Monday, July 11, 2005

Educators' Union Lays Strategy to Offset Attacks on Pro-Homosexual Policies

By Jim Brown and Jody Brown
July 11, 2005

(AgapePress) - The National Education Association (NEA) has adopted a new strategy to counter opposition to the formation of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in public schools, and has condemned opponents of those clubs.

At its recent convention in Los Angeles, representatives of the 2.7-million-member NEA voted overwhelmingly to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with "the new and more sophisticated attacks" against policies that create a safe environment for "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender" (GLBT) students in schools. The Washington Times quotes the chairman of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus of the NEA, who asserted that "extremist groups are using increasingly sophisticated and aggressive tactics to attack school districts with affirming GLBT policies, curriculum, and practices."

Jeralee Smith, founder of the NEA's Conservative Educators Caucus, says she is not surprised by the vote, considering the homosexual-affirming nature of the NEA's representative assembly.

"The thing that made me extremely sad was to hear the speeches [by proponents of the strategy] ... because they attacked the quality of life and the personal decisions of people who have left the homosexual lifestyle," Smith shares. She describes those comments as "a direct attack" that "affected me a lot personally, because it's my own personal story."

According to the Times report, a delegate from Pennsylvania stood to speak in opposition to the proposal and to point out that homosexual-affirming school programs ignore the fact that some people have left the homosexual lifestyle. That delegate, says the Times, was interrupted by booing from the convention floor, causing NEA president Reg Weaver to bring debate on the matter to a close.

Smith says the NEA has no tolerance for former homosexuals. "None of the actions that we have made in the NEA have been against their choice," she notes, "and yet it seems to be okay to completely undercut and trash the choice of people who decided they don't want to adopt a gay identity and [instead] become ex-gay or heterosexuals."

Smith, who has been in the union for four years, says the NEA views delegates who speak out against pro-homosexual policies as "plants from the religious right." But that apparently does not dissuade her from pressing on. She says since the NEA uses her union dues for political purposes, she believes she can make a bigger difference by "putting her mouth where her money goes" instead of dropping out of the union.

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