Lyft and Uber are letting Christian drivers 'missionize' riders 'against their will': complaint
Photo by SOCMIA Fotografía on Unsplash

On Saturday, OnlySky Media reported that rideshare companies Uber and Lyft are facing complaints that they are allowing Christian drivers to proselytize to unwilling passengers without consequences.

"Both ride-sharing companies have strict rules prohibiting religious discrimination. Drivers cannot refuse a customer, for example, who is very clearly not a member of their faith. But there’s no rule blocking drivers from proselytizing and attempting to win new converts, and Christians know it," reported Hemant Mehta. "A recent Associated Press article focused on Lyft drivers who see their work as 'mobile Christian ministries.'" One pastor who drives for Lyft, Kenneth Drayton, said, "The car is such an ideal place to do this because it's personal. I can share my faith and it's so important because that's what I live for."

"There’s a belief among many evangelicals that there shouldn’t be any boundaries when it comes to sharing the faith," noted the report. "But there’s a substantive difference between using personal social media, podcasts, or TV shows to do it — where recipients can always block the noise or change the channel — and doing it as part of a ride-share company where passengers may not be able to leave the car and the preacher is literally the person in the driver’s seat."

According to the report, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is sending legal complaints to both Lyft and Uber calling on them to change their policies and ban this practice.

"No one should have to pay to be missionized against their will… Non-religious and minority religious riders do not feel included or welcomed when they are confronted with proselytizing while stuck in a moving vehicle with a driver preaching at them," FFRF's letter read. They warned that this practice could even be a "traffic hazard" as the driver could be distracted by their effort to proselytize to the passenger.

The rideshare companies have come under controversy in recent years. Several states and cities have fought with them over their misclassification of drivers as "contractors" to exempt them from several applicable labor laws. In 2020, their algorithm was also exposed as charging riders more for trips to majority nonwhite neighborhoods than comparable majority white ones.