LIMA — Speakers at an Allen County Patriots meeting Thursday made the case that the National Education Association abuses teacher dues to support a liberal agenda that disrespects Christian values.
“This is the driver for funding for the left wing in this county,” former teacher and founder of Mission America Linda Harvey said. “We have to get hold of this folks, especially in a state like Ohio.”
About 50 people attended the meeting addressing “NEA: Where the Money Goes.” Three teachers and former teachers came armed with figures of how much money the teacher union has given to liberal causes, especially gay and lesbian advocacy groups.
Cincinnati teacher and former NEA delegate Ruth Boyatt said she left the union because of its disrespect for Christian values, lip service to Democratic debate and how it uses its money.
According to Boyatt, NEA gave close to $15 million to advocacy groups in the 2011-12 school year and $18 million in 2010-11. The advocacy groups, she said, included the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Human Rights Campaign, Women’s Campaign Forum and Rainbow Push Coalition.
“The NEA supports their values with their teachers’ money,” she said, contending that the union is really using taxpayer dollars to support these initiatives because union dues are taken from teacher salaries.
Ohio Education Association Spokeswoman Julie Newhall said the OEA and NEA file financial disclosures with the federal government, and that they both have democratic procedures in place to approve all allocations of member dues.
“As well as democratic processes for voting on all association issues, political recommendations and political contributions,” she said. “Our association benefits from all member voices and healthy debate on our issues.”
Harvey said the NEA has supported an “immoral, deviant and destructive” gay agenda for at least 25 years, citing its gay and lesbian caucus started in 1987. Harvey criticized the union for supporting a gay and lesbian history month, diversity training that included homosexuality, and pro-homosexual school counseling. She said the NEA has asked schools to protect students and staff from sexual orientation harassment and discrimination and has replaced the word “tolerance” with acceptance and respect.
“Kids are being trained as activists now,” she said.
Harvey said the NEA has voted to lobby for same-sex unions and said petitions are currently circulating to overturn the 2004 Ohio marriage amendment, which stated that that only a union between a man and woman would be recognized as a valid marriage. The OEA opposed the amendment. Harvey urged people to work to stop the new initiative.
“You can be sure the OEA will help to fund this effort to tear down marriage in the state,” she said. “Just pray and be ready and do what you can do.”
Newhall said the union has worked diligently to secure equal rights for all members, regardless of gender, race, age, religion or sexual orientation.
“OEA is an active defender of voting rights, women’s rights, collective bargaining rights, civil rights and human rights,” she said.
Retired Coldwater teacher Judy Bruns, who is a former NEA delegate and co-founder of the NEA Conservative Educators Caucus, pointed to language in NEA resolutions she believed proved the union is pro-abortion.
“You are supporting the abortion mentality of this country,” she said of teachers paying union dues.
Bruns said the NEA resolutions states it supports “reproductive freedom without governmental intervention,” and has put itself in a position to oppose any restrictions that could be placed on abortion. She said the union is allied with organizations like Planned Parenthood and uses it as a resource.
“The NEA blocks efforts of grassroots teachers of faith who try to stand up against the union’s position on abortion,” she said.
Newhall said the union’s position on reproductive rights is another example of its defense of important rights.
“Many school systems automatically fired teachers until quite recently for becoming pregnant, whether or not they were married,” she said. “Our position in defense of reproductive freedom for women resulted from that issue.”