There was a time when being the wrong color got a person assigned to the back of the bus.
Now, in Ft. Worth TX, reading the wrong book will get a person kicked completely off the bus.
Right before New Year's Eve, a woman boarded the public bus in Ft. Worth TX with her children to attend church. On the way, she took out her Bible and was reading to her children when the bus driver pulled the bus over and kicked her and her children off the bus.
"What kind of person pulls over public transportation and kicks out a mother and her children for reading their Bible on the way to church?" said Kelly Shackelford, Chief Counsel for Liberty Legal Institute, the legal organization representing Christine Lutz. "Freedom of religion exists on public transportation just like anywhere else."
Christine Lutz was reading the Bible to her children while on the way to church when the bus driver told her to stop. Mrs. Lutz refused, and was forced to leave the bus. The family was escorted off the bus and into a supervisor's van, which took the family to church.
"This is outrageous religious hostility," said Shackelford. "It also shows how far some government officials have slipped in their understanding of our Constitution and the most basic freedoms we all share."
Christine Lutz is demanding an apology letter from Fort Worth's transit system. Liberty Legal Institute is also demanding that a letter be distributed to all drivers, informing them that individuals have the freedom to read the Bible while riding the public bus.
Anyone riding a public bus is familiar with the noise levels.
According to Nicole Hays, of Liberty Legal Institute, the bus company is apparently trying to backtrack and is now saying the bus driver kicked Lutz off the bus for "reading too loudly".
Will decibel meters be installed on the buses?
From all reports, the bus driver did not ask the mother to quiet down; he asked her to quit reading altogether.
One wonders at the publicity this case might have received had the mother been reading to her children from the Koran.
It's also wondered if it would have been more helpful if Christine Lutz had been reading from a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
* Mother Kicked off Ft. Worth Bus for Bible Reading
* Phone interview, Nicole Hays, Liberty Legal Institute
Liberty Legal Institute is a legal organization committed to the defense of religious freedoms and First Amendment rights. The Institute has won a myriad of cases at the highest levels, including two landmark religious freedoms cases in 2007 alone. They can be reached at Liberty Legal.org.
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