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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. michael1601

    I wonder if all you people praising this sanctimonious tyrant would be praising him if he'd prayed a Muslim or Hindi prayer, or if he'd defended astrology, or the existence of ghosts. Of course not. You're own his side because you have been brainwashed by the Christian myth, and you want everyone else to believe the same garbage. You're hypocrites.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  2. Auntie

    The final answer for atheists and believers will be revealed when we die. All the insults and blithering, will not matter. If this mans recital of The Lords Prayer made him or anyone in the audience feel a little better or pause to think (believer or atheists), it was a good day.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • The real Tom

      And what if it was a violation of the law and an infringement on the rights of people who DON'T believe what you do and felt excluded and marginalized?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • erivera63

      And if it made those of other religions uncomfortable is it still a good day?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • KneonKnight

      @Auntie

      The final answer for atheists and believers will be revealed when we die."

      I love the arrogance that comes with absolute knowledge. Please, state what you believe will happen when we die and provide evidence supporting your position. Please. Pretty please?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • erivera63

      auntie cant say what will happen when we die because auntie doesn't really know..If she really thought about it, the though of heaven sounds bizarre..People in robes and wings flying around and singing all day and chatting with their dead relatives and friends..It might be cute for a week..but for an eternity?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • cedar rapids

      Actually erivera63, if you look at heaven it just means the christians want to become communists when they die.
      They want to go to a place where there are no rich or poor, everyone is equal.
      There are no needs or wants because everything is provided for you free by the authorities.
      They spend their days praising and worshipping the authorities, who will always remain in charge.
      And if anyone ever disagrees with the authority they are thrown into a fiery gulag for eternity.
      Sounds like a communist dream place.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  3. sparky

    Next time a Muslim valedictorian gets up and praises Allah, will you all approve?

    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  4. Greyhoud37

    Just another Christian bully, pushing his baggage on others.

    At least the Jehovah's Witness and LDS knock first, and go away quietly if you say you're not interested. This kid just couldn't take no for an answer and had to push his beliefs on everyone there. My guess is that he never even considered what he was doing was unwanted or unwelcome by some in that audience or student body. Such selfish people....

    June 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • steve

      really..that is what u think...what should he have been the mind dumb robot that reads from a script...thanks god that the human spirt to take a risk is still alive..it is a shame that a christian society cannot have god in it because of the right for some people to believe other wise and push that on the whole country..well it is not welcome everywhere and i praise what this young man did...

      June 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  5. Alex

    I hope everyone who supports that guy realizes that, another student who might be a Satanist for example, could do the same thing- praying to the Dark Lord Lucifer at their graduation ceremony. I hope they are chill with that.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Ex-Catholic Glo

      Congratulations! You are the winner of the Stupidest Remark of the Day award!

      June 7, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Alex

      ..says you, and you are dumb. comment dismissed.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • erivera63

      How is his remark stupid?..There are over 1000 different religions in the US alone...Up to 700 in California alone. And don't give me the crap argument that this is a Christian nation..Pilgrims left England to escape religious persecution and not having someone else's religion stuffed down their throats.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • steve

      really..that is what u think...what should he have been the mind dumb robot that reads from a script...thanks god that the human spirt to take a risk is still alive..it is a shame that a christian society cannot have god in it because of the right for some people to believe other wise and push that on the whole country..well it is not welcome everywhere and i praise what this young man did...

      June 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • noone

      That would be awesome. And then all the Christians would complain. Because they tolerate no religion except for their own.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • erivera63

      Steve, this is not a christian society..That's the point...We are global now and have people of different countries and different religions here, and as well have Americans living and doing business all over the world ..Its great that you believe in what you believe in. But its arrogant to believe that everyone does or should believe in your god. I would be okay if he had read the speech and added a personal religious though..I would be okay with that. But to rip up the speech (which isn't a mindless script because Valedictorians write their own speech ) and make those of other religions uncomfortable is arrogant at best.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  6. Pongyi

    Respect the lad for his beliefs just as he would respect you for yours. Why is it that one group on one side of a dispute gets to dictate how the other side chooses to be? Mutual respect and understanding will make this a much better place to be! Although I am an atheist I totally applaud this young man for his beliefs, his convictions, and his courage to stand up and be heard!

    June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • The real Tom

      I have plenty of respect for his beliefs, but not the venue or the manner in which he expressed them. He led a prayer at a public school event. He lied about his intent. He knew he had a captive audience and he used the opportunity to proselytize.

      He showed an amazing lack of maturity and sensitivity, not to mention honesty and integrity.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Respect the lad for his beliefs just as he would respect you for yours'

      Except he obviously doesnt have any respect for others else he would not have done what he did, thats kind of the point.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • erivera63

      That's the point..He didn't have respect for other peoples beliefs..This occasion was to honor the work completed in school..It had nothing to do with preaching a specific religion.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Pugsley

      Well said Pongyi! We don't need to agree with each others views and beliefs but, if we all at least respected each others rights to say what we believe (as long as it is done peacefully), the world would be a better place. I don't see him as pushing his believes on anyone. If you don't like what the person is saying then you do not have to listen to them. I feel that way about all beliefs.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      It's "beliefs," not "believes." And yes, people were basically forced to at least hear him, when he shouldn't have been praying in that venue in the first place. It is not simply a matter of whether he offended anyone; it's a matter of using a publicly-funded venue to pray a Christian prayer, thereby giving the prayer the apparent endorsement of the state.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'If you don't like what the person is saying then you do not have to listen to them. I feel that way about all beliefs.'

      wonder how many christians would accept that argument if a mosque nearby had played the call to prayer over loud speakers.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  7. RayJacksonMS2

    Typical christian. They force themselves on others like rapists. They all think they are above all laws and rules including those in their hate filled book or murder and destruction.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  8. Ann

    It's amazing how people always conclude that God wants them to do ... exactly what THEY want to do.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • The real Tom

      Kind of puts a new spin on the case of the Schaible family, doesn't it?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Religion is terribly solipsistic.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Yes, and it's equally amazing that their god hates everyone THEY hate.

      June 9, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  9. FactCheck

    What disgusting self absorption. A valedictorian is speaking for his =class=. There are other venues and times for him to express his religious views. I blame his father.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I credit the father

      June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  10. xirume

    " both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age" That's called indoctrination ans it's the root cause of this delusional mentality that's in the way of real human progress. Religion is a lie.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  11. The real Tom

    "It's stupid to baby one or two whiny people over this."

    Hmm. Try that sentence this way: "It's stupid to baby a few whiny women who want to be able to vote and earn equal pay for equal work when the majority are happy with things as they are."

    Or: "It's stupid to baby a few whiny slaves who want to be free and equal when the majority are happy with the status quo."

    June 7, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  12. Kahuna

    I wonder what the response from the masses would be if he started orating with a prayer from the Torah or the Koran or any other religous texts? Would you be equally supportive or would this young man's life be in danger?

    June 7, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Perfect!

      Exactly!!

      June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  13. MARLENE MARTINO

    I'M SO PROUD OF THAT YOUNG MAN FOR STANDING UP THERE, AND SAYING THE "LORD'S PRAYER. IT HAS BEEN A BIG MISTAKE TO TAKE THE PRAYER OUT OF SCHOOLS. IT SHOULD BE IN THE SCHOOLS, MAYBE SOME OF THE CHILDREN WOULDN'T BE IN THE TROUBLES THEY ARE IN. PLEDGING OF THE FLAG SHOULD ALSO BE SAID IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS. THE U.S HAS LOST THE RESPECT GOD AND OUR FLAG. JUST LOOK AT HOW OUR FLAG IS TREATED, BEING USED FOR BLANKETS, WINDOW COVERINGS,COATS AND ETC.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • midwest rail

      Prayer was never taken out of schools.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Marlene, The freedom to implies the freedom from. While I'm all for this kids public declaration, forcing Christian prayer on public schools isn't a tenable debate.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • erivera63

      As one of the few minorities in the private catholic school I went to back in the 1970's when we used to pray AND say the pledge of allegiance before we would start the class ,all I have to say is that it did NOTHING to teach the children respect , either for the flag or religion. I was bullied by my classmates because they were white and I wasn't, When the sister was not looking , the students would mock her during the prayer, rolling their eyes or just not into it..This whole "pulling prayer out of the school"argument is a crock..Its all about how the childn are raised in their HOMES..not some bull they repeat everyday in their class.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Michael

      Are you familiar with the separation of Church and State? If you want to worship a deity, that is your choice and your right. But you DON'T have the right to shove your beliefs down my throat. We don't demand that science/evolution be taught in church so keep your religion out of schools.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Dale

      Religion and prayer are highly prominent in prisons...how's that been working out?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  14. Kudos To Valedictorian

    God bless this young man for what he did! I wholeheartedly Congratulate him! This has to teach atheists that not everyone believes as they do and Christians have the right to express God where ever they wish when He is in their heart just as atheists have the right to scowl and groan over it. To disallow Christians to show their faith and belief in God and openly pronounce it is tantamount to making them into atheists which would not ever be acceptable and they have to realize that. After all, we have First Amendment Rights to free speech in this country and those who do not want to hear Christian prayers simply can learn to walk away or cover their ears but not stifle or censor the speech in any way.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Thoth

      And if this same young man recited scripture or creeds from the Quran? Torah? Egyptian Book of the Dead? That'd be ok too, right? Or if he were an atheist it would be okay for him to recite atheist talking points?? Hypocrite.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • cedar rapids

      ' and Christians have the right to express God where ever they wish'

      no they dont, thats the point.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • The real Tom

      I think I'll pay more mind to the justices of the SCOTUS than some hayseed who can't spell "cat" without a dictionary and couldn't write a cogent sentence if his life depended on it.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Michael

      You show a total lack of understanding of the separation of Church and State. The place to express your religious beliefs in in church and the confines of your home, not in my face. I don't believe as you do and that is MY right. I don't demand that evolution and cosmology be taught in your church, but maybe I should, since what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Dale

      Hmm, I must have missed the athiest valedictorian who told his class that religion is a lie and that he did it all himself/herself. Seriously, freedom of also includes freedom from!

      June 7, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • erivera63

      He is no saint..he is just your typical christian bully who wears his religion on his sleeve to make him feel better and more righteous than others. I work with people who claimed to be religious and even bring in their bibles and keep them right by their mouse pads and computers and they tend to be the most vile, judgmental and hateful people I have ever met . Gossiping about how others live their lives, talking behind peoples backs and looking down on everyone else..It's the reason I stopped going to church a decade ago.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  15. Steven Polich

    He lied when he gave up his pre-approved speech...not very Godly. A Pastafarian would never do that!

    June 7, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Kahuna

      Have you been touched by his noodly appendage?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • steve

      he didnt lie..he just didnt conform to the ideology from the masses who hate anything christian...so he did what catholics have been saying we all do for years...sin by lying...what is the big deal

      June 7, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • G to the T

      Wow Steve – way to twist the meaning of "lying" until it fits your needs...

      June 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  16. Alex

    Proud of this young man. To God be the Glory!

    June 7, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Absolutely!

      AMEN!! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!

      June 7, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • KneonKnight

      Yes!!!! To Odin be the glory! Er... Zeus? Allah? FSM? I'm confused...

      June 7, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • erivera63

      Proud of what?..That he lied to his teachers?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • G to the T

      Yay – way to bear false witness to the school admins!

      June 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  17. Thoth

    I wonder if this brainwashed young man even knows the history of that creed he recited. I wonder if as he so robotically recited it he thought about the tens of thousands of people who were brutally tortured and murdered for refusing to recite it. I wonder if he's read eyewitness accounts of those whose family members were drawn and quartered, burned, or otherwise executed as they were forced to watch. I wonder if he knows that Christians invented many torture devices to force conversion, or slowly and painfully end a person's life. Well Mr. Costner, do you know the history of your chosen creed? Have you read ALL of the bible?

    June 7, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • jwill

      Some Christians are not good people and have another agenda, just like any other religion. This kid has a good heart and follows the One major meaning of CHRISTianity.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • erivera63

      and whats that Jwll..That it's okay to lie to his teacher, do as he pleases, and not take into consideration how uncomfortable he may have made anyone who is not of his religion?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Thoth

      @jwill – you fail to see the point. Without barbaric enforcement 'Christianity' would not likely be what it is today. Like any other religion it was forced into acceptance. Most folks chosen religion is based on demographs. I could care less what people believe until they attempt to claim moral high-ground, or expect everyone else to agree with them.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Of course not. Like most of them he simply parrots what he's been taught. He and critical thinking are perfect strangers.

      June 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  18. asm_ith

    "This is what God wanted me to do.”

    I wonder how he came to this conclusion, and what he would have done if, with the same level of belief, he concluded that God wanted him to kill someone.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • In Response

      Only his God which is Our God, the One and only Christian God, would not ever do that! But no doubt the one you follow would place such heinous suggestions into one's mind. Therein lies the difference.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • The real Tom

      Really? Did you somehow miss the case of the Schaibles, who allowed two of their children to die because they believed god wanted them to deprive the kids of medical treatment?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Dale

      A guy in Waco, Texas said the same thing!

      June 7, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Michael

      @In Response – Yeah, right ... your god (note case) is such a loving god that he allows kids to be murdered while in school, allows genocide and all of the other worldly ills ... and how many of your commandments concern loving and worshipping your loving and all knowing god above all others for your god is a jealous god ... et cetera and so forth, ad infinitum? Your god is mythology. Prove it otherwise without using the terms "Bible" and "Faith". You can't. I rest my case.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Only his God which is Our God, the One and only Christian God, would not ever do that!'

      which god? the same god that has no issue killing everyone on the planet except for a family in a boat? that god?
      the same god that has no issue with his followers killing every man, woman and child for not believing in him after the walls to their city fell?
      I think you need to revisit what your god would or would not do.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • asm_ith

      @In Response, you say that the Christian God would never place such a suggestion in his mind. Yet in many wars, there are Christians on both sides killing innocent people. Who is placing the thoughts in their minds? Is God on both sides? Also, saying the prayer was a violation of the rules; perhaps the devil was the one actually placing the thought, or is God just powerless to cause the rules to be changed? If God is omnipotent, he doesn't appear to be powerful enough to have everyone believe in him or that this was a good thing.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  19. kimberly

    I'm proud of him. It's not because it's about Christianity...but because people need to remember this was a post that went VIRAL. He graduated in a small PRIMARILY "Christian" community. It's not about a "separation of church and state"...it's about what drove HIM to succeed. Why is it OK for an Atheist to say whatever they want...but it is NOT ok for a Christian to say so. All this is NOT about who's Christian and who's not...it's about saying it's OK...if asked "what drove you to succeed?" It's OK to say "my faith in God" as well as it's OK to NOT say anything about God. The percentage of the people who were complaining weren't even in that town. Pray with him or don't pray with him...that's each of our choices...it's stupid to baby one or two whiny people over the majority for something like this. Would it have been OK if had said a prayer common for another religion? I'd have to say..."Thank God the boy has faith"

    June 7, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • The real Tom

      Had this little clown simply stated that his faith in his god drove him to succeed, fine. That's NOT what he did. And what he did was to violate the law by leading a prayer at a school-sponsored event.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • snowboarder

      but of course, that is not what he did. he used the lectern as a pulpit and recited a prayer.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'it have been OK if had said a prayer common for another religion?'

      well let me ask what you think the reaction would have been if he started praising allah?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • protected -by-first-amendment

      @Real Tom,

      I respect your opinion. However, you do not understand (like most liberal media feed American s), this brave gentleman speech is protected by the 1st amendment. People like yourself stop at the establishment clause. You have to keep the entire amendment together. The rights and protection includes exercise, expression and speech. Your rights are protected and so are his.

      Continue to protest religious speech, it is your right.

      And we will continue to stand up and speak out about our faith, including praying (out loud and in public settings, including graduations). We have a right to do this!

      Aren't you glad to live in this country? At least here, your free speech (and everyone's ) is protected. Not everywhere in this world is that allowed.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • The real Tom

      Look, bozo, go back a few pages and read the cites I posted about this issue. Then get back to me. This is not an issue of his first amendment rights. This is an issue that the SCOTUS has ruled on and it doesn't go in your favor.

      I'm glad to live in this country, bub, because it's not a theocracy and the courts determine what is or is not Constintuitional. I suggest you do a little reading.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I heard the arrest warrant has already been issued.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • cedar rapids

      i am sorry protected but 'However, you do not understand (like most liberal media feed American s),' is bearing false witness.
      That makes you a hypocrit. You had better do something about that before you god gets all mad at you.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Science

      Hey Kimberly............was it not in a public school paid for by taxes ?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • The real Tom

      And of course, Dill Doe thinks that trivializing the issue is necessary and worthwhile because he's in the majority.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Science

      Oops that was meant for protected ?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Michael

      It is EXACTLY about the separation clause for he (1) lied to is teachers; (2) used his bully pulpit in a school sponsored event. I don't need ten rules to live by – I have four: I will not lie, steal or cheat and be non-judgemental. That last is character not honor, but you get the idea.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • protected -by-first-amendment

      @Real Tom

      Too bad you haven't studied enough.

      You have a right to ignore what someone is saying. But you don't have a right to stop them from speaking.

      Protest all you want. Have a field day of it. Then, book a trip to China, Venezuela, Cuba, or other socialist dominated countries and live in peace and harmony with nature and with others who think like you.

      No court in America has outlawed Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or others of faith. Or outlawed their speech.

      Have a happy day. I can't bless your day – that would offend you.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • protected -by-first-amendment

      @ Science

      Yes, taxes fund schools, unionized teachers, and paid by tax paying citizens protected by the 1sr amendment.

      You get the entire package, not just the parts you like.

      We could stop funding public schools, fire unionized teachers, close the department of (non) education in Washington, and stop listening to the liberal nut cases who are so offended by GOD.

      Take your toys and go home, if you can't play in the big world of America. We are the people. Not just you.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'and stop listening to the liberal nut cases who are so offended by GOD.'

      oh and a hater as well it seems. So you are a liar and a hater and still claim to be a christian.
      oh the tangled web we weaved.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  20. gmrush

    Reblogged this on Deliberating Life and commented:
    I am reblogging this article out of respect, admiration, and pride in this young man. If only more of our young generation had the convictions and courage of this young man, our world would be a much more different place.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • michael1601

      No, it would be full of more brainwashed people who believe the Jesus/Christianity myth. Religion is no different than astrology. They are both baseless myth.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • gmrush

        That is your choice to believe, but I know where my life ends and what lies beyond. Therefore, I have nothing but sadness in my heart for those of you who have no faith.

        June 7, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • cedar rapids

      you respect the guy for not showing respect?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:18 am |
      • gmrush

        I respect him for having the courage to speak up for his convictions, for having the courage to be true to himself and say what was in his heart.

        June 7, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'gmrush – I respect him for having the courage to speak up for his convictions, for having the courage to be true to himself and say what was in his heart.'

      heck you might as well say that about any klan member, dictator or other nut job out there. doesnt make them right.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • gmrush

        1 Peter 5:8 ESV / 43 helpful votes

        Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

        Proverbs 16:3 ESV / 9 helpful votes

        Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

        John 15:18 ESV / 256 helpful votes

        “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

        John 1:11 ESV / 81 helpful votes

        He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

        Psalm 118:22 ESV / 62 helpful votes

        The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

        June 7, 2013 at 10:36 am |
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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.