Above all, the teacher is a bearer of culture and a creator of social values.
Does the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, the American Federation of Teachers, actively promote homosexuality to children in America’s public schools?
The answer is “yes.” Indeed, “actively” is maybe too mild a word for it.
The AFT has 1.3 million members and staffs thousands of schools nationwide. As with all unions, members’ dues pay for the AFT’s activities. Like all teachers’ unions, the AFT is ultimately funded by property taxes levied in the communities where the schools are located.
This means that, whether they are aware of it or not, dues-paying AFT members and tax-paying property owners in AFT school districts (even those who have no children in the schools) are financing the AFT’s efforts in support of the homosexual agenda in the public schools.
The AFT’s Mission for Homosexuality
What does the AFT do to spread the homosexual message?
- It cooperates very closely with homosexual activist groups—chief among them GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network—to establish, in as many schools as possible, “gay” students’ clubs, a homosexual-friendly curriculum, and a sympathetic and enabling faculty.
- The union actively supports homosexual political campaigns. It publicly endorses “gay marriage” and related issues, contributes money to homosexual activism, and supports political candidates friendly to the homosexual cause.
- Its leaders make public comments in support of the homosexual agenda.
- The AFT’s power structure includes a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) caucus, which cooperates with similar groups in other unions.
The AFT is not to be confused with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union. The AFT is affiliated with the super union, the AFL-CIO, and the NEA is not. Although a merger of the two largest teachers’ unions has often been proposed, it has not yet come to pass. A member of the AFT’s gay and lesbian caucus, Jeff Bixby, told Chalcedon that he dreams of such a merger.
“If the AFT and the NEA merged,” he said, “they’d be the most powerful bloc in the United States.”
Despite the failure to merge, there is much cooperation between the two unions—at least when it comes to advancing the gay agenda in the schools. “Our caucus treasurer is also a member of the NEA,” Bixby said.
Another difference is that the NEA’s gay activists are much more visible than their counterparts in the AFT. The AFT caucus does not have a website, Bixby said; nor would he divulge the number of AFT teachers who have joined the caucus—although he did say that “many” of them belong to GLSEN, too. But, “We don’t give out our membership figure,” he said.
Bixby, a cofounder of GLSEN-Cincinnati, says, “The primary purpose of GLSEN is to make schools safe.”
The facts suggest otherwise.
Sodomy as “Moral Education”
It’s Elementary is a 78-minute film produced in 1996 by Women’s Educational Media. In 1998, GLSEN applauded the Chicago public schools—whose teachers belong to the AFT—for acquiring the film as a teacher-training tool. “The Chicago public school district uses It’s Elementary for staff development and training in every one of its schools,” the producers boast (http://www.womedia.org/ie_whoshoulduse.htm).
The reader can view excerpts from this film on the MassResistance website (http://www.massresistance.org/media/video/brainwashing.html). The viewer will see a teacher ask, at a faculty meeting, “Are we saying the kids have to support this [homosexuality]?” And the answer, “I think we are asking kids to believe this is right … It’s moral education.” A little boy says, “If you are open-minded, you would like to try it.” And a school principal says, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for values to be taught only at home.”
Elsewhere in the Chicago school district, students at Deerfield High School this year were required to sign a “confidentiality agreement” forbidding them to tell their parents about what they would hear at a GLSEN panel discussion at their school (see http://www.illinoisfamily.org/informed/contentview.asp?c=33228). Parents had the right to opt their children out of the session; but it would have been hard for the parents to exercise that right if no one informed them that such a session was to be held. The Deerfield scandal died down after the superintendent of schools admitted that the confidentiality pledge was “a mistake.”
The real mistake, says Linda Harvey of Mission America, is to let GLSEN have any contact with school children in the first place (see http://www.narth.com/docs/glsen.html).
All That GLSENs Is Not Gold
In 2000, the Chicago chapter of GLSEN was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[ii]
How did the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame describe GLSEN? “Often thought of as ‘the teachers’ group’” (http://www.glhalloffame.org/index.pl?item=140&todo=view_item) is the operative phrase. And in Chicago, that means AFT teachers.
Today, according to the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (http://glsenchicagoland.org/gsanetwork.html), there are 81 high schools in the Chicago school district (out of 100 or so)—including one Roman Catholic high school—where GLSEN has planted “gay-straight alliances.” These are after-school clubs where students meet to discuss homosexual “issues” and experiences, and there are thousands of these clubs, nationwide.
What do these clubs do? According to a 2002 article in New York Magazine, “Growing Up Gay” (see http://nymag.com/news/articles/02/gay/kids/), gay-straight alliances (GSAs)—at the time, about 60 of them—have fueled “the emergence of gay youth culture.” Said a GLSEN member interviewed for the article, “Ten years ago, coming out [declaring one’s homosexuality] was an adult process. Now it’s an adolescent process.” Added a teenage girl who belonged to her high school’s GSA, “It’s where everyone gets exposed to gay culture, and it’s really a lot of fun.”
How much fun? New York’s Stuyvesant High School was the subject of a New York Magazine cover story in February 2006: “The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School” (http://nymag.com/news/features/15589/). The lead paragraph reads, “Researchers find it shocking that 11 percent of American girls between 15 and 19 claim to have same-sex encounters. Clearly they’ve never observed the social rituals of the pansexual, bi-queer, metroflexible New York teen.”
The article describes the tenth-period recreational activities on the high school’s second floor, which can be accurately summed up as sexual encounters with the participants’ clothes still on. Many of these encounters are homosexual: mostly girls with girls, but more than a few boys with boys.
New York City school teachers belong to the UFT, the United Federation of Teachers, which is an affiliate of the AFT.
It is difficult to imagine school teachers and administrators allowing, let alone condoning, such carryings-on as the “cuddle puddle.”
Unhappily, we do not have to imagine it. It is reality.
GLSEN’s Reading List
Far from simply “making schools safe,” GLSEN, that “teachers’ group,” energetically proselytizes for the homosexual “lifestyle.” Linda Harvey wrote an article, “GLSEN and Its Influence on Children” (http://www.narth.com/docs/glsen.html), which includes many excerpts from books on GLSEN’s recommended reading list for grades 7–12 at public schools. These are notable for their graphic sexual content and can justly be described as homosexual pornography. The books have titles like Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian, Queering Elementary Education, Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade, and so on.
Some of the excerpts describe “gay” sex acts between children. Others cross over into pedophilia. Children read them in school, under the auspices of the teachers’ unions.
“Because of its potential for the corruption of minors,” Ms. Harvey concludes, “it is our opinion that GLSEN staff and volunteers should not be permitted to have any contact with children.”
Nevertheless, millions of public school children come into contact with GLSEN personnel every day. And member teachers’ dues and citizens’ tax dollars foot the bill for it.
Unions Stump for Sodomy
Meanwhile, the union itself, and its leaders, line up behind militant sodomy on political issues.
In Wisconsin last year, the state affiliate of the AFT, AFT Wisconsin, donated $5,000 to Fair Wisconsin, a group formed to defeat a proposed state ban of “gay marriage” (“Unions Line Up to Oppose Ban on Gay Marriage, Civil Unions,” Associated Press, Aug. 1, 2006). Another teachers’ union group, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, donated $25,000. The unions also organized “volunteers” and “educated their members” on the virtues of homosexual “marriage.” Despite all this, Wisconsin voters approved the ban.
In New York City, also in 2006, the United Federation of Teachers joined many other unions in a strong show of support for “gay marriage” (see http://www.prideagenda.org/freedom_to_marry/freedom3.htm), organized by the Empire State Pride Agenda. Said UFT President Randi Weingarten, “All New Yorkers who want to marry should be allowed to do so. Period.”
In Montana, in 2005, the state affiliate of the AFT joined a lawsuit to force the state to pay for health insurance for state university employees in homosexual relationships. “The AFT in Montana helped secure an important victory for equity for gay and lesbian partners,” proclaims the union’s national website (http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/on_campus/mar05/news_trends.htm).
The same year, affiliates of the AFL-CIO, including the AFT, organized a “Pride at Work Educators Summit” to promote the “rights” of homosexuals in the workplace (http://prideatwork.org/page.php?id=371). “The summit’s purpose will be to focus on rights and protections for all educators/education personnel and to supports [sic] GLBT students and families in K–12 schools, colleges and universities.”
How many “GLBT students” do they expect to find in kindergarten?
The AFT holds its national convention every other year. The last one was in 2006 in Boston.
Convention delegates—in addition to the usual plethora of left-wing, feel-good resolutions: protect abortion, boycott Wal-Mart, socialize medicine, allow felons to vote, etc.—found time at their 2004 convention to pass a resolution opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment (which failed in Congress that year). The language of the resolution is indicative of the AFT mindset. By not allowing same-sex “marriages,” the resolution says, the proposed amendment “would take away the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons to enter into civil marriage” (http://www.aft.org/about/resolutions/2004/marriage.htm).
How could the amendment take away a “right” that never existed in the first place?
Currently, the AFT, in its capacity as a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, has called on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—which would force companies, and maybe even churches and religious charities, to hire cross-dressers and other overtly disturbed, and disturbing, individuals. The stalking horse, of course, is “equal rights in the workplace” (LCCR communication, Apr. 24, 2007).
Wherever homosexual political activism is found, one will find the AFT supporting it—with members’ dues.
Drop the Denial
We hope we have made the case that “[g]ay activist groups, with teachers’ union applause, are importing a disturbing agenda into the nation’s public schools” (Marjorie King, “Queering the Schools,” City Journal, Spring 2003, http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_queering_the_schools.html). Indeed, in some cases, the teachers’ unions are not just applauding the gay activists; they are the gay activists. It is not for nothing that GLSEN in Chicago was described as a “teachers’ group.”
We have no choice but to pay our taxes, some of which fund a public education system that is increasingly pro-homosexual and anti-Christian. But we can choose whether or not to continue sending our children to those schools.
Critics of public education are often frustrated by their fellow citizens’ denial that conditions can possibly be so bad in their own neighborhood schools. Reporter John Stossel, in his 2006 TV documentary, Stupid in America, laments Americans’ willingness to believe that “other schools” might be in trouble, but “our schools” are all right (http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=285).
But if the AFT or the NEA is staffing the school district, the schools are not all right. If your neighborhood AFT-staffed school does not have a “gay-straight alliance” today, it might easily have one tomorrow.
Christian children have a right to a Christian education, and Christian parents a clear duty to provide one. Children will not receive this at a public school. Nor is it possible that the teachers’ unions will give up their commitment to reengineer society. The public schools may well get worse, but they will not get better.
As we have said many times, the practical alternatives to public education are Christian schools or Christian homeschooling. But certainly the first step in any process of emancipation from the public schools is to break down the wall of incredulity and confront the problem as it is.
[i] Quoted by R. J. Rushdoony in The Messianic Character of American Education (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1963; 1995 edition), 248. Note the date of Mr. Counts’ comment, 1933, 74 years ago. Public “educators” have always seen themselves as messiahs, and always will.
[ii] In 2006, GLSEN Chicago split off the national GLSEN organization and renamed itself Creating Safe Schools for Illinois (CSSI).
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.