Yet Mr. Stanton said Mr. Hofer's work is problematic for more than just religious reasons. Most Hutterites are actually not opposed to photography.
Rather, their communal philosophy is anathema to the self-promotion that has become endemic to Mr. Hofer's computer-savvy generation. To see one person elevated through such exposure seems prideful. His success is problematic in a culture that restricts individual expression and personal property, Mr. Stanton said.
The colony had argued that the government's rule violated its charter right to freedom of religion. Members believe the second commandment in the Bible ("Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image") prohibits them from willingly having their picture taken.
I didn't realize that Hutterite culture has become so accepting of computing and mobile technology. Considering that TVs and radios are generally shunned, I'm surprised that even the most liberal of colonies have decided that, yes, the Internet is OK and our kids can totally text each other.
This week has been weirdly pivotal in Hutterite history. In response to the airing of the National Geographic reality television show American Colony: Meet the Hutterites, a collection of Hutterite bishops released their first ever press release. The religious leaders said the show was contrived and portrayed them negatively and inaccurately. It featuring the devotees drinking, swearing and arguing.
"The Hutterites are absolutely up in arms. They are so hurt and betrayed by the way they've been depicted," said Mary-Ann Kirkby, who left a colony with her family in the 1970s and has since wrote a memoir about growing up Hutterite.
"The producers made a mockery of our people, our culture, our way of life. They were promised the National Geographic treatment and instead received some foolish, scripted Hollywood treatment that has no relationship to our actual life," the Saskatchewanian said.
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