In Order to Form a More Perfect Labor Union...

In Order to Form a More Perfect Labor Union...

June 29, 2018

Was it a meeting of the National Education Association or the Democratic National Committee? At times it was tough to tell. Like a lot of unions, the line between politics and actual worker advocacy hasn't existed -- not in the NEA, not in Teamsters, United Steelworkers, or any number of Democratic slush-funds posing as public-sector interest groups. For the past several decades, people like Illinois's Mark Janus were told that joining a union was just the price of local employment. It didn't matter that their own unions would be spending those same dues fighting for causes their members didn't believe in. But, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, it matters now.

On Wednesday, five justices of the Supreme Court ended the 41-year-old tradition of what can only be described as legalized robbery. The government, Justice Samuel Alito made clear in his majority opinion, can't force people to fund political speech they don't agree with. If that sounds familiar, it should. The same court just issued two other decisions over the past few days that all arrived at the same conclusion. Whether you're a pregnancy care center being forced to advertise abortion, a Christian baker ordered to solemnize a same-sex wedding, or a conservative teacher whose union dues are being used to undermine them -- no one should be coerced to say, fund, or do anything that violates their beliefs!

For five million workers in 24 states and Washington, D.C., their views finally count. "All we're asking for," Janus said, "is the choice to make our own decision. Up until [this], we didn't. We were forced to do what they wanted us to do." While the Left will weep and moan about their lost leverage, the reality is, workers everywhere will still be free to join a union. But the key word is "free to" not ordered to. For once, unions won't be able to extort money from firefighters, teachers, and other public employees. They'll have to convince them that their contributions are worth it – just like, the Washington Examiner argues, "every other private organization." For those who don't, it'll mean "hundreds of dollars more in take-home pay a year."

After seeing a reliable pipeline of influence disappear in a puff of SCOTUS, Democrats were inconsolable. After all, those unions have $45 million dollars a year lobbying for political causes. "When unions lose," RealClearPolitics's Betsy McCaughey explains, "so do politicians -- primarily Democrats -- who feed at their table." For liberals, who've always tried to overcome the unpopularity of their agenda with coercion, it's a major blow. Unions, like activist courts and government fines, have been another way the Left has forced people to their side. That's what happens when your ideas are too radical for an honest debate -- you have to rely on tyranny to keep your influence afloat.

Meanwhile, if Democrats are the losers of Wednesday's rulings, parents are the winners. As Bill Bennett points out in an upbeat column for Fox News, this is a great opportunity for serious school reform. For years, the NEA had been taking teachers to the ideological cleaners, transforming from a serious voice in education to a satellite office of Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and ACLU. Dues from the three-million member union have gone to a radical social agenda that promotes everything from abortion and graphic sex ed to LGBT extremism. In states like Janus's, teachers who didn't agree with the NEA were forced to become members anyway. When teachers like Carol Katter said the NEA violated her faith, she was told to "pay her dues or change her religion."

"The Supreme Court ruling may mark a watershed moment when teachers begin to take their profession back," the former secretary of education writes. "For decades, public school teachers and other administrative officials have faced the burden of – and pressure to conform to – unionized ideology. Starting now, teachers no longer face burdensome financial obligations and the coercion of being forced to support policies with which they disagree. They now have the freedom to work in new ways to pioneer and innovate state and local policies that can positively affect our children, schools and communities...

We believe the decision in the Janus case can mark a pivotal turning point in advancing fundamental values in public education involving issues such as local control, parental choices, school improvement and accountability systems, and quality content. Everything should be focused on ensuring that all students receive a high-quality education."

For SCOTUS, whose last two weeks prove just how monumental President Trump's election was, this was just one of the ways they vindicated free speech. On the same day as Janus, they also reversed a 10th Circuit Court decision that stopped a woman from suing police officers who tried to stop her from praying in her own home. The story is an incredible one, her attorneys at First Liberty explain. And while police typically have immunity from lawsuits like Mary Anne Sause's, the justices recognized the unique case of religious intolerance. There "can be no doubt that the First Amendment protects the right to pray," the justices agreed and sent the decision back to the lower court for reconsideration.

As FRC's Travis Weber cheers, "It's been a good week for free speech at the Supreme Court!" And what better way could there be to kick off America's celebration of independence than that?

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

DOS Stops Traffic with New Report

June 29, 2018

The State Department puts together a report on international human trafficking every year -- but yesterday's edition got a little more attention than usual. After an emotional month debating immigration policy, Secretary Mike Pompeo's team may have just helped the administration make its case.

Tempers ran high on the issue of family separation at the border -- a problem the president corrected by executive order last week. But, as the Trafficking in Persons Report points out, one of the reasons the government was keeping adults and children apart is because they were concerned that these kids were being exploited by people who weren't actually their parents. A large number, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions told me himself, U.S. officials can't assume these children are actually related to the men and women who bring them across the border. Sometimes, they're being trafficked by people posing as their parents in hopes that they'll get preferential treatment. Just in the last couple of years, there's been a 315 percent spike in adults claiming kids at the border who were not theirs.

So while the policy of temporary separation may not have been the best solution, it was a precaution border officials were willing to take to verify that these kids weren't being smuggled into the country -- so that they don't release them into the hands of bad people who will just turn around and sell them into human slavery.

Dr. Lori Baker, who joined me on "Washington Watch" last week, uses DNA testing to find the families of the victims who die trying to enter the country illegally. But that same technology could also be put to good use verifying the families of these kids. "It's very difficult to seek asylum if you're an adult man," Dr. Baker explained. "But if you're an adult man traveling with a child, you have a better chance of being granted asylum. So what we've seen are these men coercing these children into saying that this is their father. We need to verify what's going on." That's where DNA testing like hers comes into play. In a matter of 48 hours, U.S. officials could have conclusive evidence that would help them make better decisions about how to care for these kids.

As the State Department warned, "Children in institutional care, including government-run facilities, can be easy targets for traffickers." They're targets on the way in and targets once they're there. That's why we need a policy of zero tolerance to help stem the tide. As we've said throughout this whole debate, there's a way to be compassionate and still respect the rule of law. But there has to be a way to protect children too -- or else we've failed America and them.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

The Tale of the LGBT Tape

June 29, 2018

At East Penn School district, officials don't just indoctrinate kids -- they refuse to show parents how! That's the outrageous predicament Emmaus families find themselves in after they found out about a weeklong blitz of pro-LGBT videos that was required watching in every homeroom. And here's the irony: while students were forced to watch them, parents weren't allowed!

Local moms and dads only found out about the screenings through their kids, not because the administration bothered to inform them. Mike Huff, a parent of one of the students, was furious. "I do not support a publicly-funded school pushing any political or social views on children," he told administrators. These were "purposeful, planned, indoctrination videos" that go against his family's values. Yet, when Huff and others flooded the school office, demanding to see what they were showing kids, the response was simple: "No."

"This was student work; this wasn't staff work," Superintendent Michael Schilder insisted. "This was not curriculum... This was student work that needs to be protected from public scrutiny." But, as most adults pointed out, the "student work" was actually the product of the radical Gay Lesbian Straight Education Alliance (GLSEN), which has been infiltrating schools under parents' noses for years.

At a school board meeting, East Penn parents lined up to blast the decision to keep the information from parents. "Our community deserves much better than this from the administration..." said mom Michelle Blagbrough. When officials refused to turn over the materials to parents, a group of them contacted Liberty Counsel to sue, if necessary. In a letter to the district earlier this week, attorneys threatened legal action.

"I am writing to request that the East Penn School district immediately provide to all parents requesting them the specific links to the four pro-homosexuality YouTube videos shown by the district to 2,800 high school students at Emmaus High School, as part of the district's 'Unity Week' and 'Day of Silence' promotional activities." If they refuse, Liberty Counsel promises "further action to prevent irreparable harm to the rights of local parents."

By state law, the district can't withhold curriculum from parents -- a point attorneys drove home in their letter. "The Pennsylvania Administrative Code requires that the district provide parents the opportunity to review all instructional material shown to their children, prior to it being shown... The district has violated this requirement." Parents, they reiterated, "not agents of the state, including teachers, and certainly not GLSEN or its teacher or student affiliates with the GSA, have the right to direct the upbringing and associations of minor children."

LGBT activists have relied on a campaign of secrecy in schools for years. But for a public school to openly join those activists in keeping material from the parents of students is an incredible display of arrogance. If you have kids in government schools, protecting them from these influences is a full-time job. Stay vigilant -- or better, consider other options!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

FRC Hits the Road!

June 29, 2018

The FRC team may be coming to a state near you! This weekend, leading up to the Fourth, I'll be preaching at Milldale Baptist Church (11950 Milldale Road, Zachary, LA) at the 10:15 a.m. service. If you're in the area, join us! You can find details on the Milldale website.

Dr. Kenyn Cureton has the opportunity to speak to 500 pastors and wives at a pastor appreciation banquet in Brownsville, Texas tonight hosted by a group called House of Prayer and Evangelism (led by Esther Ramirez). After Kenyn speaks, Donna Chatham, a Culture Impact Team leader at Hill Cou ntry Bible Church in Austin, is going to tell them how they can start a CIT ministry in their churches. (You can find out too by watching the training we just did in Charlotte.)

Last, but never least, our own Lt. General Jerry Boykin will be in Florida addressing the plight of the persecuted church at Pastor Joey Rogers's church, Pace Assembly (3948 Highway 90, Pace, FL) on Saturday. The event is part of the church's special "Freedom Weekend," so if you're nearby, stop by for live music, BBQ, and special guests.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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