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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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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