When Yvonne Allen went to renew her driver’s license, she wasn’t expecting to discuss the Bible. But she soon found herself trying to defend her Christian beliefs.
Allen takes literally the words of 1 Corinthians in the New Testament: “If a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off.” She never goes out in public without a colorful scarf wrapped around her hair.
But when she sat down for her driver’s license photo, that wasn’t okay with the clerk in Auburn, Ala. The clerk demanded that Allen take off her headscarf and, as Allen recalls it, when she started to refuse, the clerk asked her if she wears the scarf for religious reasons. “Yes, ma’am,” Allen said.
“Are you Muslim?” Allen recalls the woman asking her. When Allen said she was Christian, she says the clerk replied, “Only Muslim women have the right to cover their hair in their driver’s license photos.”
Allen said that the first clerk she saw told her, “Christian women don’t cover their hair,” even when a friend of Allen’s who was there with her told the clerk that Allen never takes off her head covering in public.
Then that clerk said that Allen could call Frayer. Frayer, the chief clerk, repeated that only Muslims can wear headscarves in their photos. Frayer said that she herself is Christian and doesn’t cover her hair.
If she had to take off her scarf, Allen asked the clerk if she could at least partially close the door, to give her some privacy while the photograph was taken, according to the lawsuit. The clerk said no, Allen claims.