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Bus Driver Says Rainbow Decal Violates His Religious Freedom

Bus Driver Says Rainbow Decal Violates His Religious Freedom

The transit authority in Calgary, Canada, has adorned its buses in rainbow colors to celebrate LGBT Pride, and now a bus driver says his relgious beliefs are being violated.

Jesse Rau, a driver for Calgary Transit, says his Christian beliefs prevent him from supporting LGBT people, reports Canada's Global News. He refuses to drive any bus decorated in rainbow colors to celebrate the city's pride festival and claims he is being retaliated against by co-workers.

Calgary Pride, in partnership with Calgary Transit and Pattison Outdoor advertising, announced its "Ride With Pride" campaign August 27 as a way to promote LGBT equality in the city. Rau, however, says the campaign is sinful.

Rau held a news conference Monday, telling reporters that he would quit before he would consent to driving the bus. His supervisors say it's "a personnel matter" and that Rau has not filed a formal complaint refusing to drive the bus.

Rau has also claimed he is being retaliated against by coworkers who say he was texting while driving — a firable offense. He's being supported by a group called Concerned Christians Canada, which has issued news releases on Rau's behalf.

"There’s a few people that clearly have taken advantage of the climate right now, where people are afraid to speak out against this radical sexual movement that’s happening for fear of leaving their job," Rau told reporters. "So a few people have taken advantage of that within Calgary Transit and have pushed their personal ideologies, their personal beliefs, their personal agenda onto the employees."

The fight has sparked conversation internationally, and of course locally, with a constitutional law professor from University of Alberta, Eric M. Adams, writing this week in the Calgary Herald that, "Employees have rights too, including the right to religious views that seem objectionable and difficult to fathom."

Craig Sklenar, a spokesman for Calgary Pride, sidestepped the controversy, saying in a statement Friday that "This is a matter between Calgary Transit and their employees. We are happy with our first ever partnership with Calgary Transit and look forward to a great Pride Week."

The festival began last Friday and climaxes with a parade this Sunday. The festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, with over 60,000 people expected to attend.

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