Christian Refuses to Drive Bus because of Pro-Gay Ad on Side

Late this week, a Yorkshire (UK) bus driver refused to drive his bus because it had an ad on the side promoting the LGBT-friendly charity Stonewall:

I don’t have to add anything else and I’ll bet you already know the driver is a Christian. (Are you really surprised?)

Passengers spent 20 minutes stranded on a bus after its driver refused to board because of a gay rights message on the side.

The unnamed driver would not get on the X78 from Rotherham to Sheffield because it bore a billboard for gay lobby group Stonewall, reading: ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’

Passengers sat and waited while the driver argued loudly with colleagues and customers.

Stonewall information officer Louise Kelly said: ‘Passengers in Rotherham can rightly expect bus drivers to do the job they pay them to do — drive buses.

‘I just thought it was disgusting. He’s a bus driver — he’s going to come across all sorts of people. Does he seriously think he has never had a gay person on his bus?’

‘If they are unwilling to, perhaps they should look for another job.’

Bingo. Everyone knows the bus driver isn’t automatically supporting the ads on the side on the bus. They have a job to do, and they can resign if they’re unable to do it. Just like pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control pills, if you can’t do your job without invoking some “moral clause” that no one else gives a damn about, then find a different line of work. No one’s forcing you to violate your religious beliefs; you’re just being stubborn. Plus, you’re bad for business.

Being gay isn’t a choice, but being a bigot is.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Back in 2009, British bus driver Ron Heather refused to drive a bus because it featured an atheist ad on the side.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • C Peterson

    I wonder what the legal situation is. Can these drivers be fired for this sort of thing? If not, it would be interesting to see an atheist bus driver push the envelope a bit by refusing to drive a bus carrying a religious message.

    • Russian Alex

      He’ll be rightly fired on the spot, and we won’t even hear about this. It’s only newsworthy when teh evil godless gheys are oppressing righteous bus drivers for Christ.

    • Artor

      Being an asinine dipshit just because other people are doing so doesn’t achieve anything, except more asinine dipshits in the world.

  • CelticWhisper

    He fucked up the schedule by 20 minutes (a big deal in cities) for something that had nothing to do with the bus itself or his ability to drive it?

    Cut the crap and fire him.  Maybe if assclowns like this get made examples of more often it’ll hammer the point home that “Wah, wah, I’m being oppressed by the evil, ungodly LGBT people!” isn’t an acceptable reason to refuse to do the job you’re being paid for when dozens of passengers who have no dog in your fight are counting on you to get them where they need to go.

    Unless this ad was carved into an 8′x3′ block of Semtex with the ghost of Dennis Hopper standing by holding a detonator, it has zero impact on the roadworthiness of the bus and zero impact on the driver’s ability to drive.

    Also I’m not admitting to having actually watched “Speed.”  I, uh…heard about it.  Through some…people, and…stuff.

  • Sven2547

    I thought conservatives were big on the “free market”?  Because the free market dictates that this is a bad employee.

  • Coyotenose

    So what amounts to “Gay People Exist” was too controversial a message for him to even be able to stand to know it was written somewhere he wouldn’t even have to see it all that often. This sounds familiar somehow…

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    I don’t have to add anything else and I’ll bet you already know the driver is a Christian.

    I think that should read “the driver is an arrogant twit.”

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       Christian, “arrogant twit”, same diff…

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Why are the  British people more reasonable and logical when it comes to this kind of thing? Is there something in the water? Maybe in the air? If you can’t/won’t fulfill all responsibilities of your job because of your religious beliefs then perhaps you should be looking for a new job. 

  • RobertoTheChi

    Fire this bigoted asshole!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    In other news, a bus driver who is a regular customer of Burger King refused to drive a bus with a MacDonald’s ad on the side…

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    If I remember correctly, a British bus driver did the very same thing when the “There’s probably no god” ads came out about three years ago. He was given a warning by his supervisor and transferred to drive another bus. 

    Looks like it’s time to increase the consequence for drivers refusing to do their job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Buchy/542338898 James Buchy

    Anybody on that bus who missed work as a result should sue the driver for any losses, especially if somebody lost their job as a result.

  • http://twitter.com/mywall mywall

    Just to provide a little context here, not supporting the driver but he might not necessarily be objecting to the message. Stonewall, the charity that bought the ad, recently gave a bigot of the year award to Keith O’Brien, a christian leader. This guy could be objecting to that.

    • Artor

      Still the same issue, no difference.

    • Riffler

      Why? Because he thought he deserved it more?

  • Nullop

    That “(Are you really surprised)” comment says volumes about you and this site.

    • 3lemenope

      What, that they notice obvious patterns of behavior and consistent perpetrators of the same?

      It’s particularly annoying, this current behavior, when set against the backdrop of the not-so-long-ago tradition of Christian civil disobedience in furtherance of social justice, the primary characteristic of which was an acknowledgement and acceptance of the fact that when you stand for your beliefs in opposition to the standing rules of society, you should expect consequences from that society. MLK wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail while sitting in Birmingham Jail; it wasn’t a clever name. What, exactly, prompts this “I wanna not follow the rules and yet suffer no consequences” crap? From a religion predicated upon martyrdom, it’s particularly pathetic.

    • Baby_Raptor

      What, that we recognize patterns?

      Christians, those bastions of love, regularly treat LGBTs like shit. So no, it’s not surprising when they do it. Offended? That’s your problem, not any issue of ours.

      • Peekaboo

        Clearly it’s a problem for both sides to address. If not, then this wouldn’t be a story right? 

        If it’s my problem and my problem only then why are you upset with the response? 

        If it’s only a problem for Christians, then why are the non-christian LGBT community trying SO hard to change to change the status quo? 

        What if society said, wow, you treat everyone like trash who doesn’t think exactly like you. Tough.  Deal with it. 

        What state do you live in? If you are advocating for equal marriage rights how would you like it if your local representative said, “Hey, the law doesn’t allow for that here. If you don’t like it. Tough. Those are the rules. Get over it!” 

        I sense a double standard in your response.

        • TheBlackCat

           Huh?  What does this have anything to do with the fact that there is a pattern of this behavior amongst Christians?  Not this sort of behavior, I mean this exact behavior.  This is not the first time a Christian has refused to drive a bus because there was an ad from a  group the Christian didn’t like on the bus.

    • Drew M.

      That we are far-too aware of Christian bigotry and asshattery?

      Guilty as charged.

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      Your own comment says volumes about you and your buddies.

    • doaftheloaf

      you must be the bus driver.  get a clue.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5509de8970c ミッコ

    In Sweden he would have to get a new job or drive the worst lines because of costing the bus company and county council a lot of money 20 minutes late = take a taxi and send the bill and the bus company would get a fine.

  • Explorer

    Apparently the driver missed the “get over it” part of the ad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

      Irony win.

  • Baby_Raptor

    This is on the same page as birth control, abortion, counselling, ETC. Can’t separate your job from your beliefs? Find a different job. The ponies that rely on you doing your job shouldn’t be inconvenienced because you think you’re so important.

    It’s that personal responsibility that these types like to preach so much, yet seem to think they’re immune to. 

    • amycas

       I generally agree that if you don’t want to hand out birth control, or perform abortions or counsel certain  people, then you should not be in those lines of work (pharmaceutical, gynecology, and psychiatry), but at least for those conscientious objectors, they are objecting to actually DOING something they are against. The bus driver wasn’t being asked to actually do anything. They didn’t ask him to pay for the ad or paint it on, merely to drive a bus. His objection is even less deserving of respect than any of those others.

  • http://twitter.com/ixzist Fiery Cleric

    Fine, quit. I am sure there is someone out there who needs a driving job.

    • Sindigo

      In this economy? There are plenty.

      • http://twitter.com/ixzist Fiery Cleric

        The point is that the driver holds his morals before his job duty. He is free to find employment that jibes with his beliefs.

      • http://twitter.com/ixzist Fiery Cleric

        The point is that the driver holds his morals before his job duty. He is free to find employment that jibes with his beliefs.

  • SeekerLancer

    He ought to read the bus ad and take it’s advice.

  • Paul Paulus

    Being gay isn’t a choice, but being a bigot is.

    Adding that to my cat o’ nine tails.

    • Seiously

      What part of the human genome makes a person gay versus not gay?

      • TheBlackCat

        Just because something isn’t a choice doesn’t mean it is genetic.  There are lots of things that can happen during development without any gene causing it.

      • Baal

        I assume you’re aware of genetic twins?  While they have above average commonality, there is a 50/50 split on sexual orientation (both same (gay or straight) vs one gay & one straight).  Said differently, when you a gay twin, the genetically same other twin is only gay half the time.  This is strong evidence of some genetic factors but clearly there is some environmental as well.

        • Ra

          Actually, to the best of my knowledge, that figure is more like 70%.

      • Deven Kale

         It hasn’t been found yet, but the majority of evidence points to a genetic/epigenetic cause.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306655921 Rolf Boettger

    What’s next, a Muslim bus driver won’t get on the bus because there is an add for pork chops on the side, a Hindu bus driver won’t drive because a “Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner” ad is on the side, or a Christian Scientist won’t drive because the Red Cross is advertising a blood drive.  Everybody just needs to “GET OVER IT!” 
    As an afterthought, what would the outcry have been if an atheist had refused to drive the bus because the Anglican church had an ad on the side?

    • TheBlackCat

      If I recall correctly there have been cases where Muslim bus drivers have refused to transport dogs, I think even seeing eye dogs.

  • ortcutt

    Welcome to the world of “conscience exceptions”.  If we don’t fight to prevent it, this will become more common in the US as Congress and state legislatures pass laws privileging people to not do their jobs because of their religious beliefs.

    • TheBlackCat

       It’s worse than that, they have passed laws that you have to hire people even if you know they won’t do their job.

  • Georgina

      “No one’s forcing you to violate your religious beliefs;”
    We can say the same to everone who instists on wearing religious garb, or jewelry – you have your religious freedom – you don’t have a right to this job.

    • TheBlackCat

       Only if the religious garb or jewelry interferes with their job.  If someone’s religion requires they wear jewelry, they shouldn’t be a nurse at an MRI clinic.  If someone’s job requires wearing a hard hat they can’t wear a turban.

  • smrnda

    Plenty of buses where I live have adverts up for religious organizations. Is anyone objecting to that and refusing to drive the bus? 

  • John

    I have no problems with this bus driver standing up for his beliefs, as skewed as they may be. I’d even go so far as to say it was a brave action. But the price of freedom is that you take responsibility for your actions. If the company decides to fire him, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

  • Manoj120

    So what amounts to “Gay People Exist” was too controversial a message
    for him to even be able to stand to know it was written somewhere he
    wouldn’t even have to see it all that often. This sounds familiar
    somehow…

  • Luna Tique

    Ugh, the comments on the Daily Mail articles about this made me want to throw up.


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