Establishment of Religion in Minneapolis?

The recent report that Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis—St. Paul International Airport are refusing to accept passengers who are carrying alcohol because it offends their religious beliefs, raises an obvious question:  Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

It is illegal for an ordinary person to conduct a taxi business without a license.  Taxi licenses are public goods that are distributed and regulated by the government.  Consequently, the constitutional prohibition against the "establishment of religion" applies to taxi licenses.

Now it appears that the local authorities in Minneapolis are going to facilitate the Muslim cab drivers' religious preferences by requiring that they install colored lights on their taxis to indicate whether or not they will accept passengers who are carrying alcohol. 

This situation clearly is unconstitutional.

Taxi drivers, who operate under public licenses, cannot refuse service to passengers based on their religious beliefs.  They cannot refuse service to passengers who are carrying alcohol anymore than they can refuse service to passengers who are wearing t—shirts with offensive slogans or who are accompanied by seeing eye dogs or who are holding hands with their same—sex partner.  And so on.  Selective, religious—based treatment in the provision of public services is completely contrary to the constitution and laws of this country.

Where is the ACLU in all of this?  Are they challenging this situation?  I have not seen any press reports that they are.  Obviously, this once—esteemed civil liberties organization cannot be counted on to defend the First Amendment when it applies to Muslims and other "marginalized" groups.

If I were an attorney in Minnesota, I would be preparing my lawsuit and corresponding public relations campaign as we speak.  Indeed, I predict that a group of enterprising conservative lawyers will be able to build quite a business in the coming years bringing lawsuits to stop our craven government agencies, at all levels, from establishing "exceptions" for Muslim religious beliefs that never would be tolerated for those of Christians or Jews.  Drop me an e—mail.  I'd be interested in joining such an effort.

Steven M. Warshawsky   10 16 06

The recent report that Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis—St. Paul International Airport are refusing to accept passengers who are carrying alcohol because it offends their religious beliefs, raises an obvious question:  Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

It is illegal for an ordinary person to conduct a taxi business without a license.  Taxi licenses are public goods that are distributed and regulated by the government.  Consequently, the constitutional prohibition against the "establishment of religion" applies to taxi licenses.

Now it appears that the local authorities in Minneapolis are going to facilitate the Muslim cab drivers' religious preferences by requiring that they install colored lights on their taxis to indicate whether or not they will accept passengers who are carrying alcohol. 

This situation clearly is unconstitutional.

Taxi drivers, who operate under public licenses, cannot refuse service to passengers based on their religious beliefs.  They cannot refuse service to passengers who are carrying alcohol anymore than they can refuse service to passengers who are wearing t—shirts with offensive slogans or who are accompanied by seeing eye dogs or who are holding hands with their same—sex partner.  And so on.  Selective, religious—based treatment in the provision of public services is completely contrary to the constitution and laws of this country.

Where is the ACLU in all of this?  Are they challenging this situation?  I have not seen any press reports that they are.  Obviously, this once—esteemed civil liberties organization cannot be counted on to defend the First Amendment when it applies to Muslims and other "marginalized" groups.

If I were an attorney in Minnesota, I would be preparing my lawsuit and corresponding public relations campaign as we speak.  Indeed, I predict that a group of enterprising conservative lawyers will be able to build quite a business in the coming years bringing lawsuits to stop our craven government agencies, at all levels, from establishing "exceptions" for Muslim religious beliefs that never would be tolerated for those of Christians or Jews.  Drop me an e—mail.  I'd be interested in joining such an effort.

Steven M. Warshawsky   10 16 06