- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Minnesota man who’s a pastor by trade and bus driver by school day said he was fired for leading the students in his charge in Christian prayers

“To fire a bus driver for praying for the safety of the children” isn’t right, said George Nathaniel III, 49, who’s a pastor for two Minneapolis-area churches and who has driven a school bus for Durham School Services for two years, The Daily Mail reported.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Durham said “the company does not have a specific policy on the subject of prayer,” the newspaper reported.

School administrators said they’ve warned Mr. Nathaniel via letters that his prayers aren’t welcome on the bus. And Teresa Nelson, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota, said, “the school bus driver has the right to pray on his own time, but when he has a captive audience of kids on a school bus, that would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” The Daily Mail reported.

Mr. Nathaniel described his school bus prayers as beginning “with a song. 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,” The Daily Mail said.

The school fired him, though. Yet, Mr. Nathaniel still stood defiant.

“I’m a preacher, and that’s what I do,” he said.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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