being a mom

Prayer Is Fine And Dandy Until You Trap Kids On A School Bus And Force Religion On Them

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6557-000148I’m not a religious person, but I see nothing wrong with teaching kids some good ‘ol Christian values. Or Judaism values. Or Buddhist values. Let’s make all the kids learn some damn unitarian values somewhere, because they probably shouldn’t be learning them on the bus while on their way to school, like George Nathaniel III did while shuttling little kids to and from school in Burnsville, Minnesota. From The Star Tribune:

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.When Nathaniel continued to lead prayers on his new routes, Durham sent him a separation letter dated Oct. 30, saying: “There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance with the previous final written warning you received, your employment is hereby terminated.”

On on hand, yeah, keep your religion away from my kids because that is a private matter and it should be up to parents to decide what religions they want their kids exposed to. BUT, but but, gah, it’s so hard for me to think the dude is a horrible person because he was basically, according to the article, praying for the little kids to make it safely to school and ugh, in Minnesota, where they have a lot of blizzards and driving can be treacherous and also, UGH, driving a mess of kids who are noisy and can be disobedient in traffic and bully each other on the bus, is this really, truly the worst thing kids will be exposed to? I guess it all depends on what sort of praying he was doing. If he was simply asking the kids make a safe journey to school it just wouldn’t bother me that much, as a non-religious person I can happily tell you I become like SUPER RELIGIOUS when I am taking off or landing in an airplane, or was the guy threatening fire and brimstone and shouting about damnation? It doesn’t really sound like that:

“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.”

I wish this guy would leave God out of it and just teach them something we all can agree with, like some do unto others action, and remind them all to be nice to each other and respect their teachers. Wouldn’t that be a happy medium? Then he can just leave the religious stuff to church. For me as a parent if my kids were being exposed to the nice things about different religions, like be kind to each other, and not the aspects of religions I don’t believe in, like who is going to “hell” for what, this whole mess wouldn’t freak me out that bad. I believe in science, but I also believe in the golden rule. I’d love to hear what religious parents and atheist parents feel about this. For me I don’t want my kids being trapped on a bus and being forced to learn about God per se, but I also want them to learn about all religions and decide for themselves what their beliefs are.

There is no way this is as evil as other stories we have heard about bus drivers and little kids. 

(Image: getty images)