Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Letters to the Editor
(From the , 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be no longer than 500 words. Letters must be signed, with address and phone number for contact, but names will be withheld upon request. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Remember to be charitable.
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Fax: (509) 358-7302
Catholics who work in the public schools should carefully consider their options when it comes to joining an association for professional protection and support. It is not a decision without moral and spiritual implications.
The National Education Association (NEA) and its state affiliates promote political agendas that violate Catholic teaching on the protection of unborn life, marriage, and parental rights in education. It opposes selling closed public school buildings to churches or private organizations wanting to establish parochial or private schools.
Pope John Paul II noted in Laborem Exercens that not all associations are in harmony with religious principles. “[T]he number of associations of almost every possible kind, especially of associations of workers, is now far greater than ever before.... But the opinion is, and it is one confirmed by a good deal of evidence, that they are largely under the control of secret leaders and that these leaders apply principles which are in harmony with neither Christianity nor the welfare of States....”
He continued, “Under these circumstances, workers who are Christians must choose one of two things; either to join associations in which it is greatly to be feared that there is danger to religion, or to form their own associations and unite their forces in such a way that they may be able manfully to free themselves from such unjust and intolerable oppression” (emphasis added).
A grassroots movement of teachers formed Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), an affiliate of the Association of American Educators, for this very reason. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization serving educators in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. It is a recognized champion of teachers. NWPE successfully helped defend teachers’ free speech rights not to fund union politics in compulsory union fee states, like Washington and Oregon, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Idaho Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter has honored NWPE for its contributions to Idaho’s education efforts.
NWPE is not a union. It takes no positions and spends no dues on advancing noneducation political agendas. Rather, the organization focuses on advancing academic professionals and providing the protections they want most, such as $2 million liability protection and guaranteed legal services for job protection issues. Certified, classified and administrative educators of any education entity are welcome to join for dues of $12 a month.
Pope John Paul exhorts Catholics who teach in the public schools to choose one of two courses (joining an association that violates the common good or forming and joining one in accord with their conscience). He asks, “Can they who refuse to place man’s highest good in imminent jeopardy hesitate to affirm that the second course is by all means to be followed?”
Catholic public school educators are urged to pray about their associations and make decisions that correspond with a well-formed conscience. Others can help by sharing information about Northwest Professional Educators with teachers who want their professional associations to be in harmony with their deeply-held convictions.
Please call 1-800-380-6973 or visit the NWPE website at www.nwpe.org for more information.
Cindy Omlin, Spokane
(Omlin is Executive Director of Northwest Professional Educators.)
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