A new television show called “Amish Mafia” is set to debut next month.
The TV show supposedly is based on a small group that, in effect, serves as the police force for the Amish community in Lancaster County.
Many published reviews doubt the actual reality of this reality show. Some Lancaster County residents had never even heard of such a group.
“I have never heard of an Amish mafia,” said Carrie Kempton, owner of Reanimated Art Tattoo Studio in Manheim.
Professor David Weaver-Zercher of Messiah College's American Religious History Department said he has not heard of such a group either.
“An Amish mafia exists as far as these gentleman that are in the show have stylized themselves as such,” he said. “But there's no formal connection to Amish life.”
The Discovery Channel would say there is. The show details the group's role as the police force in the Amish community. The show's executive producer said the church won't even admit that it exists.
“I'm sure there is no Amish church or church leader who is cooperating with them in any sort of way,” said Weaver-Zercher.
Weaver-Zercher said most of the Amish probably won't even know about the show, but he can't imagine they would be too disturbed about it.
“I think they would be sad to know that there would be some people forming opinions about Amish life on what they see in this program,” he said.
Kempton has another concern.
“It's kind of messed up to exploit these people,” she said. “They have their way of life and it's not that weird. Those of us that live in Lancaster County, we understand that it's their faith.”