woman using rideshare app on phone
Rideshare users tend to want to go to the airport, not church.

Picture this: You’ve just landed at the airport after a long trip away from home. You’re exhausted, and want nothing more than to get home and sleep in your own bed. At the airport, you call an Uber to take you home. And when you get in the car… the driver starts preaching to you about Jesus. 

Proselytizing rideshare drivers are a surprisingly common occurrence, and there’s even a new word for it: uberevangelism.

Some Christian Uber drivers started preaching because they realized that they have a very captive audience, but increasingly, the faithful are taking to driving for Uber or Lyft with the express purpose of spreading the good word.

However, some riders say it’s disrespectful and rude, and want rideshare services to crack down on unwanted preaching.

Uberevangelism: Uber Annoying?

“The car is such an ideal place to do this because it’s personal,” said Pastor Kenneth Drayton, who drives for Lyft and has turned his vehicle into a mobile ministry. “I can share my faith and it’s so important because that’s what I live for.”

There are entire guides online on how would-be uberevangelists can bring God into the idle chitchat of your average Uber ride. “It's pretty easy to go from superficial conversations about the weather, or ‘What job do you have?’ to talks about god, purpose of life, or religion,” reads one. And if the conversation goes south, well, “there's a time limit to the conversation (when the ride ends), so people are more willing to discuss controversial issues or anything uncomfortable.”

“It doesn’t come as a great surprise to me because thinking about Christianity, there’s a long tradition of using technology to spread the word of God,” explains Manhattan College religious studies professor Robert Geraci. “Uber, Lyft becomes a mode of religious communication and not just a transportation strategy – it’s also a religious strategy.”

Riders are taking notice, however, and many are not fans of being preached to while locked in a stranger’s car. Frustrating, exploitative, and intrusive are just a few of the ways riders have described the unwanted proselytizing.

And queer riders have even reported feeling unsafe during some of these uberevangelism sessions.

With uberevangelism – and complaints about it – on the rise, will Uber or Lyft ask drivers to stop?

Jesus Chrysler!

So far, the indication is no. Uber and Lyft have no explicit policies prohibiting drivers from sharing their faith with riders.

And as long as they aren’t threatening, perhaps the company sees no harm in it. After all, if Christians want to take to driving for a rideshare to convert passengers, well, that’s just more drivers out there driving for Uber and Lyft. 

But a negative riding experience can make customers less likely to use the service again. If a customer is receiving unwanted religious messages, they may be more likely to take the bus, or the train, or simply drive themselves next time.

It could be a delicate balancing act for Uber and Lyft, especially if continues to grow uberevangelism  and more evangelicals start using the app to convert the masses (while making some money on the side).

On the one hand, we’ve probably all been proselytized to at one point or another. Should riders on the receiving end of unwanted religious conversion just change the subject like they would in any other scenario?

On the other, it’s a different vibe when you’re literally locked in a moving vehicle, and your evangelizer is at the wheel. It’s not unreasonable to believe that some riders would feel unsafe in that scenario.

What is your reaction? What should be done about uberevangelism?

61 comments

  1. Robert Gagnon's Avatar Robert Gagnon

    This is a paid for service, not a free ride or a timeshare. Do your job and keep your opinions about politics and religion to yourself. Your rewards in the after drive will be one star.

    1. Burruss Scott Williams's Avatar Burruss Scott Williams

      they can talk about whatever they want but if they start their sermon, the ride is free

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Perfect example of how dumb Christians can be. After offending passengers with this religious BS they will be given one star reviews. After a few one star reviews Uber and Lyft will fire the drivers. No need for Lyft/Uber to do anything…. There customers will take action against the drivers for them.

    1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

      I much prefer drivers to stay quiet and concentrate on safe driving.

      One can always immerse oneself in the cellphone/tablet and ignore the talking, that usually shuts them up.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @JaZe Or as a passenger one could tell the driver why they should not be Christian and of all of the benefits of not always being afraid of a mythical God.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    I realize that this would be a great chance to witness, but it is also a great chance to turn someone off. Know your audience. Riders are there for a ride, not a sermon. Keep your attention on your driving and leave the rest to another time.

    1. Canadian Yankee's Avatar Canadian Yankee

      They would get a one star rating from me, no tip and a letter to the company.

      1. Keith Graham Ainsworth's Avatar Keith Graham Ainsworth

        I'm afraid that I wouldn't be so polite. After telling the driver that I have my own beliefs, I would then tell him to keep his own to himself because I am not interested

        1. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

          Why do you assume the proselytizing driver is male?

          1. Terence Kuch's Avatar Terence Kuch

            I've never met one who wasn't.

      2. Denis Lynch's Avatar Denis Lynch

        Yes, Canadian Yankee - I was just thinking the article left that obvious piece out. These people could find themselves with a lot of 1 star ratings, which will eventually lead to not getting rides. They hurt their own chances.

    2. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

      Witness what, exactly?

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    I don't use *Rideshare, but if I did I would not want to hear any political or religious comments from my driver. Nor would I want to see any nondiscreet religious or political advertisement.

    If these individuals feel compelled to they can put a little holder in the passenger compartment with some pamphlets in it and when the ride is ove invite the person to take one, if they they would like, as they leave the car. That's about as far as it should go.

    When I'm in there I don't want to hear that Trump sucks or Brandon sucks or about the wonders of Jesus or Muhammad or anything of that nature. I just want to go from point A to point B, probably in silence doing my own thing while the "chauffeur" drives.

    • "Rideshare", what a joke. I don't know if they started that just to get into the market knowing full well what it would become. But originally it was supposed to be, If I am going to Los Angeles anyway and you need to go to Los Angeles too we could find each other on the app and you could hop a ride in my car and contribute X number of dollars for gas or whatever. Hence the name "rideshare".
  1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

    Oh Hell No. keep your mouths shut, people are paying for transportation not to hear all your dumb azz nonsense. how utterly rude to think you have a right to talk crap just because it's your car. you're getting paid to do a job, do that job and stop with the proselytizing assault. if a driver ever does that to me I will refuse to pay and fight for a charge back

  1. Maximillian Martin's Avatar Maximillian Martin

    They need to be fired for it!!! If I get a ride that's all I'm interested in, not some idiot forcing his beliefs on me! Keep it to yourself no matter what!

    1. Terence Kuch's Avatar Terence Kuch

      Don't forget, your driver is rating you. Politely, ask him for quiet. Then submit a "1" and a negative comment about him afterward.

      Driver-evangelism has a long history - I encountered it when I was in the Army long ago and thumbed rides when on leave. At that point, wisdom was for me just to shut up and bear with the bulls**t.

      • But now I'm paying, so I'm calling the tune, and I have no time for Looney Tunes.
  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Whatever next keep your religious views to yourself not to others.

  1. Alexander Arends's Avatar Alexander Arends

    My experience has been that it is the passenger that initiates conversations about being saved, and sometimes even leave literature. Personally I enjoy those conversation but will never argue with a passenger regarding this or any other topic. Speak if you wish to agree. Be silent if you disagree. But the driver should never initiate a conversation about religion, politics, or any other sensitive subject.

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    Have never used Uber or Lyft. This is a disincentive to do so.

  1. Ronaldo's Avatar Ronaldo

    Jesus told His followers that if someone doesn't want to hear the message, knock the dust off their sandals and leave. He did not want His Word forced on someone else because He knew it would lead to a turning away from the Truth. The Bible-thumping "look at me on the street corner" alleged Christians have done more damage to the Faith than they have good. Many claim they want to serve God, but too many of them want to do it from an advisory position only.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      We actually have no evidence of what Jesus every really said being as everything written about him was from historians decades later that never met him. 🤷🏼

      🦁❤️

      1. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

        To take that further, there’s no evidence to prove he existed at all.

        1. Edward P. Mazura's Avatar Edward P. Mazura

          That's why they call it faith

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    The best way for ULC ministers and bishops (as I am) to deal with Jesus-types, is to control any religious discussion, from the get-go,

    Whenever I’m asked — if I believe in God— I answer — I don’t believe in God - I know that there’s a God.

    Belief is something one does, without any evidence or proof. Knowing requires proof — belief only requires faith — and faith requires no proof or evidence— because there isn’t any.

    Because God and nature the same thing— it’s easy for me to prove the only provable God to anyone — even Uber drivers.

    I’ve converted many Uber Drivers to Secular Humanist Pantheism — and so can my fellow ULC ministers and bishops — especially if these ministers and bishops have their ULC Doctorates in Divinity.

  1. Rev Frankie PG's Avatar Rev Frankie PG

    I was a rideshare driver for over 5 years and have over 20k rides. Feeling the guest out is absolutely integral to getting a 5-star ride. Throughout my time I got a complaint because I talked too much and another because I was too quiet. It was fun meeting someone new every few minutes and being part of their journey, good or bad. Being an uberevangelist was never me and I can see where it can make people uncomfortable, as I found out just playing SOS Radio. There were the people who loved it, especially the European tourists and those that found it questionable, especially the "woke" crowd. Most of the time it was just another station on the radio for people. I've never found it disturbing when passengers wanted to speak about hot topic items but unlike the "woke" crowd I'm willing to have a constructive conversation and absolutely consider their opinion, especially when they can provide those funny things called facts. As I've found, the best way to persuade people is through Verbal Judo, using the words of others to persuade themselves. Btw, I'm a gay deplorable (disabled vet and have worn a uniform for over 30 years) minister.

    1. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

      You'll likely find, were you to take the time to talk to an African American, that being "woke" is necessary for survival in America. Maybe your chosen news and entertainment sources have given you a false definition of the term and that's why you're being disparaging. Or you're someone African American's should be wary of.

      1. Rev Frankie PG's Avatar Rev Frankie PG

        Hello Reverend Andrew. How does it feel having such a big chip on your shoulder, so often? My decisions are not formed based upon any one news source, nor is it based upon any political letter. Rather it's created based upon my life experiences, research, including documentaries and more. I've spent over 30 years wearing a few different types of uniforms, mostly law-enforcement and rescue, in various agencies, local to federal. I am a deplorable because I'm a gay Disabled Marine Corps Veteran Choctahan descendent, that continues serving our country today. So please, let me know what other steps you feel I should take?

        1. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

          Aww Frankie, you tell me how it feels to carry so many big chips on your little shoulders. Fancy having to rattle off how "special" you are every time you post! You are indeed deplorable, but not for the silly little reasons you give. What makes you deplorable is that you are disparaging towards black Americans either because you are racist or because you are willfully ignorant (or both). Reasonable people who understand what 'woke' refers to don't attack those who have to be woke to navigate life in America. The best step you could take is learn what 'woke' means, and then decide if you still want to be so "deplorable".

          1. Rev Frankie PG's Avatar Rev Frankie PG

            Rev. Andrew, you seem to be good at criticizing but not so good on being constructive. Besides providing sworn service a majority of my life. As well as accepting all, while only judging those based upon the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin. As well as being charitable to non-discriminating causes. As well as having a good amount of black exes that will be willing to tell you that you are completely expressing an unjust character assessment. What do you feel would be great steps to match what you feel is woke or doing more for the race based cause that you prefer? I can absolutely assure you that I am part of the awakened crowd and know that ALL LIVES MATTER.

            1. Tom's Avatar Tom

              If "all lives matter" why are black men 2.5 times as likely to be killed by a police office than a white man? Why is the net worth of a black family one tenth of the net worth of a white family? Why are black students significantly more likely, 26% to 2%, to be suspended for minor infractions than white students? Why did the National Academy of Medicine find that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people—even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable?”

              If "all lives matter" why do certain lives, especially those of black Americans, receive significantly lesser outcomes than others?

            2. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

              Frankie, I'm failing to see why you think you're so special because you signed employment contracts with law enforcement and rescue services. How you earned your money and benefits packages is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Your defensive responses are laughable. Having "black exes" doesn't automatically mean that you aren't racist. There are plenty of people out there who are attracted to something "different" yet still aren't allies. And you have outed yourself as one of them, by failing to understand what it means to be "woke" as an African American. As I suggested before: read about what "woke" means in the AA community and then decide whether you still want to be so disparaging.

              And spare me your All Lives Matter comments. That's yet more evidence that you are ignorant of the reality of life for black Americans, despite your enjoyment of black bodies for your sexual pleasure.

  1. Dawn's Avatar Dawn

    Depending on my mood, they may get my version of spreading a word or two. Just spread your own version of joy 😄 !

  1. Leslie Laura Rands's Avatar Leslie Laura Rands

    I'm definitely not okay with preaching to a "captive audience." Quite frankly, an individual's religious beliefs are nobody else's business.

  1. Janet Marie Moland's Avatar Janet Marie Moland

    You can leave a review and that might just be the end of the driver's evangelism, or job.

  1. Avis Ann Donovan's Avatar Avis Ann Donovan

    No tip, 1 star review and direct complaint to the company. We, the public, have the right to choose.

  1. Douglas R. Reynolds's Avatar Douglas R. Reynolds

    I am a lyft driver and unless it approached to me by a passenger I keep my religion out of my Lyft car. Our customers are so diverse I would not wish to upset them about having a conversation about my beliefs in Christianity (Lutheran)

  1. James Weeder's Avatar James Weeder

    I would ask them what version of the bible they are using and if it is the orginal true version and what is their proof that it is the one and only. Then no tip and one star review.

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    THIS COUNTRY NEEDs TO GET the HEAD of MIDAS OUT of THAR ARSES and MOVE for A GREAT and BETTER DEMOCRACY, MONEY is EVIL LOOKKK at YOUR GOVTs., YOUR RELIGIONs., YOUR LIFE, WOKE YER ARSE, WAKE UP it AUNIT MONEY HONEY AND YOU DIE NO MATTER H O W MUCH YOU HAVE >>>>>>>>

  1. Stacey Werkmeister's Avatar Stacey Werkmeister

    Yes, the topic is brought up just as a conversation starter. Then it’s OK if the customer chooses not to discuss it. It should be left alone as to not irritate the passenger. Third job is to drive from point a to point B that’s how they make their money. Tips are very important, so it’s best just to fill your passenger out to see if they want to talk, then bring up the subject.

  1. Leslie Laura Rands's Avatar Leslie Laura Rands

    I'm definitely not okay with preaching to a "captive audience." Quite frankly, an individual's religious beliefs are nobody else's business.

    1. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Alejandro Medina de Wit's Avatar Alejandro Medina de Wit

    Make the ride pleasant and crack some jokes about the bible, it's always a crowd-pleaser, hahaha

  1. Vic Nsi's Avatar Vic Nsi

    Totally not OK. You may just as well be having kidnapping experiencing!

    Proselytizing rideshare drivers should at least be required (by company policy) to have a banner or sticker on the sides and front of their cab that says very clearly: "Uberevangelist". That way the unsuspecting passenger at least gets a heads up and can decide if this is something they want to be subjected to.

  1. Patricia Ann Gross's Avatar Patricia Ann Gross

    I have had the unfortunate experience of getting into an illegally operated cab in NYC back in the 80's that stopped in the middle of a busy intersection and asked me to get out because I objected to his "double the fare policy" for taking me to Brooklyn, so this would probably flash me back to that uncomfortable feeling. While not illegal, it is certainly not professional, nor is it comfortable for many who are just wanting to get to wherever they are going. I would probably pull out my phone and start making phone calls, or playing a game or music, just to shut them up. I can be passive agressive when it suits the situation.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    I’m happy to listen and discuss with anyone about the mythical cult they belong to. I think it can lead to interesting conversations, just as we have on here on this Monastery blog. Using logic, reason, and critical thought, it might even help them evaluate their indoctrinated belief structure.

    🦁❤️

    1. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

      Comment removed by user.

    2. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

      The cults are real—it’s what they believe in that’s ’mythical'.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        Thank you for that correction, Daniel.🤗

        🦁♥️

  1. Kevin McCrery's Avatar Kevin McCrery

    Things u should never bring up as a conversation. Religion, politics and $$$. Keep ur opinions 2 ur self

    1. Daniel Reid Cummings's Avatar Daniel Reid Cummings

      Religion and politics, sure—but $$?

  1. DubSpell's Avatar DubSpell

    Thank you for this comment.

  1. Stanley J Grabowski's Avatar Stanley J Grabowski

    I find sidewalk, signs, social media, and all other forms of proselytizing, extremely invasive and judgemental. Christ was supposed to have said. "judge not lest ye shall be judged. I say shut your mouth, do your job and respect everyone's privacy.

  1. LaChanda White's Avatar LaChanda White

    Do to the intelligent factor's that not all people that might share their faith talk with someone in Their personal cars are Christians. If you hate to believe in good things keep it to your self. Getting someone fired for praying that your racism doesn't harm their way of life. Is aggressive at best, and should never happe!

    If you don't want to hear about God on your ride. Hears a hint: get your own cars!! I my self know that this is real & not all are evangelist. A few are ordained ministers, using those platforms to work & pay bills. What was said in some other posted comments mean that there are people, single handed causing unemployment & crime do to them having Bias over not being human and saying " thank you, but I'm not into that, I would like a quite ride.

    I buy my car, pick up strangers, yes someone would pray if you give them the feeling of evil sitting behind them. Baptist pray in there cars, so do Catholics! With ULC all clergy are from all walks of faith. So you would be violating someone's 1'st amendment right to the freedom of religious or faith practices. The constitution is the highest law of the land. Then God law is above all that, ok. Thanks

  1. LaChanda White's Avatar LaChanda White

    Sorry they are not paid to drive, the one who gets in the car shuts the F up! Who cares if your cheap, get therapy and stay away from the public!

  1. Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox's Avatar Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox

    Oh hell no! I would shut them down immediately and file a lawsuit for pain and suffering. WTF makes “christians” think they have superiority over their captive audiences!?

  1. Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox's Avatar Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox

    Oh hell no! I would shut them down immediately and file a lawsuit for pain and suffering. WTF makes “christians” think they have superiority over their captive audiences!?

  1. James Bullard's Avatar James Bullard

    In a word, NO!

  1. Terence Kuch's Avatar Terence Kuch

    Uberevangelism is insulting and rude. No tip. No rating above "1" for this driver. Just ask him to stop preaching and pay attention to traffic.

  1. Susan Jane Kuehl's Avatar Susan Jane Kuehl

    I was a previous Uber driver, in the 3 years I drove I would never ever have considered bringing religion or faith in the car. I had literally one thing I was paid to do and that was delivering my passengers for their destination. I have met some wonderful interesting people during my tenure. That may have a place but it definitely is not in a rideshare car.

  1. Josef M Oliva's Avatar Josef M Oliva

    I would tell the driver in no uncertain terms that I'm not interested in their preaching and that they need to keep their preaching to themselves and file a complaint with the company. I am in the car to get where I'm going, not listen to a sermon. If I wanted to be preached to, I would go to church.

  1. Joseph Minor's Avatar Joseph Minor

    So I feel that yes it us bad that they are holding a captive audience I myself had Christianity forced on me from day one of life so I understand both sides maybe Uber or lyft could create a system that would match drivers and passengers with similar interests in areas with enough drivers then the people that want it can have it, and people that aren't interested don't have to deal with it.

  1. Sarah Bielefeld's Avatar Sarah Bielefeld

    That's when you tell them to drop you off and request a refund. You aren't allowed to talk about those subjects at other places of employment without getting a harassment complaint, this should be no different.

  1. Rev_Shaun's Avatar Rev_Shaun

    A classic lesson in how to p*** people off. The most important point about public prothletysing is this: It is UTTERLY POINTLESS.

    I very much doubt there has ever been a single 'soul' anywhere in the world who has been 'converted' to any religion - least of all Christianity - by this completely time wasting activity, whether it takes place on the street or in a taxi.

    I would even argue that those big rallies that people like Billy Graham used to run here in the UK were a complete waste of time. Who actually attends these rallies? I can tell you that, from the days when I attended a Christian church every week. Only Christians, who are informed of the rallies and bus their followers into them. Do they actually get any members of the public off the street? Very few, as they are ticketed events and so 'walk ups' are not usually allowed. . Fact is, public evangelising is totally, completely and utterly pointless and achieves absolutely nothing. If you want to convert someone to your way of thinking, the best way to do it is by example, not by pointlessly hollering in the street, or making people cringe with embarrasment when they are a passenger in your cab.

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