Get Younger or Die

Organized groups are having trouble with declining numbers because younger people don’t think the groups address their concerns like social justice. Secular groups should address those issues because they have long roots in the conflict between church and state.

Episode 45: Get Younger or Die

Organized groups are having trouble with declining numbers because younger people don’t think the groups address their concerns like social justice. Secular groups should address those issues because they have long roots in the conflict between church and state.


Less grey, less white: How to reach younger, more diverse seculars
Attendance shrinking at small and midsize congregations
Kentucky Abortion Bans Violate State Constitution
Ohio AG Yost joins another national lawsuit, this time to overturn LGBTQ protections


Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Voice Over 0:02
This is Glass City Humanist, a show about humanism, humanist values by a humanist. Here’s your host, Douglas Berger,

Doug Berger 0:11
Organized groups are having trouble with declining numbers, because younger people don’t think the groups address their concerns like social justice. Secular groups should address those issues because they have a long root in the conflict between church and state.

Voice Over 0:28
Glass City Humanist is an outreach project of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie: Building Community Through Compassion and Reason for a Better Tomorrow.

Doug Berger 0:50
Okay, I just want to take a few minutes here to let you know about some upcoming upcoming events that the secular humanists of Western Lake Erie are going to take part in. And if you happen to be out and about this, this month, month of August, come check us out on August the 13th. We will be at the Maumee Summer fair. That’s being held in downtown beautiful downtown Maumee will have a booth. Our usual booth will be there. I will be there. Come check us out. We’re going to have the dinosaur handouts again, little toy dinosaurs for the kids. And for the adults, we got a couple of books that we will be raffling off. We have Andrew Seidel’s book that’s been out about separation of church and state the history of separation of church and state. And we have an autograph book from Adam Savage that we got, we got an extra one when he appeared in Toledo a couple years ago. And we’re going to auction that off as well. So if you’re interested in that, check us out, fill out the form. If you want to donate to us, we’ll have our donation jar out. Check us out stop by and see us. The other activity that we will be participating in is the next Saturday, after the Maumee Summer Fair will be Toledo pride will be taking place on August the 20th. And at Promenade Park. We’ve been there before. So we’ll be there again and we’ll have our our booth set up. And we’ll have dinosaur toys for the kids and we’ll be raffling off those books again. And so, you know, we support LGBT people. And that’s why we are there. So stop by and check us out and and then we also have a picnic coming up in September, on September 11 Patriots Day woohoo. We’ll be meeting at having a picnic at the rotary shelter in the middle grounds Metro Park, which is under, it’s under the high level bridge, if you know where that’s at, and we’re near the train station. And we’ll have the information all posted on our website on how to get there. If you’ve ever been part of this group, if you’ve ever come to a meeting, everybody is invited to come you can bring a dish to share. You can bring your own food if you don’t want you know, we’ll have some some food to share. I believe we’re providing some beverages some water Cola, you know stuff like that, and bring bring your games bring your ball, you know, something to play with. You know, it’s gonna be a good time, I hope you guys can show up. Also, September is the month before a new membership year begins. We recently changed to this past year we changed to having our memberships expire on the same day every year. And that’s going to be September 30. So if you are a member of the secular humanists of Western Lake Erie, now, you can update your renew your membership, we have it all set up on the website. If you go to Just go ahead and renew your membership that way. If you see us at the booths in August, you can give us tell us you want to renew your membership but we’ll take your money. You can always do it online as well at any time. But just letting you know because in October we have our annual members meeting where we also elect board for the next year. So if you’re also interested in serving on our board of directors, that’s, you know, you want to make sure you have your membership paid up. And just let me know that you’re interested in serving on the board. And we’ll, we’ll get you set up to run for that. And so yeah, so as we move into fall, and then, and then we have a speaker, tentatively scheduled for September as well, having to work out the details on that. We’ll announce that soon. And so we need a speaker for October and November. So if you know somebody are interested in speaking to our group, just visit our website, fill out the contact form or or send me a note and let us know. So that’s everything that’s coming up and take care.

Voice Over 5:51
Do you like what you hear? Would you like to support the show so we can make it better? You can write a review for podcast apps that allow reviews, you can share our website, glass city humanist dot show with your friends, and you can donate to the show using the Donate link on the website. Any support is appreciated.

Doug Berger 6:18
If you follow trends and polls, trying to figure out well, that’s one way of finding answers about how a community feels about a topic, one of the topics that gets pulled a lot about its church attendance or belief and religion, that sort of thing. And for many, many years, church attendance has been shrinking in this country. According to a report in the BAP Baptist standard, back in 2021. They serve a 15,278 religious congregations across the United States, and confirmed that what social sociologists have documented for several decades, is that people aren’t attending church. They found a median decline in attendance of 7%, between 2015 and 2020. And so they still have quite a few people that attend but not everybody attends. And there’s a lot of reasons for that. One reason is that a lot of evangelical churches are very extreme. They don’t like LGBT people. They’re against abortion, against pay poor people, against minorities in some clay, some places. And that turns off people. And then you have the mainline churches, like the Protestant churches, such as Presbyterians, and Episcopalians and Catholics, where people find other things to do on a Sunday, then rather than go to church, or maybe they can’t go to church because they’re working. You know, a lot of people work on the weekends nowadays with the way the economy is, and so they don’t go to church. Now, that’s not necessarily meaning that they are atheists, because many people are not, when we do the polls and find out how many are nuns. A vast majority of nuns are people who don’t go to church who don’t attend church, not even on the high holidays like Christmas and Easter. And one of those groups of people that are part of our none collection are Gen Zers, Generation Z, the millennials. They are the least religious generation in the nation’s history. And so there’s just been this long trend of secularization in America. And a lot of millennials grew up in households without religion, and religious services and activities were not significant as part of the experience. And we see this also too, I want to point out in secular, the secular movement, this article that I’m getting this information from on the only sky Media website was written by Sammy out Assadi. And they talked about going to the FFRF convention, Freedom firm foundation, Freedom From Religion Foundation convention and 2021. She was a recipient of the Al lumen student activist award. And she was one of the few college age members that that she saw a vast majority of them were people 5060 7080 years old. And I can attest to that, that that was like that in 2001 when I attended the American Humanist Association convention in Los Angeles I was one of the few people that at the time I was in my 30s, or close to 30. I was like, there was like a handful of us. The rest of the people were retired people, or older people in their 60s, maybe they not retired. And so that’s kind of like a thing. Kind of a side, side, tangent, sorry. One of the things that I have a problem with these, these national conventions, is they take a lot of time, a weekend or more, or more than a weekend. They are very expensive. I think. For me, we went to my fiance and I went to the FFRF convention in 2017, in Madison. And I think it cost even outside of, of the hotel that we stayed at, it cost close to $300 for us to attend. You know, a lot of people don’t have that money. That’s why I like that’s why I like the convention like skeptic con, it just completed

Doug Berger 11:14
their 2022 edition, where they finally got to meet in person for most people. That’s convention meets in St. Louis. It was the end of July, July 20. That weekend, July 29. And that is free for people to attend. You still have to pay for your own lodging and food, but to attend the and they get donations to pay for things because it’s not free to put it on. But it doesn’t cost the attendees thanks. But anyway, and so they get a lot of younger people that attend a lot of millennials and people in their early 40s. Did they attend those that conference and we’ve been I’ve been to that one too. And I liked that one a lot more. But so, so not just in churches, religious churches, but you see that in happening in secular space. James Croft, James Frey Croft, who is the senior leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, recently announced that he was leaving his position after seven years. And one of the reasons he’s leaving is because he doesn’t see a future in organized ethical culture, as it is now. And he also doesn’t see anybody wanting to change it. And so he’s not going to spend his valuable time in an organization that does not embrace change, and want to, to change with the times and with the people and address things that the people want to have addressed. I mean, a lot of times a lot of these Catholic churches and old Protestant churches, they they wither away and die, because nobody wants to change anything. You know, they just want a place to go to on Sundays, and they don’t want to actually address any issues. They don’t, you know, they want to do their, their yearly charity for Christmas and, and things like that. I mean, one of the things that I wanted to do as founder and president of the secular humanists of Western Lake Erie, is I want to get involved in the community outside of meetings. We have quite a few people, older people, that’s all they want our meetings. They don’t want, you know, they’re not clamoring, they’re not begging me, hey, you know, we want to do some things, younger people, younger people that have been come by our meetings and things, they want to do other things, they want to actually take action, and make change, rather than just talk. You know, and that’s one of the things that as a leader of a group, a secular group, I struggle with making it enjoyable and, and being able to bring in different people. Just recently, we had a speaker come in to one of our monthly meetings, abortion clinic escort, and it was sparsely attended. We didn’t have very many people, which really disappointed me. You know, that is something and the reason why it’s important is because a lot of the social justice issues that we should be concerned about, have an element of separation of church and state in them. And that’s important separation of church and state and being active and addressing violations when we see them that is very important in what we do. Well as a group, social justice issues that we want to be active and address, have a component of separation of church and state, for example, just the recent Roe v. Wade, decision that the Supreme Court issued that was entirely based on religion. The whole reasoning that Justice Alito made for saying that women did not have a right to an abortion was based on his religious beliefs as a Catholic. And as it seems, now, turns out that he was talking to some evangelical anti-abortionists And that whole framework, the whole reasoning was all based on religion. So they recently had a case there was recently a court case in Kentucky, where a women’s clinic women’s em W women’s surgical center sued the state of Kentucky.

Doug Berger 16:08
Trying to get a six week fetal heart bail heartbeat ban overturned, saying that it violated the Kentucky State Constitution. So that’s what happened after that the dogs decision came down that overruled Roe v. Wade, is that the abortion question? Question, move to the states to decide. So that you’re going to have a patchwork of different states have different rules and different laws, and etc. Okay, that’s the main thing that happens. So the surgical center sued the state of Kentucky, and the judge ruled in their favor. Initially, it said and I wanted to read what what the court said in part, they said defendants witnesses argue that life begins at the very moment of fertilization, and as such is entitled to full constitutional protection at that point. However, this is distinctly Christian and Catholic belief. other faiths hold a wide variety of views on when life begins. And at what point a fetus should be recognized as an independent human being. The General Assembly is not permitted to single out and endorse the doctrine of a favorite faith, for preferred treatment. There is nothing in our laws or history that allows for such theocratic based policymaking. And I totally agree with that decision, because that is what a decision that says a woman can’t get an abortion, that’s what they base it on, they base it on a theocracy. And, and that is just not something that we should stand for. So it doesn’t matter how you feel personally about abortion. What it is, is somebody’s rights are being violated entirely because of religion. And we should be against that completely in any form. Another one, when when we talk about racism, a lot of racist ideas are based on religious beliefs. And so you know, we should be working on that the same with a lot of social social service. policymaking is based on religion. I know for a fact during one economic downturn, back in the 80s, the federal government led by Ronald Reagan, a Republican, wanted to privatize Social Services, and have religious groups take over and a lot of cases, that’s what happened. If you go into a lot of cities today, a lot of the social services are taken care of by religious organizations. That’s just wrong. They should not be allowed to do that. Yes, that by all means, if they want to have a charity and help people, that’s great, but taxpayer tax funded money, you know, taxpayers funding money, going to these religious groups, is wrong and should not be done. That’s something we need to address. And so that’s what we’re talking about a lot of social justice issues. The the just just the other day, Ohio Attorney General David Yost signed on to a lawsuit against the federal government that had mandated non discrimination of LGBT people when considering funding, not funding but considering distributing school lunches, because they’re funded a majority is funded by the federal government. And they and the federal government said, if you take federal money for the school lunches, you cannot discriminate against LGBT people. Now, we had a Supreme Court decision a couple of years ago, that said that LGBT people were a protected status when it came to federal policy. And just like women are protected, just like minorities are protected, old age, you know, people that are old, are an old age senior citizens are protected. And they said that sex, you know, sex discrimination was illegal. And if you discriminated against LGBT people, you were you were doing that you were discriminated against people protected class. So, Ohio Attorney General David Yost decides to sign on to this lawsuit, because he doesn’t believe that LGBT people should not be discriminated against.

Doug Berger 21:01
You know, he, and he tries to couch it his his remarks, when he put out the statement about it said that the federal government shouldn’t tell school districts what to do blah, blah, blah. Now, he is he he’s anti abortion. He’s very religious. And he signed on to it because his religion compels him to sign on to it. You know, his religion says that LGBT people are less than human. So he’s going to use his power of his office to discriminate against LGBT people. And for me, as a humanist, that is wrong. And we need to do something about it. So even if you believe that the separation of church and state is the primary reason, groups like ours exists, and that we shouldn’t be doing anything else, but separation of church and state. That’s why it also includes social justice issues. And that’s why we need to appeal to millennials and younger people to help us out in address the social justice issues, and it starts with separation of church and state. And that’s what we got to tell them. This article from only sky that I’m going to put up on the show notes. Besides telling us that generation Z is at least religious generation also tells us that most of Gen Z’s engagement occurs in virtual virtual spaces, where religion creates a superstructure for lifestyle choices, activities and morals, social media caters to niche interests. Consequently, member many members of Gen Z struggled to find common ground with their peers, resulting in increased social isolation and lack of shared experiences. And so although 66% of Gen Zers are religiously unaffiliated, you know, their nuns, only 9% identify as atheists. And I’ve said this on many occasions, both to my group members, and here on the glass city humanist podcast, that to be a humanist doesn’t require you to be an atheist. In most cases, it’s going to make it easier for you to get by, if you are an atheist, but you can be a believer and be a humanist. Because all humanist requires you to do is to deal with these social justice issues, address them in a kind, compassionate way. So that we can build a community for a better tomorrow, as our tagline kind of says, plug, plug, plug plug. And in order to do that, we have to get involved it’s not just dealing with separation of church and state. And it also from this article, this last bit I’ll read to you. Although most secular organizations sponsor Church State activism, there is an over abundance of recovering from religion programming. If their leadership is interested in gaining youth membership, they must create programs of topical interest to a generation impacted less by religion and more by socio political issues than earlier generations. Know and when we were having those school board battles, over CRT there was a lot of religious groups, evangelical groups involved in those protests that did not want critical race theory taught in the schools. Okay,

Doug Berger 25:01
The only positive about that was that they were few and far between. There was only, you know, there’s only less than 20%. People who are extremely religious. The problem comes is a lot of those people are legislatures in the legislature. And so you have this small minority of people who don’t have a good idea of what’s going on in the world, and have want to institute policy based on their religion, like banning abortion, and they’re in charge. So one of the things that we have to do is we have to start voting smarter. We’d have to start voting, running candidates, and working to preserve voting. Because again, voting rights, when it when you look at it would help prevent separation of church and state issues because we can get more progressive people in office, people who are more who are more able to see when something truly is a violation of church and state, such as having 10 commandments on a courthouse lawn, and not try to be deferential to religion as much as the current crop of Supreme Court justices are. Because I’ll tell you, during the pandemic, one of the most crazy arguments that was made by us by a federal court judge was that churches are the same as casinos. When you talk about when you talk about essential businesses during a public health emergency. And that is bullcrap. They are not as essential as a casino casino is not essential. But a church is not like a casino at all. And that’s where we need to get involved. And that’s where we need to get younger people involved. And so we’ll probably be working on that come in the future. And so if you want to help join us, you know, check us out at humanists, w And if you’re a young person and you want to help us, we don’t have any young people in our group right now. And if you want to be the first one and really mold this group, into something that can appeal to more millennials and younger people, I’m all for it. You know, check us out, sign up. And and let’s let’s hear what you have to say.

Voice Over 27:40
Thank you for listening. For information about the topics in this episode, please visit the episode page at Glass City Humanist is an outreach of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie, and is supported in part by a grant by the American Humanist Association. The AHA can be reached at SHoWLE can be reached at Glass City Humanist is hosted, written and produced by Douglas Berger, and he is solely responsible for the content our theme music is Glass City Jam composed using the Ampify Studio See you next time.

Transcript is machine generated, lightly edited, and approximate to what was recorded. If you would like perfect transcripts, please donate to the show.


Written, produced, and edited by Douglas Berger and he is entirely responsible for the content. Incidental voice overs by Shawn Meagley

The GCH theme is “Glass City Jam” composed using Ampify Studio

This episode by Glass City Humanist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.