Okay. Enough. Many AD regulars have probably read Regina Pounds’ very apt poem about political correctness, “Hogwash.”. She hit a nail on the head that many of us avoid swinging at. Still, if straws can break a camel’s back…
A Muslim gentleman is making the rounds on news talk shows, explaining that his religious rights are being violated. Isn’t this America? he asks.
The problem? He wants segregated cabs. Muslim cabs, he maintains, may not give rides to someone carrying alcohol. Muslims, it seems, also shouldn’t have to ride in a cab a dog might have been in; it’s an insult if some loving pet owner needed to ferry his or her animal to a vet or a kennel, and it keeps him from enjoying his guaranteed right to practice his religion. And seeing eye dogs? An infringement.
I unfortunately missed some of his conversation on the two shows I saw him on tonight, but maybe not unfortunately. My blood pressure had already started to do me in.
I almost never curse, but forgive me this one: where the hell does this stop?
The commentators rebutted his arguments with the obvious. What if I, as a cab driver, am opposed to driving around men who mistreat women based on their religious tenets? Rightly or wrongly, I have not heard acceptable reasons for the treatment of Muslim women. Suppose a cab driver is an atheist, and would rather not drive a priest to a sickbed to administer last rites? Suppose a cab driver is opposed on moral grounds to make-up? I have a friend who will not wear it, because she believes the Bible bans it? Should her fellow believers refuse rides to anyone wearing mascara or lipstick?
On second thought, blood pressure or not, I wish I’d heard the whole diatribe of nonsense, because the conversation appeared to touch on other service areas besides cab drivers. But the incredible idiocy of demanding segregated cabs kills me. What, if someone who practices voodoo wants to sacrifice live animals in a cab? Or at a school?
Far-fetched? Not at the rate this accommodation craziness is taking over.
Services cannot be abridged to meet the prejudices of the provider. And religious beliefs to one are viewed as bigotry and prejudice by others of different faiths. Should an airline pilot or a bus driver not carry passengers who carry alcohol? Should the blind be unable to travel because their canine eyes offend someone? Should a doctor whose belief says that homosexuality is a sin refuse to offer emergency treatment to a gay?
I have no problem with the owners of private establishments denying services to someone who is drunk and may cause violence, or even refusing to allow a semi-nude person to eat in his her establishment. But those are private businesses, and the owners are willing to accept financial loss to maintain order and safety.
Businesses that close for religious holidays, regardless of what religious holiday, don’t bother me at all. Again, that is a public expression of private faith that may be an inconvenience to some, but that doesn’t punish particular groups or individuals who practice no religion or a different religion. Businesses closing for religious observations don’t demand that I conform to the religious constraints of the store owners. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember “blue laws.” They were done away, at least in my various necks of the woods, many years ago—I believe on Constitutional issues. Hmmm. Wouldn’t not being able to carry one specific item in a cab be very similar to not being able to buy that item on a Sunday?)
Muslims involved in the cab flap are claiming their rights are being abridged, and that laws that don’t force others to observe their rules are prejudicial against Islam.
I have experienced prejudice. I was hated by some when I lived in rural Georgia—my parents were Yankees. I married into the Hispanic culture. My own father tried to kill my husband and me. Hispanics have jeered me, “my” Anglo culture has called my children every name imaginable. A restaurant in Bandera, Texas refused to pick up the tip my college-educated son left, because she didn’t want “money from them Mexicans.” But you know what? I’ve ignored it, or confronted it. Never have I felt that others’ intolerance should be legislated to make my path easier.
The same is true of religion. I was brought up an Episcopalian until said father decided I was an atheist. He became something of a celebrity, locking horns with the mostly Baptist preachers in our area. But never did he expect them to accommodate his lack of belief—and I’m loath to praise him for anything. In spite of his efforts to convert his children, most of us retain some loyalty to the faith of our childhood—showing perhaps, that one’s belief does not necessarily become another’s belief.
Religious freedom means religious freedom for everyone, and it doesn’t mean that a person cannot express his or her faith because someone else might not practice the same religion. Certainly it doesn’t mean that segregated cabs, airplanes, rooms in stores, and on and on should be dictated because specific groups have decided to campaign under clearly erroneous pretenses for “protection” of their rights.
Segregated cabs…restrooms…schools…haven’t we been there? Done that? The only thing that the gentleman got right is that this is America…and because it is America, he can spew nonsense. We can recognize the insanity and refuse to surrender to it.