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Anti-Religion Group Blasts Teen Valedictorianís Prayer
Townhall.com ^ | June 6, 2013 | Todd Starnes

Posted on 06/07/2013 5:50:37 AM PDT by Kaslin

The Freedom From Religion Foundation blasted what it called the “open defiance” of a valedictorian who delivered The Lord’s Prayer during a high school graduation ceremony last Saturday in South Carolina.

Roy Costner, a senior at Liberty High School in Pickens, created national attention when he ripped up his pre-approved graduation speech and instead led the crowd in a recitation of The Lord’s Prayer.

A video of the speech was posted on YouTube and has since gone viral. It shows the 18-year-old setting aside his speech.

“I think most of you will understand when I say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven,” he said as the crowd began to cheer.

He concluded his remarks by pointing to the sky and saying, “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”

The school district had been in a battle over public prayers after the FFRF filed a complaint objecting to what they called an “unconstitutional prayer practice.”

They hold the school district responsible for Costner’s open act of defiance and what they called a string of problematic religious violations.

“The valedictorian who so insensitively inflicted Christian prayer on a captive audience at a secular graduation ceremony, is a product of a school district which itself set an unconstitutional example by hosting school board prayer,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a prepared statement.

A school district spokesperson said the valedictorian will not be penalized for what he did and Costner told Fox News that he has absolutely no regrets.

“I’m happy with what I did,” Costner said. “I want this to glorify God. I want to use this as a witnessing tool and I hope others will stand up for God in our nation.”

He got the idea to deliver the prayer about two weeks ago when he learned that he had been selected as the top academic student in the graduating class. He was summoned to the principal’s office.

“She informed us that we could not have anything about religion or talk about God or Allah or whoever we choose to worship,” he said. “And they had to approve the speech prior to me going onto stage.”

The prayer controversy had gripped the small South Carolina community for quite some time – and many locals took issue with a group from Wisconsin causing problems.

“Our community is very passionate about prayer in our schools,” Costner told Fox News. “I began writing the speech and I knew from the start that I was going to include prayer.”

He talked it over with his father, the youth pastor at Fellowship Community Church. And he also sought the counsel of other pastors in the area.

“They wanted me to make sure I was doing it for God and not myself,” he said.

So Costner spent the next few days in deep prayer and Bible study.

“I asked God exactly what He wanted me to do,” he explained. “I was trying to think of a prayer that would suit all denominations. That’s why I went with The Lord’s Prayer.”

And on graduation day a very nervous Costner took his place at the ceremony – with a serious case of the jitters.

“I was extremely nervous,” he said. “I didn’t know what kind of reaction I was going to get. I didn’t know which way it was going to go.”

And there was another problem. Costner’s speech had already been placed in a binder – on the platform. He would not be able to bring a copy of his replacement speech on stage.

What happened will be remembered in Pickens for quite some time – when an 18-year-old boy defied a group of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers.

“I was always taught to stand for what I believe in,” he said. “That’s what I believe in. I was thanking my God before everyone. I wanted to give him a shout-out.”

As for his critics, Costner quoted a passage of Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew.

“If you deny me among men, I will deny you to the Father,” he said.

He also had a special message to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“We are not in a country where we have freedom from religion,” he said. “We have freedom of religion.”

Costner said he will be attending Clemson University in the fall where he will study computer science.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: commencements; firstamendment; freedomofreligion; god; religion; roycostner; schools; thankgod; voluntaryprayer
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"We have freedom of religion"

This cannot be repeated enough

1 posted on 06/07/2013 5:50:37 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin; xzins

Where are all the “Rules are Rules” Freepers out there?

I’d say this fellow deserves a feather in his cap.


2 posted on 06/07/2013 5:53:54 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds.)
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To: Kaslin

Why does it bother atheists so much if they don’t believe in God? They are obsessed with God.

Pray for America to Wake Up


3 posted on 06/07/2013 5:55:21 AM PDT by bray (Stop tolerating beheading!)
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To: bray

Anti-theists are obsessed with CONTROL.


4 posted on 06/07/2013 5:58:01 AM PDT by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: Kaslin

Tell the anti-religionists to blow it out their butts.

It’s time Americans got fed up with this BS of a small minority of God -haters telling us how to live.

SCREW em.


5 posted on 06/07/2013 5:58:41 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: P-Marlowe

“he ripped up his pre-approved graduation speech”

I love what he did to the notion that one awarded top education honors is incompetent to write a cogent legal speech.


6 posted on 06/07/2013 5:59:03 AM PDT by Mouton (108th MI Group.....68-71)
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To: bray

Had the valedictorian been a black female, there would be no screaming from the Leftists.

Had the valedictorian started yodeling the Muslim call to prayer, they would have had orgasms in the press section.

Tell me I’m wrong.


7 posted on 06/07/2013 5:59:37 AM PDT by Old Sarge (My "KMA List" is growing daily...)
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To: Kaslin

Was there an individual at the graduation who was actually “offended”, traumatized, berated, had their feelings hurt, feel their constitutional rights had been violated, scarred for life, etc....??


8 posted on 06/07/2013 5:59:55 AM PDT by jughandle
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To: P-Marlowe
Not sure what you mean ~ but the Supreme Court already said the school authorities can't dictate religious matters to students (Regent's v...) and that the students are free to be religious in, at, away from, school, etc.

If the kid's not complaining about the principal's instructions to avoid God, I don't see any cause of action.

The Atheists will just have to take their lumps on this one. Besides, they're the ones who asked for the original Regents v.... case. Maybe they want to go back to having schools dictate prayer to students.....

9 posted on 06/07/2013 6:01:16 AM PDT by muawiyah (Git yer Red Arm Bands here - $29.95 - NOT SOLD IN STORES - TAX FREE)
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To: Kaslin

Major kudos to Mr. Costner!

And thank you to Roy’s parents. You’ve done an excellent job and you are right to be extrememly proud.

I wish Roy all the best and may God richly reward you here, as well as in Heaven.


10 posted on 06/07/2013 6:01:23 AM PDT by MichaelCorleone (Jesus Christ is not a religion. He's the Truth.)
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To: P-Marlowe
Where are all the “Rules are Rules” Freepers out there?

Rules are rules. In particular the First Amendment protects our God-given right to the free exercise of religion. This was explicitly done without any government approval, so even the most rabid ACLU/FFRF moron cannot claim that it constitutes a government establishment of a state religion. The rules won, and those who want to be our rulers lost.

11 posted on 06/07/2013 6:02:07 AM PDT by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: Kaslin

More open defiance is needed.


12 posted on 06/07/2013 6:05:48 AM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: Venturer

Exactly


13 posted on 06/07/2013 6:07:34 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

I would suggest the anti-Christians ask the cheering crowd whether they felt this speaker had “inflicted” prayer on them. I’d say, judging from their reaction, that if anything was being inflicted, it was the godlessness of the haters.


14 posted on 06/07/2013 6:08:11 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: Pollster1

Well said!


15 posted on 06/07/2013 6:09:35 AM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: Tax-chick

I agree, but this is a start. We need to pray that others follow


16 posted on 06/07/2013 6:14:56 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Mouton

He not only wrote one, he wrote two. And he was able to give his speech with the written copy out of his possession. What’s the problem?


17 posted on 06/07/2013 6:23:45 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ √ě)
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To: Kaslin

Well done, young man.


18 posted on 06/07/2013 6:25:15 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Blather. Reince. Repeat.)
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To: P-Marlowe

I’m “rules are rules” Freeper, but I’m trying to understand your admonition. What “rule of law” Freepers like me want is for EVERYONE to follow the LAW, which is the Common Law first, the Constitution second, then the various CONSTITUTIONAL statutes that descend from local, state, and federal authorities. What the boy did was WELL WITHIN THE LAW, so I support it wholeheartedly. You cannot COMMAND speech, that is AGAINST the law.


19 posted on 06/07/2013 6:28:22 AM PDT by HMS Surprise (Chris Christie can STILL go straight to hell)
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To: Venturer

As long as a Buddist valedictorian can say a prayer to Buddah, or a Hindu can pray to Krishna, or an atheist valedictorian can thank his parents for raising him to be a free thinker like Thomas Jefferson ... it’s all good. If you want Christian prayer to be
allowed then you may have to sit through, Wiccan prayer, or Voodo prayer
whether you like it or not and without complaining. And something tells me
there would be lots of complaints.


20 posted on 06/07/2013 6:29:50 AM PDT by Hound of the Baskervilles ("Nonsense in the intellect draws evil after it." C.S. Lewiscrate)
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