SHoWLE Disappointed Ohio AG David Yost Supports LGBTQA Discrimination

image of Ohio Attorney General David Yost smiling
Ohio Attorney General David Yost

Ohio Attorney General David Yost waited until Friday to announce that Ohio will sign-on to a brief for three US Supreme Court cases that will decide if the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQA people. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are disappointed in Yost’s decision and reject his reasoning.

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Toledo Humanists Disappointed Gary Johnson Refused To Vote On Six-Week Ban Resolution

Toledo Member of Council at Large Gary Johnson (D)

Toledo City Council passed a resolution on June 26th that condemned passage of the six-week abortion ban by the state legislature back in April. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie support the passage of the resolution. The issue we have was the refusal of Council member Gary Johnson to vote. He fled the council chambers so he didn’t have to vote on the resolution.

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Toledo Humanists Condemn Passage Of Another Anti-Abortion Law In Ohio

Toledo, April 16, 2019 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) has issued a statement about the recent anti-abortion bill (also called the ‘Heartbeat’ bill) that was signed by the Governor.

The statement condemns in strong terms the legislature for passing the law that has neither public support nor is it based on any sound scientific facts.

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Pastor Protection Act Not Needed And Wrong For Ohio

Testimony given to Ohio Senate committee

TOLEDO, November 28, 2018 – Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) submitted written testimony opposing Ohio House Bill 36, also known as the “Pastor Protection Act”. The bill would repeat 1st amendment protection given to faith practitioners but would also allow religious groups to avoid public accommodation laws even if a property is used for commercial purposes.

This is a very dangerous change in our civil rights,” SHoWLE President Douglas Berger stated in written testimony submitted to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee today. “This bill would allow religious groups to discriminate against ANYONE that they feel doesn’t conform to their religious beliefs. Do we want to see a church food pantry turning away a needy family because they are Mormon, since this particular church doesn’t believe Mormons are Christians?

Churches and property owned by religious groups aren’t normally required to follow state or federal public accommodation laws when used explicitly for religious purposes. House Bill 36 doesn’t make such a distinction. The bill as written also wouldn’t just affect same-sex couples. A pastor performing weddings at the court house for a fee could decide not to solemnize a marriage because the couple in question are members of the military or a church fellowship hall might require renters to only allow straight people to attend the event.

Religious freedom should be a shield to protect people from persecution and not a sword to give special rights to a favored group that ends up persecuting people not in that favored group, ” Berger wrote.

This bill is a waste of time and taxpayer money for a problem that doesn’t and will never exist. Instead we would like to see the legislature work to make performing marriages more accessible by considering and passing Senate Bill 52 that also amends 3101.08 to allow anyone who registers with the state to solemnize a marriage.

A pastor or priest will never be forced to perform a ceremony that doesn’t conform to their deeply held religious beliefs but HB 36 is being used to discriminate against those who don’t conform to the favored religion – namely LGBTQ people but the vagueness of the law will allow all kinds of discrimination – with the force of the state.

The Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting this week and the hearing for opponents of the bill is Thursday with a possible committee vote following.

It’s saying something when the majority party is rushing to protect pastors and priests from something that will never happen while they continue to ignore helping the victims of clergy abuse,” Berger said.

While SHoWLE doesn’t believe a pastor or priest should be forced to do something that violates the 1st amendment, religious groups shouldn’t be allowed to arbitrarily discriminate in the use of property it owns not being used for strictly religious purposes.

Link to the  full written testimony

About SHoWLE

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.

SHoWLE meets on the 2nd Saturday of each month and all general meetings are free and open to the public. The website is humanistswle.org

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-302-0209

Shawn Meagley – co-Founder
419-266-7945

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We Are Disappointed Ohio House Passed ‘Heartbeat’ Anti-Abortion Bill

Toledo, Ohio, November 15, 2018 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are extremely disappointed that the Ohio House passed the so-called “Heartbeat” anti-abortion law, HB 258, on Thursday.

The Republican party claims to be about protecting our rights but it seems they want to deny basic bodily autonomy to the women of Ohio, a right that seems to be the default for male citizens of Ohio. There are no laws restricting men’s accessibility to health care.

This same Republican dominated state house, in the name of rights, stripped away regulations on the 2nd amendment, ended Ohio cities ability to use Red Light cameras for traffic enforcement, and supported the Reagan Tokes Act and “Sierah’s Law.”

Yet instead of working to better the lives of all Ohioans equally, the Republican leadership decided to waste taxpayer money to pass a law that lacks any rational scientific basis and most likely violates previous federal court rulings. It is a law that would restrict the rights of at least half the population.

Humanists believe that public laws and policies should not be based on religious ideology but should be based on sound objective reasons.

SHoWLE has trouble reconciling a political party that claims it wants to “make America great again” with the constant effort to inject themselves into the medical decisions of women and their Doctors.

This needs to stop.

SHoWLE will continue to support women in Ohio who want to make their own medical decisions without religious intercession.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
419-356-8568

Shawn Meagley – Vice President
419-266-7945

About SHoWLE:

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.

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We Strongly Condemn The Tree Of Life Synagogue Terrorist Attack

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie strongly condemns the terrorist attack that happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue this past Saturday.

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the victims and wish a speedy recovery of those injured.

No one should be singled out, harassed, discriminated against, or subjected to any violence because of their religious beliefs, lack of religious beliefs, or political views.

The murders on Saturday are a prime example why our current political leaders must stop trying to scapegoat a group of people to score cheap political points for their base.

When someone like our President of the United States singles out people he doesn’t like with baseless accusations, it gives cover for others to actually act against members of that same group.

The murders on Saturday, the shooting in Kentucky, and serial mail bombings in recent days shows the terrible side of some in this country. Humanists will continue to work on reducing toxic tribalism and angry nationalism. All of us need to work together to let those who want to do harm know that they will not be welcome and will be resisted.

Humanists Ask Lucas County To Get Something In Return For Rec Center

Earlier this week it was reported in the news that the Lucas County Board of Commissioners and the City of Maumee were talking about the county giving the Lucas County Recreation Center to Maumee. If a sale or transfer takes place, the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie thinks the county should get something in returnlike affordable housing.

President Douglas Berger sent a note to the Commissioners and copy to the Mayor of Maumee urge the county to add some conditions to any sale or transfer.

Here is the full text of the note:

I am writing to you on behalf of the members of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) concerning the plan to give the city of Maumee the Lucas County Recreation Center property at 2901 Key Street.

We are concerned that the county is considering giving away this valuable piece of property so that the city of Maumee can sell it to the highest bidder for high end homes and condos.

We believe this is unfair to the citizens of Lucas county. Large sums of county tax dollars were spent and have been spent on the structures and other amenities on the property.

We do agree that if the county doesn’t have the funds to continue the upkeep then the Commissioners should consider disposing of the property, but we feel that Lucas county citizens should get something in return.

SHoWLE has some suggestions on any disposal of the property:

1. Any sale or transfer should include a requirement that there be some affordable housing in the development mix. The county needs affordable housing and the Commissioners should do what they can to create more affordable housing.

2. Any disposal should be done at the market rate. Why should the city of Maumee make a profit off the county giving the land away? If they build houses on the land the city will gain tax dollars.

3. It would be better for the citizens of Lucas county that the county sells the land directly to a developer(s) at market rates, so the people of the county get back some of the money invested in the property over the years.

4. The county could consider putting the new jail on the Rec Center property.

SHoWLE hopes the county will take our ideas and concerns into consideration especially about including affordable housing in any sale or transfer.

 

We Achieved GuideStar Bronze Level

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) was recently recognized for our transparency with a 2018 Bronze Seal on our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile!

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. More than 8 million visitors per year and a network of 200+ partners use GuideStar data to grow support for nonprofits.

In order to get the 2018 Bronze Seal, SHoWLE shared important information with the public using our profile on www.guidestar.org. Now our community members and potential donors can find out more about our mission and programs.

Check out our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile and tell us what you think:

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie GuideStar Profile

SHoWLE Will Not Take St. Anthony Land Bank Pledge

screenshot of Toledo officials and Rep. Marcy Kaptur at a press conference demanding the Diocese of Toledo save St. Anthony church

*For Immediate Release*

Toledo, Ohio, June 22, 2018 – The Lucas County Land Bank, a county agency, voted to accept the donation of St. Anthony Church from the Diocese of Toledo contingent on an engineering inspection and a call for written pledges to help in redeveloping the building. At this time the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) has decided NOT to make a pledge.

“Although the church and state issues we were concerned about seem to be abated. We are still troubled with the city and county taking on this project without any concrete plans,” said SHoWLE President Doug Berger.

We do feel that the Padua Center and the neighborhood should not only have a seat at the table but should be taking the lead in any plans for the building. We didn’t feel it was appropriate telling them how to reuse the building.

Berger added that SHoWLE will be monitoring the issue and should it look like outsiders are minimizing or ignoring neighborhood input then it is prepared to support the neighborhood.

Whatever is done with the building has to benefit the whole neighborhood and not just the outsiders who ‘saved’ it,” Berger said.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-302-0209

Shawn Meagley – co-founder
419-266-7945

 

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We Are Now Offically A Chapter Of The American Humanist Association!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is now an official chapter of the American Humanist Association

(Toledo, Ohio, June 7, 2018) – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) had their chapter application approved by the American Humanist Association.

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

“This is a major foundational stone we needed for SHoWLE to have a chance at a strong start and become a sustainable long term active group in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan,” SHoWLE President Doug Berger said. “The AHA does a great job supporting their local chapters and it will be a great asset for Humanists in Toledo.”

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-302-0209

Shawn Meagley – co-founder
419-266-7945

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