The way free speech seems to work in America is that the right only applies to those on one side of the debate. When used for a religious reason and not a vile leftist attack, the citizen who dared assume that the Constitution applied to all found out there are much different “rules” for different people. As such, one can lose it all simply for being on the opposite end of the popular opinion.
George Nathaniel, 54, drives a school bus when he’s not preaching the word of God on Sundays to the parishioners at the Burnsville, Minnesota church he pastors. He’s doing his part to make his area a better place to live, by spreading love and peace like Christ did. Part of his personal ministry was on his bus route hoping to bless the lives of children as they went off to school where religion is not allowed.
Without imposing his faith on others, Nathaniel simply prayed for protection over them and a blessing on their day. Even for the children not taught faith at home, or are raised in a different religion, he’s still speaking positive words and affirmations over these kids in praying. In a time when a positive message is rare to hear, it should have been seen as a good thing.
Parents and the school didn’t seem to think so and what happened next is a saddening reality of what our society has become.
Fox News reports:
A Minneapolis-area church pastor who also drives a school bus says his rights to free speech and religion were abridged when he got taken off his route for leading students in prayer.
And it’s not the first time prayer on the bus has gotten him in hot water, either.
The Associated Press reported that the driver, George Nathaniel, 54, was fired in Burnsville, Minn., four years ago for the exact same reason.
Quality Care Transportation removed Nathaniel from his route last week, the Star-Tribune newspaper reported. He began working for the company in January 2017 and drove children to Nasha Shkola, a charter school in Brooklyn Park focused on Russian language and culture.
He started folding prayer into the bus ride this winter. “The students would volunteer to lead the prayer,” Nathaniel said, according to The AP.
School officials received complaints that Nathaniel was forcing minors to pray, said Muk Musa, owner of Quality Care. While bus drivers are given time for personal prayer, leading children is not viewed as a part of the job, he said.
Nathaniel said he never forced students to pray. He also expressed shock that parents had complained because he’d talked about the issue with them. “That’s where the Constitution comes in,” Nathaniel said, according to the wire service.
Nathaniel isn’t fired, but hasn’t received a new route either, Musa said.
No child was forced to pray, they volunteered and wanted to be a part of it. Nathaniel didn’t even try to hide it from the parents. For these reasons, he did nothing wrong and should not have been removed from his route as a form of punishment. It would be interesting to see how many people complained and if that total paled in comparison to those seemingly okay with it. Afterall, it only takes one person to report that they’re offended to outweigh an army of people who support it or at least don’t mind.
In an era where school bullying is at an all-time high and school shootings are more frequent than ever, we shouldn’t be pulling faith or at least other people’s God-given right out of classrooms and off campuses. These issues began once any shred of Christianity was removed from schools and it’s not a coincidence. Students who don’t agree with prayer, don’t have to participate, but banning it and punishing other people for it is simply unconstitutional.
If only there were more honorable school bus drivers like Nathaniel, imagine what a difference there would be in society. Parents should be happy for a driver who tries to encourage kids in the right direction. It’s a positive one, whether they believe in the same God as Nathaniel or not.
This driver realized that he was driving the future generation of leaders and people who could make a big difference in society. He took that opportunity and responsibility seriously. He wanted to do his part to help them down the right path so that they would hopefully choose to make a positive impact in this country rather than become a problem for it.
Nathaniel is not only robbed of his right as a citizen but the opportunity to make a great impression on children’s’ lives as well. Worse yet, is that some kids may never have a great role model in their life or hear good messages. Nathaniel was just a bus driver, but never underestimate the power of a passionate person willing to make an impact wherever they’re at.