A step backward for Cleveland


I have recently been praising the city Cleveland for taking a progressive attitude towards LGBT rights. They are even hosting the 2014 Gay Games to be held August 9-16. But some Muslim can drivers have given the city a black eye by walking off their jobs because they refuse to drive taxis that carry ads for the games.

Roughly 25 Muslim drivers dispatched to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are refusing to drive cabs adorned with advertising for the region’s upcoming Gay Games, citing religious reasons.

Two of the three companies operating at Ohio’s largest airport were informed by the drivers — one-third of the airport’s total fleet — last week that they will no longer participate in the airport’s dedicated taxicab program. The companies, Ace and Yellow Taxi Cab, were told by the drivers that their decision was based on religious reasons, airport spokeswoman Jacqueline Mayo told FoxNews.com.

I am getting sick and tired of people feeling that their personal religious beliefs somehow excuse the lack of showing politeness and common human decency to their fellow beings. How would these cab drivers feel if other cab drivers refused to carry Muslims or to have advertising that promotes some Muslim festival?

We have also seen how the religious right has vociferously defended religious Christians who operate businesses that are ‘public accommodations’ (i.e., that offer goods and services to the general public) who wish to deny their services to gay people, saying that forcing them to do so violates their religious freedoms.

Will they be equally willing to go to bat for Muslims who don’t want to serve gays? What does one do when the desire to discriminate against one group (gays) comes into conflict with the desire to discriminate against another (Muslims)?

It is so hard to be a bigot these days.

Comments

  1. Holms says

    Siiiiiiiiigh… but at least the answer here is clear. If they are unable / unwilling to perform the task required of them (driving the taxi) as part of the terms of their employment, then they are not fit for that job. Terminate them, get someone that is compatible to the work, and now a previously jobless person has a job (win!) and bigot does not (also win!).

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Well, I’m not so happy about bigots losing jobs. Bigots are people too, and they have families impacted by their income (or lack thereof), some of whom are likely also to be bigots, some not.

    But I certainly don’t disagree that if a company has a policy of non-discrimination, and you refuse to abide by that policy, the company is justified in firing you whether or not your refusal is based in disability or religion or just nastiness. A job requirement is a job requirement.

    If it’s not a job requirement – if, say, the owners of the company fired someone because that person refused to eat pork at the company picnic, which made the owners feel bad (and never make the money feel bad, don’cha know) – well, then you can argue discrimination over religion or what have you.

    But if your job is to drive a taxi, and the taxi makes money both by carrying passengers and carrying advertising, and if the company has a non-discrimination policy, then you will treat your customers [traveling and advertising customers both] fairly regardless of what’s going on in your head or you will have problems.

    Refuse to drive the taxi at all, and while I strongly support your freedom to stop driving and to blog about how awful queer folk are and how akbar your allah is, the company is entirely justified in giving that job to someone who will.

  3. lanir says

    I don’t think the company would need a non-discrimination policy in cases like this. Since the ad is one they are legally required to accept provided payment and any other normal requirements for service are met (this is a service just like photographing a wedding), the company is then on the hook for getting that ad out there. If the ad is on a taxi that sits in the lot or in a garage, the purchaser is probably able to sue – they aren’t getting the service they’ve paid for (might also break any service agreement they have with the airport – double whammy). No judge would waive all that just because the company appears to have played a shell game with the source of the discrimination within the company. So the companies hiring new cabbies is absolutely the right way to go.

    Kind of unusual of Fox news to pass on specifying whether the 25 cabbies still work at those companies or not. I would have expected them to make a big deal about the cabbies being fired or being told to choose between the freedom to be assholes over the ability to continue having that job.

  4. Mano Singham says

    @lanir,

    This was a local news station of a Fox affiliate. These are not part of the Fox News cable channel propaganda machine. They are your usual lousy local news.

  5. M can help you with that. says

    Have any of these same cab drivers walked out in the past over religious objections to advertising for, say, fast-food restaurants? All of the major ones serve bacon and other pork products; were these strictly religious cab drivers consistent, or did they save their outrage for issues that would be politically convenient?

  6. smrnda says

    It’s odd how homophobia seems to be a uniting force for religions that are otherwise at odds. All said, makes them all look bad and extremely petty.

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