Then why should missionaries be able to proselytize on a bus? Makes sense to me. Apparently it makes sense to Stagecoach bus lines in Lancaster England as well(hat tip to Peggy Fletcher Stack at the SLTrib for posting about this).
There are some choice quotes from the article. For instance, the guy interviewed for the article had this to say:
Rick Seymour was travelling on the 2A bus service from Lancaster to Morecambe last Tuesday afternoon, and heard a conversation between three young men.
Two of the men, he said, were Mormons using the bus as a way to engage members of the public to tell them about their love for Jesus. Mr Seymour said that he himself had been engaged by Mormons on two previous occasions while travelling on the bus, and in a letter to Stagecoach Bus Company said: I firmly believe that the Mormon Church is using your service as a place where the public cannot escape the attempt to indoctrinate them.Mr Seymour, 31, of Greenshank Close, Heysham, added: Whilst I respect that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs or none, telling others that their beliefs are misguided or plain wrong is wrong in itself. Practice your own personal beliefs in your own home and do not ram it down others throats.”
I think he has a good point. It’s not like you can just get off the bus wherever to avoid Mormon missionaries. If you paid a fare, you have a right to ride in peace.
The company gets it:
Stephie Barber, operations manager for Stagecoach in Lancaster said that bus drivers had recently reported similar occurences.We do not permit any commercial or other organisation to promote their products, services or views through direct engagement with passengers on our services, he said.In cases where we are made aware of any activity of this nature, we follow it up with the organisation involved.We are also doing so in this particular case to make our position clear.
But in typical Mormon fashion, the Mission President over there doesn’t get what the problem is:
Robert Preston, England Manchester Mission President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, said he considered the 140 young people in the North West of England actively engaged in trying to convert people as persistent and couragous.He added: They will sit next to someone, and they will introduce themselves and try and have a good conversation to explain a point of view that someone might never have heard before.We do encourage this, but we would not want people to feel intimidated.If it becomes clear that someone does not want to hear that message they should move away.
I just had this debate with a brother of mine on Facebook. Mormons just don’t seem to understand that telling people that their religion is wrong is offensive and not really welcome. If someone is interested in Mormonism, it’s not that hard to find out more information about. As has recently been pointed out, the LDS Church is king of SEO these days. And I’m positive Mormon missionaries would come running if someone emailed, texted, phoned, or Facebooked a request for additional information. So, why not do the world a favor, Mormon Church: Stop proselytizing! And if that is unacceptable, at least don’t do it when and where people can’t escape.
(NOTE: I did this a few times when I was a Mormon missionary. We would often split up and talk with people on long bus rides. But I often found myself either taking a genuine interest in the person and not talking about religion or simply being too tired to try and falling asleep.)