LANCASTER, Pa. (RNS) — Drive through the farmlands of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, or Holmes County, Ohio, avoiding the frequent horse-drawn buggies, and you may get the impression that the Amish practice a wholesome, back-to-nature lifestyle rooted in centuries of religious devotion.

But appearances, as scholars will tell you, can be deceiving.

Most Amish households aren’t headed by farmers anymore. And their relationship to the earth depends heavily on the assumption that God gave it to human beings to use, not to preserve. Those who do farm most often use pesticides and other chemicals, and if they pursue organic farming, it’s often an economic choice, not a faith-based one. 

As to human-caused climate change?

Don’t get them started.

“The so-called science of global warming? I don’t

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