Welcome to Doug’s Views. You are on this page probably wanting to know more about this Blog and about me.
Who is Doug?
I live in the state of Ohio, in the United States. I grew up relatively poor. My family lived in an old house trailer for many years and we were on welfare at times because we were affected by the economic downturns of the 70’s and 80’s.
I was lucky enough to go to school in a district that took pride in excellent schools. And it helped they had the money to do it. That’s why I believe a well-rounded education is one way of changing one’s social economic status. It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns because I did get picked on sometimes because I didn’t have the latest toy or fancy clothes.
I may not be fabulously wealthy today, but it sure beats living in an old trailer with sulfur contaminated water. Those who think they have it bad should try having to go to the bathroom in a chamber pot because the water pipes and sewer are frozen solid in the dead of winter. Or wake up one winter morning to find you ran out of propane used to run the furnace and you really aren’t sure you can afford to pay for an emergency supply.
I use to be a news junkie, watching the news every night and reading the local paper back to front every day. That was back in the old days when news was something of substance instead of the sound bites and infotainment we see and hear today. I still love newspapers and prefer them over TV news. I personally boycott the pundit shows like “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation” not to mention I rarely watch the cable news networks.
In my spare time I fiddle on the computer (I work on my friends’ desktops when they don’t work and I have built several of my own systems) and I like to write short fiction and recently started learning how to write screenplays. I’m a film buff who likes films from all periods of time. Some of my favorite actors include Louise Brooks and Diane Lane.
I love most music but am a fan of punk, New Wave, and classic rock – and don’t mind a dash of country every now and then. Love Patsy Cline… I also keep open to new music like songs from “Two Door Cinema Club” and “Fitz and the Tantrums” for example.
I think and write too much. More than the average person. That’s why I have this Blog.
Philosophically I have been a Secular Humanist, officially, since 1994. I am not anti-religious, I didn’t have a bad experience with religion, and I don’t have Daddy issues. While growing up I had the opportunity to explore the different religious sects that had places to worship in my hometown. Church was very important to friends of mine over the years. In fact, my Boy Scout troop was sponsored by the local Knight’s of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity. On Sunday mornings, while on weekend camp outs, we all attended Mass. I was not a member of the church but I had to go none the less. I became a Humanist and an Atheist because the message in the churches just didn’t make sense to me or have relevance to my life. It still doesn’t, even today.
I am the founder and executive director of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie and a co-chair for Secular Coalition for Ohio. I also manage a Yahoo Groups e-mail list focused on humanism in Ohio called “ohumanistalk“.
I first got active in the secular humanist movement as a member of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio where I served as newsletter editor from 1996 to 2007, President in 2001 and 2002 and many other smaller roles over the past 20 years. HCCO named me Humanist of the Year in 2013.
The best skill for a person to have is to think for themselves and be as skeptical as possible about everything. Although I can’t understand why others can’t come to the same conclusion about religion that I did, I would not want to force MY beliefs on anyone. Of course having my beliefs and expressing them in public and in the pages of this blog is NOT forcing YOU to believe them. Theists who get laws passed taking away rights from people who just want to marry the person they love, for one example, IS forcing beliefs on others.
One of my strongest beliefs is in the strict separation of church and state as defined in Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists and the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
“No Law” means no law. No special treatment or privileges for religion or the religious such as not having to pay taxes, praying before government meetings or events, and having “God” on the money or in the pledge. A religion neutral government is the goal I support.
Where else in the world can people of such diverse religious view points live together in relative peace? Only in a country that has a strong tradition of protecting freedom of religion and keeping religion and government separate. That allows non-believers like myself to enjoy everything the United States has to offer and also allows minority religions to flourish.
What boils my blood are those who want to force their sectarian views on others through control of the government and special laws that follow. They want to destroy our educational system by passing their religious beliefs off as fact. They want to continually discriminate against classes of people who don’t happen to believe exactly as they do.
Politically I’m an independent progressive. Really. I subscribe to the most of the ideas of progressivism as practiced in the US at the beginning of the 20th century. We should have a government that serves the people in an efficient and rational manner and support policies free of religious, gender, and racial bias. We also need to check the corruption of corporatism – for example I support strong regulations on banks, the break up of the large banks, and the prosecution of the bankers who tanked the economy in 2008. I also support making it as easy and as secure to vote as possible which would require a paper trail if electronic methods are used.
I also do not support the death penalty or the criminalization of drugs. This is for the rational reason that neither works and are too expensive to maintain both in cash and people. If one innocent person is wrongly executed then that is one too many. We should not be trying to shorten the time from a death sentence to the actual execution – we need to go slower and ANY concerns should remove the death warrant. Humans make mistakes and the death penalty has no do over or “My bad..”.
I’m not fond of the two party system we are forced to deal with each year. All the election and voting laws are written to maintain the power of the Republicans and Democrats and these laws suppress any real chance at a third party (or more) from competing in the elections. It really is un-American.
I prefer open elections with preference voting. Most of the current issues with too much money involved in elections is because of the entrenched two party system. Lobbyists and special interest groups would have more trouble bribing legislators if they could never be sure who would be in office. I would go so far as to support the removal of party labels from the ballots at election time.
I really don’t care for cheap-labor conservative Republicans and I refuse to vote for them on principle and Democrats aren’t that much better. Both parties are corrupted by corporatism. I choose to vote for the people who offer real solutions to solving problems that come up no matter what party they come from. For full disclosure, the current Republican party is going to need a massive change in agenda before I ever vote for one again.
Although I do feel my vote doesn’t always matter, I do vote. Anyone who believes not voting is some how a protest against the present system is not seeing the whole picture. Not voting because you don’t like the offerings will NEVER change the system. We need to get everyone in the past who hasn’t voted to vote. Then the system might change for the better. We need baby steps. The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 was due to a ton of people voting for the first time and it changed the government they thought had lost its way.
Why this Blog?
I came across Blogger.com back in 2000 and found the concept of weblogs interesting. I started one called “Cadfile’s View of the World” and added a link to my website then on the late great Geocities. Then I let it sit and stagnate.
In the meantime I continued to write essays that I posted on my website about various issues. It was hard work having to code every page by hand in HTML – I am not a designer. I’m a writer.
Blogger.com offered me a way to focus on the writing and less on the formatting and design of the page. It allowed me some creative freedom and presented my collected writing in an eye pleasing format with less effort.
“Doug’s Views” was created in 2003 when I rebranded “Cadfile’s View of the World”. I thought the old name was too long and lame. The content didn’t change much. Entries depend on what I want to say at the moment with no particular theme or focus. It is like an electronic notebook.
In the last few years my political views have grown louder as I watch from the side line as cheap labor conservatives and their religious right buddies try to legally dismantle this country and remove the social safety net that took 50 years to be put in place. So politics has a prominent place on this blog with my atheism coming in a close 2nd in importance.
The viewpoint of this blog is mine alone and I am solely responsible for the content. I encourage feedback including comments and will post those that are made. I do reserve the right to remove objectionable or spam comments or to edit comments for length. You are here as my guest so it is my house, my rules. You have no right to be heard – it is called “Doug’s Views” after all. If you make a reasoned point without smears and name calling then I actually might agree with you – Maybe… I’m the sole judge of what is or what isn’t a spam comment.
Other Places to find Doug
Last.fm (where you can find out what music I listen to)
Doug’s Twigs & Berries – my tumblr page
Secular Left – my church & state specific blog
iHumanism – my Humanism specific blog.
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact Doug Berger by using our website contact form.
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This policy was updated on 30 December 2009
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Doug’s Views – Under the hood