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June 6th, 2013
10:53 PM ET

Valedictorian breaks school rule, recites Lord's Prayer during graduation speech

Tonight, Piers Morgan welcomed Roy Costner III to sit "In the Chair" as he opened up about his son's decision to bring God into his valedictorian speech:

"My son came to me with his speech that had the Lord's Prayer in it," Costner began. "I said 'look, if you're doing this for political reasons, don't. But if you're doing it because you feel led to do it and you feel this is a part of your speech, then I want you to do it and I'll stand by you.'"

Costner's son, Roy Costner IV, took that as an endorsement, and went ahead with his plan, tearing up his "school approved" speech, and adding religion to the ceremony, despite rules against it. His father says the response has been overwhelming:

"My son has been inundated with phone calls and well wishers, including messages from atheists who say 'you know what, don't agree with you, but good for you for standing up for what you believe in.'"

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Costner goes on to explain how he would have felt if the valedictorian had been Muslim, and chose to read from the Quran.
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soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Congratulations to this young man! I find it amusing that we seem to have gotten away from doing this over the last three decades. If any other religion has a problem with it, they should feel free to leave until it is done. They seem to feel that their religion should not be infringed upon, even if they do not believe in one, yet the Muslims are allowed to leave to go to prayers during school hours. These are some of the same people that did not want to feel out of place or infringed upon but have no problem leaving to go to prayers thus singling themselves out as another religion! The country was founded and based on a Christian type platform and still allowing any other religion to feel free to practice whatever they may believe without persecution! It still says on the back of the dollar bill ." In God we trust" and we are supposed to believe that there is a separation of church and state?

    June 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer

      I agree 100% I am proud of him for voicing his beliefs, especially in this setting. I remember a time when prayer was said at school daily. I wish it still was as I have 3 young children that need the strength of God to help them daily at school and every where else. Maybe it would put a little more thought on respect and morals.

      June 6, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Science

        Just Josh...............big clue below.............history..........The Federal Reserve is a private bank .

        U.S. Department of the Treasury ............all about money........... religion that is no gods required !

        About
        Home » About » Education » History of 'In God We Trust'
        History of 'In God We Trust'

        http://www.treasury.gov/about/education/Pages/in-god-we-trust.aspx

        June 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joan

        You can pray in school all you want... just not led by adults and forced upon others.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mountain man

        And he displayed his "respect and morals" that christianity taught him by..... directly disrespecting his public schools regulations. Sure. I get that....

        June 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • took a traitors path! exposed our safety!

        What ever your opinion is of Snowden, he took an oath of secrecy to all Americans to work for us..... Wrong way of going about it. Just like the weakie links stupidity.. Im for the NSA

        June 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sm

      Yes mark, Our country was founded on the belief that each citizen has the right to practice any religion they choose, or opt not to have a religion.....Do you agree? don't twist the 1st amendment now people!

      June 7, 2013 at 7:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • JustJosh

      History lesson: "In God We Trust" was added to currency in the 1950's. It's got zilch to do with the founding of our nation (which, as you may recall, was in the 1770's).

      June 7, 2013 at 9:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • Stan

        Why don't you read the 4th verse of "The Star Spangled Banner"! Francis Scott Key writes and sums up our belief in God and the trust we have in Him. That verse should be the verse we sing. It has Keys overall summation of the events he witnessed as our flag stood British attack. He gives the credit to our trust in God. It is our National Anthem.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Miss Demeanor

        RE: "Why don't you read the 4th verse of "The Star Spangled Banner"! Francis Scott Key writes and sums up our belief in God..."
        A song someone wrote 'proves' your Patriotic Christian Cult is the 'official religion' of the US? Sheeesh. You don't speak for 'our beliefs"... a songwriter doesn't either. Someone else could claim Elvis singing: "Yew ain't nuttin' butta houn' dawg" sums up "our beliefs".

        June 8, 2013 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Mountain man

        And another history lesson for the "founding fathers, God Loves America Best" crowd.... the "Pledge of Allegiance" did not include "Under God" until some baptist looney added it in there.... also in the 1950's.... that's NINETEEN fifties. Look it up if you doubt. Evidence, people. E V I D E N C E. That which can be claimed without proof, can be refuted without proof.

        June 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • sm

        Yes all god's love America best. And if God those to not be a God at all he'd love America best and we'd love him......Or are you a Hippocrite?

        June 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Science

      Separation of church and state failed .............school might have too ?

      No god(s) needed..........but physics is required.............and it works every time.

      Quantum Teleportation Between Atomic Systems Over Long Distances

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130606140844.htm

      June 7, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joan

      No, the country was not founded solely upon Christian principles. I find it appalling that he broke the rules, because he thought his religion was more important that following the rules. Just shove it down people's throats... thats what they always do.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Science

      The more you know helps.

      Destiny & DNA......................World Science Festival

      http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4044190/events/2110223

      June 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • thomas paine

      this kid isn't that smart as there's no evidence for god; thus, he's merely propagating something that he pretends to know but doesn't really know. shame on his parents for indoctrinating him with this mental slavery. had this young man prayed to Zeus, Isis or (oh my!) Allah, he'd be much more courageous, however wrongheaded.

      June 9, 2013 at 1:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shondra

      YEs indeed Mark, Agreed! Love this young man!

      June 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Leroy

    Rules are rules. It displays a blatant disregard of authority. Young man still has a lot to learn.

    June 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Graig

      I believe you have a lot to learn about who's law to fallow. If you need a bible let me know and I'll send you one! In the meantime I'll be praying for you!

      June 7, 2013 at 6:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • sm

        Its not a law to practice the Christian faith and a requirement to have or follow the bible..............The bible is mostly Fiction to be told loud and grand!

        June 7, 2013 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
      • sm

        You can have a strong relationship with god alone and without constricting churches telling you whats right and were all going to Hell!

        June 7, 2013 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
      • Mountain man

        Thanks for the prayer, Graig! I'll talk to my microwave and have it fax you a million dollars, too. Both actions will have the same outcome.

        June 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFCanton

      Is all authority meaningful? I'm not sure I would have done this, but if the principle behind the rule is "authority" I'd flout it all day.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tharpie

      "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."

      June 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Tharpie

        Left out the source.

        –Thomas Jefferson.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill Withers

    I cannot help but wonder if the crowd would have been so loving and welcoming if he read from the Torah. Would have a Muslim prayer been lauded as a triumph? Church and state are divided for a reason. What about the Jewish kid who doesn't say the Lord's prayer? How is he/she supposed to feel during school prayer? Of course Jennifer and Mark applaud him. They'd be less likely if their religion was in a minority. School is supposed to a place where all children are treated equally. (Clearly, an impossible standard...but none the less.) Why can't prayer be saved for home, church and families? Blurring the line between church and state is Ok but only if it's Christian? I'd bet all the whisky in Ireland that Mark and Jennifer would be less likely to applaud him if he had recited a prayer from a different religion. Saying the Lord's prayer to a crowd in South Carolina is not exactly going out on a limb. It's like playing Don't Stop Believing to a drunken bar crowd. It's a safe bet it'll go over well.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason B

      You're right. Our nation was founded because people came here to worship free of persecution; persecution which is happening once again now under the guise of Political Correctness. Separation of Church and State was to protect the Church (any church) FROM the State, not the other way around.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason B

      To further my thought, there is absolutely no reason my Church, a Synagogue, and a Muslim temple shouldn't be able to share the same city block and work together as neighbors. That's what our country was founded to represent, not the Freedom From Religion foolishness.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      I do agree with you to a certain point. I do think people would have had a huge problem if this boy was Muslim. and I don't think that's right, but it it's probably true. BUT I don't really think this speech was really even about religion. I think it was more of a "you can't shut me up I have freedom of speech" kind of thing. I bet if he was told "nobody is allowed to use the word clown in this school" he probably would have made every other word "clown" in his speech.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lawrence

      I agree to0tally. Thank you.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tharpie

      The public exercise of religion is part of religion. To banish it to the home and the church is an infringement and violation of the right to free exercise. This young man is not a government agent and is not acting as a representative of the government in anyway. Neither is he forcing anyone to participate in the prayer. He invited others to join with him and they willingly did. Those who did not wish to participate were free not to. It is not unreasonable to ask those who don't share the faith of another to be tolerant and respectful of the rights of others to publicly acknowledge their God. It is, however, unreasonable to expect to live your life without exposure to diverse ideas and belief systems.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jason B

    Praise this young man's courage and boldness.

    And, might be the only time I ever say this here. But this is honestly the first time I can ever remember watching Piers where I found him to be objective and almost a good host. There's always hope.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. nancy

    it's far FEWER churchgoers, Piers, not far less. Jeez. Stupid program

    June 7, 2013 at 12:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. mark

    Once again Piers. Spouting your rhetoric out and using the media as a personal soapbox. You sir, are NOT an unbiased journalist.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Danielle

    Obama gave a speech at one school. Romney gave a speech at another school... Some of those graduates might have been completely against everything either one stand for, but they were "subjected" to their presence and to their politics. This is no different. He said a prayer for something he believes in. If others in the audience didn't like it they could either leave for a few minutes or just wait until he was finished and roll your eyes at the end.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • joan

      religion is very different than politics....

      June 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • rick

        Google "Prayer to Obama" and say that again

        June 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard E.

    I teach mathematics and statistics at Canisius College in Buffalo, a Jesuit College. I regularly say the Lord's Prayer before the start of class . I usually don't pray on test days, telling students ' I DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT GOD KNOWS BUT WHAT YOU KNOW." Years ago some former students with some affection mumbled in unison that quote. These now very successful students ( chemistry majors) had not forgotten Alma Mater.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. max

    Its not that church are going out of fashion, it’s the church has betrayed God and the Lord, and are no longer welcome in the homes of Gods people. Same reason many have stop watching tv and movies and now home school. Brain washing will only work if they can control. And as you seen with the NSA they work very hard to control.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • sm

      Anyone can still have a great relationship and faith with God without a church organization involved..... churches are what are getting out of control.... Its us against them mentality anymore...

      June 7, 2013 at 7:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. max

    England is the laughing stock not the USA, no one has beheaded our military men and than stood around and talked about it. He be shot here, so LOL

    June 7, 2013 at 1:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kevin

    This is being misreported. A valedictorian is speaking for himself and can always say what he/she wishes; that is the heart of free speech. What we should prevent is having the state/school present a religious message as an official position. The school was correct in their position to not sanction an official endorsement of religion.

    June 7, 2013 at 3:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leo

      I've been looking through comments about this story to see if anybody else understood this, and you are exactly correct. What is and should not be allowed is a special part of the graduation ceremony devoted to one religious prayer to the exclusion of others. If you want prayer in your graduation, then convince your Valedictorian or Salutatorian to devote their speech time to that prayer.

      It is with this in mind, that we see that what Costner was really protesting was that his religion no longer received preferential treatment. It no longer sounds so noble when you put it that way.

      June 7, 2013 at 4:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. michael silver

    Though in myriad ways one would love to see Christians demonstrate their faith thru good works & beyond the memetic trappings of "God & Patriotism & the Republican Party" in wonderous South Carolina . Doesn't it strike anyone as little disappointing this young man whos unshakeable faith in his God, cannot take enough time in his all his young life to actually memorize this most standard of all Christian prayers?

    June 7, 2013 at 4:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff

      Have you ever heard of nervousness, Mr. Silver? Give the guy a break.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Ali

    I live in the county this young man is from so I have some understanding of this situation. Just a few years ago it would have been commonplace to pray at such an event in our area, but recently those "Freedom from Religion" folks (I say this sarcastically because it seems to me they have made a religious following out of fighting religion) made a fuss about praying at school board meetings. There are very few people in our area who do not believe in the christian faith and we thank God for that. I think this man is trying to stand up for God and give God the glory for getting him where he is today. Maybe we don't pray for the rest of the world like we should or people would understand instead of criticize. As for the last comment I understand why you would think that but if I was in front of all those people I probably couldn't recite the alphabet without notes.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joan

      If I was at that graduation, I would have stood up and left until he left the stage. I don't care about anyone's religious beliefs at a high school graduation and don't want to know about their beliefs. Its a private thing.
      I think what he did was appalling and should not be praised.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Lawrence

        I agree totally.

        June 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jazmine

        I agree Joan

        June 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lawrence

        I agree totally.

        June 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nancy

        Keep this post and re-read it later. Then perhaps you will pray for forgiveness. We should Honor our Lord, Jesus Christ, Every moment of every day.

        June 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lawrence

        I agree totally.

        June 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • cypress40

      I also live in the county that Mr. Costner lives in....and I am tired of the constant pressure from Christian fundamentalists who are naive to the fact that other people live in this area (including other Christians) that recognize the importance of keeping prayer out of our public schools.

      June 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Lawrence

        I agree totally.

        June 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nancy

        Won't see you on the other side. I understand a great Chasm shall separate us and you shall beg for a drop of water

        June 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lawrence

        I agree totallt.

        June 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      First of all, there are many many people who are not Christian, you just don't see it in your arrogant beleif that yours is the one and only true religion.

      Second of all, it's not about how many people are Christian, it's the fact that Christians have been in powerful enough positions in the past to force their religious practices on the rest of us in official forums while we are all supposed to listen meekly and shut up. You can pray in your church, in your car, in your work, in your home. The only thing you cannot do is holkd a captive audience at an official function hostage while you subject an entire audience to YOUR religion? Tell me, if that student could not have prayed, would he be any less a Christian? Of course not. This was all about continuing the Christian bully pulpit.

      June 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Lawrence

        I totally agree. Thank you.

        June 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lawrence

        I agree totally.

        June 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. beelzebubba

    Oh the hypocrisy of the christians! How about the context of Matthew 6, like right before the lord's prayer you have

    “1Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them;
    otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. ... 5“When
    you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand
    and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may
    be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.6“But
    you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray
    to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

    Of course it was proselytizing! and a clear display of ignorance of the teachings of the bible.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • beelzebubba (the original one)

      Why did you steal my name? Think up your own.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • sm

        Ha that is pretty funny..... But my God, try using your own words and think for yourself than using a scripture of any kind!!!! Blah – Blah. you educated us with NOTHING! Free your mind and update your education, for God sake ( oh that was funny, you have to admit)

        June 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mountain man

    Sigh. I keep hoping that all of this brainwashed nonsense will finally die out, but it is clear that- much like STD's- it just keeps getting passed along. Imagine no religion..... no boston bombers, no headless soldiers, no inquisition, no morality police trying to make it impossible for women to not bring unwanted children into the already overstocked planet, no baseless arguments about whom a person is allowed to love. And for all the mouth breathing "faithful" out there who are falling over themselves congratulating this kid for his clear disobedience, keep on cherry picking the data from favorite fictional book to support your personal agenda. The rest of us enjoy a good laugh. Remember: "Science flies you to the moon..... religion flies you into buildings".

    June 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jazime

      Mountain Man, I respect you ..Thanks for trying to educate the ignorant.

      June 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sm

      Try this..... How About Just Raising your own family with Honesty and dignity and help your community with your own hands and not just your pocket book, or mostly your personal thoughts " hipocracy" Don't Judge anyone but yourself....Man this country would run like a fine tuned engine!

      June 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. flygal

    Congratulations to this young man and his family. What a inspiration! I would be so proud of him. We need more young men and woman like him. Thanks for making my day! Bless you!

    June 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mountain man

      Sigh. I keep hoping that all of this brainwashed nonsense will finally die out, but it is clear that- much like STD's- it just keeps getting passed along. Imagine no religion..... no boston bombers, no headless soldiers, no inquisition, no morality police trying to make it impossible for women to not bring unwanted children into the already overstocked planet, no baseless arguments about whom a person is allowed to love. And for all the mouth breathing "faithful" out there who are falling over themselves congratulating this kid for his clear disobedience, keep on cherry picking the data from your favorite fictional book to support your personal agenda. The rest of us enjoy a good laugh. Remember: "Science flies you to the moon..... religion flies you into buildings".

      June 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Irishcalifornian

    Oh! He didn't do it for political reasons but now he's doing the media/television tour like he's running for office.
    He's full of crap.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. bjejudge

    The young man's reference was not just to G-d; it was a recitation from a Christian, New Testament prayer. It was a violation of the separation of church and state. it was an act of alienation toward non-Christians and non-believers. What is appropriate and respectful at a religious ceremony is not what is appropriate and respectful at one endorsed by a public school district. The privilege given to a student speaker should not be a privilege to express a preference for one faith over other religions, agnosticism, or even atheism.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  19. James22

    A nation that despise the living God will perish. America listen to the silent voice of God saying : TURN BACK TO ME and LIVE.

    Young man, what is working in you is not man, but GOD..the living GOD. what makes you to defy the press, school authority, friends and other is not arrogance, or pride. It is just that GOD almighty is always looking for an instrument and he finds you useful. Do not be afraid on contrary opinion including that of your parent, because the LIVING GOD decided to choose and use you to speak to them all.The same GOD created them all, and he can handle them. This is not brainwashing, this is not radicalization, this is not terror. This is GOD, and nothing else. AMERICA LISTEN TO THE SILENT VOICE .500X. YOUR FUTURE IS SURE IF YOU LISTEN TO YOUR MAKER.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  20. KCY

    I just don't get how some people's rights are more important than others. I am a Christian, teaching in a public school, but it is not my right to teach Christianity to my students. I don't want my own kids to have to listen to hindu, buddhist, muslim, or jewish prayers in a PUBLIC SCHOOL because they are Christian, so as an AMERICAN citizen, I have to fight for the rights of others to not be forced to listen to my Christian prayers. This is not a hero, this is well intentioned but misguided child who denigrated other people from other religions at a public ceremony by insinuiating that HIS faith is the only real acceptable faith. Now, if he had welcomed a buddhist, hindu, muslim, or jew to pray along side him when he was finished, I would respect that.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deserea

      Anyone in the crowd could have taken this moment to do just that. Why did they need a representative to stand on the platform for them to realize that one persons moment of thanks to their God could have been turned into their own. I am also a Christian and If it was a student of ANY other belief on that stage praying, I would have prayed to God for my graduating loved one at the same time.

      June 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lawrence

      I agree totally.

      June 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nancy

      He's just trying to keep his friends from going to Hell.

      June 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nancy

      You are letting people you are associated with daily not see your Faith. God says "Those that do not acknowledge Me, I will not Acknowledge them/

      June 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • KCY

        Actually Nancy, you know nothing of my prayer life, and he will acknowledge me. Have you ever looked up the Lord's prayer in context? Here it is for you...right before the prayer itself, Jesus tells us how to pray: (Pay close attention to the end of vs 6-if Jesus says he will reward me for my private prayers- who are YOU to take that away from me?- Probably one of the judgemental hypocrites he was always correcting. ) Matthew 6: 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

        9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

        “‘Our Father in heaven,
        hallowed be your name,
        10 your kingdom come,
        your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
        11 Give us today our daily bread.
        12 And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
        13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
        but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

        June 8, 2013 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  21. KCY

    You can bet that had he offered up a muslim prayer, the comments on here would not be calling him a hero as much as ignorantly (and wrongly) labeling him a terrorist.. Where would people stand with his rights to free speech then?

    June 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nancy

      In God We Trust.... We ain't gone yet baby. For us southerners that includes Jesus.

      June 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mac

      Thank you for your comments and as an Atheist I agree with you. Seems though that your sound judgement is falling on deaf ears within this forum. Continue to teach, sounds like you are one of the good ones.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • KCY

        Well I am glad someone isn't out to tar and feather me. I have a very strong Christian faith- but very strong relationships and a huge amount of respect for my atheists, agnostics friends. One of my very best friends who has supported me day in and day out far more than Christians in my church is atheist. And one of my little students from Nepal fascinated me with her retelling of the hindu religious ceremony she was participating in. How could I not love and respect her just because she has different beliefs? People need to get educated, look outside themselves, and that is what public school is for. If you want to get indoctrinated- you go to a church, temple, or place of worship. They serve different roles and purposes. Parents do not send their kids to public school to get indoctrinated in ANY set of beliefs...but they DO want their family values respected. That's all I try to do every day. Value the child and the background the parents want to bring them up in. Now when I taught Sunday school or lead worship at church, then I share my faith with the kids, because that is why they are coming to church. You have to know your role and your audience.

        June 8, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  22. Deserea

    This young man worked very hard to EARN the right to stand before his peers at graduation and speak from his heart. It is not for the rest of the world to judge him, his motives, or his intent in saying a prayer to his God. He did what he did because he felt led to do so. Instead of complaining or being "offended", people who didn't believe in God or Jesus could have said a prayer to their god, sent positive thoughts and energy into the universe, or simply let their mind drift for the 60 seconds it took for him to exercise his Right to free speech. People of faith and without faith have to listen to things and see things everyday that they wish they didn't have to. TOLERANCE is not just a benefit for those without faith! Even us Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. should be tolerated...some of our religions actually encourage us to share what we believe! If this young man should not be allowed to openly express his choice of lifestyle...which includes prayer...than no one should. I have a feeling us Americans would not want THAT to happen...

    June 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Matt

    Looks like Roy never read the Bible verses preceding the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:

    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    June 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nancy

      Yes, You are exactly right. You quoted the Bible BUT That isn't stated for every time you Pray. Put yourself in God's shoes. I bet he was applauding right along with all the other people. If Costner did that for his own attention, his own glory, well That's What the Bible means. If he did it to Glorify God.... Yeah, God was applauding.

      June 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Russell H.Hawkins

    I would just like to say that this young man went to the same high school that I graduated from in 1980 and he said everything we as a town here in Liberty,S.C. believe in!

    June 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mountain man

      Wow. You speak for EVERYONE in your ENTIRE TOWN??! That is a sure way to destroy any chance of credibility.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Nancy

    The best news I've heard all week. I say Costner run for president. You've got my vote. From your mouth to God's ears and may he have mercy on America

    June 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mountain man

      So.... you ask for your God (as opposed to all the other ones.... which I'm CERTAIN you don't believe in) to "have mercy on America". What would you like him to do to the rest of the earth and its inhabitants, I wonder?

      June 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mac

    This is not a freedom of speech issue as so many thousands of folks have stated. My daughter was one of the valedictorians of her high school and her speech had to be per-approved by the principal. Any deviation from the approved speech would lead to serious consequences – IE no diploma. Folks need to realize that speakers are still officially students of a public high school and still need to follow the rules. My daughter is an atheist BTW and her speech was great with no proselytizing. She's at Berkeley. Wonder were this kid will land as someone who has no problem about breaking the rules.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sm

      OK, my daughters are in the honors program too....SO WHAT. You give respect to receive respect. The last few generations were not taught this. As on to speech,Humility, and kindness deserves first consideration, again these generations have lost that. the poor, the rich, there is no difference only ignorance. religion is free to everyone, and the choice not to have it!

      June 8, 2013 at 12:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • Lawrence

        I agree totally.

        June 8, 2013 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  27. sm

    The only thing your really need in God is pure FAITH, that's it. You can have the greatest relationship with God without a church........ The bible is a Ficticious story. Jesus crucified at the cross is the only true story in the BIBLE. The ten commandments is only common sense to follow in a true society. Treat others as you would have them treat you!! no way around it! Respect is EARNED!!!! not demanded! Faith is free and strong, Period. If you need a church for support then please have it, BUT, Its not a requirement of Christianity....... I'll have a conversation with anyone who wants too....... God Bless....

    June 8, 2013 at 12:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Michelle

    Just wondering if the student had been anything other than Christian would his prayer have been accepted? Would an Islamic, Hindi or Buddhist valedictorian garner the same respect and praise if he were to pray to his God at a public event? Doubtful.

    June 8, 2013 at 8:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • sm

      Close girl! the graduation belonged to only every member of that class that worked so hard to graduate.... Know one is more important than any other classmate........... God is waiting for you at home or at the church.... That is the way it is.......Don't preach anytime someone feels like it!

      June 10, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Centurion

    Finally! A young person standing up for what he believes in! You see, it isn't all about the freedom of religion. It's about having something you love, you admire, you worship, taken away from you in a public setting. If the valedictorian had been Muslim and recited the Quran, I don't think it would've received the same reaction, however. How many people in the South are versed in the Quran? There are more Christians than Muslims in America. You're not going to get that type of applause. Come on now.

    June 8, 2013 at 10:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  30. what he did

    This kid could have prayed in school just like ALL kids can freely do if they do it the way Jesus instructed all Christians to do: quietly, in private but NOT making a public show of it. Also, this kid lied about what he was going to say and broke the law by shoving his own religion down the throats of a captive audience who did not come there expecting to hear about his personal religion. Jesus would never hijack a meeting, lie about what he was going to say and generally act like a sneak-weasel just to get attention. This kid is now a martyr in his little community and sure to get a job preaching... same as his daddy. That is what this kid intended. It was shrewd, the community (predominantly cult-of-westboro members) will ignore the fact that what he did was illegal. Why? Because they are a majority and could care less about how the 'tyranny of the majority' affects others. Just look at the hatred in the faces of Westboro members the next time they are on TV. It is unmistakable.

    June 8, 2013 at 11:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Centurion

    Everyone complaining about this is proof that religious freedom in America is being threatened.

    June 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sm

      No its Not!!!!!!!!!!!! get a life! Better start building that ARK, cause the rain is coming .... " Dope"

      June 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  32. sm

    1. Graduation is about the whole class celebrating long years of hard work that belong to everyone in that class. no one individual gets to stand above anyother Classmate.... Leave religion out of it, No matter who you are. All practices are acceptable and to choose not to practice any God, please do so........ people double talk the 1st and 2nd amendment all day long. Bet you would be so ignorant with words and be Hippocritacle in person around your pies and strangers to call you on your chosen words! Speak up to your community and rant your bigotry! or lend out a helping hand to who ever might need it!

    June 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  33. BessB

    I am genuinely curious – if this young man were a Muslim and decided to speak about his faith in Allah, would so many people be cheering his courage in expressing his faith? What if he were Wiccan, and decided to speak about a mother goddess figure? Buddhist?

    I'm interested to know if we're applauding him for expressing religious faith or a specifically Christian faith.

    June 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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