Ohio

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Ohio State Capitol

Despite the fact that there are tens of millions of nontheistic Americans, we remain one of the most marginalized groups in the country.  The Secular Coalition for America is working to make sure that we are heard on Capitol Hill. We fight in Washington DC against religious privileging on a federal level, yet some of the most egregious violations of separation of church and state are being promoted and passed at a state levelWe need your help to see real change in Columbus and across Ohio.

The Secular Coalition for America is forming state chapters across the country. Our chapters will bring together secular Americans in each state to influence government officials, legislation, and regulations. A Secular Coalition for America state chapter is unlike any other nontheistic state organization—it brings together interested organizations and individuals for the exclusive purpose of lobbying government officials.

"Faith-Football Association Unconstitutional" Letter to Editor of The Toledo Blade

The Blade is wrong to support University of Toledo head football coach Matt Campbell leading team prayer (“Flag on the play,” editorial, May 29). Read more about "Faith-Football Association Unconstitutional" Letter to Editor of The Toledo Blade

The University Of Toledo Football Team Has A Prayer Problem

screencap of Coach Matt Campbell leading prayer at University of Toledo 2012Last week, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the University of Toledo to advise them that their head football coach Matt Campbell violated the 1st amendment by leading his Read more about The University Of Toledo Football Team Has A Prayer Problem

SCO Got Some Mail

image with text RFRA and the No symbolLast month, co-chair Douglas Berger had a letter to the editor printed in the Columbus Dispatch about the firestorm over the attempt by Indiana to discriminate against LGBTQ people by using a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Read more about SCO Got Some Mail

Secular Coalition For Ohio Has Letter To The Editor Printed

During the debate over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was passed in Indiana last month, the Columbus Dispatch published an article "Debate over Indiana law part of ongoing religious-freedom efforts, pastor says". The story included comments from Rev. Read more about Secular Coalition For Ohio Has Letter To The Editor Printed

Good News And Bad News From The Ohio Legislature

clipart of cross over outline of state of OhioThe first session of the 131st Ohio General Assembly has picked up where the 130th left off at the end of 2014. This is good news and bad news for secular people.

The good: Read more about Good News And Bad News From The Ohio Legislature

Two Religious Privilege Bills Pass Out Of Ohio Committee. Take Action Today

House Bills 303 and 304, collectively known as the "Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act" passed out of committee on 12/1 and moves to be considered in the full House. The proposed laws would expand special privileges to the religious which secular students would be excluded from using. Take action today and let your elected representatives know you oppose these bills.

HB 303 would: Read more about Two Religious Privilege Bills Pass Out Of Ohio Committee. Take Action Today

Group Starts Petition To Remove Ohio's Religious Exemption For Child Abuse

image of a stethoscope on top of a BibleDid you know that many states, including Ohio, have religious exemptions for child abuse written into law? Read more about Group Starts Petition To Remove Ohio's Religious Exemption For Child Abuse

Ohio Election Preview Hangout October 29th 2014

The Secular Coalition for Ohio will be holding a public hang out on Google Plus on Wednesday October 29th starting at 7 PM.

This will be the first public hang out for SCO where we can get together and talk about the upcoming general election and how it relates to the separation of church and state. We can discuss which candidates are more friendly to our issues.

Participants can ask questions or give information about any church and state issues in their area. Read more about Ohio Election Preview Hangout October 29th 2014

Next House Bill 597 hearing set for September 24th

The next hearing for House Bill 597, that allows creationism to be taught in Ohio public schools, is set for  next Wednesday September 24th in the Ohio Statehouse. If you haven't, contact either the committee chair State Representative Matt Huffman or your local state represenative.

COMMITTEE:    Rules and Reference

CHAIRMAN:     State Representative Matt Huffman, Speaker Pro-Tempore

DATE:         Wednesday, September 24, 2014 Read more about Next House Bill 597 hearing set for September 24th

House Bill 597 Allows Creationism Into Public Schools And Sets Up A Dover Trap

clipart of science lab itemsThe National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reported on August 19th that Ohio Representatives Andy Thompson (R-95) and Matt Huffman (R-4) introduced House Bill 597 to repeal Ohio's participation in the Common Core curriculum. Read more about House Bill 597 Allows Creationism Into Public Schools And Sets Up A Dover Trap

Testimony against House Bill 36 aka the 'Ohio Pastor Protection Act'

Once again a bill was introduced to open the door to discrimination against the LGBT community in Ohio under the cover of religious freedom. The difference this time is now were are living in the President Trump administration, H.B. 36 will be moved to the full House for a vote as soon as February 21st. The Secular Coalition for Ohio gave written testimony this week against the proposed law. The text of the testimony follows: Read more about Testimony against House Bill 36 aka the 'Ohio Pastor Protection Act'

Understanding the RFRA

Let's take a look at the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Read more about Understanding the RFRA

Just how Nontheistic IS Ohio?

Based on a 2014 study by Pew Research, we know that on a national level, there are almost 56 million Americans who are “Nones” - the second-largest “religious” group, trailing only to Evangelical Protestants in number.  In the last seven years, the nontheistic Americans have increased from 16% to 23% of all U.S. Read more about Just how Nontheistic IS Ohio?

SC Ohio's Written testimony against HB 425

Sub. HB 425, The Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act, was passed by the Ohio House two weeks ago and is now being considered by the Ohio Senate. It is currently assigned to the Education committee. The Secular Coalition for Ohio submitted the following written testimony to the committee asking the bill be rejected:

To:  Senate Education Committee

From: Douglas Berger, co-chair, Secular Coalition for Ohio

Date: April 27th, 2016

Tell your lawmaker to oppose bullying in public schools!

HB 425 would allow students to bully their peers in the name of "religious liberty."

The Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act, HB 425, would legalize bullying and harassment of students in public schools for any religiously motivated reason.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-425 Read more about Tell your lawmaker to oppose bullying in public schools!

Great time at Secular Summit 4.0 and Legislative Update

SCO Co-chair speaks briefly at Secular Summit 4.0Co-chair Doug Berger attended the Secular Summit held in Columbus on February 10th. It was hosted by CFI NE Ohio which is headed by our former Legislative chair Monette Richards. It is always an interesting event. Read more about Great time at Secular Summit 4.0 and Legislative Update

Do You Cast Your Ballot In A Church?

Voting Here SignElection Day is Tuesday and many of us still travel to a polling place to cast our ballots in person. In many communities the polling place is located inside a church. It's not illegal to have voting in a church but the location still needs to meet state election laws. What should you look for and what should you do to make sure a church follows the rules? Read more about Do You Cast Your Ballot In A Church?

Toledo's ProMedica Picks Politics Over Women's Health

image of a Sign at ProMedica protestOhio has some of the most ridiculous and onerous abortion 'regulations' in the country. One of these 'regulations' requires a 'transfer agreement' between a hospital and a clinic under the guise of 'patient safety'. Read more about Toledo's ProMedica Picks Politics Over Women's Health

Speaker John Boehner Scores High On Secular Issues

The Secular Coalition has released the Congressional Report Card for 2014. Looking at Ohio we see the highest rated is Rep. Tim Ryan (D-13). The lowest, no surprise, is Rep. Bob Latta (R-5). The biggest surprise is Speaker John Boehner (R-8) scored a 71% on the issues important to the Coalition - who knew?

chart showing 2014 US House Report Card

  Read more about Speaker John Boehner Scores High On Secular Issues

Statement on Toledo Municipal Court Judge C. Allen McConnell refusal to marry a LGBT couple

Photo of Judge C. Allen McConnell of the Toldeo Ohio Municipal Court

The Secular Coalition for Ohio (SCO) is extremely disappointed that Judge C. Allen McConnell of the Toledo Ohio Municipal Court refused to marry a LGBT couple on July 6, 2015. His reasoning for refusing to perform his sworn duty as Municipal Court judge was based entirely on his religious beliefs. Read more about Statement on Toledo Municipal Court Judge C. Allen McConnell refusal to marry a LGBT couple

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