Statement on Police Brutality

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie were dismayed over the news of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th at the hands of several city police officers.

Floyd was compliant and in handcuffs when he was taken to the ground and one officer ground his knee into Floyd’s neck which led to his death. That action is unconscionable and the officer should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The other officers who stood around and let it happen should also be prosecuted.

The crime that Floyd was taken into custody for doesn’t have a death sentence and even if it did the police officers acted way outside their mandate of protecting and serving. They violated department policy and Floyd’s due process.

This is happening far too often in this country where white police officers with some kind of power trip fetish, over police people of color and SHoWLE demands it stop now.

There is no more time for discussions, task forces, or promises to stop the murders – it MUST STOP NOW.

Police departments, including Toledo’s, must come under citizen led review committees.

Training programs need to be changed to focus on de-escalation and teaching not to use tactics that unnecessarily harm or further marginalize people of color.

There must be a stronger effort to recruit people of color for the police force and there must a strong effort to weed out the officers who can’t treat all members of the public equally and without bias.

We must all work together to end the murder of people in custody by police.

Douglas Berger – President SHoWLE

SHoWLE Suspends In-Person Meetings and Events Until September 2020

There has been talk about a slow reopening of the state starting around May 1st. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie believe that without mass on demand testing, reopening too much too soon will be the wrong move.

If and when some businesses and other public places reopen there will be social distancing restrictions and other regulations that will make us having in-person meetings problematic.

Consulting with our Board of Directors, I have decided to suspend in-person meetings and events until such time that civil authorities allow group gatherings more than 10 people and the social distancing rules aren’t a problem for us.

I really don’t see that happening before the fall.

Many summer events have been canceled or moved to other dates and SHoWLE normally doesn’t meet in July and August.

I, along with the Board, will reevaluate the situation most likely in September.

In the meantime, we will have more virtual meetings and try to plan some activities we can do solo from our homes.

If you have or think you have a membership coming due in the next three months feel free to renew, if you are able, through our website.

I had planned to do a fundraiser for the money needed to have booths at a couple of summer events this year. If you are able, please donate so we can hit the ground running once we can safely have in-person meetings and events.

Stay home (if you can) and stay safe

Douglas Berger – SHoWLE President

SHoWLE Group Update

As we enter our third week of a statewide shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to give you all a brief update from the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie.

All in-person meetings and events hosted by SHoWLE are postponed until the state health emergency orders are lifted. According to some estimates this may not happen until the end of April or beginning of May.

I plan to have another virtual meeting most likely on our usual meeting date of April 11th. The one we had on March 21st was well received and at least raised my mood. More details coming soon.

If need more information about what the state is doing, visit:

Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Page

We have an outreach page that has that link and others you can use if you need assistance:

If you need assistance in navigating the state public assistance system (Unemployment, food stamps, etc…) you can reach out to Doug and/or Shawn and we can use our personal experience to help you. Send me a private note or call or text us at 419-309-8601

I know this is an extremely stressful time and the known and unknown information about the pandemic can cause extreme stress or trigger anxiety or other mental health issues. I would advise if you are struggling, please seek out some professional help.

If you have an immediate need please call:

National Suicide Prevention LifeLine

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line – 4hope to 741-741

Or if you don’t have an immediate need but would like to talk to a professional, please visit:

https://www.seculartherapy.org/

Again, this is a once in a lifetime event (hopefully once in a lifetime) and here at SHoWLE, we want us all to get through it together, rationally and based on the science.

Take Care!

An image of the letter with the contents in the post above

New Podcast Reaches Out To Toledo Secular Community

Toledo, February 5, 2020 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) announces the debut of a new outreach project for secular people and friends in Northwest Ohio. “Glass City Humanist” is a podcast hosted by SHoWLE President Douglas Berger.

“The podcast is where we will talk about being a Humanist from a Northwest Ohio perspective,” Douglas Berger said. “Humanists have a particular worldview and values and this show will educate the public about all of it.”

Episodes will also include local news and information of interest to Humanists and other freethinkers. Such as the issue surrounding the Ohio EdChoice voucher scheme and efforts by the Ohio legislature to close down all the abortion clinics.

There is also a plan to interview, from time to time, other Humanists and secular people in Northwest Ohio and elsewhere about how they live a secular Humanist life.

Social justice will also be a focus.

“One of the pillars of Humanist values is all people deserve basic worth and dignity,” Berger said. “In order to achieve a just, peaceful society, we all must take claims of injustice seriously and ensure that those who are impacted most by rights-violations determine the best course forward. Toledo and Northwest Ohio is no different.”

The podcast won’t be a source of revenue at least at the start.

“If people are interested in what our group has to say and want to donate for the show we won’t turn it down. For the foreseable future the podcast will be free and commercial free. The important thing is to promote SHoWLE and Humanism.”

The podcast will publish fresh episodes on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays for the time being. The process has started to place the show on different podcast platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.

The first episode is an interview with Matt McMahon, one of the organizers of Toledo Skeptics. It can be heard by following the link on the website: glasscityhumanist.show

A direct link to the episode is here: Episode 001 – Matt McMahon from Toledo Skeptics

Threat To Remove Amish Homes Is An Unnecessary Blow To The 1st Amendment

Toledo, December 20, 2019 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) are concerned about the recent legal issues involving 14 Amish households in Lenawee County Michigan.

We do believe that laws that have a genuine secular purpose, such as health regulations, should apply equally to all people without regard to religious beliefs.

We also believe that when government agencies engage with religious groups like the Amish, that engagement should be done in a positive and helpful manner. Where strict religious beliefs conflict with practical regulations we would like to see an effort to accommodate the religious group while still getting the group to comply with the health laws in question.

The aggressive and antagonistic behavior of the Lenawee County Health Department is not the positive and helpful effort we want to see.

The Amish community has a long history in Ohio and we would think the people at the Lenawee County Health Department might look to see how Ohio health officials interact with the Amish here.

SHoWLE also agrees with Mike Ferner, founder and coordinator of the Toledo-based Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie, that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the Lenawee county pose more of a threat to the children than 14 outhouses in the Amish community.

Condemnation and removal of the houses seems like overkill and we feel the Lenawee County Health Department is wrong to use the threat over a small group of people who refuse to use technology and electricity.

We feel there is a better way to resolve the issue.

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
419-356-8568

Shawn Meagley
419-266-7945

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For further background: Lenawee County sued over treatment of Amish residents

Ohio Politicians Need To Stop Practicing Medicine Without A Licence

*For Immediate Release*

Ohio Politicians Need To Stop Practicing Medicine Without A Licence

Toledo, October 2, 2019 – It seems like everyday the Ohio legislature is introducing or passing yet another abortion restriction bill. The claim is it is saving babies or protecting the health of the mother, but it seems that is lie. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie demand that Ohio politicians stop practicing medicine without a licence as they unfairly and unjustly regulate women while ignoring actual medical science.

Continue reading “Ohio Politicians Need To Stop Practicing Medicine Without A Licence”

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.

Continue reading “SHoWLE Disappointed Ohio AG David Yost Supports LGBTQA Discrimination”

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.

Continue reading “Toledo Humanists Disappointed Gary Johnson Refused To Vote On Six-Week Ban Resolution”

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.

Continue reading “Toledo Humanists Condemn Passage Of Another Anti-Abortion Law In Ohio”

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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