School Bus Driver Fired For Leading Prayer Sessions

George Nathaniel, 49, is also a pastor in Minnesota

Pastor Loses His Bus Driver Job Because He Prayed With Students

A public school bus driver in Minnesota has been fired for leading Christian prayers on his bus. George Nathaniel, 49, had previously been warned against the prayer sessions but he decided to continue with the prayer sessions anyway. Nathaniel, who also works as a pastor for two Minneapolis churches, claims he had been upfront about his intentions to lead prayer sessions. He also says the Christian religion is under attack.

"I let them know I am a pastor and I am going to pray," he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But on Oct. 30, he received a letter from the Durham School Services bus company, which stated: "There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance with the previous final written warning you received, your employment is hereby terminated."

What was the reason for the firing? Nathaniel was fired for violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from establishing a national religion. And in the 1962 case Engel vs. Vitale, the Supreme Court "ruled that it's unconstitutional for a public school to lead or encourage students in prayer," as Opposing Views put it. The Court has repeatedly upheld the ban in subsequent rulings.

What exactly did Nathaniel do? His sessions took place over the seven-minute ride to the Edward D. Neill Elementary School and Metcalf Junior High School. Nathaniel told the Star Tribune the sessions would start with a song and then the students were asked if they wanted to join in. He said the idea was to "give them something constructive and positive to go to school with."

In speaking to the local CBS outlet, ACLU legal director Teresa Nelson explained why his prayer sessions were problematic. "The school bus is a captive audience," she said. "When he is driving the bus he is acting like a school official and he does not have the right to proselytize or promote religion in that context."

Nathaniel emphasized to CBS that he had given students the choice not to participate. "A couple of routes I had children that chose not to pray and that was fine," he said. He also emphasized that "no parent complained to me, personally," and the only negative feedback he had gotten was from school administrators. But he also acknowledged, "The company gave me a written warning that you cannot pray on the bus."

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if they got in a accident im sure then they would be saying pray for these families

January 16 2014 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

COMMUNIST GOALS per the 1963 Congressional Record

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

November 08 2013 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mex Seiko

Talking about captive audience, the fact that schools are run by the government makes all students, faculty, custodial, security, and administrative captive to every government whim. Any and every experiment the government wants to impose on our society they inflict it on our children at school. From condom distribution to ******** discussions, pushing the envelope all the way to pre-consent ages.

The 1St Amendment is violated not by exercising it but by its prohibition. The Constitution says "Congress shall make no law..." Right. So judgers and school boards are doing instead.

Very clever how they make exercising a right into a violation of of the Constitution that gives it. It's amazing.

November 08 2013 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A lot of people are defending the bus driver by saying it's his freedom of religion. The one thing that people forget is that freedom is a two way road, he has every right to say a prayer to himself while driving a school bus but once he starts group prayers among the children on the bus, he is infringing on all of the children's freedom of religion. Also to respond to many comments this would have and should be treated the same if he was of any other religion.

November 08 2013 at 11:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What a bunch of ignorant religious whack jobs posting here.

If you're not smart enough to understand the US Constitution, Freedom of Religion, and why this driver was properly fired, please stay away from the voting booth and the cutlery.

November 08 2013 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to JimmyJoeJackson's comment
Lance Degnan

Please show me just where in the US Constitution does it spell out Freedom of Religion. I've never been able to find it.

November 08 2013 at 11:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It wouldn't do any good to educate you about the misinterpretation of the Constitution regarding a fantasy wall of separation between church and state because IT DOESN"T EXIST...!

November 08 2013 at 11:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
George Hazelwood

hi pistolpacknmama75. I like what your saying. hang in there. god loves you and needs you to help him.Let us do what we can to help this bus driver,even if means making a fuss. Jesus made some noise in the temple,when it was being used for the wrong reason. thanks for your comments

November 08 2013 at 10:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
George Hazelwood

this hynotman don't know what he is talking about. he or she is probably on meth or some other kind of insanity

November 08 2013 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tyris Leslie

So a guy broke the rules and got fired? Rules he was warned about? Rules every other person of every other religious leaning are expected to follow as well? How is this news? He was acting inappropriately, so he was chastised, repeatedly, and ultimately fired for refusing to follow the rules.

November 08 2013 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
George Hazelwood

we Christians need to start doing more complaining. we have been pushed to far. let us tell it like it is and quit being so nice. We need to make the congress listen and give us some rights that we already have.I have the right to say whatever I want, and so does the bus driver. If he was talking good about homo people,everyone would listen.I have the right not to like homos and weird people as anyone else has the right to hate God. at least, he is real,and not insane, unlike the rights we give ungodly people

November 08 2013 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ok,I m confused, why is it a requirement for our public schools to learn about Islam and Christian Prayer is a crime?

November 08 2013 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to moosemyfrnds's comment
Tyris Leslie

To help your confusion;
Public schools aren't required to teach kids about Islam. At least not in any more context than a general world history context, like most other world religions. We learned the scant basics of the history of Islam in 1 class session of my World history class in high school. Compared to the 3, count em, 3 separate classes where we studied the actual Bible itself as source material(once in English, studying King James era English in the book of Ruth, once in Greek class where we studied the original 1st century Greek gospels, and once in my flippin Bible history class, where we studied nothing BUT the Bible). Also, Christian prayer isn't a crime; this man isn't being charged with anything, he was just let go for refusing to adhere to the rules of his job after multiple warnings. Just like if I refused to follow the rules of my job, I would also be let go. Lastly, its not at all against the rules to pray in school, you just can't use your position as an employee of the school system to proselytize your particular flavor of faith to your charges, the students. Hope that helped with your confusion! :D

November 08 2013 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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