Statement Concerning the Leaked SCOTUS Abortion Case Decision

Like many in this country the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie were heartbroken by the content of the leaked draft decision of the US Supreme Court that seems to completely gut a woman’s right to abortion under 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision.

We knew this was a possibility from the decades long effort by religious zealots to overturn the case and send us back to the time of secret back-alley abortions that led to unnecessary deaths.

To be truthful, abortions will still happen, but the abortions will be less safe. Those who are caught in poverty will be worse off and women becoming pregnant due to a rape or incest will have no other options to terminate their pregnancy.

The draft decision also hints at future attacks on same sex marriage, sodomy, and contraception. Religious zealots want to stomp all of that out and people like Justice Alito and the other conservatives on the court are more than happy to help.

Religious conservatives believe wearing masks and not being allowed to pray in a church during a pandemic is a severe violation of their religious freedom, yet they don’t think twice in using their religion to justify taking fundamental rights from women.

SHoWLE condemns any ruling that overturns Roe v Wade and we will never stop supporting a woman’s right to reproductive choice.

Besides contacting your elected representatives and supporting any protests against taking the right to choose from women, we also ask that you donate to local abortion groups who help those with less resources to get the care they need. Until the decision is released, abortion is still legal in Ohio.

The Agnes Reynolds Jackson Fund (focuses on NW Ohio and Toledo)

Women Have Options

Preterm

Midwest Access Coalition

Pro-Choice Ohio

National Network of Abortion Funds

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie Condemns Ohio HB 616

The Board of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie urges legislators and our community members to oppose Ohio House Bill 616.

HB 616 eliminates the ability to teach on and discuss topics like sexual orientation, gender identity, and race. If enacted, HB 616 would attempt to erase discussion of the history and lived experiences of marginalized communities and students. The bill’s broad language will have a chilling effect on learning environments.

HB 616’s definition of anti-racist concepts like diversity, equity, and inclusion as “inherently racist” and its explicit mentions of intersectionality and critical race theory suggest a focus on the sensibilities of a narrow group of adults, rather than deep engagement with the needs and concerns of teachers and students in Ohio’s K-3 classrooms.

Humanists “commit to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity” and “long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern” (The Third Humanist Manifesto). HB 616 directly contradicts our core values by attempting to legislate away any discussion of already marginalized groups.

Listening to people’s stories is at the heart of acknowledging each person’s inherent worth. We can only move toward a world of mutual care by cultivating empathy; empathy cannot be cultivated when the stories, experiences, and histories of marginalized groups are made unspeakable.

It is for these reasons that the Board of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie condemns this bill and others like it.

We also encourage our members to communicate with their State House Representative. You can find your representative by entering your address at the Ohio House of Representatives website.

Further information about the bill can be found here:

House Bill 616 @ Equality Ohio 

House Bill 616 @ Honesty for Ohio Education

Tip of the hat to the Humanist Community of Central Ohio for sharing the format of their statement used above.

SHoWLE Condemns Invasion of Ukraine by Russia

Toledo, February 24, 2022 –

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are heart broken that Russia has unjustly invaded the Ukraine. We condemn Russia’s actions.

Unjust war is the failure of people to find common ground and consensus to live peaceably. All people should stand against the use of warfare to boost ego or settle old scores.

SHoWLE believes that the solution to this naked use of warfare will only be solved by people and not through thoughts and prayers. There needs to be large scale sanctions like excluding Russia from all international organizations they belong to such as sport federations.

A country wanting to be a good international neighbor doesn’t start a war for no rational reason.

It is disappointing that the international community didn’t act sooner to address Russia’s human rights violations.

SHoWLE will support groups whose mission is to aid innocent people caught in the crossfire.

Our thoughts go out to the people of the Ukraine and we hope this human rights violation by Russia ends quickly and any loss of life is low.


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
567-302-0209

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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

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Copy of pressrelease

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.