School bus driver fired for praying

bus

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.”

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25 thoughts on “School bus driver fired for praying

  1. But…he is on a school bus, being required to be mentally alert to traffic dangers that might lurk around him. And as prayer requires concentration, how does he give full concentration to both prayer and driving?
    Even though I pray to God too, I would chuck this guy from driving the bus on the grounds of public safety.
    I wouldn’t touch this brand of Christianity either. Effective prayer requires concentration on the subject at hand; what if a semi naked scantily dressed person happens to cross his path as he is driving and praying? Where do you think his mind is going to be?

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    • What—so you never talk to God Davinci,

      Throughout the day as one would in a loving relationship, but instead religiously kneel on your prayer mat and fully concentrate on your prayers every time you pray? What a lot of self-righteous rot!

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      • Oh come on mon!
        If using your mobile phone while driving is as dangerous (statistically) as driving while drunk, how can ‘praying’ not be at least as risky?

        I presume that if some drunk ran over your grand-daughter you’d be most annoyed.
        What if instead of being drunk he was praying?

        It’s easy to get too defensive.

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      • I agree with you….and davinci in that regard.

        Whilst I applaud the pastor/bus driver’s enthusiasm to introduce God to the children on his bus and under his care, I too would feel that it was inappropriate and dangerous whilst he was driving my grandchildren to and from school. Instead, why not invite the children to an after-school activity time at a local church? But remember, he did ask the permission of the parents and they said yes.

        What offends me is davinci’s sanctimonious (sorry Bryan, I know you dislike this word) statement, “I wouldn’t touch this brand of Christianity either. Effective prayer requires concentration on the subject at hand; what if a semi naked scantily dressed person happens to cross his path as he is driving and praying? Where do you think his mind is going to be?”

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      • Hello Monica

        Do you normally talk to people while you are driving a bus ? That seems more like indifference than loving relationship.

        The last few buses I’ve been on had signs up specifically asking people not to talk to the driver while the bus was in motion.

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    • Matt.6:6 –>
      6″But you, when you pray, go into your closet, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
      Jesus himself went deep into the Garden of Gesthemene ~ alone ~ to pray.

      Says it all, doesn’t it?

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      • Again, you deliberately take Scripture out of context Dabs.

        You omitted the first part where Jesus says, DO NOT BE LIKE THE HYPOCRITES—the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus also prayed in public.

        “In Matthew 6:5-7, Jesus gives two ways to ensure that our prayers are righteous. First, prayers should not be for the purpose of being seen by others as righteous or “spiritual.” Second, prayers should be authentic, as from the heart, and not just vain repetition or “empty phrases.” However, when compared with other Scriptures that show people praying in public, we know that this is not an exhortation to always pray alone. The issue is to avoid sin. Those who struggle with the desire to be seen as righteous and who notice that temptation creeping in during public prayer would do well to heed Jesus’ prescription to get alone and pray just to the Father who will reward in secret. Jesus knew that the Pharisees’ desire was to be seen by men as righteous, not really to talk to God. This statement about prayer was meant to convict and is instructive for all Christians, but it does not mean that all prayer must be secret.

        Public prayer should be God-honoring, selfless, and based in a true desire to speak to God and not to men. If we can pray publicly without violating these principles, we do well to pray publicly. If, however, our conscience forbids it, there is nothing less effective about a prayer offered in secret……Got Questions Org.”

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      • I never knew a statement as simple as “pray in secret” needed context before you could understand it.

        “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.” – George Bernard Shaw

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      • The only time I ‘take scripture out of context’, Mon, is when it’s the sort of self-serving gobbledegook you quote from ‘Got Questions.Org’ and other -dare I say ‘sanctimonious’ – sources who make it up as they go along.

        eg. “Public prayer should be God-honoring, selfless, and based in a true desire to speak to God and not to men. If we can pray publicly without violating these principles, we do well to pray publicly.”

        SEZ WHO??

        As for –> “You omitted the first part where Jesus says, DO NOT BE LIKE THE HYPOCRITES”, how about YOU omitting:-

        “And when you pray, …..” FOR THEY LOVE TO PRAY STANDING IN THE SYNAGOGUES AND ON THE STREET CORNERS TO BE SEEN BY OTHERS.”

        repeat: “TO BE SEEN BY OTHERS”. (eg in synagogues, street-corners ~ and, in…er, ‘context’, he might’ve added “CHURCHES”.

        I “deliberately” left out the whole quote because it’s so absolutely specific and uncompromising as not to need repeating.

        There is NO suggestion that “Jesus gives two ways to ensure that our prayers are righteous.”…..nor any of the other invented twaddle in that whole paragraph.
        He DOES go on to say those who pray in public (implied:-whoever they might be) “have received their reward in full”.

        He also stipulates that prayer should NOT be overdone (“do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”), which can be taken to mean in frequency and volume as well as repetitiveness; and further down makes the point that prayer should be kept short, simple and to the point. There’s NO mention of ‘righteous’ or ‘honoring’ or any of the other bullshit that’s been added so-called ‘apologists’.

        And while my memory is failing lately, I can’t think of a single example in the gospels that show people praying in public”
        ….NOR of ” Jesus also prayed in public.”
        Can you?

        More specifically, If you don’t go to church to be ‘righteous’ or to pray ‘as the hypocrites do’, why DO you go to church?

        I suggest you again read the Brad Chilcott article, and keeping that in mind read again, precisely, what ‘Matthew’ quotes Jesus as saying:-

        “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

        It’s one of the least ambiguous exhortations in the NT.

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      • John 17

        When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he looked up to heaven and said,

        “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do. And now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

        “I have told these men about you. They were in the world, but then you gave them to me. Actually, they were always yours, and you gave them to me; and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the words you gave me; and they accepted them and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

        “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. And all of them, since they are mine, belong to you; and you have given them back to me, so they are my glory! Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them and care for them–all those you have given me–so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I have kept them safe. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

        “And now I am coming to you. I have told them many things while I was with them so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth. As you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself entirely to you so they also might be entirely yours.

        “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father–that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.

        “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are — I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you’ve given me to be with me, so they can see my glory. You gave me the glory because you loved me even before the world began!

        “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them.”

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      • Well, Mon, you seem to have picked a valid exception to the rule, though I’m not convinced it’s a ‘prayer’ so much as a statement of campaign-plans, travel-itinery and and check-list. (Though admittedly he does use the term ‘prayer’.)
        But in the end he ‘disconnects’ from them and does his own thing privately.
        ….and in any case there’s no suggestion of a ‘public’ ~ or even group ~ prayer-fest; nor that he prayed ~ even if only in the company of his disciples ~ on more than a rare occasion.
        Even if he did occasionally pray without locking himself into his room, I don’t think it can be claimed he made a public display or congregational ritual of it. (as compared to, say, a catholic mass, among others).

        And I still say that Matt.6:6 is a clear indication of the suitable procedure. Moreover, NOWHERE is it suggested that ““… Jesus gives two ways to ensure that our prayers are righteous.”.

        Call it a draw? 🙂

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      • Some more Dabs,

        “When Jesus fed the 5,000, the Gospel of John records that Jesus took the bread and gave thanks:

        Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. John 6:11 ESV

        Additionally, in Mark’s account of Jesus feeding the 4,000, Jesus again gives thanks, presumably in a public setting:

        And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. Mark 8:6 ESV

        So, Jesus does appear to pray publicly, albeit not to make a show as the Pharisees did. In this case, it appears to be private prayer prayed in public.

        Given that He also taught in the synagogues, it seems highly likely He prayed frequently in public (though never to “be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” [Matthew 6:5])

        So, it does not seem reasonable to conclude that it is wrong to pray in public. Indeed, it is more reasonable to conclude that it is right to pray in both public and private settings, as long as it is with a right heart and not done for show.”

        From: Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

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      • And more of Jesus praying in public…..

        John 11:41-42
        Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

        John 12:27-30

        27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”

        Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

        29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

        30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

        Matthew 11:25-26—While speaking to the Jewish leaders

        At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

        Matthew 18:19-20

        “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” 😉

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      • Can’t go into a detailed debate just now but, generally, hardly what I’d call prayers, Mon.

        And, as pointed out previously, the Garden of Gesthemane chat was deliberately and pointedly done in private ~ not in the synagogue/street-corner/church/whatever.
        And even then I can’t quite see the reported dialogue as a prayer.

        Think more objectively: ( “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated).
        If someone gave you maybe a hundred loaves of bread to feed the hungry wouldn’t you thank them too?

        If he was exercising his supernatural powers to zap up a feed why would he thank ANYbody?
        …..and WHO would he thank?

        Perhaps our ideas of what constitutes a ‘prayer’ differ. 😉

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      • PS…. Does this —>
        “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
        …..also include “gathered” on the internet? 😯

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      • Right so you’re on equal footage with Jesus. What he can do you can do to.

        Are you busy at Christmas? ‘Cause I could really use a hand with the catering.

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  2. Hey Monica and Bryan,
    Where was Jesus when He was praying in public? Was He perhaps driving a chariot? Rowing a boat up and down? Let’s get things in context. The problem with this dude is that he was praying whilst driving a bus. Thus cheapening the whole ritual of prayer.

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