This news story is ridiculous, but it's also a great example of the expectation some religious people have in regard to their beliefs and world around them. This guy should have never taken a job in public transit if he has religious beliefs that prohibit him from performing his duties.
A Texas bus driver has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, claiming he was fired for his religious beliefs after refusing to transport a client to a Planned Parenthood office, court documents showed Wednesday.
Edwin A. Graning worked for the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) near Austin, Texas, for less than a year before he was let go in January. At the time, he told his supervisor that, "in good conscience, he could not take someone to have an abortion," according to the lawsuit. Graning is an ordained Christian minister.
(On a side note, anyone can become an ordained minister. Online. For free.)
Planned Parenthood, a health care provider that offers a range of medical services to women, including those related to abortion, often draws the ire of anti-abortion groups in the United States, where the procedure is legal but fiercely controversial.
So it would seem he had no idea why she was going to Planned Parenthood. It could have been for an abortion, but it could have also been for a medical check-up, a counseling appointment, to pick up medication, to take a pregnancy test, or to utilize any number of other services. Planned Parenthood is a pretty busy place. It is not, as some might have you believe, an abortion factory.
He is seeking reinstatement, back pay, and compensatory damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress.
"It's only because he voiced his religions beliefs that he was canned," Edward White III, Graning's lawyer, told CNN. "Employers have a legal responsibility to at least attempt to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs. ... CARTS clearly violated Mr. Graning's religious freedom."
White, who works for a public interest law group founded by evangelical Christian leader Pat Robertson, said CARTS sent a second driver to collect the client and took her and a friend to the Planned Parenthood office.
Uhhhh, no, it is not only because he voiced his religious beliefs - that's just kind of annoying and better kept to yourself. Dude got fired because he refused to do his job. Did no one point this out to you? Oh, wait -
"While others may wish to make more of it, to CARTS this is just about our expectation that employees perform the duties they are hired for," David Marsh, general manager of CARTS, said in an e-mail message to CNN.
In addition to rides along fixed routes, CARTS offers some door-to-door service within its rural coverage area.
The lawsuit, in the U.S. District Court for western Texas, Austin Division, was filed on July 14.
I hope this guy doesn't win. I don't see how he could, really. When I worked in a deli, I was a vegetarian, but that didn't mean I had the right to refuse to slice lunch meat. The only way I would have had the right to refuse to do that aspect of my job is if I had told my boss that I was unable to perform that aspect of my position because of those beliefs and was hired anyway with the understanding that I wasn't going to cut any meat. So unless the guy told CARTS that he wasn't able to drive people in some instances because of his religious beliefs, he would have been hired under the pretense that he was able to perform his work duties regardless of what his religious views are.
Even ignoring that, it seems to me the guy didn't actually have any grounds to refuse to do his job even if his religious opposition to abortion was something that legally had to be worked around because he had no way of knowing that's what she was going to Planned Parenthood to have done.