In recent weeks, cities across the country have banned plastic straws because of their environmental impact. While many are supportive of the idea, there has been some resistance, particularly from the nation’s 500,000 Mennonites, who see the ban on plastic straws as an infringement on their Second Amendment rights.
“We’re pacifists, so we don’t have many means to defend ourselves like the rest of society,” said Elder Funk of Berne, Indiana. “We can’t use guns or knives or other weapons. But every Mennonite home is well equipped with plastic straws and spitballs. It’s all we have!”
Funk has already taken his case to the Indiana state Supreme Court in Indianapolis, where a ruling on the matter is expected later this week.
“Plastic straws are all we have to defend our homes and our families,” said Funk. “We started using them sometime in the 1950s after a local church committee scoured the Bible and couldn’t find a single admonition not to use them.”
Funk says that young Mennonite boys practice hurling spitballs starting at about age 12.
“We even have a class on it in our private schools,” said Funk. “Well, technically it’s Math class, but you know how things go.”
Not only is the plastic straw and spitball every Mennonite’s most sacred weapon, but it’s also used in Anabaptist courting rituals as well.
“There’s a six in ten chance that the Yoder girl you struck in the back of the neck with a spitball in eighth grade will one day be your wife,” explained Funk. “I’m not sure how our Mennonite communities would function without these plastic straws.”
Funk is confident the court will see things his way, but the Mennonites of Indiana have already been pursuing other options just in case. Alternative options include paper straws or reusable straws made of steel, and early testing at Sunday School this weekend suggests they just might do the trick.
(photo credit: Luke Ratzlaff/CC)