SHoWLE To Host Demonstration on World Humanist Day

*** For immediate release ***

Toledo Humanists Sponsor Demonstration at Courthouse for World Humanist Day

State and local politicians need to stop ignoring science in pandemic response

Toledo, June 15, 2021 –

Last week the story about the Doctor who told an Ohio House committee about how they believed the covid vaccine made one magnetized made Ohio the laughing stock of the world. But this is just another instance where ignoring science has made this pandemic last much longer than it should.

Politicians in the state house have for years thought they knew more than scientists and medical professionals as they hacked away at the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices. During the pandemic many of these same political rays of light have undermined the state’s response to the pandemic and put economics over people.

The gerrymandering that put the Republican party in a super majority in Columbus against the actual number of votes they got in recent elections is an existential threat to the people of Ohio. Politicians make sure that Amazon, which pays little in taxes, gets taxpayer funded infrastructure and tax breaks while Average Joe arbitrarily gets $300 of pandemic unemployment funds taken away to force him to work a job that pays less than what he got from unemployment.

Enough is enough. June 21st is World Humanist Day and one guiding principle of Humanism is to not ignore science and medical experts during a pandemic. Humanists believe that we should put people ahead of profit and we need to stop finding ways people struggling economically don’t deserve help.

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie will be hosting a demonstration on Monday June 21st at Noon in front of the 10 Commandments monument at the Lucas County Courthouse at the corner of Adams and Erie St. Bring your signs and banners to show your views.

We are demanding politicians stop ignoring science and hurting people by stripping away their rights. We also want our elected officials to worry more about people and less about parasite businesses that pay little to no taxes. We all need to pay our fair share and the legislators in Columbus need to stop enacting laws through the state budget to avoid our right to petition the government for redress of grievances. If the politicians in Columbus are worried so much about law and order that they need to make protesting a felony maybe they need to get their own house in order and start holding people accountable.

Ohio needs a serious change in behavior if it doesn’t want to continue to lose residents. This is 2021 not 1951. Enough is enough.


About Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

The mission of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is to provide a supportive local community for humanists and other nontheists, while promoting an ethical, reasonable, and secular approach to life through education, community service, outreach, activism, and social events.

We envision a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan where secular people are respected and integrated in broader society, live values of reason and compassion, and enjoy a friendly humanist community.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-215-2694

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A Response to Richard Dawkins Transphobic Tweet

**** For Immediate Release ****

April 12, 2021 – Toledo, Ohio:

We are extremely disappointed in the recent transphobic Tweet by Richard Dawkins who is a well known scientist and spokesperson for those of us in the freethought community.

Mr. Dawkins wrongly equated a white woman who committed fraud by claiming to be black with transgender people as if they are lying about who they are and should experience backlash.

Mr. Dawkins also wrongly attempted to make his views on transgender people as something that can be debated like a question about culture or flavor of ice cream.

Mr. Dawkins demeaned and dehumanized an entire subset of people and this is not the first time he has expressed a contrary view about whole groups of people based on nothing but his own biases.

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie can’t stand by without responding. Richard Dawkins doesn’t speak for SHoWLE or any of our members.

Going forward SHoWLE will not promote or support any project or event that involves Mr. Dawkins. We will ask the Center for Inquiry to remove him from their board of directors and spin off the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science housed at CFI. We would like CFI to make a strong statement against Dawkins remarks.

Richard Dawkins has benefited from his fame and status in our community and the things he says can effect other people for good and bad. Degrading any humans is totally against our Humanist values and we feel Richard Dawkins needs to apologize and step away from the public eye completely.

For reference: Richard Dawkins is Still Denying the Basic Humanity of Trans People


About Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

The mission of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is to provide a supportive local community for humanists and other nontheists, while promoting an ethical, reasonable, and secular approach to life through education, community service, outreach, activism, and social events.

We envision a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan where secular people are respected and integrated in broader society, live values of reason and compassion, and enjoy a friendly humanist community.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-215-2694

#

Copy of pressrelease

Helping Those Recovering From Religion

We recently hosted Charles Hill, the facilitator for the Columbus chapter of Recovering from Religion group via Zoom for our monthly meeting. Charles and friend of the group Joe Pittenger want to form a Toledo chapter of Recovering from Religion.

If you are interested please fill out the interest form below of send an email directly to Charles (charles.e.hill17@gmail.com).

(Any information collected with this form will remain confidential and used only to contact interested persons who wish to participate in a Recovering from Religion group in the Toledo area. If you would like to join the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie click HERE.)

Humanists Respond To Proposed Laws

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie has submitted written testimony to the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee concerning two bills before the committee. One would allow the legislature to override executive orders issued by the Governor and the second would add more regulations to people needing public assistance. SHoWLE opposes both bills.

Senate Bill 17

Makes several changes to the SNAP (aka Food Stamps) and Medicaid programs. It prohibits the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services from adapting SNAP eligibility rules for situations like having a pandemic. It also changes SNAP to a reporting system where the person getting the benifit would have to report ANY change in their income. For example, most people on SNAP work. They would have to report any extra shifts they pick up even if the income overall wouldn’t put them over a threshold.

Another bad change is requiring able body people on Medicaid to work at least 20 hours a week. A good number of people on Medicaid work so this change would hurt those, while not disabled, still shouldn’t be working. There is also a question about if a work requirement is allowed since the Biden Administration just recently rescinded all waivers for the requirement.

Click HERE if the embeded letter can’t be seen above

Senate Bill 22

This bill would allow the General Assembly to rescind any executive order made by the Governor or any emergency order by any state agency such as public health orders dealing with a pandemic that come from the Ohio Department of Health.

Even if there wasn’t a constitutional question about this proposed law, SHoWLE believes that allowing the legislature to ignore science and medical experts to end public health orders is a danger to all Ohioans. The legislature has undermined the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed at least 12,000 people in the state and almost half a million in the US. It is simply wrong to politicize the lives and safety of the citizens of Ohio.

SHoWLE believes Ohio would be in a much better position had the state continued to do the right thing in addressing the pandemic rather than giving in to the selfish and science denying members of the legislature. SB 22 will make things much worse now and in the future.

Click HERE if the embeded letter can’t be seen above

SHoWLE will continue to keep track of and respond to public laws and policies that are of interest to the group or fits our mission statement and purpose. Laws and policies that not only effect church and state issues but also social justice issues will be responded to as well.

If you feel as we do about these two bills, we ask that you contact your state Senator and let them know how you feel about SB 17 and SB 22.

*Update* SB 22 passed the committee and the Senate on 2/17. The bill now moves on to the House.

House Bill 90

A companion to SB 22 was introduced in the Ohio House and is now in the State and Local Government Committee.

Here is the letter I sent to the committee opposing HB 90:

Click HERE if the embeded letter can’t be seen above

Ohio Attorney General Wrong To Insert State Into Religious School Lawsuit

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) have issued the following statement on the brief filed by Ohio Attorney General David Yost in support of a lawsuit brought by three religious schools against a Lucas county public health order closing all schools in the county to in-person instruction.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 29, 2020

Ohio Attorney General Wrong To Insert State Into Religious School Lawsuit

Toledo  – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) is extremely disappointed that Ohio Attorney General David Yost has decided to insert himself and the state into a Federal lawsuit by three Lucas County religious schools over the Lucas County Health Board’s order to close all schools in the county to in-person instruction until January 11, 2021 due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Like the original lawsuit, Attorney General Yost makes the same argument that was rejected by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick on December 14th, that the religious schools should be treated like non-education secular businesses that were allowed to stay open.

Judge Helmick stated in his decision:

“While, as Plaintiffs note, TLCHD has not ordered gyms, tanning salons, or casinos to close, (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6), these are not the relevant “comparable secular activities.” Instead, the comparable secular activities are educational classes offered by all other schools in Lucas County. These specific environments have substantially similar groupings and movements of individuals. Emmanuel Christian, St. John’s, and Monclova Christian are prohibited from offering in-person instruction to grades 9-12 (or grades 7-12) along with all other Lucas County schools “because the reasons for suspending in-person instruction apply precisely the same to them.””

Judge Helmick also noted that if we were to take the school’s argument to the logical conclusion, the state would not be able to regulate anything involved with a religious group.

“Plaintiffs’ arguments, therefore, would extend to prohibit the government from regulating any aspect of a Christian’s public life because, as Plaintiffs’ mission statements make clear, the purpose of providing “a biblical foundation for . . . students” is to prepare students “to exemplify Christ [and] make Biblically-based decisions” throughout an individual’s life, and not only during the schools years. Thus, a Christian business would be exempt from minimum wage and maximum hour laws,9 while Christians in states where officials have issued Covid-19-related orders closing restaurants for in-person dining could not be prohibited from gathering to share a meal in one of those restaurants.10

More closely to the issue at stake in this case, Plaintiffs’ arguments would mean States could not mandate that students attending parochial schools receive the equivalent number of hours required of public-school students or require that parochial schools provide courses in specific subjects.”

The lawsuit, instead of trying to protect the right of the schools to be treated equally, is trying to force the county to treat religious schools differently than other schools that have complied with the order. They want a court to force the county to give them preferential treatment just because they are religious.

This is the complete opposite meaning of the 1st amendment which is meant to keep religious activities from being singled out by the government for being religious.

“The fact remains, rightly or wrongly, that the Lucas County public health order specifically exempts in-person religious activities,” SHoWLE president Douglas Berger said. “We believe that churches and religious groups, including religious schools, should put the long-term health of their members above the need to gather together for their religious activities since those activities aren’t restricted to happening outside the home. It is for this reason the public health order, that explicitly exempts religious activities of the schools, isn’t an undue burden on them.”

It appears that Attorney General Yost has decided, after claiming he would defend state public health orders, and against the facts of the case, that preferential treatment for religious schools is in the state’s best interests.

We strongly disagree with his decision to insert the state in this case with his brief to the court.


Reference:

Ohio AG files brief supporting religious schools’ return to in-person instruction

Monclova Christian Academy et al v. Toledo-Lucas County Health Department 12/14/2020

SHoWLE President Douglas Berger discussed this case in Episode 16 of the Glass City Humanist podcast starting at the 08:34 mark.


About Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

The mission of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is to provide a supportive local community for humanists and other nontheists, while promoting an ethical, reasonable, and secular approach to life through education, community service, outreach, activism, and social events.

We envision a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan where secular people are respected and integrated in broader society, live values of reason and compassion, and enjoy a friendly humanist community.

*Update* – On December 31, a three judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction to the schools against the public health order pending an appeal hearing.

People Need Help All Year. SHoWLE Wants To Get There

One of the things that SHoWLE does, that I would like to see do, is assist the community where we live. One project we completed for the second year was adopting a family through Lucas County Children Services for Christmas. Of course the question that get asks is why only at Christmas when families need help all year round? Why copy what other faith groups do? Those are valid questions and I’ll explain our philosophy about community projects.

Douglas Berger – President of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

I am totally with those who complain about copying religious groups and pulling out the volunteering/donation machine only during the holiday season. I think only limiting such action to the holidays plays into the religious narrative that help is only needed during one time of the year so we feel better about not helping at other times.

The other consideration for year end donating is taxes. People who are able to deduct donations may want to wait until the end of the year to get their full return on the tax forms the next year.

Some non-profits also use the holiday season to raise awareness and donations about their cause during a time of the year when people are thinking about donating time, money, or things to those who are struggling.

The only obstacle to SHoWLE helping a family all year is we would need to have a group of members committed to helping all year. It would not be something to be thrown together at the last minute IF we have time. There will be times such an endeavor will be a grind and someone might not be “feeling it” that particular time or date. I know from past experience with the group I was part of in Columbus that even if you have five or six people saying they will help eventually it is left to one of two people to do all the work.

I won’t commit SHoWLE to a year long effort without knowing we have a solid commitment from volunteers to pull it off. I don’t want to see us commit to something and either fail to do it or do it half way. That would make us look bad in the community and might hurt future chances to work with other groups on other projects.

I just don’t think SHoWLE is big enough to sustain a year long effort to help a family at this time but we do have the capacity to participate in the limited holiday program through Lucas County although I did reduce the size of the family we helped from 3 people to two, this year, just so as not to stretch us too far.

SHoWLE will also try to help others if an emergency comes up. Last Christmas we were able to help a family that had been suddenly dropped by a company that had “adopted” them as part of their year end “giving back” to the community that many companies do on the holidays. We were able to pull together some extra resources so that family didn’t miss out because a company heartlessly changed it’s mind.

I am always open to new ideas. If someone is enthusiastic about some project and they pretty much do the leg work to get it setup and coordinate it then I am willing to try it and promote it to the rest of the group.

We’ve Adopted A Family For The Holidays

This year SHoWLE has been given a family to sponsor for the holidays through Lucas County Children’s Services. We will be helping out a 4 year old named DJ and his father Derrick.

If you would like to purchase a gift to donate just check out the needs and wants for the child and father and let Bev know what you plan to purchase so we can avoid duplication. (send her an email at bevzilla@yahoo.com)

Bev will also be hosting a wrap party at her house on Saturday December 12 at 1 PM to wrap the gifts in a socially distant and safe manner. If you can donate wrapping paper or ribbon that would be appreciated. Please contact Bev for more information on the party.