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If you’re like me, when you’re taking an Uber or Lyft, then you just want to get to your destination in absolute silence. It’s always a gamble to begin a conversation with a total stranger, even if it’s usually pleasant. But it would be so much worse if the Uber or Lyft driver used that opportunity—of having a captive passenger—to preach his or her religion.

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.

A recent Associated Press article focused on Lyft drivers who see their work as “mobile Christian ministries.”

“The car is such an ideal place to do this because it’s personal,” said [Pastor Kenneth] Drayton, who now drives for Lyft. “I can share my faith and it’s so important because that’s what I live for.”

He always plays classical music on his car stereo (his favorite is Mozart) to encourage a calm, pleasant mood. He begins with a greeting and a kind word. His priority, he says, is to introduce passengers to Christ, but he’s respectful if they’re not receptive. They’re often Christian, but he has also spoken to atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Muslims. Instead of trying to preach, he says he focuses his message on the love of God and tends to avoid doctrine.

If that wording makes his ruse seem mild, that’s unfortunate, because nothing about it is okay. To treat a customer as a potential convert, rather than a client, changes the relationship even if Drayton makes clear he respects passengers who don’t want to hear his spiel.

It would be more respectful if he didn’t work off the assumption that his clients want to change their religious beliefs.

It’s not like he’s an anomaly, either. A quick search on Twitter reveals a number of people who have had to deal with people just like him:

It can happen the other way around, too, with passengers preaching to drivers:

There’s a belief among many evangelicals that there shouldn’t be any boundaries when it comes to sharing the faith. 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.

While the subjects of the AP article insist they can take no for an answer, there’s no way for passengers to know what might make a driver snap. How many of their customers smiled and nodded, or pretended to want to hear about Jesus, because they worried about what might happen if they said they weren’t interested?

It’s one thing to make small talk about work or hobbies. It’s not even necessarily a problem if religion comes up in a casual conversation. But no one in that situation should dig any deeper into a stranger’s life without explicit permission.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is now calling for both companies to put a stop to this before it gets worse:

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.

Such ranting is a distraction and potential traffic hazard. Minimally, they may feel they must humor or placate the driver who is disrespecting their views. At worst, they may feel personally threatened or be in jeopardy if they express disagreement.

We request that [Lyft/Uber] uphold its commitment to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community by implementing clear policies prohibiting its drivers from proselytizing, preaching, or otherwise utilizing its services to advance their personal religious viewpoints.

FFRF isn’t calling for censorship. They’re not overreacting to mild mentions of religion. They’re simply asking both companies to think of their customers and make rides more welcoming for everyone. It’s just good business! Just as you wouldn’t want a driver who holds wildly different political views from you attempting to start a debate, or a driver casually bringing up a topic that makes you uncomfortable, no one should have to worry about having religion shoved in their faces when all they want—and all they’re paying for—is a ride somewhere.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.