NEA Seeks to Strip Christians’ Religious Freedoms
The National Education Association union has long promoted special privileges for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning. NEA members seem thrilled about the recent decision by five Supreme Court justices who overruled state laws in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in all states, even those where citizens voted against legalization.
In fact, on the first day of the NEA convention in Orlando, all business was halted, in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order. Union President Lily Eskelsen García called “a very special Personal Point of Privilege,” so a female delegate could ask another female delegate to marry her.
Not yet satisfied with their social justice progress, the NEA union now wants to assure that the Constitutional rights to freedom of religion, free speech, and free association are taken away from Christians. At the July union convention in Florida, delegates adopted a Board of Directors-initiated New Business Item, NBI A, which seeks to strip religious freedoms from Christians who don’t wish to participate in gay marriages. The union used pejorative wording to describe those who simply wish to back out of the equation, accusing Christians of wanting to “discriminate” against gays and lesbians.
NBI A, the first one addressed and adopted by the assembly of 6,897 delegates, states:
The NEA will develop educational materials for its state affiliates and members about the potential dangers of so-called ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Acts’ or RFRAs, which may license individuals and corporations to discriminate on the theory that their religious beliefs require such actions. The materials will describe the current legal landscape at the federal and state level, provide model state legislative amendments to modify existing laws to prevent such discriminatory applications, provide talking points for advocacy, and link to existing resources for members and state affiliates to use in efforts to prevent the use of such laws as a license to discriminate.
The union will devote $16,200 to this effort.
NBI A claims that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are a means to “discriminate” against gays and lesbians. The truth is that RFRAs are a way for Christians to try to live out their beliefs and to protect themselves from lawsuits. It is actually the NEA that wishes to discriminate against Christians.
Although the union has a Resolution about religious freedom, it apparently doesn’t apply when the religion is Christianity. NEA Resolution I-33, Freedom of Religion, states:
The National Education Association believes that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. The Association also believes that choice of religion is an intensely personal decision.
The Religious Freedom resolution continues:
The Association further believes that schools should teach the rights and responsibilities associated with the freedom of religion, the religious heritage and diversity of the United States, respect for the beliefs of others, and the historical and cultural influences of various world religions.
The NEA claims to respect the beliefs of others, yet the NEA wishes to abolish the rights of Christians who do not want to officiate at gay marriage ceremonies, or to provide cakes, flowers, photography, or venues for such ceremonies. The NEA wishes to force full participation in ceremonies that are antithetical to Christians who believe marriage is an institution blessed by God and to be engaged in by one man and one woman.
The rationale and background statement for NBI A that was provided to delegates states:
So-called ‘RFRAs’ are being considered and/or passed by state legislatures across our nation, giving license to discriminate based on personal religious beliefs. Continuing our tradition of social justice advancements, NEA affiliates and members need resources to prevent these attempts.
But Christians aren’t seeking to discriminate. They simply don’t wish to participate. RFRA laws are needed to protect Christian individuals and businesses.