Bus drivers suspended after refusing to drive bus with atheist ad

With atheist bus ads popping up all over the US, there’s bound to be some conflict a-brewin’ (they are kind of intended for that purpose, anyway). The latest controversy comes from Des Moines, Iowa, where bus driver Angela Shiel was suspended after she refused to drive a bus with an atheist banner on the side. She might get fired over this, since the Des Moines Area Regional Transport (or DART) has a policy that drivers are not allowed to choose which buses they drive.

Now before you decide on whether or not she should be allowed to refuse such a simple thing, how would atheists have responded to a non-believer refusing to drive a bus with a Christian ad on it? I don’t know about you, but I would have told that person to suck it up and do their job. We all have to do things we aren’t always comfortable with, but them’s the breaks. At the end of the day, it’s just a stupid ad, and letting people speak their minds isn’t a crime.

This is a tough situation for DART, since firing Angela would only anger theists, and capitulating to her demands would mean that other drivers could follow suit. Their priority is on providing a reliable service, and not having to deal with people’s religious convictions. I think the solution is letting her wear a t-shirt emblazoned with I believe in God while driving the bus if she’s feeling conflicted about the whole thing. Problem solved!

(props to the Examiner for the find)

Comments (7)

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    This is no different then those clowns who won’t dispense birth control or touch ham at the supermarket. If you can’t perform even the most basic tasks of your job it’s time to consider a new career.

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    Vegetarians have to drive buses with ads for meat-serving restaurants, XBox fans have to drive buses that have PS3 ads displayed, theists should be expected to drive buses with atheist ads. It’s stupid that because the issue is religion it’s being viewed as less of a ridiculous action than the vegetarian or XBox scenario. Your job is to drive the bus, you have nothing to do with the ads on the bus. It’s also a good point that you don’t hear atheist drivers refusing to do their job because there are ads for a church or religion on a bus (which there are ALL THE TIME). Get over it, theists. If a piece of advertising is that threatening to you, you might want to re-evaluate your faith regardless.

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    People all have to do things they disagree with. I was horrified, as an atheist, at having to teach religious education as a teacher in the UK. I was told to either do it, or be fired as that was the law in England. I like the fact that religious believers are suddenly in the position that we atheists have been in for a long time!

    Too much favouritism is shown to ‘people of faith’. In BC, Canada, a few years back a Jehovah’s Witness was given a huge compensation payout by the Court of Human Rights for being asked to put red flowers in an office one December! Not Santa Claus, pictures of baby Jesus or other symbols of yuletide (that they would have to poke their eyes out to miss anyway in downtown Vancouver!). I tell you, the world has been upside-down for too long!

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    Well said, Advertisinglies. I couldn’t agree more. I hope the woman does get fired. Send the message. This type of crazy should not be tolerated.

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    While there is truth to what you say, it is assanine to liken these issues to that of a conflicted Xbox player. If a she was hired to drive a bus with a controversial ad, then she needs to do it. If she was hired to drive the bus and the advertisement was added later, I can see where she might struggle with that. Either way, I imagine their are a few folks in Des Moines that would be willing to drive anything right now, so maybe it’s time for this woman to set aside her issue. While we’re at it, maybe we should all set aside our issues and realize that we are becoming more “evangelical” for atheist views than believers are for religious views. Wow… that’s a little embarrassing.

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    Simple! Can’t do your job for a valid medical reason??? No!!!
    fire their ass!!! There will be 5 out of work drivers ready to take her place!! Her beliefs are completely irrelavent!!!! My belief says I should be paid $1000/day to stay at home and play with my Grand-kids.
    So what!!! my belief is irrelavent!!!! Her’s are as well.

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    MonkeyMan – Why is it asinine? Why should religious beliefs hold any more or less weight than any other beliefs? Because religion is supposed to be sacred? What if the XBox fan feels the XBox is equally sacred? Whose place is it to say that their beliefs are less important to them than religious beliefs are to other people?

    I would be more sympathetic if the ads could be considered at all controversial but they’re not. “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone.” How is that in any way a controversial statement? It isn’t inflammatory, it isn’t insulting, it isn’t even challenging toward any other belief. It’s an atheist statement directed toward other atheists.

    The insinuation that atheists simply declaring their existence is in any way evangelical behavior is insulting.

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