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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. JMorcan

    "what he did shows contempt for school district policy"

    Good for him!

    June 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • JFCanton

      Seriously... if your skin is THAT thin, how valuable is your opinion?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      What he did was simply express his faith in God..
      People who feel threatened by that are either too stupid or too lacking in intelligence to cope with someone else's goodness. Well tough! His audience brought the house down with their applause - thank God they have intelligence.........after all – THEY are the future; not the carping, whining atheists!

      June 7, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  2. jesus

    this is silly. He breaks the rules to lecture everyone about his imaginary friends, and we write a story about it. Silly stuff cnn.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • lol??

      You heard it right here, "All politics is loco!".

      June 7, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • JRNY

      Is it just me or does lol not speak correctly? I just can't understand him. I don't know what side he's on.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      JRNY

      It's not just you. lol?? is incomprehensible.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      Here they come -bang on cue! The humanists and atheists slobbering and pushing to see who can make the most useless comment.
      Both groups are happy to follow Dawkins – whose one aim is to reduce MAN to animal status and can't defend his theories which have been debunked by experts. You believe Dawkins and Hawking's fairy story ramblings and WE'LL keep the word of God.

      And btw look up [3 w's godandscience.org/apologetics] and you'll find that Physicists and scientists are closer than ever to proving that God created the Universe! COPE!

      June 7, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Science

      Hey HAR go post that below ?

      http://piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/06/valedictorian-breaks-school-rule-recites-lords-prayer-during-graduation-speech/#comment-190908

      June 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  3. t

    Of course, if he had been born in the Middle East, his parents would have led him to Allah, and he would have been just as happy. Which makes one wonder what qualified him to be Valedictorian.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • lol??

      Have to ask the Greekster socies.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      well, for one thing he has made a bomb from a cooking utensil

      June 7, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  4. If God is outside the realm of existence.........

    then he doesn't exist.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      Since God made us and lives within us and around us – He does indeed exist. Sorry, there's your pet theory gone south. God bless you, friend.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  5. Christian Grandstanding

    Pure and simple. Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!

    June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • JRNY

      Good point. He may simple be a megalomaniac exhibiting extreme symptoms of narcism. Wow, that would be a let down for a lot of christians.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • ME II

      +1

      June 7, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • The real Tom

      + another one.

      Aren't Christians supposed to be meek and humble?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      That's what the parents are saying. Operation "Brainwash" mission accomplished.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      You'd love it if we Christians were meek and humble wouldn't you? How juvenile are you. You take 1st prize for today's most ridiculous comment!

      "Oh, snivel, sniff, you Christians are supposed to take all my insults and turn the other cheek . You Christians are supposed to let ME do all the talking – you're SUPPOSED to listen to me, me, me whine, sniff....................!" IN YOUR DREAMS mate!

      June 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Heroes are rare

      Actually, I'm with you. I prefer it when Christians do NOT do as Christ commanded. They should be obnoxious and boisterous and act sanctimoniously whenever possible.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  6. Alias

    Just wait. The next rebellious Valedictorian may offer a prayer to Satan.
    Then we'll see how right it is to profess your faith.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Has a satanist ever been valediictorian?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • lol??

      BTW, did the Big O's grades ever get released yet so the citizens can determine if he deserves a prize??

      June 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • JJ

      Or a prayer to Allah. Christians would be the first to scream.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • JRNY

      Yep, Morrill Nebraska, Class of 1988. Seriously. Bill, before you ask stupid questions, consider that the world is A LOT BIGGER than you think...

      June 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • billfitt

      I think that would be hilarious. Hope someone does it.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • The real Tom

      If a Satanist was ever a valedictorian, he/she obviously didn't make a public spectacle of it, unlike this clown.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Veronica

      And how would this young man feel if the valedictorian had been a Muslim? Would he be okay with prayers to Allah? Or what if it was a Jewish kid? I imagine that would have made this brat more than a little uncomfortable. This kid is rude, obnoxious, and an embarrassment to the American way.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Alias

      Like it or not, Satan is a diety in the bible.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • billfitt

      I wish an atheist would do it. Be fun to watch him talk about how he's going to be stuck in a pine box for eternity with nowhere to go. I guess at least it would be a VERY short speech. Won't happen though. They're too ig nor ant for valedictorian.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      @Alias – Satan was not a DEITY. He was an archangel – Lucifer – who wanted to be more powerful than God. He got kicked out of Heaven and became just Satan – a fallen angel with the power to try to carry on the work he was kicked out of Heaven for.............turning people against God!

      Satan is alive and well and loves some of the less intelligent anti-God comments. He wants you to follow him to hell - then you're DUMPED. He doesn't want you – he wants your soul.........YOU don't matter a damn to him. But God loves you. Always has. Always will. YOUR CHIOCE God or Satan. '[Bearing in mind that Satan is a loser – he didn't have the intelligence to keep a life of everlasting happiness!!!!!!!

      June 7, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • billfitt

      "Yep, Morrill Nebraska, Class of 1988. Seriously. Bill, before you ask stupid questions, consider that the world is A LOT BIGGER than you think..."

      You must be that red haired psychotic devil worshipper in "Children of the Corn". Not real cute either are you.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  7. lol??

    Here's a plan. Invite the IRS, which the kid is gonna become intimately acquainted with in his future, to the senior kegger party. They have lotsa dough for parties about leadership and all.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      IRS are not the ones they need to be concerned with. The ACLU would be the ones stepping in here.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  8. Robert Protter

    I find this young man extremely rude, with no concern about the rights and feelings of others. Forcing those with different beliefs to listen to his rantings shows he hasn't learned anything that is being taught about respect for those of different beliefs. He would be right at home in a theocracy.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sounds like he's right at home where he is.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • JRNY

      YAY! Bill Deacon has awoken for a day of trolling on the belief boards.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • billfitt

      You wouldn't be complaining if he opened up his jacket to reveal a giant "666", and then proceeded to profess his love for sleeping with men. I guarantee you would be applauding his courage for coming out.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      Robert – do shut up you grumpy old man! The STANDING ovation he got from his peers kind of makes YOU look a bit stupid!

      June 7, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      followed by my loyal fans

      June 7, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Kimberly

      Well, we can just wait for someone that is not a Christian to become Valedictorian and they can speak about anything they decide.

      June 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  9. JJ

    I just wished, for once, bully Christians would get a dose of their own medicine and a Muslim give a prayer to Allah and they all just have to sit there and take it. Christians would come unglued.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • lol??

      There is a history of quick death for the lucky Christians. The unlucky get tortured.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • JRNY

      Perhaps a revisiting to the practice of throwing naughty christians to the lions is in order?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      feeling froggish JRNY?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      I'm a Christian and I don't a problem with listening to – and appreciating – other people's faith or prayers?????

      Aren't YOU the patronizing old goat to speak for a massive group of people you don't even know?

      It takes logic, reasoning power and intelligence to analyse different faiths. You, by your own admission show that you don't have any of those three!
      Here's a plan – you shut the heck up and get on with your miserable, godless life and I'l get on with my life with a loving and faithful God. OK?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • cedar rapids

      ooops, sorry HeroesAre Rare but im calling you out as a hater here, and that makes you hell bound according to your own bible. Better get on that

      June 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  10. Stammer

    I didn't know God was available for personal appearances.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Jim

      How do you know when you don't even speak to Him?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Alias

      the christian god has never made a public apperance.
      Only prrivate sessions when no one else was looking.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Pretty sure he made one public appearance. After his private audience with Pilate.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • George

      Nah, that was Brian in front of Pilate, just like Mr. Python said. Jesus was last seen in Rio getting divorced.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jim

      Always look on the bright side of life... and the rest of that tune...

      Loved that scene, and Catholics thoroughly deserved that slap.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Steve

    I was a valedictorian at a high school in the south and I am a Catholic. I felt no reason to be an ass and talk about religion during my valedictory address. But anyway most people thought I was a Satan worshipper because I was a Catholic in the South, so talking about Christianity would have been off-limits.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think most people appreciate it when speeches are short, to the point and not filled with evangelizing. Except in the south, I guess. On the behalf of audiences everywhere else, thank you for you restraint, Steve.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Alias

      Well, to be fair, catholics do worship Satan. He does seem to meet the criteria to be a diety.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  12. Exhorter young 2013

    GOD is great, and greatley to be praised. Yes stand up Christians and be not afraid and glory in the light of JESUS our savior. Can you say, yes lord- yes lord yes lord-yes lord. Wow young man you just maid my friday. I am so happy. JESUS getting us ready for that great day, who will be able to stand.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • JRNY

      he "maid" your Friday. Well! I wish I had a maid!

      June 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Stammer

      A man needs a maid
      -Neil Young (aka GOD)

      June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Amy

      God "greatley" kept you illiterate, evidently.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • The real Tom

      Exhorter is a product of SC schools, apparently.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Logic n LA

      Here is where I have a problem- not with God, but with Christians that make statements like this one. The Bible clearly states ONE God- have no other before me. He didn't say except my son. He didn't say except for a Holy Ghost or the Virgin Mary. Yet we hear from Evangelists and Christian all this praise for Jesus. They aren't even following their own faith!
      I think the kid was way off base but at least it was the Lord's Prayer he recited.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    "A prayer in a public school!
    God has no place within these walls, just like facts have no place within organized religion!"

    – Supernintendo Chalmers

    June 7, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Theocracy?

      Supernintendo Chalmers? lol was it intentional or another attack of the 50 foot spellchecker!?!?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Steve

      Ralph Wiggum's name for him. Know your Simpsons, dude.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  14. LeeAT

    I didn't read where he asked the audience to pray along with him, so how did he lead the students in prayer?

    June 7, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Theocracy?

      He didn't ask at all, he just forced everyone to listen as he prayed for them.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • G to the T

      While he may not have specifically asked, he aslo didn't say a personal prayer. He picked the most common, group, prayer used in christianity. It even starts "OUR father".

      June 11, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  15. FFFFFF

    Southerners are legitimately insane

    June 7, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • billfitt

      Northerners believe in nothing other than rec tal pleasure and death after life. Now THAT sounds pretty insane to me.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  16. Debra

    I wonder if Roy and decided to quote Darwin or some other famous atheist or agnostic or even Buddha or Confucius would the speech have been censored. But because he chooses to quote Jesus everyone is against him. I think there is something wrong here.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • FFFFFF

      No

      June 7, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Lamb of dog

      What's wrong is this kid pushing his religious views on others who don't want to hear about a bunch of fairytale nonsense.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Doobs

      There is something wrong here. Your brain is broken.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • JRNY

      So Debra, em, prayer of any kind is illegal in a public school. The end.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      They probably would've had to let him read it. Just like they did in this instance. They told him not to talk about his faith.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Wrong. There is a time and a place to discuss personal belief. A graduation ceremony at a public school is not that time or place.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • The real Tom

      What part of this do you not grasp, Deb? It is a violation of our Consti*tution to have student led prayers at school sponsored events because such prayers give the appearance that the school, a public, tax-supported insti*tution, is endorsing a specific religious belief.

      Would you approve as heartily if the belief being endorsed was Wicca?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Debra – I wonder if Roy and decided to quote Darwin or some other famous atheist or agnostic or even Buddha or Confucius would the speech have been censored.'

      If he had put in an atheist section where he denounced religion as bunk then you bet it would have been censored. And the same christians here supporting this guy would be screaming to the heavens about 'militant atheists'

      June 7, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • JFCanton

      So spontaneity is illegal?

      Some things you just can't hope to do anything about; this is one of them.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      There was nothing spontaneous about this. His father and pastor already knew what he was considering. This was a planned exercise in attention grabbing dramatics.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • billfitt

      "What's wrong is this kid pushing his religious views on others who don't want to hear about a bunch of fairytale nonsense."

      Yeah, people always give standing ovations when listening to speeches that they don't want to hear. Geez...I knew atheists were ig nor ant, but you really take the cake

      June 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  17. gus308

    I think schools should discuss the different forms of religion, obviosly they are a big part of history and politicts. but they should not selectivley promote any of them. Our government needs to be the same way. we shouldnt have laws based on any groups religious beliefs. if something you do doesnt negativley affect someone elses life than it shouldnt be illegal.
    They also shouldnt force anyone who pledges allegance to this country to also agree to be "under god"
    I fully support our citizens and students right to choose thier own religious path and this young mans right express his personal choice..

    June 7, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  18. Liel

    Costner Jr. mentions God in his graduation to the thunderous cheers of the crowd!!! AWESOME!
    His heavenly father and his earthly father must be well pleased in him and say 'Well done my faithful son"
    Fantastic news, the rest of us cheer you on and congratulations on your graduation!

    June 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      You are an idiot, Liel. As if everyone didn't already know that.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Congratulations!

      Well done, Roy! Congratulations!!!
      👏

      June 7, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • To Roy Costner

      We say 👍

      June 7, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      Your God is worthless, evil, or doesn't exist. How do I know this? Sandy Hook Elementary.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  19. he's a petty theif

    He earned the right to speak at a public, community event within certain parameters. Those parameters were in place to protect the interests of ALL of the students and parents. He was NOT given a podium to say whatever he wanted. He was NOT given a podium so that he could preach.

    By accepting the role of valadictorian and then ignoring the rules he clearly understood were required of that role, he has no better than a petty thief – he stole something from every non-christian in attendance. Instead of a celebration of each and every graduation, it became a christian event.

    Nice job, 'christian'. Not very christian of you, was it?

    June 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Spoken

      really? and you make it an atheistic event by forcing christians to leave God out. so it appears you hate freedom in this country, he didnt force anyone to pray with him.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • The real Tom

      Spoken, is your god so weak and puny that people can keep him out of any place he chooses to go? You can pray all you want, but you don't get to do so out loud in a public school event that is funded by the taxes we all pay. You simply don't have that right.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • The real Tom

      Of course, no one will ever have to worry that "Spoken" will be or will have a child who will be a valedictorian, since he/she is an ignorant clown.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'and you make it an atheistic event by forcing christians to leave God out.'

      no, dont be silly. not mentioning god does not make it an atheist event. What would make it an atheist event would be if they got up and started talking about how god doesnt exist and religion is bunk.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Spoken, math tests are also atheistic. Or you can do this; God = x (unknown)

      June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      Can we stop the 'politically correct' bs?

      He has a right to be honest and speak freely about how he believes he became valedictorian.

      It was only 30 seconds. No big deal.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • he's a petty theif

      Spoken,

      He could have prayed at home. He could have praid with family and friends before or after the ceremony on the field. He could have prayed publicly with a group of self selected Christians at any time. All I was saying, is that he did NOT have the right to discard the principles under which he was allowed to give the valadictory speech.

      Is your god (and presumably his) so pathetic that he needs to be praised constantly? Under any opportunity, regardless of the imposition on others? Your interpretation of what god wants is a description of a very puny god.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      God = infinity

      Do that math.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      He has the right to free speech.

      Just because some government officials, school administrators or "Freedom from Religion" group didn't like what he said doesn't take that right away.

      In this free country what he did was legal.

      And you are free to criticize him. But if you want to take his free speech rights away, be careful, you will lose yours next.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Water_On_Mars

      .......aaaaaaand infinity should = x.
      Cause I bet you wouldn't even know where to begin. Still an unknown. Still 'x'.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • he's a petty thief

      Water_on_Mars,

      "It was only 30 seconds?"
      So, in your opinion, the imposition on non-CHristians was too small to be concerned with?

      How about: "It was only 10 minutes."
      My opinion that refraining from talking about god for the ten minutes of his valadictory speach would have been too small an imposition to be cohncerned with!

      EVERYONE in attendance had legitimate expectations. HE was the one who VIOLATED those expectations. No, it was not a small imposition. THe non-christian students willl never have another high school graduation ceremony.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Religious kooks unite

      Well, well, well. The charlatan Water Martian is back with his unsupported inane commentary. Tell us again how you "know" what your god wants. Please be specific how you came to this knowledge.

      Please also specify why you do not cull the mind of your god for a cure for cancer, paralysis or world hunger. Or does your god work "in mysterious ways?"

      god actually = null set. First, there is no god. Second, which god?

      June 7, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      Where did I say I *know* what God wants? I believe I said I pray for knowledge for God's will for me. I think I can discern what God wants me to do.

      Which God?

      The God that authored the mathematics that we study.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      @AverageJoe
      @.......aaaaaaand infinity should = x.

      Yea, God is infinity. And we are finite.

      Infinity does exist. Even if you are unable to write it out as a mathematical equation that makes sense to you.

      Interesting in math – there is a symbol and understanding of something that seems to breaks all the rules of mathematics.

      Infinity.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Water_On_Mars

      @ he's a petty theif

      I know some Christian fundies that would be very upset if he spoke for 30 seconds about Darwin and how it was very important to him.

      They would act, well... exactly like you.

      I know a lot of Christians and atheists that are secure in their beliefs and a student talking about something that inspires him (like Darwin or Jesus) wouldn't bother them.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • he's a petty thief

      @Water_on_Mars

      I have a surprise for you: I would ALSO have been upset if he gave a speach on Darwin. It was not his role to talk about his own beliefs IN THAT SETTING knowing that doing so would offend people who believed differently and who were there with certain legitimate expectations.

      THe rules to which he agreed were put in place to protect the minority from the majority. He agreed to them by accepting the role of validictorian. He then committed the incredibly selfish act of ignoring them, knowing the majority of folks in his ignorant little town would applaud him. (By ignorant I mean,ignorant of the degree to which the religeous imposition of the majority on the minority is offensive)

      I stand by my observation: He is a petty thief.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  20. AverageJoe76

    So like...... I would've done the same thing..... except... after I ripped up my speech, I'd just look into the crowd with a dead stare..... just....like....... THIS!! : |

    THEN, I'd recite My Lord's Prayer:

    "Our Father, in some place I cannot confirm. Doing things I can not imagine. Because I'm just a mortal. Hallowed be thy real name, which I forget right now, but you technically didn't tell me. Thy Kingdom come, or go. Thy will be done, but you haven't told me personally what that is. I hope I can eat some bread when I get hungry. Forgive me for anything that you don't like, which you haven't told me. And lead me in the direction away from haters. And deliver me a pizza. AMEN."

    June 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      That's the best Lord's Prayer I've ever heard. 🙂

      June 7, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      That's the agnostic version, lol. I poke fun, but it really boggles my mind how SURE everyone is about 'the invisibles'.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:02 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.