Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Those Evil Atheist Bus Ads Again

The Des Moines, Iowa transit authority reversed its initial decision and allowed an atheist group to purchase ad space on city buses with the entirely innocuous statement “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” on them. Now one of the bus drivers is refusing to drive a bus with that sign on them, saying it conflicts with her Christian faith.

On Monday, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority suspended bus operator Angela Shiel after she refused to drive a bus with an Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers ad on its side. Shiel, 41, said the ad’s message, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone,” went against her Christian faith…

Shiel, a DART bus driver for four years, now could be fired because of her refusal to drive the bus.

DART policy states that drivers cannot choose which buses they drive, DART General Manager Brad Miller said.

No, what it conflicts with is her stupidity and her inability to read. It conflicts with her faith to even acknowledge the existence of people who don’t believe in God? This part makes me laugh:

Stone likened the situation to a government employee claiming a religious right to refuse to work with someone of a different faith.

“When you work for the government, part of your job is to respect the rights of your fellow citizens, and you cannot use your religious beliefs to evade that responsibility,” he said.

Shiel’s husband said DART officials knew about his wife’s convictions when they hired her.

“This has been her faith since the very first day on the job,” Glenn Shiel said. He said that making her drive the bus would be telling her to be “two-faced for the fact that she wants an income.”

“To me, it’s kind of wrong to deny a person of their job because they have a belief,” he said.

If that belief is utterly irrational and makes them unwilling to do their job, that strikes me as their problem. I’m generally okay with making reasonable accommodation for religious belief, but such accommodations clearly have their limits. Employers don’t have to accommodate every crazy and irrational belief someone has merely because that belief falls under the label of religion.