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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. Bostontola

    Reciting a prayer is not original nor will it influence the religion in school debate. I would have more respect for this young man if he had written an opinion piece to his local newspaper with a compelling argument why he should have been allowed to insert a prayer in his speech.

    June 8, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Really-O?

      @faith

      I, for one, care – Bostontola makes a reasoned point.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Had he of stood there and justified himself for what he was planning, it might be another story but by saying the prayer, he blatantly showed disrespect to those who might not share his belief. It's attitudes like his that help create the division between theists and atheists. I feel sorry for him if he thinks the real world will tolerate it.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Reality

      Ditto Really-O's comment.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Bostontola

      Faith,
      I predict the future all the time. I'm not always right, just right often enough to be successful.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      .: Do you ever have anything of substance to add? You fail to comprehend that what affects your country affects mine. So, sorry to disappoint but we're not going anywhere.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • faith

      this will b their defense 4 deleting my posts and violating my right to express my faith. disgusting. plus hate speech and threats of violence. pity the fool.

      June 10, 2013 at 2:04 am |
  2. required

    If the flow isn't right, sometimes it's better to start over. Maybe quote a well liked verse set to get your point across to help others make it through their future endevors. Give them the tools they need. Good idea at a school.

    Don't agree? They didn't ask you. They asked the most intelligent person they could find there, to speak, and he did.

    June 8, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  3. Christopher

    If you're smugly trying to suggest there's a problem with that passage, you're sadly mistaken. Women are subservient to men.

    June 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  4. Dan

    Why the hell shouldn't someone use prayer in their public address? The law only protects people from being forced to follow a religion, not to avoid hearing other people practice theirs.

    June 8, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Due to the fact that not everyone shares the same belief.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Dan

      Boo hoo for them. Is it unreasonable to make liberal or conservative remarks when some in the audience might not share those beliefs? What about discussing women's issues if there are men in the crowd or vice versa? You'll never get a crowd which shares the exact same belief matrix as the speaker.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Bostontola

      Dan,
      No one said he broke the law, he broke a promise to his principal. Was the value of his public prayer (Matthew 6:6) greater than the cost to his honor?

      June 8, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Chelsey Ramer was fined 1000.00 for wearing a feather to her graduation. Roy Costner recited the lord's prayer and received no consequences. This double standard and Christian bias is an example of why religion needs to be kept out of schools.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Bostontola –

      On the money. The real issue here is that Roy Costner IV displayed, for all to see, his lack of integrity. Were I his father, I'd be ashamed of him.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Secular Humanist from Ohio –

      Cogent point.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Really-O?

      The 17th century (perhaps the 15th) – brought to you, once again, by South Carolina.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  5. .

    Huh. Less than 2% of Anglicans currently attend church on a regular basis in the UK.

    June 8, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  6. Bill

    Why are you posting under my name? Of course they are no facts for a particular religion but the bible is better than science.

    June 8, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The bible is better than science? I was looking in the bible for a list of any mutations found to be common in a subset of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Not there.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Science

      Science books trump the 666 red horn-y beast Bill .

      June 8, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I don't understand why Bill is using a computer.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • .

      "Thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education." Theodore Roosevelt President of the USA.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Science

      Secular Humanist from Ohio...............the 20 year old CERN deal................to simple for Bill maybe ...

      June 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @Science

      LOL

      June 8, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • rabidatheist

      "Thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education." Theodore Roosevelt President of the USA. Of course it is, because thorough knowledge of the bible will make you not believe it, and you won't have to carry that baggage for your entire life.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Bill

      I went to a public school and a non-religious affiliated college and I never had to cram for a bible test.

      I never completed a 1000 word essay for a bible class.

      I was never lectured in the middle of class by a miserable 70 year old bible teacher.

      Therefore, the bible is better than science.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Bill

      “The bible is better than science? I was looking in the bible for a list of any mutations found to be common in a subset of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Not there.”

      It’s in there. It's near the back somewhere.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Bill

      “I don't understand why Bill is using a computer.”

      What does me using a computer have to do with view against science?

      June 8, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Science

      Hey bill is that knowledge from a cat you know ?

      June 8, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Bill

      @Science,

      Nope. I’m more of a dog lover anyways, specifically pugs. I love their mushed up faces.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Are you seriously anti science?

      June 8, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Bill

      Of course I am not against science.

      I just feel the bible is better.

      When I was high school. My biology teacher was extremely miserable, probably because his wife was so old and hideous, and took it out on the entire class.

      That never happened in any bible class I took. Probably because I never took a bible class as it wasn’t provided in the public schools.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Science

      Hey Bill do this...............cool science...................highlight the phrase below............then click on blue box (think outside the

      box bill)........now click on search with Bing..............have fun .

      The e word wins all the time creationists ..........no god(s) made US............get over IT

      June 8, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Thank you for backing down on your ridiculous statement.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Science

      Hey Bill works every time first link is below Bill !

      27,200,000 results Any time

      Why I Won't Debate Creationists – Richard Dawkins ...

      old.richarddawkins.net/articles/119-why-i-won-39-t-debate-creationists

      ... brought back with a vengeance Steve Gould's words about creationists' real motives. ... It’s time the strategy ... why we believe in god(s) In the RDF Store ...

      June 8, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Bill

      @science.

      I believe in evolution and I accept all of science. Just b/c the bible is the better of the two doesn’t mean I can’t love science too.

      “Thank you for backing down on your ridiculous statement.”

      Well, it was the least I could do.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • mama k

      By the way, Dottie, Theodore Roosevelt did not take the oath of office on a Bible in 1901.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Science

      Hey Bill...................did the CERN deal work for you yet..............with the little blue box ?

      June 8, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Science

      lol??..............the pentagram..............an implosion marking on a stony iron meteorite /chondrite .

      June 8, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Doobs

      @ Speck for a brain

      Teddy Roosevelt was a politician. All politicians say they are Christians because this country is primarily Christian.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Science

      Something fishy going on lol??....?

      June 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  7. palintwit

    We arrive in rusty 1964 motorhomes.
    We bring our bibles and loaded assault weapons.
    We wear ridiculous clothing and have teabags dangling from our earlobes.
    We carry misspelled racist signs as we stomp all over the White House lawn.
    We eat Chick-fil-A and wash it down with Everclear.
    We are Sarah Palin's real Americans.
    We love the baby jesus but we love to boink our cousins even more.
    We believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that early man walked with the dinosaurs.
    We believe that nascar is a real sport and that Dale Earnhardt was a great American athlete.
    We are the birthers. We are tea party patriots.
    We are bigots and inbreds. We are morons and we are proud.

    June 8, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Science

      And they better watch out or a chondrite might hit them in the head !

      2011 Draconid Meteor Shower Deposited a Ton of Meteoritic Material On Earth

      June 6, 2013 — About a ton of material coming from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner was deposited in the Earth's atmosphere on

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130606141046.htm

      June 8, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  8. rabidatheist

    You may be surprised by this, but I actually don't have an issue with it. He earned the position of validictorian, and it's HIS speech to give, not the schools.

    June 8, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      He was wrong. He was representing his school and he defied the rules.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      lol?: Off your meds again? He broke the rules. He showed no respect for the constitution by taking advantage of his position to spread his propaganda and proselytize his belief. He had no right to do what he did and he should be admonished for it...laws are set in place for a reason and when representing a school that is paid for with tax dollars, he should have kept his belief to himself...a moment of silence for reflection would have been more respectful but this little brat chose to be an ass. Defying authority won't him too far in the real world.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • haime52

      I agree with you on this. It was his speech to give. I found Ms. Gaylor's remarks confusing. If he had been atheist and make atheist remarks would she be so critical? If one wishes to be free from all mention of religiosity, you would have a very difficult time finding anywhere in the world to live. Does the establishment clause not give believers, of any stripe, the freedom from atheistic remarks in state sponsored public forum to then? If I a believer cannot speak of their personal religious belief in such a forum should they then be subjected to anti-belief rhetoric in the same type of forum?

      Ideally the government should be neutral in these matters. Not push one agenda or another and protect both. The government has NO place requiring the absence of statements of belief nor of unbelief, no matter what the venue. Personal, individual expression is much different form congress establishing anything. Which is, I believe, the intent of the clause. "Congress shall not make establishment of..." to paraphrase.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You suggest neutrality on religious issues, and that somehow atheism and theism are on par as beliefs. That doesn't seem so: a theist believes in something for which there is no evidence. An atheist does not believe in something for which there is no evidence. The latter seems most appropriate.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      lol?: The issue is that the world does not all agree with your imaginary friends rules and thus the only laws that matter in the real world are the laws made by man. Quoting scripture from the giant book of multiple choice proves nothing.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Truth Prevails please stop, you make atheists (if you really are an atheist) look like religious zealots. The school was honoring the hard work of the student, and it was HIS speech to gove not the schools. If you don't like it do the same thing you do every time the President says "god bless America"......ignore it.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • haime52

      Tom, Tom: Who has repeated evolution? Show me the replication, in ANY lab, that has done so. At best there are bits and pieces of replicable tests but no overall replication. Therefore, no unified proof of anything. What you have IS a belief system in something that cannot be conclusively proven. Belief is still taken on faith in something, science or otherwise.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I plan to replicate evolution today, haime52. I'll lof onto my HPC cluster and analyze aptamers generated under a Darwinian selection method to see how they have adapted to fit a certain pocket in an important enzyme in a signaling pathway. In the past this has generated populations of aptamers that fit extremely well. Actually designing such aptamers using simulations based on thermodynamics would take a very very very long time. Evolution wins.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Haime52 Contradict yourself much? "Who has repeated evolution? Show me the replication, in ANY lab, that has done so. At best there are bits and pieces of replicable tests but no overall replication"

      June 8, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      rabid: I will stop when the religiots stop imposing their beliefs in the public forum. I am very much an Atheist...your support of what this kid did leaves one to wonder if you are.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • mama k

      haime said "Who has repeated evolution?".

      But can't you even take any theory that has been accepted via repeatable observation, and speak of it as being non-repeatable when you move sufficiently from it outward to domain(s) that are thought by consensus to encapsulate or categorize it? It seems that's what you are doing with that question.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Dottie is

      the obvious angry troll not happy that America is losing its religion.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Truth Prevails, I am quite comfortable with my atheism, it's why I don't feel threatened by this. Are you on your way to Arlington National Cemetery to demand all religious symbols be removed from the graves of soldiers?

      June 8, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Word theft " Oh, the irony..

      June 8, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      rabid: My biggest issue is this, had any other child of a different belief defied the rules and said a 'prayer' pertaining to their belief system people would have been screaming. I just feel it's best that all religion be kept out of the public school forum.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • haime52

      My, my, look at all the replies to a simple statement. "Bit and pieces" are just that. They do not make a cohesive whole but a patchwork. You can show that something "could" have happened, not that this did happen. No can explain how evolutionary Life happened, only that you have theories as to how it MIGHT have happened and there is NO consensus on that. Evolution cannot be replicated, as a whole, after all it takes eons. Science cannot do on purpose what you say nature did on accident, and if you did it would only prove the need for an intelligence behind life.

      Some say religious folk press religion on the rest, however, on this blog, I find 60-80% of commenters to be atheist and pressing their views on others. Interesting that so many atheists are on this blog, I wonder if atheist blogs attract a similar percentage of believers.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      haime
      Evolution shows what did happen – we may not understand all mechanisms but evolution is correct: simpler organisms are the oldest, common descent, geographical distribution, DNA, etc. all support evolution. Evolution is happening now – humans breed dogs, cattle, roses, etc.; agreed we can't replicate the process to humans from scratch but we can trace it back with the things I mentioned. There is no evidence of an intelligence designing life on earth and no designer is needed.

      Religious folk do press religion on the rest in society as a whole. Expressing an opinion on a blog is not the same as trying to impose your religion in place of science in schools, to impose your prayers in public gatherings, to impose your religious texts on public buildings, to impose your religious beliefs as the basis of laws, etc.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  9. Bill

    Why am I not allowed to believe?

    June 8, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      You are free to believe whatever you wish.
      However I the things you profess to believe sound outrageous (and religious claims rank high on this aspect) then prepare to have your beliefs challenged. Just like if you claimed to have been abducted by aliens from outer space then don't be surprised by someone calling you out for it.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Tooth Fairy

      Have you been stealing your dad's spare change again?

      June 8, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      You can believe in whatever you wish to believe in. That is not the issue. The issue comes when you use that belief to tell others how they should live their lives; when you use that belief in public schools where children from all different types of belief/disbelief homes are attending; or use that belief to deny equal rights.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Bill

      I would never tell you all how to live your lives…

      Just as long as we keep teachers from talking about global warming in public schools.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No deal, Bill. When it comes to teaching children, we must provide them with the truth as we know it. Global warming is a real problem. Your religion is most likely false.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Global warming is a fact...if our children do not learn about it, they will fail to do what it takes to save our planet. The teachers are paid to teach facts that are backed by evidence.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Bill

      I was just kidding around fellas.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • Bill

      I accept global warming. I'm not sure why people think it is anti-religious.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Science

      Hey Bill..............good place for you to learn something............how old are they BILL ?

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/environmental_science/

      Three-Billion-Year-Old Microfossils Include Plankton

      June 6, 2013 — Spindle-shaped inclusions in three-billion-year-old rocks are microfossils of plankton that probably inhabited the oceans around the globe during that time, according to an international team of researchers.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130606155123.htm

      June 8, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Bill

      Science, How old is who?

      June 8, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Science

      The microfossils ?

      June 8, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Bill

      In the article it says they’re 3 billion years old. What is your point?

      June 8, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Bill: Thank you for clarifying.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Science

      The bible is BS

      June 8, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Bill

      The bible RULES!!!

      The bible is better than science.

      June 8, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • science

      To funny bill !

      June 8, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Bill

      It’s true.

      British musician Thomas Dolby was blinded by science.

      Yet, nobody ever lost the ability to see after reading the bible.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      LOL...Bill

      I think scientists prefer to use the term climate change as opposed to global warming. People who don't think climate change is happening point to variations in temperature, such as cold snaps, and ask how is this indicative of global warming? But the data doesn't lie. Global average temperature is on the rise. Melting ice caps and glaciers show the change over the past decade in particular. To be sure the climate of Earth has varied a great deal in the past. Ice ages and long periods of hot house conditions have occurred. But nothing at the current rate. Fluctuations to either extreme in the past has always been countered by the very biosphere itself. Green land plants and ocean algae react to pull CO2 from the atmosphere during hot spells and not during cold spells. The living Earth counterbalances any runaway shift in either direction. But mankind has largely cut down the worlds great forests, introduced toxins into the air and water, and generally diminished the biospheres ability to react. If we ignore the changes and permit continued harm by industry and society we will end up just as extinct as the dinosaurs.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Bill' contains an instance of the Dicto Simpliciter Fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 8, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Bill

      Fallacy Spotting 101,

      Oh yeah? Prove it!

      June 8, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Bill

      Oops, you're right. My bad.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Bill

      Hey!!!!

      That is not me. It's an imposter!!! You're all just upset b/c I am destroying you all on the facts.

      I'm not allowed to go to that link as I am at work at the moment.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Fake Bill

      Yeah. You're right. You got me.

      Also, I did a quick yahoo search and found out that God exists. It appears all the atheists are wrong.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Bill

      WTF? Who is posting?

      June 8, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Bill

      Those are not the manifest.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Bill

      Religion is what you fall back on when you can't reason through something. Even if others can. It means you can avoid having to say "I don't know."

      June 8, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Bill

      Why are you posting under my name? Of course they are no facts for a particular religion but the bible is better than science.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Bill

      I went to a public school and a non-religious affiliated college and I never had to cram for a bible test.

      I never completed a 1000 word essay for a bible class.

      I was never lectured in the middle of class by a miserable 70 year old bible teacher.

      Therefore, the bible is better than science.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Gary

      Bill, your posts essentially state that because you have had hard time understanding science and with getting through your science education, you are taking the cowardly way out and accepting folk tales instead. Like someone else said, that smacks of the argument from ignorance, and you need a hard smack in the head. Or maybe your parents did.

      June 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  10. McMannes

    @Valedict...did you read any of the post before you began your feverish reply? How many janitors read in your kids class? If ANY, then you have a bigger problem than religion in your school. Next time, take some time, read.....and then reply. Don't let atheism get in the way of thinking things through. Hahaha....

    June 8, 2013 at 4:06 am |
  11. HotAirAce

    faith, you dumb tw@t, all you and the rest of your delusional mentally ill idiots have are claims. The onus is on you to defend and support your claims with factual, objective, independent and verifiable evidence. No evidence means that there is a high probability you are full of sh!t. Evidence is a believer problem – atheists have nothing to prove because we are not making any claims except in response to believer crap.

    June 8, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • faith

      that's y u r being sued 4 every penny u ever stole

      June 10, 2013 at 2:01 am |
  12. Chris_A

    this is awesome

    June 8, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  13. Jane

    South Carolina religions precinct. Let me guess, everyone in the class was a cousin of the valedictorian, less than once removed.

    June 8, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • saggyroy

      I believe the PC term is "Appalachian-Americans".

      June 8, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • Joe

      I can just hear those banjos playin... at the pig roast after the ceremony...

      June 8, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Ken

      That's pretty funny. Sadly probably true too.

      June 8, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  14. Roy Costner IV

    One more thing God. Thanks for not killing us with a tornado.

    Amen.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  15. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    @diana horton

    You need to understand sarcasm.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  16. In Santa we trust

    diana, I think you'll find that some of those have been on the christians hate list. Jews for a long time, not so much these days but then remember Mel Gibson, gays ongoing, KKK used Genesis 9 to justify their hatred, Muslims ongoing and getting worse.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  17. ruthiebee

    I feel sorry for the people who do not share his beliefs that he was very disrespectful too. He was a crafty dude, nobody dared stop him.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
  18. diana horton

    compassionate Christian? compassionate to who? I think you named off everyone that our creator loves not hates. I feel sorry for you. you need to go read the N.T.again. this time try and understand what our lord said.–peace

    June 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  19. Bob

    Since we've got other Bob dumping bible bile on us by the shovelful, let's take a closer look at what's in his Christian book of nasty. From both evil testaments:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    June 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Science

      Hello Bob ...............agree bible is BS

      Peace

      June 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Grafted Olive Branch

      I choose not to join your "movement". I will stand fast with my faith in Jesus Christ. Will you now belittle me, malign me, and call me all manner of names?

      June 8, 2013 at 6:30 am |
    • midwest rail

      G.O.B. – no, I won't. I know some will. I also know that most believers who post here can be just as vile as the non-believers.

      June 8, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • midwest rail

      How many times does the "word" socie occur in the KJV ?

      June 8, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • midwest rail

      Nice tap dance. That wasn't the question, but from you, I expected no less than obfuscation.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Christopher

      God created animals for crying out loud. If He wants to burn one so be it. As for slavery, it's a system which works fine in other cultures where people have basic human respect for each other without being forced by the law to recognize what a human is.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  20. NavinJay

    diana horton
    sometimes, god uses people...

    You know, its not nice to use people...just sayin'..

    June 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
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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.