Forced to lis­ten to re­li­gious dogma on bus

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

I RE­CENTLY trav­elled on an In­ter­cape bus from Port El­iz­a­beth to Cape Town and, for hours, was obliged to sit through a re­li­gious ser­vice that be­gan and ended with prayer, in­cluded at least four video ser­mons and half a dozen dra­mas, all with a par­tic­u­lar re­li­gious mes­sage.

It is clear that the own­ers of In­ter­Cape have taken it upon them­selves to pros­e­ly­tise their pas­sen­gers. Short of plug­ging my ears with wax, I could not block out the sound.

Ours is a multi-cul­tural so­ci­ety, in which peo­ple are free to ad­here to a va­ri­ety of faiths or re­ject them all. Peo­ple are free to share their be­liefs, but it is ou­tra­geous that athe­ists, Bud­dhists, Chris­tians, Hin­dus, Jews, and Mus­lims are com­pelled to sit through a re­li­gious ser­vice that is en­tirely alien to their per­sonal be­lief sys­tem.

In­ter­cape will prob­a­bly re­ply that there is a line in small print at the bot­tom of their ticket sleeves that reads: “En­ter­tain­ment: we have in­tro­duced fam­ily friendly ma­te­rial pro­mot­ing the gospel on all routes,” which I would re­quire a mag­ni­fy­ing glass to read. They say noth­ing on their tick­ets about con­duct­ing re­li­gious ser­vices on their buses. They should ad­ver­tise the fact in large let­ters un­der their logo on all their buses.

I would like to know how the own­ers of this com­pany would feel if they had to travel be­tween cities on a ri­val com­pany’s bus that of­fered prayers ac­cord­ing to Hindu or Mus­lim rites.

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