I spent much time learning about how different religious groups travel as a theology student. I was especially intrigued by the Mennonites and their unique transportation modes and decided to conduct more research on them. I often heard they use horses and carts, but I was never sure. Before finishing school, I visited Canada and got to live near them to learn more about what they use for transportation. Last week, as I was lecturing about the means of transportation for the Mennonites, one of my students asked me whether the Mennonites ever use cars since he heard that they mostly ride a horse and buggy. Having lived among them, I had all the answers at my fingertips. So, do Mennonites drive cars?
Some Mennonite groups drive cars, while others do not. For instance, the Conference and Conservative Mennonites own and drive cars. On the other hand, the Old Order Mennonites reject technologies, including the use of automobiles. Such groups, therefore, prefer walking or driving horses and buggies rather than cars. They believe the use of cars and other technological devices goes against Romans 12: 2, which warns us against conforming to the things of the world.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the mode of transportation that the Mennonites use. Keep reading to find out whether Mennonites use cars, why they only drive black cars, what kind of cars they use, and much more!
Why don’t Mennonites use cars?
While some Mennonites, such as Conservative and Conference Mennonites, use cars, groups like the Old Order Mennonites do not use vehicles. This group is too conservative and has a lot of restrictions. They do not use cars since they do not see the need to embrace technology and have a strict interpretation of the Bible. They believe that since the Bible says that one should not conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2), it means avoiding modern technological things like cars.
The Old Order Mennonites reside in less developed areas yet to embrace technology. They shun modern life since they also believe it does not align with their values, like living a simple life. Therefore, not using cars is simply cars is part of their tradition. Additionally, Mennonites against the use of cars speculate that over-relying on automobiles can distract them from their relationship with the community and God.
Why do Mennonites only drive black cars?
They believe that black cars are less flashy and do not draw attention than other colored cars since black signifies modesty. According to them, black cars are pretty simple and express humility.
Their religion prevents them from publicly displaying luxury and wealth. They believe that using black cars prevents them from appearing worldly. Black cars make the Mennonites stand out less. This sect tries to avoid vanity since they strongly believe in Ecclesiastes 1, which says that all is vanity. Some scholars also suggest that since Mennonites adhere to vanity rules, they black out the shiny chrome plating in cars since they believe that looking at oneself on the reflexive surfaces of a car is vanity.
Are Mennonites allowed to drive?
While some Mennonites that use cars drive, certain sects of Mennonites do not allow their members to operate them. For instance, the Conference Mennonites have relaxed rules. Therefore, they allow their teens to attend private Mennonite schools and get driver’ licenses. In such a group, one can own a car and drive it.
Some Mennonite communities allow their members to drive but not sit for a driver’s license photo as the law requires. Though state laws in some areas require vehicle licenses to bear photos of the owner, some exempt people with religious objections, such as Mennonites.
What kinds of cars are allowed in the Mennonite community?
The specific types of vehicles they use vary based on preference and cultural background. Most Mennonites that drive cars choose modest, more practical types than flashy ones, like minivans and sedans. Some Mennonite communities also allow the members to get light trucks.
Mennonites like modifying their cars to reflect their beliefs, like adding religious decorations or Christian-themed bumper stickers. Another strange practice among some Mennonite groups is that they have to disable or take out the radio in their vehicles since they do not believe in using such technological devices.
Additionally, some Mennonites get tractors for their farms, but they have to fit them with large steel wheels and replace the pneumatic tires they come with. This is mostly practiced in Mennonite communities that do not allow the use of regular cars. Fitting hard steel wheels on them makes them uncomfortable to use on hard surfaces such as roads. Therefore, the wheels discourage the use of tractors for general transportation. Such communities only allow tractors to be used on farms since they make it easy for them to grow sufficient food.
What do Mennonites use instead of cars?
A community like the Old Order Mennonites often uses horses and buggies as their main means of transportation instead of cars. The horse and buggies that they drive look like Amish carriages. Like cars, they are also colored black. They also feature electric lights and sliding doors. The Mennonites don’t have to register their buggies with the Department of Transportation or need license plates. Additionally, these buggies do not need insurance coverage before using them on the roads.
This community avoids using cars with the belief that technology is evil in some way. Additionally, they are overly concerned about the community and believe that the use of cars would negatively affect this. The only time such a Mennonite might accept to use a car is during an emergency. Besides horse and buggies, the alternative mode of transportation that some Mennonites believe in is walking.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.