Pastor Loses Bus Driving Job for Praying With Students

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by InTheLight, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. InTheLight

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    A bus driver for the Burnsville school district was fired last week for leading kids in Christian prayers on his bus, even after he was warned to stop — a move he considers a violation of his freedom of speech.

    George Nathaniel, 49, of Richfield, who is also a pastor for a pair of Minneapolis churches, was in his second year as a school bus driver for a company under contract to the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district.

    After receiving a complaint from the district about the prayers, the bus company, Durham School Services, gave Nathaniel a warning and assigned him two new bus routes serving Edward D. Neill Elementary School and Metcalf Junior High School in Burnsville, he said.

    That didn’t dissuade Nathaniel. “I let them know I am a pastor and I am going to pray,” he said.

    http://www.startribune.com/local/south/230757861.html
     
  2. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The Establishment Clause prevents Congress from establishing a state church. It does not prevent a man from praying for students he is driving to school performing a duty as a bi-vocational pastor.
     
  3. InTheLight

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    Hmmm... so if it were an Islamic Imam you would be OK with daily prayers on the school bus?
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    Yes it does prevent him from doing that very thing. Certainly that establishment clause prevents a state church, but it prevents any state-sponsored endorsement of religious views, contrary to what a lot of so-called "Christian" revisionist historians like to claim.

    Baptists fought very hard for the establishment clause.

    He can pray for the students in his care (as a Christian, he should), but he must not use the authority given to him by the state (through the agency that they have hired to transport students) to lead students in prayer. He has a captive audience and he is in authority over them.

    The bus company and the school district have not hired him to be a pastor, but a bus driver. He has every right to talk to students about the gospel when he is not being compensated by the school district (through the bus company) and when the students are not under compulsion to attend.

    As a Baptist minister, he should know both his Bible and his church history a lot better than he does. I'm sure his heart is in the right place, but his actions are wrong.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    No, I wouldn't. But it wasn't an Islamic imam praying with these kids. This is also a straw man, because imams don't pray with unbelievers. Attempting to convert the kids would also be outside the realm of an imam's duties, as the Islam does not allow any but parents to convert their children.
     
  6. InTheLight

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    Well said, Baptist Believer!
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    You're missing the point.

    Let's try this, what about a Mormon elder who affirmed that "Joseph Smith, Jr. was a prophet of God" with the students every day? Our a Roman Catholic layperson who led the children in a prayer to the "Blessed Virgin Mary?"
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    I suppose the greater question is what does God want him to do?
     
  9. Salty

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    Actually, I dont think so - as long as he does not have his eyes closed when he driving! -
    and as long as the kids are not required to pray with him.
     
  10. preacher4truth

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    Interesting.

    We have some here rebuking others for liking the fact a Christian prayed, by rebuking such via a hypothesis what if a Mormon prayed, whilst rebuking via insult that one perchance would like an Islamic Imam to pray with these children, which shows it is doubtful that either of these doing the rebuking would even DARE to pray themselves, all the while these same infer condemnation toward the Christian for praying, whilst one other brave and biblical one is pointing out it is better to obey God rather than man.

    Only the latter reflects true, powerful world-rejecting Christianity. The rest of you are hoodwinked into political correctness and I highly doubt any of you would obey God rather than man.
     
  11. JonC

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    IMHO, as an employee the school system should be able to fire him for praying with the students if that was prohibited for the position he chose to fill. If called to do so by God, he should have prayed. But he should have done so and accepted the repercussions of his obedience with grace and a stand for the faith - not considering it a violation of his free speech that he was fired but obedience to God that he prayed.
     
  12. preacher4truth

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    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    Here we go...

    I don't think we have anyone rebuking other for likening the fact that a Christian prayed. Since I am specifically referenced in your criticism, I need to point out that I think the pastor SHOULD be praying for those students. So you are misrepresenting at least my point if view, and likely everyone else's.

    And what is wrong with that? It is a valid question if we are going to discuss whether or not we want government authorities to encourage and lead children to worship to whatever deity or deities they prefer.


    This is a non sequitur. It shows nothing of the sort. This has nothing to do with courage, level of faith, etc. This is simply an opportunity to condemn those with whom you disagree.

    By pointing out that he is rejecting the historic Baptist position, violating the rules of his employers, and then complaining about it?

    Who says that we don't agree it is better to obey God rather than man? Where has God said to use your authority as a government official to get other people (whether they are of the faith or not) to indulge in religious behavior?

    I agree with what RevMitchell has written, although I do not necessarily know his opinion regarding this issue. You have condemned the rest of us as not reflecting "true" Christianity which comes very close to violating Baptist Board rules. Moreover, you have done it with no evidence.

    And you are wrong.

    Have you studied Baptist history? Do you know the story of Roger Williams in America? Have you read of what our Baptist forebearers went through to worship freely in the colonies? Look up the story of Obadiah Holmes for example. Have you read "A Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments" written by James Madison? Have you ever heard of John Leland? Have you read the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, which became one of the most influential documents for the First Amendment? Do you realize that Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists was directly referenced Rogers Williams' metaphor of a "hedge of separation between church and state" which plainly described the intent of the First Amendment?

    I could go on and on. This is not "political correctness," but Baptist and U.S. history. The theology standing behind it is rooted in the New Testament. The rationale behind it is the way the church has been prostituted and corrupted by earthly powers throughout history when it gains "favored" status, or persecuted when another religious system has "favored" status. The best case is when the government is forced to remain neutral and stay out of religious affairs. It does this by restraining its functionaries from using its influence or power to promote or restrict religious exercise.

    Those of us who oppose what this pastor did are obeying God.

    If you disagree, why not make a case for it instead of personally attacking those with whom you disagree?
     
  14. preacher4truth

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    No, it is 'here YOU go'.

    No one was personally attacked in what I stated and my case was simple and easy to see.

    If pointing out a weak 'stance' among some believers, up to and including you seems to be a 'personal attack' then you need to man up big time. You show a lot of what is wrong with the church today -- hatred for the polemic of reproof via Scriptural principles.
     
    #14 preacher4truth, Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2013
  15. Gina B

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    I...don't like that.

    It's how it works though. The United States isn't a Christian nation, no matter how much any of us would like to think so, and Christians no longer get free passes. If anything, it's turning the opposite way.

    It USED to be okay and we could get away with that, but we're not a strong majority. People might be able to do a poll and say we're a majority, but it would be an extremely weak one if polled by strength.

    So they're just following the rule. You can't do that in this country and being a Christian isn't an exception. "Just following the rule" sounds so light and silly when you think of what they're really doing by trying so hard to keep the truth out, but we can't force the truth in and it's quite obvious that there's a real fight to keep it out. A fight we've already lost on most fields. Obviously. Look around.

    It's disturbing to work for a government agency like a school and be a believer, always trying to follow the rules and follow your faith without breaking the rules or being untrue to your faith. Actually, it's just disturbing to live in this world anymore and be a believer.
     
  16. preacher4truth

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    At a warehouse here a Buddhist from Thailand was telling another about his religion and handed him some pamphlet on it. The other person was a Christian and told him about Christ.

    Guess which one got called to the office over this issue, and which one never had a word said to him about the incident?
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    You specifically cited arguments that certain people had made and listed only one as "true" Christianity. How can that not be an attack?

    You "case" consisted of nothing more than demonizing and misrepresenting those with whom you disagree, presenting it as an issue between praying and not praying instead of an issue between a person using his authority as a representative of he school to encourage religious practice. You either don't really understand the points being made or you are simply misrepresenting then for rhetorical effect.

    A "weak stance" among believers is for Christians to be willing to use the power and influence of government in an effort to influence those who may not be Christians to outwardly conform to Christian practices instead of relying on the power of the Spirit, a transformed quality of life, and a ready word at he right time to invite others into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God does not need to use the power of the kingdoms of the world.

    It seems that if having knowledge of scripture and history (BAPTIST history, no less!) is a problem in the church today, then the church needs to change. I don't mind reproof if you can give me a scriptural argument, but your "reproof" is not based on any scripture that I know about. Why don't you actually present a counter argument using scripture instead of supposing that your opinion is based on "scriptural principles." Specifically, show me a New Testament example where we are called to use the authority and influence of the kingdoms of this world to coerce and/or encourage unbelievers to engage in the Christian exercise of prayer?
     
  18. preacher4truth

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    Baptist Believer,

    I will make attempt to reconcile with you over this issue, yet on my position I will not be swayed and ask yo to leave off your accusations.

    For the record, nothing I've stated was a personal attack no matter how you want to construe it. What I have done is describe Americanized Christianity where folks fail to obey God first and foremost, which is opposed to the NT accounts.

    If you want to call all of this a personal attack, go for it. Other than that I would rather remain or become friends over it and agree to disagree with you. If you are irreconcilable still then I cannot help that. But please do in the future toughen up some and leave off the calling things that are biblical a 'personal attack'. It is purely biblical and it is bold obedience to witness and not stop due to man made rules. On most accounts it takes Spirit fullness to have this boldness to do so in the first place.

    I sincerely hope you will pray and reconsider, and reconcile without any further inflammatory accusations that are completely unfounded. It's unnecessary and unneeded.
     
  19. Baptist Believer

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    I appreciate you telling me upfront that you have decided you will not seriously consider other positions.

    Those who support the institutional separation of church and state draw their theology from the scriptures and do it in order to obey God. Even if you do not agree, you need to understand that basic point.

    Your posts on this subject so far have illustrated items 3, 4 and 10 in this well-chosen article by RevMitchell.

    Those who oppose what this man did do not think the Establishment Clause is simply a "man-mad rule" but an expression of the ideals of the gospel of the Kingdom and the New Testament. Jesus Himself taught that we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. They are two very different Kingdoms and the influence of the earthly kingdoms should not be used to further the Kingdom of God. History has demonstrated the folly and severe consequences of that. The institutional separation of church and state is a fundamental BAPTIST principle and has been that way since the beginning of the movement. It is only recently that so-called "Baptists" have forgotten their history, if they ever knew it at all.

    It takes boldness, but not necessarily led by the Spirit. I have known many bold people who are overbearing and demand conformity because they are certain they are right.

    I had a 5th grade teacher (Roman Catholic) who ignored the prayer rulings and led the public school class in prayer every morning. We quoted the Catholic version of the model prayer, not knowing what it meant, and she taught us Catholic dogma and encouraged the veneration of "the Blessed Virgin Mary." Would you want your children subjected to that every school morning? I am not anti-Catholic, but I am certainly not Catholic.

    For what its worth, she was also a very poor teacher and a terrible woman. She persecuted children and explicitly lied about them. She had a very long history of doing this, but was protected by the teacher's union. On the last day of school, the mother of one of my classmates punched her in the face because of the way her daughter had been treated all year.

    I am still waiting for a scriptural justification to use the authority of the world systems/kingdoms to encourage children to emulate Christian piety.
     
  20. preacher4truth

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    BB,

    Unfortunately that is a straw man and mischaracterization of what I said.

    Here is what I actually said:

    Nowhere does my statement infer only one is a 'true' Christian (Christianity) as you've misconstrued it to be. Only one REFLECTS this is what I said and that is what I meant and I stand by it.

    You do realize that not all 'believers' REFLECT what I specifically stated, (obeying God rather than man made rules) correct? How you took offense to that is beyond me.

    You must know I am examining again what I've actually stated. There is nothing in my wording that was a personal attack.


    (btw I read your above post. I am not arguing for 'foolish' witnessing, but real Spirit lead witnessing. No need for another rabbit trail thrown in there. Keep it simple? You also state I won't consider other positions, that is untrue, as I have considered them and don't find them biblical, bold, or reflecting anything like what I see in the NT. Keep it honest as well? )
     
    #20 preacher4truth, Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2013

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