While it is false to teach that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is guilty of Seventh Commandment sins against the public teachers in proposing an adjustment to what they pay on their pensions, there are actual open and scandalous sins involved in the protests in Madison.
For example, if stealing is a concern among us, and I hope it is, then all Christians, especially those responsible for speaking out on moral issues, like preachers, no matter what one's own political leaning is, ought to be decrying the fact that thousands of teachers are stealing time and resources from school districts, and ultimately from the people, by refusing to show up and do their jobs, which, I must remind some, is actually to teach kids (and not teaching them a life lesson in politics or integrity or some such phony rationalization, but to teach their assigned subject in the classroom).
Then there is the Fourth Commandment, by which a teacher owes faithfulness in his job to those above him. Or the Eighth Commandment, about bearing false witness. That one should bring shame to all those who openly lied about being sick, to get a "sick day" to go and protest at the capitol. And now we find out that there are actually people at the demonstrations, dressed in doctors' coats, handing out sick notes to any who wants it. They might or might not be real doctors. If they are, that brings shame on that profession as well. We also know that in some cases union leaders are telling lies to their rank and file, about what is in the proposals, and what is at stake in all of this.
Teachers in our public schools are ministers of the state, if you will. In other words, they are public servants. Their work is on behalf of the public and for the public good. Therefore, it is especially grievous to see the type of conduct we have seen from many of them gathered in Madison for the past several days. Besides the outright and plain sins as we have already mentioned, there is a lot of childish behavior in the demonstrations, and some that can only be defined as thuggish. Many of these teachers are an embarrassment to Wisconsin, to America, to our municipalities, to our schools, and our whole modern system of education.
Yet ironically, the teachers would tell us that their job is special, that their role is special, that they are special. We should treat them as a special caste, but apparently they are not so special that their presence in the classroom is crucial, or that it is important for the children to see them conduct themselves with integrity and make sacrifices like those in the working class have done. No, they are a delicate, special group. Another blog entry will have to be devoted to the Lutheran teachers who think they are so special that they have a "ministry" and a "call," but in the present case the public school teachers, at least those who blindly follow union-think, and have run off to Madison to protest, need to be taken down a notch. Why? For one thing, they have, by and large, done a shameful job teaching our children. If the American public school teachers' collective performance over the past generation had matched their collective rise in pay and benefits, I would be praising them. Even then, however, I would nonetheless be calling for them to agree to these minor, minuscule sacrifices because the fact is that we simply cannot afford these extravagances.
Truth be told, I have a great deal of love, respect, and esteem for primary and secondary education, for our kids, and for the profession. In some ways, indeed, it is a special role in society and in a child's life, which is one reason it is especially shameful that some are acting this way. Since I have left the seminary, I myself have thought a great deal about going into teaching. It would require certification, which is a commitment I simply cannot afford at this point. At any rate, I respect and appreciate the profession of teaching, and I call upon all to practice some maturity, reasonableness, and integrity. To borrow the words of the Blessed Reformer, in regard to the teachers, and legislators, I urge them to stay and do their duty.
The Christian teacher, no matter where he teaches, ought especially to remind himself that his model is the life, and sacrifice, of Christ. For Christ is the Teacher par excellence, and He shows us by his eternal teaching, and by the exemplary dignity of His humility and sacrifice, how the Christian is to see his own life and work. For our life is bound up in the wounds of the One Who is, for His Church, Christus Magister.