SCHOOL bus driver George Nathaniel has been fired for inviting the children on his routes to pray with him each morning, despite being repeatedly asked by his company to stop, reports CBS Local.
Nathaniel told media that “To fire a bus driver for praying for the safety of the children” is not right, according to the Star Tribune. He prayed on the bus as he is a pastor at a Minneapolis church.
Nathaniel prayed during the seven-minute ride to school after the last child got on board.
He said he talked to parents as he saw them at bus stops, let them know he was a pastor and asked if it would be OK for him to pray with the kids on the bus. “The parents I talked with, they were in agreement that I was doing fine,” he said.
He explained the specific nature of the bus prayers and insisted that he was not coercing students into religious observance. “We start out with a song,” he said. “Then each person will pray if they want to pray. If they don’t want to pray, they don’t have to pray. Then I will pray and ask them if they want to join me in prayer. Just give them something constructive and positive to go to school with.”
Nathaniel sought to emphasize his right to freedom of religion, stating, “They are trying to take away every right the Christian has to express our Christian belief in this supposed to have been Christian nation.
However, ACLU legal director Teresa Nelson said that in her opinion, Nathaniel actually violated the First Amendment by having prayer on a public school bus. She told CBS Local, “The school bus is a captive audience. 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.”