outhouse
Black bonnet girls
As long as I've got a pew, she's got a place to sit
Black bonnet girls
Yah, she could churn my butter anytime
Black bonnet girls
Hey Greta, show us your ankles
Ooooh

Oil folks ripping people off what a shock! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#43935985)

Who was surprised by this? Other than the Amish.

I wonder if the Amish will use the courts when their water well is unusable or a major spill occurs. Sure that is not a normal thing, but when you are already ripping them off on the lease you might as well do a shitty job casing the well too.

Their own fault (2, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about 10 months ago | (#43935987)

If they had religious objections to the police, and thus refused to use them, would we start seeing stories that they are being robbed and the robbers are getting away?

Of course if they don't use the courts, they don't get the benefit of the courts. If they refuse anything based on religious grounds, they're not going to get it. That's what "refuse" means. If they refuse the process of getting justice, they're not going to get justice, just like if they refuse internet service, they don't get internet service.

What next, articles about the cruel dilemma of Christian Scientists who are dying of disease because their religion discourages them from seeing doctors?

Re:Their own fault (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#43936177)

I fucking hate this attitude. Blame the victim it's their fault! Yes, the affected people could fight back, but the story isn't about that as much as it is that these are large corporations purposefully taking advantage of their knowledge that the Amish won't fight back. If you go up to a pacifist and punch him in the face it's funny because he won't punch back right!? Right?

Re:Their own fault (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#43936211)

In the U.S. corporations are our religion. The "Christianity" thing is a smokescreen. If it makes money and screws the other guy then in corporate-centric America it is right.

I'm ready for the -1 mod on this... but I will keep saying it. We've got major problems with our ethics in the U.S. and corporatism is being the true religion. The Joel Olsteen "God wants you to be successful" crap is by no means Christianity.

Re:Their own fault (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#43936239)

If they refuse the process of getting justice

They refuse a process, one that's claimed to get justice, when it often does not.

It's so funny to see people call the US a 'Christian Nation' when its conflict resolution system is based on vengeance and disallows third party defense, contrary to all just moral codes do (this would help the Amish here). Jesus taught forgiveness, tolerance, and mutual aid - it's really hard to mesh the two.

At the same time, if the Amish were to actually defend their property rights, the government that runs this so-called 'justice' system would do things to the Amish that would be considered illegal if anybody else did it and immoral by most watchers.

There are conflict resolution systems that are compatible with property rights and the kinds of non-zero sum games that Jesus taught. We're not allowed to choose those here - the default system is always in play and it's based on retribution and violence. The Amish's resolve is admirable in this case. Blaming the victim is never admirable.

Re:Their own fault (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43936421)

What next, articles about the cruel dilemma of Christian Scientists who are dying of disease because their religion discourages them from seeing doctors?

Please tell me you see the difference between an act of nature (disease) and a system created by the government (courts). I don't know exactly what the solution is, but to say that the government can't, where practicable, make accommodations for people's deeply held religious belief is nonsense. It certainly has no basis in history or what most people would consider reason and justice. The phrase "oath or affirmation" is in the Constitution because Quakers have a religious objection to oaths. Did you think that "Sundays excepted" got in there because that's when people had barbeques? What about exemptions from military service or allowing some religious groups to use peyote?

Re:Their own fault (1)

retech (1228598) | about 10 months ago | (#43936497)

I wondered how long it would take for some asshole to make this statement and the have the subsequent vote up.

/. is nothing if not consistent with it's comments.

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936023)

They need binding arbitration.

Time to call in the Amish Mafia! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936027)

Problem Solved!

Failure of Superstition to adapt to the real world (0, Flamebait)

couchslug (175151) | about 10 months ago | (#43936067)

is not my problem or concern.

Yes, their particular cult is marketed to appear quaint, but it's still just another Superstition of the Desert and I laugh at the misfortunes of people who choose to believe in such insanity.

"not my problem or concern" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936121)

Let's see, they are religious but not muslim so they are contemptible to you.
Spoken like a true liberal.

Re:"not my problem or concern" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936217)

Some of us liberals consider all Abrahamic cults and their bronze age mentality contemptible.

Re:"not my problem or concern" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936365)

The majority of my neighbors are amish. I will take a amish family over a smug liberal as my neighbor any day.

Re:"not my problem or concern" (1, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#43936471)

This that "lib" really smug or is that just the image you've formed in your own mind?

Living in Indiana I have quite an image of the smug, blowhard, know-it-all but ignorant conservative built up. It doesn't mean I am always right.

Re:"not my problem or concern" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936313)

maybe you should form your own opinions based on evidence rather than let Rush Limbaugh talking points form them for you.

just sayin'

Re:"not my problem or concern" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936413)

Which is it? Are liberals bleeding hearts who care too much about people's rights or careless people who only care about ourselves and our benefits check? These two personalities types are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. I'm a liberal atheist, I disagree with the OPs comment. Does that now make me a conservative or can you admit you're just broad brushing people based upon your beliefs?

Re:Failure of Superstition to adapt to the real wo (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | about 10 months ago | (#43936163)

... maybe that's true; but their whole society is designed around living separately from the society they view as damaged. They don't want to take part (and not just for religious reasons). Why should they be forced to participate in a supposedly free country? It's not like they're forcing anything on us... they're just trying to live quietly out of the way.

Sin, Repent & Do Petenance (3, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 10 months ago | (#43936149)

Can't they sue the pants off of these guys and then repent afterwards?

Time for the Amish Mafia.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#43936281)

To pay oil company executives a visit... Those guys make the Italian mafia look like pussies.

So? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43936359)

A rare case in which the plaintiffs were Amish suggests that Ohio's oil and gas companies know this and have been willing to take advantage.'"

Again, I say, "so, what?"

The Amish don't have to sign the contract. But it damn sure isn't up to the body politic to protect them from themselves.

they might get rich from all the royalties (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 10 months ago | (#43936389)

Which probably frowned upon by the Amish. "Easy money" makes it hard to stay close to God.

Middle-Men (3, Informative)

nefus (952656) | about 10 months ago | (#43936469)

I think it's the middle-men who are on the whole responsible for these issues. My own parents have been approached by middle-men, sorry not sure what their titles are, who handle contracts between land owners and the companies. They handle the initial contract and pre-payments for anything in the ground, including percentages for any find. The oil and gas companies just buy these contracts from them in the same way freddie mac and fannie may buy home loans. I don't know if this is true for the entire country but its certainly true for where my parents live.
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