Category: Positive

July 22, 2014
photo of a Humanist Celebrant performing a marriage

Outside of certain government officials, Ohio state law requires other people who want to officiate marriages to be ‘ordained’ in their religious society or congregation. A bill introduced on June 30th would remove the requirement and make it easier for secular people to perform marriages and have non-theistic weddings.

Representative Mike Foley (D-14) and Representative Robert F. Hagan (D-58) introduced the bill, which would reduce religious entanglement with what is actually a civil act between two people.

January 30, 2014
image of the Secular Summit 2.0 Welcome Sign that greeted participants
Secular Summit 2.0 Welcome Sign Greeted Participants

On January 28th, a bitterly cold Tuesday morning, approximately 20 people gathered for the second annual Secular Summit in the Museum Gallery in the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus. The summit was organized and hosted by the Center for Inquiry Northeast Ohio (CFI NE Ohio) but included people from the various secular groups in Ohio. In the morning we had several speakers, some training in lobbying, and then the afternoon was when participants visited their Representatives and Senators to introduce themselves and the issues of importance to seculars in the state. The extreme cold couldn’t keep us from talking to the legislature, most of whom have completely opposite views.

The Secular Summit was held in the Museum Gallery on the ground floor of the Ohio State House.

January 16, 2014
created image of a wall between words Church and State

Today is Religious Freedom Day and President Obama issued a Proclamation to honor the day. The text included atheists as part of the religious diversity and cultural fabric of the United States. He also mentioned the important thing isn’t someone’s faith but that we all should support freedom, equality, justice, and separation of church and state.

Religious Freedom Day marks the day in 1786 when the first religious freedom law – Statute for Religious Freedom – was passed in Virginia.

November 26, 2013
logo of the Internal Revenue Service

On Friday, November 22nd, a Federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the ‘parsonage exemption’ which allowed churches to provide housing allowances to ministers tax free was a violation of the 1st amendment of the US Constitution. In the ruling the judge said since the tax exemption had no secular purpose and excluded the non-religious, it was unconstitutional. If the ruling holds up on appeal it would bring some fairness to the tax code for nonprofits and might make some of the televangelists, who own many homes, more accountable for their lavish spending.

November 19, 2013
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John Freshwater

In probably the last gasp for Mount Vernon, Ohio’s proselytizing teacher, John Freshwater, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 today that his termination for insubordination was correct. In addition the court ruled that Freshwater had his rights violated when the school district demanded he remove his personal Bible from his classroom desk but that his additional actions in defying that order was enough to justify removing him.

November 8, 2013
logo for the Secular Coalition For Ohio

The Secular Coalition For America (SCA) is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that lobbies our elected officials in Washington and now they want to expand into Ohio to cover state and local political issues of interest to secular Ohioans. I have volunteered as co-chair to form the Ohio chapter. We need your help.