Calgary Pride Festival kicks off today to much celebration, but not everyone is happy about it.
Calgary Transit has wrapped one bus in a rainbow to show support, but Jesse Rau says if he is told to drive the bus he will have to quit his job.
Rau, who has been working for Calgary Transit for about a year, is a devout Christian and claims that’s why he so strongly objects to the festival and the rainbow bus. Rau says, “I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.”
He hopes that Calgary Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union will support him and any other drivers who may object to the bus.
Doug Morgan, the company’s director, indicates this isn’t probable as drivers can only refuse to drive buses based on safety related issues. He says, “What we would do is open a dialogue with them and chat with them and ask them about their issues and making sure we’re being sensitive to their beliefs, but overall the service has to go out and we would ask them to drive the bus.”
The rainbow bus can be found around Calgary through September 7th, when the festival will culminate with a grand parade. Craig Sklenar, the director of government relations for Calgary Pride, is excited about the bus and says, “there’s still much to do as far as LGBTQ rights are concerned but we are excited there is such public displays of pride across the city over the next few weeks.”
It’s not yet known who will be assigned to drive the rainbow bus, but if it’s Rau it looks like he will be job hunting soon. He insists, “I have a family to support and I am very concerned about losing the job, it’s something I’m very proud to be a part of, but when it goes against the most important things I stand for, or if I’m asked to compromise in such a big way for what I believe to be right, then I have to lose my job.”
What do you think? Are religious views worth losing your job over? Will you be riding around town on the rainbow bus?
Let us know in the comments below!