Toledo Humanists Condemn Override of HB 68 Veto

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toledo Humanists Condemn Override of HB 68 Veto

TOLEDO – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie condemn the override of the veto of House Bill 68 that will now allow the ban on gender-affirming care and ban on Trans women in school sports to become law.

The majority ignored medical science and the pleas of the Trans community and dismissed their very existence. Several Senators during the vote claimed Trans kids don’t exist and that their God assigned the child’s gender at conception. Rep. Gary Click, in a statement on X called for resources for individuals who regret their transition “as they realign with their authentic selves.” We reject Rep. Click’s call as misguided and tinged with religious bigotry.

We don’t believe that laws and public policy should ignore scientific consensus or be irrationally supported by moral panic. It is clear to us that some legislators believe their religion is above basic human decency and compassion. Bullying children is not a good look.

It was also ironic in the same session the same people who voted to harm Trans kids overrode a veto on a budget item that prohibits local governments from enacting their own regulations on tobacco, particularly bans on the sale of flavored nicotine products, which are typically marketed toward minors.

The action by the Ohio Legislature to force HB 68 into law also denies the right of parents to support their child’s health care needs whatever that maybe.

We hope that the ban is challenged in court and ends up like other similar bans by being ruled unconstitutional.

We will do what we can to support the LGBTQI community during these unwarranted and indefensible attacks from the government.

Media contact: Douglas Berger, President

More information:

‘Cowardly, self-serving vote’: Ohio Senate overrides DeWine’s veto; bans healthcare for trans youth

Why We Need Fair Housing

Meeting notice about the guest being from the Fair Housing Center

February 10 @ 11:30 am 1:30 pm

Fair housing ensures that more people have access to quality schools, good jobs, and other key services that help them realize their potential and strengthen our community. By promoting diversity, fair housing also enhances the fabric of our neighborhoods.

Meeting notice about the guest being from the Fair Housing Center

That is why The Fair Housing Center was founded in 1975: to help unlock the doors of opportunity for our community. The Center is a national leader in efforts to eliminate housing discrimination and enforce fair housing laws. Its work helps ensure that every person has access to safe and affordable housing regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income, or immigration status.

The Fair Housing Center will be a leading visible force in preventing, correcting, and eliminating discriminatory housing practices. To achieve our vision, the Center works as a trusted community resource, engaging in education and outreach, advocacy for anti-discriminatory housing policies, mediation, research and investigation, and enforcement actions.

Our speakers will be Christina Rodriguez, Esq. & Logyn Taylor-Thompson from the Toledo Fair Housing Center

Free

Heatherdowns Branch Library

3265 Glanzman Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43614 United States
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The Real Origin of the Religious Right

Image of Randall Balmer and a group of religious right supporters

December 9, 2023 @ 11:30 am 1:30 pm

“One of the most durable myths in recent history is the fiction that the Religious Right galvanized as a political movement in response to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Evangelicals, however, considered abortion a Catholic issue throughout the 1970s. Most evangelicals were silent when the Roe decision was handed down, and those who did comment actually applauded the ruling. The real origins of the Religious Right may surprise you.

Prof. Randall Balmer, a world-renown authority on the subject explores the American Evangelical movement from the First Great Awakening till their last, and most ominous, reincarnation in the late 70s. Balmer discusses why the nature of their new rise to power should give all of us pause on what could be next.”

We will be watching a video talk by historian Randall Balmer and then having a group discussion. This talk is based on his book “Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of the Religious Right” available at all booksellers.

Randall Balmer is an American historian of American religion. He taught at Barnard College and Columbia University for twenty-seven years before moving to Dartmouth College in 2012, where he was named the Mandel Family Professor in the Arts & Sciences. He is also an Episcopal priest.

We will be in Community Room C

Unless otherwise noted, our meetings and events are free and open to the public. In-person, in-door meetings and events we STRONGLY recommend attendees wear masks. Speakers can wear them if they choose while speaking. Click more information about our In-person Meeting Policy. SHoWLE has a No Weapons policy

If you are not able to join us in person but do want to attend the meeting, we have a Zoom room setup to live stream the meeting. We don’t have anyone to monitor the room so remote participation will be limited but we will try to include those joining us remotely.

Launch Zoom Room

Meeting ID: 814 3901 8165
Passcode: 333828


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Meeting ID: 814 3901 8165
Passcode: 333828

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Heatherdowns Branch Library

3265 Glanzman Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43614 United States
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We Oppose HB 183: The Bathroom Ban For Trans People

President Douglas Berger submitted written testimony to the Ohio House Higher Education Committee that is considering House Bill 183 that would prohibit transgender kids and adults from using the public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

Two people on the committee are from the NW Ohio area. Rep. Derek Merrin (R-42) and Rep. Josh Williams (R-41).

The hearing for opposition testimony is Wednesday October 11th. Here is the text of his testimony as submitted:


Chair Rep. Young, Vice Chair Rep. Manning, and Ranking Member Rep. Miller, my name is Douglas Berger and I am President of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie, based in Toledo.

I am writing today to express our group’s opposition to House Bill 183 that would prohibit transgender kids and adults from using the public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

We oppose this discriminatory bill since it reminds us of the dark days of Jim Crow when bathrooms and even drinking fountains were segregated by race and this bill is based on the same kind of false narrative and flimsy evidence that those Jim Crow laws were based on.

We are also tired of members of this legislature passing off irrational religious bigotry as public policy and law. When will your need to impose your religion on others stop?

HB 183 has no factual basis and no data to justify a ban is needed. Most anecdotal stories are made up. The numbers of teachers and people of faith who have been arrested and charged for abusing children far out distance any reported crime due to Trans people using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. I am more fearful of a child being alone with a priest or minister than using a bathroom with a Trans person.

Representative Lear and Bird also failed to note which religious conservative lobby group they copied and pasted this ridiculous proposal from. There is a reason these proposals all look alike.

We can also promise that the people who introduced this bill and at least three members of this committee have never met a Trans kid and has never talked to the Trans community but they seem to want to discriminate against Trans people anyway. I’m sure it is easier to discriminate when you never talk to them.

Our members would also like to know who will enforce this ban and how will it be enforced. Will birth certificates be required to be shown or will a school official be designated as a genital checker? Will you have a parent sign a form so their child can have a genital check? If there is no enforcement mechanism then this proposal is just for show. In fact it would be used to out Trans kids and bully them.

Adding on an unfunded mandate on public schools and colleges that you barely help fund is also something to consider.

In a recent TV interview, a member of this committee said that educational policy should only go toward the academic progress of students and we shouldn’t be introducing social issues into the classroom. How does HB 183 advance academic progress? It doesn’t but it sure introduces social issues into the classroom. How will this bill improve the dismal school ranking the state has received recently.

Why don’t Trans kids deserve to be protected too?

We ask you to vote no on HB 183.

SHoWLE Disappointed By 303 Creative Court Decision

Toledo, July 1, 2023 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are very disappointed in the ruling on June 30 by the US Supreme Court in the 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis case. It is wrong that religious beliefs now trump all other rights to full public business accommodations and allow discrimination of people in a protected class.

The court said that requiring the graphic designer to make wedding websites for same-sex couples was an unconstitutional violation of her first amendment rights because the creation would be seen as an endorsement of something her religious beliefs prohibit.

We don’t believe requiring business owners not to discriminate against customers in protected classes makes the person or business endorse something against their religious beliefs. At the end of the day they can still not approve of same-sex marriages. If a business can’t bring itself to serve customers from the protected classes then they need not be a public business.

We are also concerned about the unprecedented protection the court granted to a religious person. They ruled on a case that didn’t include any actual harm. The plaintiff wasn’t creating wedding websites when she filed the lawsuit and there is some question that the LGBT customer written about in her case was made up. Secular people who claim their religious freedom was violated, like for example challenging 10 Commandment statues on court house lawns, are dismissed because the mere presence of the religious item or text isn’t an actual harm according to federal courts.

The plaintiff agreed in court that she would sell her services to LGBTQ people, just not wedding website designs. So her religious beliefs are not absolute. How does making a sign for a gay man not also seem to endorse his sexual orientation?

The decision was capricious and arbitrary and gave special rights to religious people that are not allowed by anyone else. The Christian Nationalists have been bent on subverting decades of church and state legal decisions.

The US Supreme Court set back religious freedom for many years.


For further information on this decision see: Supreme Court rules website designer can decline to create same-sex wedding websites

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.

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PDF of Statement Available Here

Recovering Democracy: Ranked Choice Voting

June 17, 2023 @ 1:00 pm 3:00 pm

Rank the Vote Ohio is a nonpartisan grassroots group working to bring ranked choice voting to Ohio. Josephine Schreiber, Regional Organizer for Northwest Ohio, will join us to tell us all we need to know about RCV and the efforts of RTVOhio to make the change. Recently a Northwest Ohio Chapter of RTVOhio started up.

Ranked Choice Voting is already successful in other states and can give Ohioans a stronger voice when we cast our ballots and ensure that our elected leaders have majority support.

This commonsense change is an important step to empower voters in Ohio at this critical time.

This will be our last regular meeting until September.

Due to a positive COVID test, this meeting is being moved to Zoom. Link should be below

This meeting is FREE and Open to the public

Toledo Blade Underplayed Bigotry Toward The Trans Community

SHoWLE President Douglas Berger had a letter to the editor published in the Toledo Blade on April 20, 2023, responding to a previous editorial that seemed sympathetic to a woman who gave a speech against Trans women at the University of Toledo. The editorial downplayed the bigoted framing and rehash of anti-Trans tropes relating to Trans women participating in women’s sports. The editorial complained about Trans rights supporters protesting Riley Gaines’ speech but didn’t point out the false narrative that Gaines used in her speech and the fact that it was sponsored by the right-wing Christian Nationalist group Turning Point USA.

Douglas was also disappointed that even though his letter was published, the heart of it was cut out by the Blade and made it seem, again, that the issue was one of difference of opinion and not one of a battle to protect the rights of a marginalized group. SHoWLE doesn’t believe that human rights should be put up for a popular vote or be debated like what ice cream flavor you like.

Below is the full text of the letter Douglas submitted followed by images of the Blade editorial in question and the printed letter.

I sat down to read the Blade and saw yet another editorial (“Editorial: Let Riley tell her story” published 4/22) claiming that someone with bigoted ideas is being hurt because other people have called them out on their bigotry. Make no mistake, Riley Gaines told her story framed in bigotry against Trans women all because a Trans woman won ONE event at the NCAA tournament.

Gaines should know that more goes into performing sports than just body parts and what sex one is but we live in a society that seems to accept the status quo for longer than we need. Take basketball. When women were first allowed to play basketball, they were only allowed to play half court because men assumed that women didn’t have the stamina to run up and down a full court. They also had to play in skirts because it was un-ladylike to wear shorts in public.

Does Gaines feel the four other women that beat her in the 200 freestyle were actually “intact males” and why didn’t Lia Thomas win that race if she won the 500 freestyle? I thought Trans women had an unfair advantage?

The science on the issue isn’t clear yet but unlike Gaines’ anecdotal “evidence”, the NCAA has had specific rules to include Trans athletes for at least 10 years now. One would think the flood gates would be open and there would be only Trans women winning everything – obviously that didn’t happen. A person’s genetic make-up and internal and external reproductive anatomy are not useful indicators of athletic performance.

It is also telling that Gaines’ talk was sponsored by the Christian Nationalist group Turning Point USA, whose founder and President Charlie Kirk, on a podcast in 2022, said that the Transgender community was a “social contagion” and that this “public mania” would, in 20 years, be likened to “the modern-day equivalent of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s”.

Riley Gaines (like Charlie Kirk) used bigotry to tell her story, the content of which was underplayed in the editorial. As we move forward and the people who support all humans as having basic dignity and worth become the majority only then will we be actually united as people.