June 6th, 2013
10:37 AM ET

With his speech, valedictorian brings God to graduation

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='JRavitzCNN']

(CNN) - Leading up to Saturday’s ceremony, Roy Costner IV prayed on what he was going to do. Liberty High School’s 2013 valedictorian would soon find himself in front of a microphone. He’d have a pulpit from which he could address his small community tucked away in South Carolina’s mountainous corner.

Only his father and pastor knew what was weighing on his heart and mind. Could he, should he, insert a prayer in his pre-approved graduation speech? He’d been told by the school principal that talk of religion wasn’t allowed, and so far he’d followed the rules.

But as the day approached, the 18-year-old couldn’t deny what he felt he needed to do.

“I wanted to stand up for God,” he explained Wednesday. “This is what God wanted me to do.”

So Costner, in cap and gown, stood behind the podium and ripped up his original speech. Before he gave shout-outs to coaches, cheerleaders and friends, there was something else he wanted to say.

“One thing I am certain of is we’re all a sum of our experiences, both good and bad,” he told his fellow graduates, a class of about 150. “All in all, those experiences, the people who mentored us, that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today. I’m so thankful that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age. And I think most of you will understand when I say, ‘Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name …”

The crowd before him began to cheer as he recited the Lord’s Prayer, drowning out a few verses. The school principal, sitting behind him, appeared uncomfortable and peered down at papers on her lap. The school district’s superintendent, a few seats over, couldn’t help but smile.

“I was tearing up,” Costner said, remembering the moment. “I was overwhelmed by the response. … The clapping was so loud I couldn’t hear myself talking into the microphone.”

His father told CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday night he was overwhelmed with pride for his son. The younger Costner approached his dad a few days before the speech and showed him what he wanted to do.

"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,' " Roy Costner III said.

Some who were there heaped on praise when talking to CNN affiliate WYFF. One called it “pretty impressive.” Another student said it “took a lot of courage” and that “people were proud that he stood up for what he believed in.”

What he believes is that Liberty, a town with three stoplights and a population of 3,000, “fully supports prayer.”

He also believes that organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wisconsin, group dedicated to maintaining separation of church and state, should stop meddling in the affairs of the Pickens County School District. The foundation, over this past school year, has leaned on the district to keep Jesus and student-led prayers out of school board meetings.

Other concerns went beyond board meetings. This spring, the foundation’s staff attorney sent a lawyer representing the district a letter about complaints of alleged discriminatory hiring and religious promotion in another county high school and praise music being played in an elementary school classroom. The foundation said it learned of such practices by way of community members who are, in fact, not fully supporting prayer.

Costner said he set out to make a statement, one he hopes will inspire others to stand up, too, for what he sees as the good of this country.

“Taking prayer out of schools is the worst thing we could do,” he said.

If Costner went to a Christian school, there would be no discussion, said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. But in public schools, even in a place where there may be a religious majority, prayers such as his are clearly unconstitutional, she said. What’s more, she added, what he did shows contempt for school district policy and a lack of sensitivity for his audience.

“It’s aggressive. It’s supremely rude,” she said. “This student is old enough to know that not everyone in the audience is Christian.”

But Costner, who was bouncing between interviews and heading to New York for TV appearances, said he counts atheists among his friends. He said that even though he doesn’t agree with their beliefs, he respects them – and that they do the same for him.

The elder Costner said his son had been inundated with messages of support, even from atheists.

He said he thinks the video of the speech resonated with people across the country because many people "really want something to hold onto for hope."

The son said he’s experienced no blowback from the district for what he did. And a district spokesman suggested Costner won’t.

“He’s a graduate now, so there’s nothing we can do about it even if we wanted to,” John Eby told WYFF. “But the bottom line is we’re not going to punish students for expressing their religious faiths.”

The district, Eby explained to CNN Friday morning, is in a “nearly impossible position.” He said federal law, under the Establishment Clause, is clear that public schools cannot “approve in advance a student’s prayer” or “carve out time specifically for religious expression.” But, under the Free Exercise Clause, he added, “we can’t punish students who do pray.”

Gaylor doesn’t expect there to be any punishment. But without issuing some sort of statement expressing disappointment and reiterating school policy, she said, the district is making a mistake.

“It’s one thing if a school doesn’t have a policy,” she said. “But when they do, they really need to enforce their policy because otherwise it’s just a wink and a nod.”

Eby has an answer to this.

“I do want to reiterate that we don’t approve rule breaking,” he said. “But we are very serious about protecting our students’ rights to express themselves religiously – or refuse to.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (5,383 Responses)
  1. Rahul

    Jesus instructed us to pray alone, not as a public spectacle. Follow Jesus, not your ego.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:51 am |
  2. Rob McCall

    What a selfish and rude gesture. Congratulations on being a good witness for your narcissistic god. Now I hate him and you both even more. Here's one nonbeliever with just one more reason to think you are a fool. Mission accomplished.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You hate something you do not even believe to exist. Talk about having great Faith. 🙂

      June 7, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • lol??

      Don't McCall us. We'll McCall you.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Athy

      Mark, how can someone hate something that doesn't even exist?

      June 7, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • dw

      ATHY: the same way christians fall to their knees and worship an imaginary and magical man that doesnt exist.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      That is why I found it so amusing that someone states that he is hating some thing that does not exist and a student who, chances are, will not even know or care to lose any sleep.

      "When you hate, the only one that suffers is you because most of the people you hate don't know it and the rest don't care." Medgar Evers

      June 7, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  3. dw

    It is so very sad to see Christians brainwashing their children with their fantastical and imaginary beliefs. This very narrow and irrational thought process will only hinder them from seeing clearly in the future.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • dw

      and only in the south would this terrible tradition of indoctrinating children with nonsense and intolerance celbrated.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • Tanya

      The young man exercised his first amendment rights. Mrs. Gaylor must have missed that. He has a right as any American to exercise his or her freedom of religion, just as atheists freely exercise their freedom of religion – a man centered religion. A Christian is not narrowminded or ignorant for their belief in God and their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I acknowledge that every agnostic and atheist has a right not to accept this free gift of life that God has freely given through His Son Jesus Christ. I tolerate your views even though I do not agree with them and I think you are incorrect, but you are free to do so. However, it is interesting that the atheist proclaims tolelrance but refuse to tolerate Christianity. It seems that many atheists are narrowminded as well. Just an observation.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • lol??

      Seeing the future on this issue is easy. Look for prerecorded speeches and a giant screen on stage and hope the geeks don't hijack it and play some p*o*r*n* on it.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • dw

      do you accept any other group cult thinking or magical thinking in life. why should christianity's fantastical and magical beliefs be treated with any validity at all. your "god" is completely made up. we should celebrate lies and untruths just because they have been around for thousands of years. it was nonsense then and it is nonsense now, and yes.....christains are narrow minded lemmings.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Common Sense Sam

      @Tanya. What you don't seem to realize is that this was not a church but a public school. It's an inappropriate place for a religious circle jerk speech. Just as it would be inappropriate to have someone to speak about the free thinking and atheism. Had the shoe been on the other floor I have absolutely no double that you and other the other delusional religionists would have shouted that student down or just walked out like cowards. Imagine all the non-religious people who had to tolerate such stupidity because they wanted to watch their child graduate. You don't care about them, do you.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • lol??

      dw, about the lemming thing. Are Christians supposed to take that literally??

      BTW, what's the shared DNA content??

      June 7, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • Williy

      Tanya I'm not narrow minded. In fact my religion states that since you were kind enough to allow me my belief, my god is going to reroute you to our Heaven when you die. It's a better heaven anyway. There are more bars.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • Rodents for Romney

      He did NOT "exercise his first amendment rights". By accepting the position of valedictorian, and knowing he had to submit the speech for approval, he KNEW he was accepting the limitations of that implied contract. He breached the contract. He should be stri'pp'ed of the ti'tle. It was an immoral, and illegal thing to do. He did not live up to the agreed upon contract. He took advantage of a captive audience. He's a self-righteous piece of sh1t. He thinks his religion trumps his responsibilities, and his religion makes him superior to everyone else. THAT is what he has been taught by his parents.
      If he were a Muslim student and pulled that sh1t, he would be stripped of the t'i'tle, booed off the stage, and shamed by the community. Bunch of hypocrites,

      June 7, 2013 at 2:28 am |
  4. faith

    to make nazi god hating fascists go crazy is a perfect reason to do it again and again

    June 7, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Aaron

      Some really are worse than those they rant about, as far as shoving their beliefs and religion (yes some atheists are religious zealots in their views) down people's throats,

      June 7, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Observer


      It's a riot listening to you insist that believers are Nazis and fascists since ONLY believers can hate God.

      Well done. Most atheists don't trash believers that bad.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • dw

      Typical ignorant, bigotted, christian response.....anyone who disagrees with their pretend "god" or their crazy over the top beliefs is a nazi, a fascist, a soicialist, and all the other words the use that they do not even know the meaning or definition of.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:53 am |
  5. o

    Cheering tells the tale, lots of happiness

    June 7, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Observer

      Yep. Looks like lots of high school kids support lack of respect for rules and authority and believe in unicorns and talking animals.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Common Sense Sam

      So many weak minds.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • Williy

      Yeah those kids would have clapped and cheered if he started making f@rt noises under his arm.

      June 7, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • The real Tom


      The nitwits who think this kid showed "courage" are wrong. When the majority believes what you believe, it's hardly brave to give voice to those beliefs. The fact that the idiots in the audience started cheering is telling.

      June 7, 2013 at 6:22 am |
  6. louis

    Courage? That didn't take any courage. Presumably almost everyone in the audience was of the same faith. What it was was bullying and offensive to anyone there who didn't share his faith.
    What makes this country great is that anyone can believe anything they want, and the government, including public schools, can't force you to participate in any given religion. If you want to pray, fine. Don't force everyone around you to participate.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • lol??

      Super SCOTUS to the rescue. They can leap tall buildings, besides havin' the Joker on the payroll. Scholarship material.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Dustin Williams

      Dear Louis, please read carefully the historical accounts of our country. This country is not great because people can believe whatever they want to, do whatever they want to and think all is well. This country is great because our founding fathers weren't afraid to fight for God and country, admit that God founded the country and warn all of us in future generations that if we ever came to a point where we didn't acknowledge Him, we would fail. Men and women have given their lives to give us freedom and religion. Kudos to this young man who was willing to stand up to "bullies" like you who would take away what is most precious.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Observer

      Dustin Williams,

      Please read carefully:

      Mention of the following words in the Declaration of Independence and the Consti-tution:

      God 0
      Jesus 0
      Christ 0
      Christianity 0
      Bible 0


      June 7, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • dw

      to Dustin Willams: actually your account is a bit of revisionist history. you christians believe the history you want to, but it certainly, and especially when it pertains to our founding fathers, does not make it anywhere close to accurate. It is you, Dustin, that needs to read U.S. history a little closer.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:49 am |
  7. Truth

    Worthless tool. Your God is a worthless lie and I now challenge you to follow your Bible. Go, stone and kill gays, disrespect women and blacks. Go, be a good Christian you worthless pile of hypocrisy.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • Aaron

      You seem to be more of a hypocrite and bigot than those you rail against. Have you ever heard of the phrase they goes something like this?
      I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect it.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:22 am |
    • faith


      June 7, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Beelzebub

      Aaron: How about I don't agree with your opinion and I don't respect it? That would be more truthful. Isn't one of the ten commandments, "Thou shall not lie"?

      June 7, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Aaron

      Beelzebub-are you still whining? I am not even what you think I am. I just not a bigot like you, fool.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Beelzebub

      Hi Aaron: no, not whining, just providing some subtle counterpoint to your superficial and hypocritical attacks on anyone on this thread that takes exception to young Roy's selfish act.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • Common Sense Sam

      Stupid opinions don't deserve respect. For instance the opinion that the world is 6000 or 10000 years old. Such an opinion is just plain stupid and moronically uninformed. You can respect a person and still not respect a stupid opinion of theirs.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:13 am |
    • Aaron

      I didn't attack anyone who disagreed. Bj just pointed out to those who were attacking people's Religous beliefs. Hardly superficial or hypocritical.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Aaron

      Beelzebub, further, attacking someone just because they pray, is no different than the Westboro zealots attacking someone because they are gay. Personally, I think this kid was grandstanding, but I would rather up up with a few moments of that than give up free speech and religion.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:32 am |
    • Common Sense Sam

      @aaron. So you would be ok if some kid spends his 15 minutes praising Allah as the one true god? And you don't take exception to this kid who basically lies by breaking his agreement with the school after accepting the honor of being valedictorian?

      June 7, 2013 at 2:54 am |
  8. Journey


    June 7, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      "test" ?

      Are you having trouble getting your post through?

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      inf-orms us…
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      ni-gra…as in deni-grate
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

      June 7, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  9. lol??

    The Beast sayz,
    "Kids, eat inflation and compete with Red China!!!!!"

    Keep prayin' kid for the tribulation the educated left you ain't gonna be pretty.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:10 am |
  10. Marc

    People have stood up for gays. They have stood up for animal rights. He did the right thing by standing up for Jesus! He has given his testimony to a perishing world. It won't be long before the fulfillment of His second coming will come to pass:
    "Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him."(Revelation 1:7) So shall it be! Amen.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Williy

      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. 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." Matthew 6:5 – 6

      June 7, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      Christians have been saying it's the end times for about 2000 years now.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • dw

      apples and oranges.....animals and gay people actually exist.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  11. o

    To some it's free speech, to others it's priceless, and to tell the world about

    June 7, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Observer

      And to truthful people, it's an immature kid failing to show respect for the privilege he had of speaking and his total lack of respect for authority and rules.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Pete

      And to the rest of us it's just plain sad. So much for all the hopes we place in the next generation. Gullibility will always be with us, it seems.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Sheila

      @Pete, don't speak for theist of us thinking it's sad, you are in the minority with only 5% of non believers in America.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      Sheila, popularity does not determine what is true and what is not.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Beelzebub

      The bible is no different than other religious mythology: the Greeks, Romans, Norsemen, Incas, Aztecs, Hindus, etc. etc. etc. There is no objective proof that god exists. It is a concept that is useful for teaching about rules for moral behavior, but ironically, some of the most immoral acts are committed by the very people that purport to most strongly believe. These are my views. I don't insist that you believe as I do. I give many speeches, and I have never spoken of my beliefs to others as it is disrespectful to them and does not easily fit into the context of the speech. All I ask for is that others do provide the same consideration. That was not done by Roy Costner.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ...but ironically, some of the most immoral acts are committed by the very people that purport to most strongly believe.

      What about the flip side of that? Some of the kindest and sacrificial acts in history have also been done by others who also strongly believe and have Faith. Are we only to consider those that commit immoral acts in the name of God or Gods and forget the others that do good and moral acts in the name of Gods or God?

      June 7, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • bigmeechy74

      And to people with brains, it is pure fiction and completely ridiculous that people live their lives guided by fairy tales

      June 7, 2013 at 2:27 am |
  12. Beelzebub

    Typical fascist christian, shoving their beliefs down peoples throats whether they want it or not. Why not give thanks to flying unicorns shooting rainbows out of their a$$?

    June 7, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • Aaron

      Why not let people be free instead of being a bigot? You are far worse than any Bible thumper.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • Beelzebub

      If you had a functioning brain you would realize that I am all about letting people be free to believe what they want. When someone giving a speech insists on saying a Christian prayer they are forcing their beliefs on everyone there whether they are supportive or not. He is free to pray to whatever god he wants to in his own time. He is the one violating everyone else's rights.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Aaron

      You don't have to say it, moron, and you don't have to agree. But you should respect others instead of spreading your hate. You want to tell us what you think of blacks now, fool?

      June 7, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Fifth Eagle of the Discount Carpet Store

      The difference is, if he had given thanks to flying unicorns with rainbows shooting out thier a$$ liberal dum a$$es like you would be applauding him for his courage.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Observer

      Fifth Eagle of the Discount Carpet Store,

      Speaking of "dum", it's the kid's supporters who believe in unicorns and talking animals.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Beelzebub

      You are both a couple of intellectually challenged morons so why don't you go back to coloring in your bible study coloring books and leave the grown up discussion to people with triple digit IQs. Goodnight dum-dums.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Aaron

      Awe, you are scared of those far more intelligent than you and you are going to go hide. Well go back to whatever country you live in that does not believe in freedom of speech. Bye, bigot and coward! You are too much of a pansy to be an American.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • DB3

      Bee: two things. (1) Aaron must have a "functioning brain" he is typing.

      and (2) most speeches (if not all) contain some element of promoting beliefs. You have just graced us with your belief that Aaron does not have a functioning brain. Thank you for that.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Aaron

      DB3- thank you for verifying my functioning brain. and my apologies to you for my brief moment of not being a gentleman, which I try to be. I guess people that spread their hate get me a little fired up. And your second point was right on. I guess those who never graduated from anywhere would not know that fact.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • faith

      poor baby

      rough life

      get used to it

      June 7, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • Sheila

      Back off Beelzebub, the only one shoving is you, so knock it off. Perhaps if you UNDERSTOOD his Prayer you would know its abot forgiving others, trying to be a better person and being kind to others. If you object to such a prayer from ANY Faith, you better take a second look at yourself, you might even realize how selfish you are to want to deny goodness when it's in your presence. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for awhile, Mister Nasty.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • beelzebubba

      calm down son

      June 7, 2013 at 1:49 am |
  13. neo theskepticarena

    In the article it was claimed that what Costner did took a lot of courage. But when you have the support of the majority of your classmates who cheer so loud that it drowns out your prayer – that doesn't take courage.

    Try getting up in front of a group of Christians and exercise your right to say a Muslim prayer, or state that you are an Atheist ... THEN you will learn the meaning of courage.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • rational minnesota


      And when that muslim or atheist stands to speak, we'll also find that those espousing "free speech" and reminding us that "it's a free country" don't actually mean what they say.

      What they mean is that anyone who agrees with them and is a christian is free to express their beliefs.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  14. Herby Sagues

    Why aren't we praying to Baal Zebud in schools? Why not Thor?

    June 7, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Pete

      Simple answer, they're just not as popular as God is. It has nothing to do with any kind of real truth.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • 3n1

      Because this country was "founded" by men who loved God...and became ONE NATION UNDER GOD. Now we have people trying to take God out of everything...including this country!

      June 7, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Observer


      Those founders who believed in God had the chance to create a great new government. They decided that the best possible government was one that kept religion separated from it.

      Read some history.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • faith

      got me. y?

      June 7, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • Beelzebub

      I always preferred Loki to Thor. Now Odin was a real bada-ss.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:23 am |
  15. Williy

    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. 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." Matthew 6:5 – 6

    June 7, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Common Sense Sam

      Have an opinion but lack the capability to articulate it? Quote the bible and hope someone reads it. Spoiler alert: they don't.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • Williy

      You read it cl*wn. One was all it took. LOL Read and follow your own dogma Christian.

      June 7, 2013 at 6:23 am |
  16. lol??

    The robes look girly. What's with that?? Metrose*xuals in training or just old fashioned socies pushin' bise*xuality??

    June 7, 2013 at 12:33 am |

      It is a garb of old time, Schools were run by covenants, and students had to go to villagers to beg for food, or food for services rendered, they wore garb with alot of pockets, to fill them with food, while they were doing service to farmers. It is a old German tradition, and source for word journeyman certification in a trade.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Aaron

      If you would have graduated high school, you'd have worn one, too.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:53 am |
  17. Sarahfalin

    So when this kid says god he means Zeus right?

    June 7, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  18. jdoe

    One of these days someone will recite verses from the Koran instead. It'd be interesting to see if they get the same level of support for "religious freedom".

    June 7, 2013 at 12:17 am |

      Muslims do and always get positive response from Christians, Most of the time curiosity to know more, and a fin discussion. So is in bible, and so on and so forth.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • sqeptiq

      I wonder what the reaction would have been if he had begun chanting, "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama."

      June 7, 2013 at 12:34 am |

      They always do it at the airports, if you do not believe it, go to JFK, you will not miss them.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • Pete

      How about a quote from the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

      Here kids, download your copy from here: 😉


      June 7, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  19. InFormed

    He had a simple job to do, and he failed. Plain and simple. Instead he chose to politicize an issue and make a name for himself and end up on CNN. pathetic. This was not a choice, this was a kid who was manipulated by his family and religious leader.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  20. Bostontola

    “This is what God wanted me to do.” That's what Jeffery Dalmer said also. I'm not saying he's a bad person, but that will never excuse breaking rules/law. He knew the rules and intentionally broke them. This is a violation of trust.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:16 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.