Iowa bus driver suspended over atheist bus advert

There’s been an admirable atheist bus advert campaign in DesMoines, Iowa.  Firstly, the advert is a bit more “atheist” than the British bus adverts that kicked off the international trend for atheist publicity (the text reads “Don’t believe in God? Your not alone”.  Of course the initial response of the Transit Authority responsible for the buses was to refuse to carry the ads – this decision was quite rightly overturned.

Now, however, and in a parallel to the events in the UK, a bus driver has refused to drive a bus on the grounds that it offends their religious beliefs.  Or something.  Back in January, a Hampshire bus driver was suspended for refusing to drive a bus with the original atheist advert:

A Christian bus driver has refused to drive a bus with an atheist slogan proclaiming “There’s probably no God”.

Ron Heather, from Southampton, Hampshire, responded with “shock” and “horror” at the message and walked out of his shift on Saturday in protest. (BBC – Man refuses to drive ‘No God’ bus)

Exactly the same thing has happened in Iowa.  According to a report in a local news service (DART Bus Driver Suspended Over Atheist Ad),

The Des Moines Regional Transit Authority has suspended a driver who refused to drive a bus bearing an ad for an atheist group.  Angela Shiel was suspended on Monday after she refused to drive a bus with an Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers ad on its side. The ad reads “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

Oh, and amusingly there’s an online poll (Vote: DART Driver’s Suspension)!  At the moment, the results are in favour of the driver’s suspension.  Perhaps the poll’s been Pharyngulated…

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