Guest post by Tory Currier.
Sure, it’s a great sounding mission statement; who could say it was wrong? “Our mission is to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.” This is the mission statement from the United States’ largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association (NEA). The melodic-sounding “let’s make positive changes in schools and support student learning” sure sounds good. However, the glossy, beautiful surface starts looking not so beautiful (and actually dangerous) as we start comparing the NEA’s values to Christianity. This is especially relevant for public school teachers and friends and families of public school teachers. This is also relevant to parents who send their children to public schools and to taxpayers who are forced to fund the public school system. Not only do you have a right to know how the NEA membership fees are being used to promote and push different policies, but you should also desire to know. And, if you had a chance to choose between an organization that promotes evil and one that doesn’t, wouldn’t you actively work to choose the second?
What is the NEA?
The NEA, as a union, is a group of teachers that aims to protect the rights of teachers. Membership fees are used to provide liability insurance and negotiate teacher contracts, which include salary, benefits, etc. However, the membership fees are used for other things too, such as promoting and defending a plethora of policy issues, moral positions, and political agendas. Let’s look at some of these items and see if they are compatible with the Biblical worldview.
One of their main overarching values is something called “social justice.” Now, the word “social justice” does sound good; really, who is opposed to justice? However, social justice is not biblical justice; in fact they are opposites. To understand social justice, we have to know that it is a tool within the Critical Theory framework. Critical Theory teaches that everyone is divided into different group identities that have graduations of moral value. Some groups are labeled the “oppressors” and others are labeled the “oppressed.” It is fair to think about it in the Marxian sense, with the “haves” and the “have nots”, the employers and the employees, and the bourgeoisie and proletariat. However, with Critical Theory, the inequalities are expanded into groups like age, race, gender, and sexuality. In addition to group identities, there is also a focus on power. The supposed “oppressor” groups consist of people who historically have held power in western society, such as old, rich, white, male heterosexuals. On the flip side, the “oppressed” groups consist of people who have been held down, such as young, poor, black, female and LGBTQ individuals. In addition to group identity and power, those of the “oppressor” groups are said to not have a true picture of reality because they don’t understand the plight of the “oppressed.”. This is where the social justice tool comes in; it is there to help obtain “justice” and “equity” by elevating “oppressed” groups and lowering “oppressor” groups. Since “oppressed” groups have special knowledge, they have credibility that the “oppressors” don’t have. Thus, the “oppressors” cannot criticize the “oppressed” since they do not understand reality, and if “oppressors” do say something, they are shouted down.
Like previously stated, social justice is not authentic biblical justice. Instead of uniting, it promotes division; instead of individual personal value, everyone is judged based upon their group identity. For example, in their quest to be “antiracist,” they intrinsically are being racist. One is prejudged based upon their racial identity. Blacks are lower, but good, and whites are higher, but bad (If this isn’t racism, I’m not sure what is!). Instead of being judged by their individual content of their character, they are being judged by their group’s “skin color.” Another example is that one who is oppressed has more moral authority and therefore can do bad things (such as riot, commit vandalism, etc.) and still be considered moral. Does this sound just? No. Also, how does emphasizing group differences bring groups into harmony and unity? It seems that it would cause more division and contempt between individuals of different groups, right? Instead of trying to categorize people, shouldn’t we focus on loving each other as Christ commands, regardless of our group? Instead of allowing some to do evil things because of their level of “oppression”, should not all people be judged by the same criteria? That’s true justice.
They Promote Sexual Immorality
The NEA also supports LGBTQ behavior and promotes legislation that advances the LGBTQ agenda. For example, one article on their website by Amanda Menas stated that “educators and students could feel more valued” and have “feelings of acceptance” if an Equality Act were passed. In another article titled Supporting Vulnerable Youth – What Will You Do?, Paul Sathrum writes that educators should “Support initiatives that strengthen families with LGBT children, and that promote acceptance and understanding between parents and children.” The NEA is focusing their “social justice” claim by aiming to “liberate” “oppressed” LGBTQ individuals. To bring this “justice,” the NEA elevates, promotes, and normalizes LGBTQ behavior. While the Bible is crystal clear that we are to love all people, it does not teach us to promote or accept sinful behaviors as good and positive, rather the opposite. Christian educators definitely should stand up for any bullied individual, but authentic Christians are to never promote and praise sexually immoral behaviors.
I’ve met many people throughout my life and, to my knowledge, few, if any, could be categorized as racist. While I’m not saying racism is dead in society, I am saying racism is on the decline. Really, who wants to promote evil and be compared to Hitler, which is often what people think about when they think of racism. Of course racism is evil and it stands against Scripture because we are called to treat everyone with love, dignity, respect and without partiality. The NEA website, however, claims racism is on the rise! “As racism and xenophobia become more prevalent and overt in our schools and communities, it is more important than ever to listen to and elevate the voices, experiences, and history of our fellow citizens and communities under attack.” This article goes on and supports “Black Lives Matter” (BLM). Now, the sentiment that the lives of people with dark skin tone are valuable is not controversial; we all agree with that. Strangely, progressives, including those within BLM, who claim to be the least racists, are the ones that are using racism to fight racism. They accentuate skin tone differences, emphasize ethnic group differences, and drive people groups apart.
The Black Lives Matter organization also promotes many anti-biblical agendas, such as promoting and celebrating LGBTQ behavior, defending “reproductive justice” (otherwise known as abortion), and lambasting the nuclear family.
In addition, the words “black” and “white” or “blackness” and “whiteness” are often not just used when talking about skin pigmentation level but are used when some talk about one’s political views and worldviews. (Here’s an archived infographic that demonstrates that.) In fact, speaking about political views, those who run the BLM organization not only oppose free market capitalism, but also they claim to be trained Marxists! In addition to their political Marxism, they also promote the pagan practice of calling on the spirits of the dead to receive power.
As I stated above, racism is unbiblical and wrong, and we should be fighting against racial discrimination. However, the BLM method is not just “fighting” racism. Instead, like the NEA that supports them, they seem to be more focused on promoting ideas contrary to the biblical worldview. No authentic Christian believer should be supporting the BLM organization.
They Promote People Killing Their Unborn Babies
In addition to supporting the abortion-promoting BLM, the NEA itself also overtly and vehemently promotes abortion. “The NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.” Interestingly, just like the BLM’s “reproductive justice” wording, the NEA uses nice-sounding terms like “right to choose” and “fundamental right” to cover for their blatant apathy towards the most innocent human beings in our midst. So often those who hold such views give passionate stories of how their lives are better off because of having the right to choose. However, what about the innocent baby’s life and well-being? The ideas of “fundamental right” and “killing the most innocent among us” are the most radical oxymorons ever spoken. No authentic believer would approve of killing innocent unborn babies, and they would stand up for the right for life of each of these innocent human beings.
As Christians, we are tasked to freely give to those in need. That is, however, different than someone forcefully taking your money or property, which is called theft. It does not matter if it is an individual or government institution; it is still theft. Socialistic policies do sound good though; they are often billed as economic equalizers. Wealth redistribution happens by taking money from the “rich” and giving it to the “poor.” However, how can we call this right if it was done with force? How can a Christian support this? How do we expect a government system that not only lacks accountability, but also is known for their inefficiency and lack of wisdom, do it without corruption? Unlike Marxism’s atheistic and satanic roots, the free market system was born out of the Christian worldview. The free market system decreases the isolation of power and resources and maximizes accountability and free will transactions. Contrast that to the historical record where socialistic systems always mean greater power, tyranny and government authority in all areas of life. This leads to more corruption, more government control, and less freedom and liberty.
One of the socialistic policies that the NEA promotes is socialistic healthcare. “Every American has a right to comprehensive, affordable health coverage.” They do this by promoting socialized healthcare. Again, this model puts more control in the hands of the government and attempts to “equalize” wealth through forced financial redistribution using the healthcare system.
The NEA also supports the elimination of college tuition for all. Supposedly this will be done though the socialistic policy of taxing the “rich” and redistributing their money for college tuition. Not only would this be forced wealth redistribution (or systemic theft), it would also bring greater government control. In addition to college, they also promote a socialistic K-12 educational system. While school choice, such as charter schools, private schools and home schools using school vouchers would create competition and therefore better schools, the NEA advocates against competition. Decreasing school choice and school competition gives the public government schools more control and more funding, regardless of performance.
They Promote Radical Leftist Political Candidates
Lastly, you can tell a lot about a person or organization by the policies of the politicians they support. The NEA isn’t timid about who they support. They champion and fund political candidates who advocate for abortion, the LGBTQ agenda, and socialistic policies. Many of the candidates they support in their lengthy lists on their site fall in line with some of the most radical leftist positions in politics (here, here and here).
Alternatives to the NEA
We often think that we would have stood up against antebellum, ethnic-based slavery. We often think we would have stood up for the Jews and against Hitler in Nazi Germany. We often think we would be the beacons of light in an evil world by standing up. Well, as Christ followers, we now have our chance. We have the chance to stand up against an anti-biblical worldview. As a Christ follower, how could one continue to participate in, support and promote organizations that champion policies and positions that are antithetical to Christianity? If one does, isn’t this being a little hypocritical?
If you would take a stand, what’s the worst people would do to you? Torture you? Decapitate you? Crucify you? Remotely. The worst would be threats, ridicule and angry stares. Most likely people will just ignore your stand. In the most positive situations, you may start a little movement within your school of people who will stand with you against the promotion of evil ideas. A biblical passage comes to mind when I say this; it is from Jeremiah 12:5. It says this: “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” In other words, if you can’t even do the easy thing, how will it be if you are ever asked to do the hard thing?
While your life most likely will not be at risk if you tried to pull out of the NEA, if we look at reality, there are many concerns when leaving a teachers’ union. What about tenure, contracts, liability insurance, and seniority? Well, there’s good news. In many states, there is not only the option to opt out of the union completely (which often doesn’t exclude teachers from most of their above rights), but there are also union alternatives to the NEA. For example, alternatives include the Association of American Educators and the Christian Educators Association International. In addition, many of these alternative organizations have liability insurance built in with greater liability coverage than the NEA’s coverage, all the while being cheaper! Why can they be cheaper with more coverage? Because you are not paying for all the other anti-Christian, political campaigning.
As believers, we are accountable for how we use the resources that God gives us. As believers, we should desire to use our resources in ways that will bring glory to God and promote a biblical worldview, not the opposite. As believers, we have a prime opportunity to safely stand up for the good and oppose the evil. As believers, I don’t see how one can continue to be a part of the NEA, the NEA that opposes the Christian worldview. What is stopping you today?
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