Someone sent me an e-mail story from Little Green Footballs (OK, it was Jenny).
I stumbled across Little Green Footballs a while back. I won’t comment on the content or the clientele. You can see for yourselves if you wish. My sampleing is admittedly small, but the impression was powerful.
Still, read This story. Don’t read the comments without proper protection.
A summary for those of you who don’t want to follow the link: A bunch of devoted Muslim Taxi drivers in the Twin Cities don’t want to have to transport alcohol, which is against Islamic law, so they have been refusing to take passengers who are carrying alcohol where the Taxi drivers can see it. (Tip, if you want to smooth your transportation from the airport, put your alcohol in your suitcase before hailing a Taxi). There were some talks to figure out a way that everyone could live together in peace and harmony and not bother each other too much. (Little Green Footballs readers, of course, hail this as un-American and downright dangerous and corrupt. Practically surrendering to the terrorists. Those Muslim bastards should know better than to try to take away our Alcohol. Let’s bomb a market in Baghdad and teach them a lesson.)
Eventually, it was decided that there was no unobtrusive and fair way to accommodate the fundamentalist Muslims and their Shar’ia law. OK, big surprise, but that is what civilized people do. We try to figure out if there is some way for everyone to live together without friction, without getting on each others nerves. If we can, we do, if we can’t, we make a decision and stick to it. If a small adjustment in practice could have helped everyone and made everything more convenient for travelers, it would have been worth it. Since not, we’re going to keep things as they are. No big deal. But not for the LGF crowd. For them, it is a matter of the liberal elite wanting to lay down and let the bad Muslim hoard walk over us and have their way with our daughters.
The fact that it did not work out, of course is a victory, a triumph for OUR WAY OF LIFE! (as far as I can tell from the small exposure I’ve had to LGF, this means our right to be drunk, ignorant, and armed. As a country girl, a gun owner, and a hunter with a lifetime of safe and sane hunting behind her, I have to say I wouldn’t go into the woods with anyone who talked like they do over there. I’ve seen enough livestock blown away by drunken, self-rightous, knee-jerk reactin’, loudmouths with guns, thank you.)
But what about the original question? Should we accommodate extreme religious demands on our public infrastructure? Should public transportation, public health, public education be sacrificed to the demands of extreme religious ideologies of any kind? My thought is, no. Sure, small adjustments and accommodations as are possible for us all to live together. You know, explore reasonable options. But when it comes down to lowering our ability to get stuff done; stuff we need for our society to function? No.
If your religion prevents you from doing necessary functions of your job, and if your job is one that the public relies on for the functioning of important systems…no. You do your job, or you find another job.
It seems pretty simple to me. Public transportation is a public concern. Much like public health, or public education.
When you work in a public sector providing a public service that our society depends upon, you must do so according to the laws of the society. So, if it is not illegal for your passengers to carry alcohol in your taxi, you must transport them, and their alcohol, to their destination. If you can't do that, that is your problem. Find a way to reconcile your beliefs with reality, or find a different job. (The distributors/suppliers for Halal grocery stores need truck drivers, don't they?)
Just as if taking emergency contraception is legal in your state, and you are a pharmacist, you must dispense those medicines regardless of your belief that preventing the release of an egg from the ovary is murder. Do it, or find another job. (I imagine one of the "Christian" treatment centers springing up around the country would be happy to hire you to man the pharmacy. That way, everyone coming to you is equally opposed to Emergency Contraception as you are - meaning that they publicly oppose it, but when their daughters are in trouble, they quietly go to a normal clinic to get the prescription, and to a normal pharmacy to fill it.)
If you are a science teacher, but you think teaching science is against your religion, why should my kids have to go uneducated so you can go to your weird version of heaven? If you can't teach science, find another job. ("Christian" schools are popping up all over the place like acne. I'm sure you'll have no problem.)
Both Muslims and Christians think they get honor, glory, and after-life brownie points for suffering for their beliefs. I don't get anything out of suffering for their beliefs. Therefore, I am more than willing for them to take all the credit and get the big post-mortem jackpot. The rewards I get by being able to get a nice buzz on once in a while, having educated children and knowing that important women in my life can't be force to conceive a rape baby are enough for me, thanks. The rest is up to God, not anyone else - and I have faith that God is just, fair, merciful, good, and not the least dependant on whatever weird notions the more gullible segment of humanity has been conned into believing.
Beyond that, I’m OK with them believing it, and I’m willing to try to figure out ways I can make small changes in order to live with them peacefully. If they can’t do the same, then they need to pay the consequences, not me.