Since the 1950s, the Amish have faced historical events regarding their educational school system that challenges their religious freedom within the United States. In order to uncover these historical events and challenges, my honors thesis includes a research paper examining the history of the Amish culture, analyzing scholarly journals, researching other depictions of the Amish culture, and providing an overview of my first-hand experience within an Amish community. In addition to the research paper, I wrote a creative film script, “From Heart and Land”, that looks at the pressure the Amish faced within their educational school system. “From Heart and Land” combines a combination of fiction and non-fiction by incorporating fictional characters with an emphasis on the historical 1965 Iowa bus incident and the 1972 Wisconsin v. Yoder case. The plot focuses on the Yutzy family, as the Father, Adin Yutzy, faces criminal charges after not sending his daughter Rebecca to public school and his daughter Elizabeth to high school. Adin teams up with Jonas Yoder and Wallace Miller, who are parents involved in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case, to determine their strategy with their attorney, William Bentley Ball, in fighting for their religious freedom based on the first amendment. With the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, based on the Free Exercise Clause, Amish parents are not required to send their children to high school beyond the eighth grade. As a result, both my research paper and script questions the idea of religious freedom. Is there ultimately a limit to religious freedom? At what point does it or does it not affect the overall well-being of society?
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