Beliefnet News

George Nathaniel, a Twin Cities-area bus driver was removed from his bus route last week after leading students in prayer, the Star Tribune reported. Nathaniel says his rights to free speech and to practice his religion were violated.

Nathaniel drove children to Nasha Shkola, a Minnesota Charter School that celebrates Russian language and culture. He began working for the company in January 2017 and started incorporating prayer into the bus ride this winter.

“The students would volunteer to lead the prayer,” Nathaniel said.

Nathaniel believes children need more prayer in their lives and he’s determined to bring prayer back to public schools.

Quality Care Transportation removed Nathaniel from his route after receiving complaints that Nathaniel was forcing children to pray. While bus drivers are given time for personal prayer, leading children isn’t part of the job, said Muk Musa, owner of Quality Care.

Nathaniel, who also pastors a Minneapolis congregation said that he wants to turn people to Christianity, but he never forced students to pray, he told the Star Tribune. He was also surprised that parents complained because he’d discussed the issue with them.

“That’s where the Constitution comes in,” Nathaniel said. “You’ve got the freedom to exercise your religious beliefs.”

Musa says Nathaniel isn’t fired but hasn’t received a new route either. This also isn’t the first time Nathaniel has been in this situation. He was fired four years ago while driving a Burnsville route for the same reason. He is determined to share Christ with those he encounters.

“He’s not going to change. His main focus is to influence even one person in following what he worships,” Musa said.

Do you believe we need prayer back in schools? Do you think Nathaniel had the right to exercise his faith?