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Amy is co-host and blogger for both Stand Up for the Truth and Naomi's Table, two ministries that give her the opportunity to write and talk about Jesus all day long. She has written, produced and broadcast in the realm of television and radio news, magazine business journals and marketing materials. She continues her freelance work as a writer and social media consultant.

Chaos in Madison

Young Madison Protestor stands up for teachers

Image by SEIU International via Flickr

We are watching a very serious situation unfold in Madison where union members, students and community organizers are protesting budget cuts in the state of Wisconsin.  Make no mistake, this situation has the potential to become violent and ugly.  I think it is important for Christians to step back and be on our knees praying for everyone involved.

First, let me be clear about one thing—I know many public school teachers who are Christians and dedicated teachers doing the best they can to help our children.  It is very important as Christians that we do NOT view these people as enemies.  They are faced with the possibility of a major cut in their benefits.  Many of us have been there these past few years and I take no joy in watching these teachers face the same situation.

But the simple fact is this:  Wisconsin is on the verge of economic collapse.  And public employees are simply being asked to share some of the pain many of us in the private sector have been facing over the past few years.  Government spending must be dramatically reduced—and state employees must make some sacrifices.  The alternative to sacrifice is running the risk of the governor firing every teacher and hiring replacements.  That is not a good situation for any one.

Yesterday, while waiting for service at a local business, the protests were being covered on the national news and a man standing next to me said he would like to see someone shoot Governor Walker.  He went on to call Walker a nazi.  This man went on to say that Governor Walker was taking human rights away from union members and was as bad as Mubarek in Egypt.

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HUMAN RIGHTS.  THIS IS ABOUT MONEY.  I don’t blame school teachers for not wanting to pay more for their health insurance and retirement.  However the reality of the situation is if their union does not make concessions, the state could possibly go bankrupt and nullify all employment contracts.

And quite frankly, marching out high school and college students to protest–to me–is disgusting.  Is this part of “educating” our children?  While I appreciate the work our teachers do, their role is not to fill our students heads with propaganda and incite them to protest on their behalf.

The problem is not the individual teacher—it is the NEA.  As we have documented on this show and will continue to, the NEA is an anti-Christian organization that is working with the United Nations to push a humanist agenda on to our children.  They fight against school choice and home schooling every chance they get and seek to eliminate God from public education at every turn.

I sincerely hope that no teacher will lose their job in this crisis.  But we need to get government spending under control and that will require sacrifices.  And we need to reduce or eliminate the impact the NEA has on our children.

Please pray that God will work in the hearts and minds of all involved for a peaceful resolution to this crucial situation.  Second Chronicles 7:14:  “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.

Our land, the United States, needs major healing.  The situation in Madison sadly could be the beginning of major unrest throughout the country if this escalates.  This is not a time for hateful rhetoric—this is a time for prayer.  As men and women of God, I encourage every one of us to pray for a peaceful, just resolution to this crisis.  Do not give in to feelings of hatred or anger—that is exactly what community organizers and other trouble makers want.

Please commit to uniting in prayer for our state and citizens.  There is much more at stake here than I think any of us realize.

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46 Responses to “Chaos in Madison”

  1. Todd Lohenry #

    Nice work, Mike! Thanks, as always, for your perspective…

    February 18, 2011 at 8:41 AM Reply
  2. Mary D. #

    Excellent commentary on a potentially divisive subject. Someone explain this to me: Unions are left and liberal. They have what they have because of capitalism which liberals tend to despise. If – when – we go socialist then what will they have for their labors? What everyone else has – not so much. Something is just not right here.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:26 AM Reply
  3. Amy Spreeman #

    …By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:32 AM Reply
  4. Tom #

    I still find it frustrating how the Tea Party is racist, subversive, riotous, violent, and promoting hate; while the sit-ins, missing work, encouraging children to picket, etc. are merely demonstrating our democratic right.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:26 PM Reply
  5. Nancy Bressers Edwar #

    Tiffany…read this..this is the best perspective on this whole thing that I have heard..

    February 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM Reply
  6. Nancy Bressers Edwar #

    anyone who has questions, this has it in a nutshell!

    February 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM Reply
  7. Leeann #

    I wonder what fiscal responsibility has to do with being a born again Christian. What are the 2 greatest commandments… Love the Lord your God with your heart, soul, strength & mind… love your neighbor as yourself. We sure have not felt the love out of our brothers & sisters in Christ as we have suffered largely alone through this. It's been driving us to the world where we feel more concern for our well-being than to our brethren.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM Reply
  8. Leeann Klein #

    We have been studying James, and brought to mind is the following:James 2:15-27 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:13 PM Reply
  9. Mike #

    I love that verse myself Leeann.  In what way would you apply it to the situation in Madison?MikeSent from my iPad

    February 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM Reply
  10. Mike #

    Leeann, I do not envy the situation you are in, but us in the private sector have seen wage and benefit reductions for the past 2 years.  I think it is naive for public workers to think you should not also be affected.  I do hope a common sense compromise is reached for everyone's sake.  Please know I do understand the pain of increasing benefit costs.  My wife and I have seen our insurance costs go up $700 per month.  You talk as if Christians who disagree with your view are bad people.  We just know that our state is facing bankruptcy if costs are not reduced.Sent from my iPad

    February 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM Reply
  11. Mike #

    Thank you Nancy.MikeSent from my iPad

    February 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM Reply
  12. Mike #

    It always depends on the slant the media puts on things.Sent from my iPad

    February 18, 2011 at 3:40 PM Reply
  13. Leeann Klein #

    It is easy to say, "I hope that you are okay after this. I'll pray for you. Be warm & be filled." We are not asking to not make concessions. We as a group of teachers are willing to make concessions. What we have a problem with is that we have not been given a chance to talk about what. Yes, we all have jobs still. However, think about newer teachers (like myself) who will be going back to where we stated from 5 years ago, or even going backwards from where we started from. For people with jobs that require degrees, some of us will be making $25000 a year. I made that much working for Nestle. Talk about an unnecessary job, working in a factory where we made Instant Breakfast and Sweet Success. We're talking about people here who understood their pay would never match up with the private sector… but desired to do jobs like teaching children, taking care of babies, taking care of the elderly in their homes, making sure roads are plowed, dealing with inmates… not jobs like making chocolate or building fancy homes or entertaining people. It seems that those who desire to help people, who do necessary jobs, are being told that we should be paid less than the private sector because the state directly pays for our jobs. I indirectly pay for everyone else's jobs… buy buying food, purchasing furniture & appliances, going out. I will be doing less of this now because I cannot. Many, many teachers and state workers are married to other teachers and state workers. Many, many families as well as individuals will be affected by this… both those who are state workers and those who work in jobs we can no longer support. This is expansive, much more so than anyone is thinking about in immediate terms. It is a short-term solution that will ultimately lead to more inferior services as state employees retire or leave public service and less spending in other areas as the 100,000's of state employees make cut-backs. And ultimately, why the cuts to big businesses at the state level that caused this deficit within the last month to start with?

    February 18, 2011 at 4:02 PM Reply
  14. Mike #

    Thanks Leeann for your thoughts and sharing them.  I certainly hope this issue will get resolved.  Please know we are praying for that.Mike.Sent from my iPad

    February 18, 2011 at 4:12 PM Reply
  15. Leeann Klein #

    By the way, did you know that in addition to this short-term bill, they are planning to introduce big cuts to education. That means that not only will teachers be decreased across the board, but school boards who will now have say to do whatever they want will be able to make any decisions they want to in light of huge cuts to districts. This means many more teachers will still lose jobs or be decreased even further. I have already personally been up for reduction for 3 years in a row, and this could ultimately lead to my family next year not only having lost nearly $10,000 this year, but possibly another $8,000 next year. How do you prepare for that? Please, don't say, "A lot of people have had to do that." As a teacher, where else am I going to look for a job when the entire state, every school will be the same? That being said, where are our kids in public schools going to be? Who cares about them?

    February 18, 2011 at 4:13 PM Reply
  16. Leeann Klein #

    By the way, did you know that in addition to this short-term bill, they are planning to introduce big cuts to education. That means that not only will teachers be decreased across the board, but school boards who will now have say to do whatever they want will be able to make any decisions they want to in light of huge cuts to districts. This means many more teachers will still lose jobs or be decreased even further. I have already personally been up for reduction for 3 years in a row, and this could ultimately lead to my family next year not only having lost nearly $10,000 this year, but possibly another $8,000 next year. How do you prepare for that? Please, don’t say, “A lot of people have had to do that.” As a teacher, where else am I going to look for a job when the entire state, every school will be the same? That being said, where are our kids in public schools going to be? Who cares about them?

    February 18, 2011 at 10:13 PM Reply
  17. Mike #

    Leeann, sadly the NEA has brought a lot of this down on the good teachers like you.  They continually fight against charter schools, Christian schools and other areas that could actually open up more jobs for teachers and more choice for parents.  As I stated in my blog, the NEA is the culprit, not teachers.  Your own union is making things worse.Please know that we really are praying for a fair resolution on this.  If the NEA thinks public sentiment is behind them and they overplay their hand, this could become disasterous.  I hope both democrats and republicans, along with your union get back together and start bargaining in good faith.  There is a lot at stake here.Sent from my iPad

    February 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM Reply
  18. Mike LeMay #

    As this heats up, let us never forget to pray for GOD'S wisdom and intervention.

    February 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM Reply
  19. Leeann Klein #

    Please keep our family in prayer. I was informed tonight that people who are going to be let go for next year will be informed Monday. I have been and will certainly continue to pray for God's wisdom & his intervention. There is absolutely nothing I can do… so it's all Him!

    February 18, 2011 at 8:06 PM Reply
  20. Leeann Klein #

    By the way, the budget that will be announced next week Tuesday will include an additional $500 reduction for every student. This means in addition to the budget fix bill they are trying to vote on right now. For my tiny school district (less than 1000 students K-12), this will mean having to cut approximately $500,000. This will mean many teachers and support staff laid off. This will be happening in every district in the state.

    February 18, 2011 at 8:34 PM Reply
  21. Mike #

    Leeann may the Lord protect and provide for you.  Whatever happens, place your trust in Him.  I was laid off twice in my career, and while painful, God always provided and eventually led me to better things.Sent from my iPad

    February 19, 2011 at 5:37 AM Reply
  22. Leeann Klein #

    We are grateful for those who are our brothers & sisters in Christ who are praying for us. The most important thing is that we not allow the enemy to use this as tool to divide us, especially in what is obviously a time coming close to the… Lord's return with everything that is happening everywhere in the world.Please, more than keep us all in prayer… ALL the state workers, the students, everyone who will be affected by whatever happens. Pray for the people who are making these decisions on every side, that God would shine a light in all of their hearts, that He would reveal the truth WHATEVER it may be, that He would bring the Christians back together. That God would use this time to lead people TO the Lord instead of people allowing the enemy to pull us apart.I did not mean to, but I know that as heart-felt as my intentions were, I have allowed my feelings to cause division. For that I apologize & repent. Now we need to allow the Lord to heal & to really show WHATEVER is the truth… WHATEVER that may be. When we pray, we need to ask that God's will be done and that the truth be manifested, the real truth even if it's not what we currently believe is the truth. We need to be careful (and I am talking myself first) that when we pray for the Lord's will to be done, that we do not tell him either in our words or in our hearts what we think his will should be.If it's the truth as God sees it, it is the only truth. Thank you for standing with us, and I pray that you will not allow the enemy to build up anger & division in your hearts through this. God bless you all!Travis & I know that we will make it through this time. It is a very shocking thing as far as it has been taken, and none of us (though we were expecting cuts) were prepared for the degree of this measure. We know, though, that whether we are asked to cut & cut & cut from our family budget, we trust the LORD that HE will show us how. It is heart-breaking most of all to see our son impacted by this both because of our jobs & because of what will happen in his school, but we believe that the Lord will not allow him to be harmed beyond measure during this time.What we ask the most is not for platitudes. We know that the Lord will provide, protect, direct. We just want people to say they CARE about how deeply this is going to affect us. We have heard people say that it's not really a big deal, and that hurts because it shows a lack of love & concern. The best thing is if you cannot be supportive & loving to your brothers & sisters going through this, don't say anything at all. There's been a lot of negative coming from both sides, and it is causing horrible division. Please, let's draw together as brothers & sisters in Christ and pray for the Lord's will to be done. Let's stand with those who may be taking some very painful life-changing cuts in their families, especially with so many teachers being married to teachers. We need to stand beside, hold up our brothers & sisters going through this, to bring healing not division. We don't have to agree. We do need to allow the Lord reveal the truth and bring healing.

    February 19, 2011 at 11:14 AM Reply
  23. Mike #

    Leeann, no apology necessary at all–this a challeging time for you.  I echo your prayers that this is resolved to the benefit of everyone.Sent from my iPad

    February 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM Reply
  24. Mary #

    I truly do pray for all state employees during this time. I pray that an equallly fair and equitable solution can be found.With that said, some times things aren't fair. It wasn't fair that when my husband went into work, he found out his company had gone out of business. We had no time to prepare. We had no fore knowledge that it was coming. He found another job in a couple of days for about $12,000 less a year but at least we could keep our house. We both have medicak issues and now we had no insurance. I am diabetic and ny husband has severe psoraic arthritis. If I don't eat, I don't need my insulin or perhaps my other meds. If I chose to eat, I wouild die becaise my pancreas produces little to none of the insulin it needs. Insulin is for my prescription costs $240.00/month. That does not include the other meds I take for high blood pressure, liver and kidney disorders and lupus. If my husband didn't take his meds he'd be a cripple. We did not qualify for assistance from the state. We tried badge care and we were told that in 3 months my husband might be coverd of he was indeed he would be crippled at that time. I would not be covered however. I was told I was not a minority or illegal alien, we made too much money previously and altough diabeties is a life threating disease, it wasn't a disability, so I wasn't covered. Nice, the state would let me die but if I had been born outside of this country or disabled, or had the time to lower I'd be ok. Talk about an eye opener. We cashed in our 401K and got our meds. Just when we started to get insurance from his new employer, they went out of business too!The trucking industry has taken a hugh hit and we got caught in it. We had to borrow money from relatives and our income went down another $10,000 a year. I took a job at one of the local "big" dicounts stores and made $11,000 working full time, 12 months a year. No insurance, no union and heck not alot of money. So to me you are still getting paid more money than those of us that are "less educated" than you. That $25,000 sounds great to me.We lost $22,000 in a 6-7 month and there is no way to prepare for that. But it sure does put you in a place where you have to rely on the Lord! We saw Him provide in ways that you wouldn't believe. Not always in money but maybe a reduced price in food, clothing and dry goods. Getting car fixed for free… He also gave my husband a job that pays, well, not as much as the one he lost. But better than where we were. And I truly believe he will restore all that was taken. He truly doesfind a way where there seems to be no way. This may sound corny, but your hope is truly in the Lord! Not the union and certainly not the state. Look to him, KNOW in your mind and heart that he will never "forsake his faithful ones". (Psalm 37:28) I am sorry this is so long but I leave you with this; (Proverbs 3:5) Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. I sang this verse every time the enemy tried to knock me down.Every time he tried to make me feel hopeless. I also sang "I've got that joy,joy, joy down in my heart." I wasn't going to let him steal my joy. "The joy of the Lord is my strenght." another song. I could go on but I think you'll get it. Use God Word, it's your best medicine!God bless and I wil be praying!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM Reply
  25. Mike #

    Thank you for sharing Mary.  Our hope truly is in the Lord, not unions or even ourselves.<o:p></o:p>

    February 21, 2011 at 12:18 PM Reply
  26. Angie #

    I am a public school teacher in Wisconsin as well as a Christian and an active member of my church. I thought I found a place where I could escape the rhetoric and propaganda being spread about public employees in my trusted Q 90 fm. Unfortunately, on my way to work today I found out I was wrong. I thought a Christian radio station surely would not promote the misinformation of mainstream media. I was left incredibly disappointed. For public employees such as myself, this battle in Madison is NOT about money. It is about the right to bargain our contracts. My school district just ratified a contract giving teachers a 0% increase for the 2010-2011 school year. At the board meeting where the contract was ratified, teachers applauded our school board. Why would anyone applaud a contract offering a 0% increase in pay? Because we had the right to negotiate and vote on our contract. That's what this is about. Taking away our right to collective bargaining saves the state nothing. School districts receive a set amount of money from the state based on many variables-population, student need, special education population, poverty level. That amount of money is what the school district has to work with. They get together with the negotiation team and come to an agreement about salaries and benefits out of that amount of money. If the state gives you less money to work with, you negotiate accordingly. That's what our district did. We had no money to work with so we negotiated a 0% increase. But at least we had the opportunity to negotiate. Public employees are not bankrupting the state as some would have the public believe. Government mismanagement and lack of priorities is to blame. The NEA is not the enemy either. I'm not even going to touch those misguided, ill-informed comments about that organization because there is no way to debate comments that are not based on fact. It was incredibly disappointing to hear your program this morning and to read your blog tonight. I really enjoyed the music your station plays but it is clear that you do not stand up for the truth on this matter. Your station lost a listener today. Hopefully the other Christian radio stations programmed in my car have not joined the bandwagon to misinform the public as to what the issue for public employees really is-the right to bargain.

    February 21, 2011 at 7:57 PM Reply
  27. Jesse #

    I wish to make two points.1. Unions have agreed to compromise and pay for more for their pension/healthcare but want to keep collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is not only about monetary issues, but also working conditions and nonmonetary benefits.2. When the democrats controlled things in DC, they forced their agenda with little or no compromise. The end result was that they took a beating in the elections. I believe it was wrong when they refused to compromise just as I feel it is wrong for Gov. Walker to refuse to compromise. They say history repeats itself. Perhaps Gov. Walker was not paying close enough attention.

    February 21, 2011 at 9:15 PM Reply
  28. Sam Weaver #

    John Adams, one of the USA's most influential founders, said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." James Madison, the so-called "father of the US Constitution," said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." The US Constitution was written for one purpose: Individual Liberty under the Rule of Law [i.e., the Law(s) of Nature and of Nature's God]. As soon as Americans begin to place more faith in themselves, in government, or in "experts" than in God–or begin to love such things as material wealth and possessions more than they love the spiritual things of God, then the Rule of Law degenerates into the rule of men.Around the turn of the last century (early 1900's), a powerful movement (the "Progressive" movement) began to take hold in the USA. To make a very long and complicated story as short as possible, the "Progressive Movement" took the focus away from the individual (and from Individual Liberty) and concentrated on the collective (and such things as "social justice"). It deemed God "dead" and viewed government–and the educated elite–as the "new 'saviour'" of man.Since then, by and large, Americans have forgotten how to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love their neighbor a much as they love themselves. We trust government (the "collective") to make everything right. We fail in our duties and responisbilities to love and support our neighbors when they are hurting.Leeann, you may not be hurting at this moment, but you certainly feel threatened. You believe that Governor Walker wants to take away some of your economic security. That may be true; but he is NOT taking away from you anything more than the economic recession has taken away from virtually any other US citizen! He is doing what he was elected to do to bring fiscal sanity back to the great state of Wisconsin!! He is being a responsible steward of the authority that God has given him.Before "Progressivism" took hold, we all–as a family, as a community, as a church, as a state, as a nation–banded together in rough times to love, support and help one another. I hope and pray that your family, your church, your community has not been totally corrupted by progressivsm/materialism/commercialism. I hope they will come together and rush to your aid. I hope they do not try to lie to you and tell you that Governor Walker is hateful and/or compassionless. In the meantime, as a fellow American, I will be praying for you–as I know Mike and Amy will!!–that God will meet and surpass your needs in these uncertain times!!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:11 PM Reply
  29. Sam Weaver #

    Angie, please consider my comment above.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM Reply
  30. bengreenbay #

    Well, I had a whole civil message typed, but it went away when I went to click on comment and some bar jumped up on the bottom of the screen for me to go to 'posterous' so I lost a long message.I'll sum it up as briefly as possible. It will likely be more abrasive than before, because I don't want to type long explanations all over again.Some people on this blog are either lying or are ignorant of reality.1. It's not about the money. Listen to WPR, go to local media outlets in Madison (channel3000.com), listen to interviews with Governor Walker, or listen to Democratic lawmakers. Unions, public servants, and legislators have all agreed to proposed increases in employee contributions to health care and pensions. Since others have pointed this out, I am assuming that Mike is refusing to admit this fact, because the rest of his blog hinges on it. Perhaps you just didn't read others' comments very well. If not, please apologize for writing about this issue without being informed about it and please apologize for misleading readers. Maybe I should use 'repent' instead of apologize. In any case, calling physicians/teachers liars on your video about getting 'sick' notes from doctors is pretty hypocritical since here we stand reading your blog that misleads/lies as well.2. I think the physicians handing out doctor's notes was meant to be a joke. Maybe not, but I don't know why a teacher would need a note, especially one with 'Walker influenza' written on it. The teachers I know don't have to go to a doctor or provide a doctor's note when they call in sick. Plus, why were the physicians in Madison on Saturday? Do public schools have school on Saturday? If not, what's the point of a 'sick' note?3. Public employees sacrifice in three ways now: a) they've agreed to these extra expenditures on their part, resulting in a 10% pay cut or sacrifice as you call it; b) for the past two years that you claim private sector employees have suffered, public sector employees have sacrificed as well by taking furlough days that amount to a 3% pay cut for each of the years and a 4% pay cut for this year (this is Governor Walker's own claim; hence, you don't even agree with the Governor on this point apparently since you claim they haven't sacrificed over the past two years); and c) public sector employees are already paid less than private sector employees. I know, I know…WHAT!? Yes, it's true. Propagandists (or what others may call bad researchers) compare McDonald's and Wal-Mart employees to public university professors, public hospital doctors, and public school teachers and come to the conclusion that public servants make more than private sector employees. This is comparing apples to oranges. If you compare public university professors to professors in the private sector and public hospital doctors to those in the private sector, etc., your results are different. This is what we call comparing apples to apples. When you look at employee compensation and control for education, race, gender, ethnicity, experience, etc., you find that public servants make more than 10% less than equivalent private sector employees in wages. When you include benefits, public servants still make almost 5% less. Therefore, public servants, by deciding to work in the public sector, sacrifice their compensation. They do this because they believe the job is important for society. They don't want to work for a bottom line of corporate profits. Profits aren't important to these individuals. I think this is a good thing. In the end, public employees have sacrificed, continue to sacrifice, and will sacrifice in the future. Any criticism on this blog that says otherwise is a lie. I'm sure people won't take my word for it, so here's a study: http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/6759/.4. Sam, don't blame Progressives. The world wasn't all sunshine and lollipops prior to the 20th Century. Did you forget about women and children working seven days a week in horrible conditions in factories for little pay? What about enslaving an entire race so that they didn't even own their own bodies? What about stealing property/wealth from Natives and either killing them or rounding them up and trouncing on their rights. Apparently this history isn't convenient when telling a story about how the Progressive Movement ruined the U.S. In reality, Progressives weren't all little devils running around devouring us here and there. Many were Christians that believed they should attempt to bring about a good society. These Christians realized achieving a perfect society wasn't possible, but they also believed they could at least do their best to work toward that goal with God's aid. Many of these Christians were known as Puritans and settled in the Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest, where the most progressive policies exist, where people participate in their government, where people believe in good government, etc. There is a ton of research on this. Start with Elazar and his studies of political culture. I think it's a sad day now that Christians don't believe they can change society for the better either through the government or through other venues. Most Christians believed they were supposed to work toward this end until just recently.5. Sam, your belief in individual rights and freedoms and you opposition to unionization and your belief that God is in control aren't consistent. If you believe in individual rights and freedoms, why do you oppose their individual decisions to join together collectively and work for better wages, benefits, and working conditions? Shouldn't we respect their decisions? Furthermore, since God points out that you have no rights and must stop trying to claim them, why do you believe in them still?6. The NEA isn't the devil. The NEA opposes charter schools, homeschooling, school choice, etc., because of the effects on the education system and the children. Charter schools cost more and are less effective than public schools. The cities that switched public schools over to charter schools (such as Minneapolis and Dallas) switched back because test scores went down and because it cost more money. Homeschooling lacks the expertise of quality teachers in different fields. We also can't regulate or monitor very well, which means we can't take good care of taxpayer money. School choice allows middle class children to go to a different school while consolidating poor students in the school they left. This concentrates poverty and leads to numerous other problems associated with poverty. School choice was designed to help middle class students at the expense of poor students. I think Jesus would point out that this is bad policy because anything done to the least of these is also done to Him. Finally, the NEA opposes taxpayer funds going to private schools because of the lack of regulation and monitoring ability, as above, and because of the separation of church and state found in the Constitution. Those that disagree would likely change their minds if most children were going to Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, and Muslim schools at taxpayer expense. If you can paint the NEA as bad otherwise, please do so. As for these claims, they're all lies.7. Taking children to rallies isn't a bad thing. Who says the teachers or parents propagandized their students/children? This is an unfounded claim. I heard one individual claim his child's teacher was doing so in the classroom. When asked what the teacher said, he said that the teacher told the class that the government was trying to get them to pay more toward their health insurance and pension costs. Somehow this person thought this was propaganda. I thought it was the truth. Mike acknowledges as much right here on this blog. What if the teachers and parents are educating the students/children and telling them the truth? Is it possible that they can make decisions on their own and rationally think things through. Otherwise, are the children we take to church and Sunday school also propagandized? Of course not! We let our children make a much more consequential decision when we allow them to join the military when the
    y're young. Should we stop them from doing this?I think this is a good start at correcting some of the misleading remarks on this blog. I pray that people will go and find out more information rather than listening to people interested in destroying unions because they want businesses to have all of the power. As for my comments, I admit that I am fallible and am humble enough to not only accept, but encourage corrections from others. If you find something I said to be completely wrong, let me know so I can fess up or investigate whether I'm actually wrong. I also pray for a peaceful resolution to this situation. Fortunately, it has been mostly peaceful so far. Many are holding signs and posting them around the capitol to be respectful and peaceful. Despite my wishes for a peaceful resolution, I'd also like to see collective bargaining upheld. Wisconsinites haven't protested/rallied this much since the Vietnam War. This leads me to believe that they don't do it unless it's important. Ten percent reduction in pay isn't enough to do it.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM Reply
  31. bengreenbay #

    Angie, I don't blame you. Christians often twist and pull their religious beliefs to match up with their political beliefs. It makes no sense to me. Right now, these Republican lawmakers calling themselves Tea Partiers and libertarians often point toward Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," which is one of the most anti-Christian and morally repugnant books in the world. Senator Johnson claimed this is actually his favorite book. Ayn Rand is not only an overt atheist, but someone that only believes the physical world exists and only empirical observations leads to truth. This discounts the entire Bible for her and her followers. Her book elevates greed and selfishness to the highest virtues. Christians mislead themselves when they vote for these people just because they run under the Republican banner. Their interests are solely for business and individualism, which also opposes Christianity at its very core. Nietzsche is also an influence on Ayn Rand and her followers and reviled by Christians everywhere. Many of these politicians also run as political realists of the Machiavellian type. It's foolish for Christians to think all Republicans are Christians or even that the Christian ones actually support Christian issues.God bless and I hope He takes care of you during these difficult times.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:59 PM Reply
  32. Mike #

    Ben, thank you for your passionate comments.  First of all, to state that this is not about money is ridiculous.  Also, I acknowledge that it is about more than money—it is about the power of the teachers’ union, the NEA.  The NEA is an anti-Christian organization that promotes humanistic teachings to our children.  They are also a major political force, being one of the largest supporters of the liberal agenda that pushes public funding of abortion and the fight against marriage being legally recognized as being between a man and a woman.  Don’t take our word for it—look it up yourself in their own words.<o:p></o:p> I have absolutely zero problems with most of our teachers.  The ones I know are wonderful people who I believe do care about our children.  It is their union, the NEA, where I draw the line.  As a matter of fact, listen next Monday when we play a recent clip from the NEA President where he flatly states this is NOT about the children but about power!  <o:p></o:p> Ben, I continue to pray that God will guide our leaders to reach a fair solution to all involved.  I sincerely hope no teacher loses their job.  But the sad reality is there is no money to spend on these unfunded retirement mandates for public employees because the state government is broke.  And the NEA has to go.  They continue to be an impediment to quality education in <st1:state><st1:place>Wisconsin</st1:place></st1:state> by fighting against home schooling, vouchers and school choice.  If they are so good at what they do and care about our children, why are they fighting these ideas?  And why has <st1:place>Wisconsin</st1:place> education results sunk from the top in the nation to a level of mediocrity?<o:p></o:p>

    February 23, 2011 at 4:07 PM Reply
  33. Mike #

    Ben and Angie, if you listen frequently to our show you will hear that I continually tell Christians that the Republican Party is as bad as the Democrats in some ways.  To look to any political party as our “saviors” is ridiculous.  Both parties twist things to fir their agenda too often.  I vote for pro-life candidates who fight against the murder of our children, not by political party.  Where do most Democrats stand on that issue—solidly pro-death.  <o:p></o:p> To state that Christianity is anti-business and capitalism shows a lack of understanding of God’s Word on your behalf Ben.  Yes, there are greedy business people, but to paint capitalism and all business people as evil is shallow and quite frankly ridiculous.  I have never read Atlas Shrugged and the only book I look to as my ultimate authority is the bible.  <o:p></o:p> Angie, I do hope and pray that you will come through this difficult time.  I am sure there is a lot of angst.  Please know the Lord will provide as you stay focused on Him.<o:p></o:p>

    February 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM Reply
  34. bengreenbay #

    I'm sure the NEA president does say it's about power. Now you're changing from the money argument to a power argument. The NEA wants to maintain power in order to prevent workers from having no rights. What do you think Governor Walker's agenda is if it isn't about power? Is it okay for him to have more power and workers to have less? This doesn't make any sense.I already explained why the NEA opposes those types of choices in school. When you provide documentation that these educational reforms are positive, I'll discuss it more. I research education for my job. These are the facts.I didn't say Christianity is anti-business. I said that "Their interests are solely for business and individualism, which also opposes Christianity at its very core." In other words, those that focus on business interests, instead of putting God first, ultimately oppose Christianity at its very core. You are the one that is misled. You should read Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Adam Smith, and then Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and others if you care to know. Prior to these thinkers, philosophers and theologians alike focused on creating a society that would lead to good citizens. These thinkers focused on making a society where man wouldn't have to be good. They built a society with the sole purpose of aiming at greed. They believed if man focused on greed, the 'invisible hand' of the marketplace would regulate society on its own. This is where the belief in smaller government and no government regulation came in. It's also where morality was thrown away, because these thinkers are all empiricists. Our Declaration of Independence is pretty much copied straight from John Locke with few changes.By the way, your blog doesn't have any information on yourself. Where did you receive your Biblical training? What experience do you have?I've heard plenty of people tell me that both parties are bad and then they run off to vote for one every single time. They also make abortion or same-sex marriage the only issues of importance while the party they vote for does nothing to prevent or end either one and, instead, destroys God's environment, sends troops off to unjust wars to kill innocents with our war machine, cuts aid to those in need in this country and else where, tries to stop people from having affordable health care, cuts taxes on the wealthiest in the country while increasing spending to unsustainable levels, etc. If this is the Christian agenda you espouse, then I don't even believe you've read the Bible. If you're going to claim you believe in these issues as well, please point me in the direction of your blog entries.I don't buy it. Your school choice, home schooling, and voucher statements are straight out of the Republican handbook. You couldn't even provide reasons for these things in response to my criticisms. It's almost like you just take them as given, which is what the Republican Party does, because it is completely against public school education. NCLB was designed for the sole purpose of getting rid of public schools. They don't want the government to educate people, to desegregate schools, to teach people about ideologies other than their own. Proceed to the Heritage Foundation's website and look at the history of the organization. They lay it out there.Our Wisconsin education system is anything but mediocre. Please show me your methods of measurement for making such a claim. The fact is that we have one of the best higher education systems in the world and our primary and secondary education is also top-notch right along with Iowa and Minnesota. The Midwest education system is known for being high quality. If you're looking for mediocre, you should look at states without collective bargaining agreements in the South that do not like the NEA and think these things you talk about for reform are grand. Seriously, you should send your family to those schools.As for the broke comments, our state is actually better off than many states with much less government. Please explain how that's possible if it's the public sector's fault.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:52 PM Reply
  35. Mike #

    Ben it is obvious by your stated views and priorities that we simply look at the world from very different perspectives.  I would enjoy further discussion with you but I simply do not have the time to do so in writing at this time.  Be happy to meet some time to discuss if you like.Appreciate you taking the time to share your views even though we are in staunch disagreement.Sent from my iPad

    February 23, 2011 at 8:01 PM Reply
  36. bengreenbay #

    I'd love to meet some time too, but I don't think much would change. The Republican Party has taken over much of religion in this country. They even control seminaries to ensure that everyone agrees with their view of the Bible and how it miraculously supports the U.S. and everything it stands for despite the fact that the U.S. didn't exist until 1,700 years after Christ. It's amazing that no one realized the connections between Christianity, capitalism, and democracy until now. It's almost like Christianity is used to reinforce the status quo. We've completely tamed all of Christ's revolutionary ideas and made them into what we do instead. Isn't this what the Pharisees did with the Old Testament?I'm sorry, when I read C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Augustine, Luther, Aquinas, Kreeft, and others, this isn't what I see. I think the problem is that we have a false choice between fundamentalist Christianity and modern or liberal Christianity when there is a third choice between the two.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:18 PM Reply
  37. Mike #

    Very interesting Ben because many think progressive social justice proponents are hijacking seminaries.   I do not believe in "extreme patriotic" Christianity but find progressive Christianity (emergent theology) dangerous.Sent from my iPad

    February 23, 2011 at 8:36 PM Reply
  38. bengreenbay #

    Oh, I think they are too. However, what's truly interesting is that one group is worried about the so-called progressive seminaries while it can't see itself falling into fundamentalism. The progressive side focuses on the fundamentalist side and can't see itself falling into progressivism or modernism or whatever you want to call it (watered-down Christianity might be best). In reality, it's the middle that's disappearing and we're ending up with two wrong-headed sides that pick their favorite issues and forget about the other side's issues because they can't hold onto all of them at the same time. I'm beginning to think the problem started with the split of divine law and natural law. The scientific side took natural law, distorted it, and views the Bible as myth and a good guide. The fundamentalist side took the divine law and tries to ignore science then misinterprets the Bible into something it's not. Unless we reconcile the two, we're in trouble. Unfortunately, neither side wants to budge. I don't know the solution. Frankly, I don't even know whether this is the actual problem, but I do know that both sides are ignoring important parts of the Bible.I'm sure none of this probably makes any sense and likely won't even shake you into thinking about it. I was in an evangelical church and couldn't allow any kind of dissent. However, the more I read, the more I realized the fundamentalist approach that hated everything science and everything philosophical simply wasn't correct. I think our churches would benefit from consulting Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas again. We won't though, because the fundamentalist side thinks all truth comes from the Bible and assumes it knows how to interpret everything already. The modern side doesn't want to even try to understand the Bible and they definitely don't want to take an ancient/medieval approach to understanding anything.Anyway, this is what I see happening and this is why the church is falling apart. I saw on the news the other night that the Jehovah's Witnesses were the fastest growing church and that the charismatic churches were also growing. I think one's a cult and the other is dangerously close. I believe speaking in tongues, if authentic, should be done one at a time with an interpreter present. Otherwise, the speaking seems pointless. I believe the Bible says as much, but I can't think where right now.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:48 PM Reply
  39. bengreenbay #

    One last comment about this issue and I'll leave you alone to spread what you believe uninterrupted by me. A good friend of mine and a researcher/participant in government contracting to private corporations sent me this link to ask what I thought: http://www.ppulse.com/Articles-c-2011-02-25-97101…. This article explains precisely what is taking place in Madison and around the U.S. right now and since its founding. DIVIDE & CONQUER: Elite's strategy to keep us all down!First, they divided the North from the South.Then they got poor southern whites to oppose poor southern blacks so they wouldn't join together and fight for rights collectively following the Civil War.Then, during the 1980s, they divided the working class from the poor, as if the poor were parasites and the working class couldn't work with them.Finally, they're now splitting the working/middle class into a public sector and private sector division so we won't work collectively together.There are more examples as well, but these are the obvious ones that come immediately to mind. Please, stop the few from creating this divide. We need to stick together. Otherwise, we'll drag each other down while they laugh at us fools.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:01 AM Reply
  40. Mike #

    Ben, I enjoy our conversations and when things settle down in summer for you I would really love to meet and buy you a cup of coffee.<o:p></o:p> Both sides—progressive and conservative—use the ‘divide and conquer” strategy.  Both sides will always seek to justify their own end game.  As Christians it is important we stay immersed in the Word of God.  Yes, we are called to be active and should work toward a fair government system.  But to get too immersed in it is not good either.  It distracts us from God’s Word and ultimate plane for each of us—to share Jesus’ message of salvation and hope for all men.<o:p></o:p>

    February 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM Reply
  41. Scott Lee #

    Governor walker doesn't care about finances. Period. His lackeys proved that on the evening of March 9th. Senator Scott Fitzgerald said that he and his minions had removed any fiscal impact from AB11, and that was why they could ram AB11-A1 down the throats of the General Assembly. AB11-A1 does nothing but remove collective bargaining from public sector employees concerning benefits and pensions. That's the claim of the Republican hordes in Madison.Governor Walker is simply anti-union. His corporate masters are anti-union and he is diligently doing their bidding. That is why they paid for his election.Here's the proof that what the Republicans in the General Assembly just did has nothing to do with saving money. Forbes Magazine — FORBES — ran a piece on Feb 25, 2001 explaining what Governor Walker is taking away from these hard-working public servants .http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/25/the-wisconsin-lie-exposed-taxpay…Read it, then try to defend Scott Walker. He is a puppet, a mouthpiece, an empty suit for the anti-union crowd. What he directed the General Assembly to do this week will NOT save "almost 1 and three-quarter billion dollars", as he has claimed. This legislation will end up in court, and which ever side loses will appeal and appeal until this issue is settled by the Supreme Court.I am certain that the lawyers, clerks, judges, jury members, bailiffs, and paralegals will all work on this 'pro bono', thereby saving the state millions of dollars in legal fees. Raise your hand if you believe THAT one.Governor Walker is dead politically, he just hasn't stopped lying yet.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:20 AM Reply
  42. Scott Lee #

    Oh, I forgot, the public sector unions agreed to increase their own contributions to their benefits and pensions. They agreed to what Governor Walker said was causing this straw man "fiscal emergency". So his reason for demonizing the unions was removed almost immediately. It's just that the man is bent on the destruction of all of the unions he can legally get at.Anyone that claims anything else hasn't been paying attention, or they have been watching too much Fox News.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:24 AM Reply
  43. Mike #

    Scott, there are problems on both sides of this argument.  Has the Governor handled this perfectly?  Of course not.  However, many of the things you point out others also direct at the leaders of the protest movement.  It is more important than ever that as Christians we of course stick to our beliefs on this issue—no matter which side—but that we also do not allow ourselves to become so angry that this reflects poorly on us as the Body of Christ.  Scott, please know I am NOT singling you out on this—I am talking to all Christians INCLUDING ME!  <o:p></o:p> These are tough times and as Christians a chance for us to show our true colors—for better or worse.  Thanks for taking the time to comment Scott.<o:p></o:p>

    March 11, 2011 at 8:31 AM Reply
  44. bengreenbay #

    Thanks Scott. You're right. Wisconsinites are opposed to this. Governor Walker showed his hand on the prank call. Senator Fitzgerald came out and admitted this bill was to bust unions, stop union support for Dems, and prevent President Obama from getting reelected. This has been a well orchestrated plan over the last 30 years to undermine the working class and middle class. These are Confederate policies cloaked in Confederate religion. I hear fewer and fewer Republican voices in support of Governor Walker because of his radical agenda and blatant lies. I have many evangelical friends that I never thought would ever complain about a Republican or support Dems that are jumping ship and claiming their eyes have been opened. This is a good sign.I agree with Mike about keeping this civil and controlling our anger. I also don't want to demonize the Republicans. It's just unfortunate that their views have been lining up more and more with the Confederate South. They're pitting public service employees against private sector employees just like they pit poor whites against poor blacks after the Civil War to keep both groups down. The wealthy elite consolidates more and more wealth at the top every year while the middle class and working class shrink, make less income, and are bullied.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM Reply
  45. Bill Gailbreath #

    Mike…living here in Madison has been one of the most discusting experiences in our lives. When we moved here, 16 years ago, a great Christian friend of mine told me that Madison is a great place as long as you ignore the people and politics. Well, we managed to do that until this last year and we are truly scared of how dangerous these people really are. The word "hate" has invaded our lives and we now see that the master plan from the union bosses on down is to take over ALL government and thus our country. THESE PEOPLE ARE SERIOUS FOLKS! We are the enemy and we have to be prepared to fight their war. They have destroyed the auto industry, unionized the federal and state govenments and worst of all the have control over our childrens minds. Much more so than even we do. Obama has intentionally created class warfair and their teachers union is teaching our children to hate businessmen and anyone who succeeds in life. We have heard this from our grandchildren! Be prepared Mike and all…their here……

    July 17, 2011 at 7:01 AM Reply
  46. Mom of 3 #

    Even though this is late, let us not forget the impact on the economy. My husband's pay will be cut about $250/month and my mother's about $550/month because of these increases. They are sacrificing, just like you. But remember, when your local stores have to lay-off even more people because the state employees have cancelled cell phones, gone out to eat less, and not spent the money that would have supported your jobs because they have to pay for the increases; it was only fair.
    Perhaps it's not the state employees that should be suffering, perhaps they should investigate lower insurance rates for both public AND private employees and people in general. I hear so much about who is sacrificing and who is suffering and those yell at the ones who have more than themselves that they are the ones that should be paying more too. When did Jesus ever go up to the king and tell him that it wasn't fair that He wore rags and the king didn't. Wasn't it Paul who used his position in jail to exclaim the glory of God? Those who have the most should be assisting those who have none; not those who have none complaining that someone else has more.
    Life is not fair, but we shouldn't attack those that are working hard to provide for their families. We should work together to have a translucent government. We should work together to create a union that represents it's employees fairly and is not swayed by the corruption of earthly goods. A church is not bad, unless it's lead incorrectly. So don't burn down the church, correct the leadership.
    Personally, the unions provide a lot of nessasary benefits. If an innocent correctional officer is sued by an inmate, he must come up with about $800 to cover court costs. If he is part of a union then the union covers those costs. Correctional officers can have 10 or more law suits against them at one time, even if they haven't done anything wrong. Being part of a union can also provide security for your job if questioned as a witness on an incident at work. If private employees wish to have this, then create a union. I do know that there needs to be better regulations on unions to prevent corruption.
    Lastly, I think this issue has been poorly managed. Before I can justify the cuts to state employees I want to see a detailed account of our state's budget.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM Reply

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