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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. AverageJoe76

    Our modern exsistence is much more complicated than the world of our 2,000+ year old ancestors. I would read a survial guide dated 2013 over a survial guide dated 1271 B.C.

    Just saying.....

    June 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • lol??

      Lady Gaga doesn't get it. Don't care what kinda scales she holds her milk glands up with.

      June 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  2. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    By request...

    June 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Knights Who Say...

      Scene 30

      [clop clop]
      ARTHUR: Old crone! Is there anywhere in this town where we could buy
      a shrubbery!
      [dramatic chord]
      CRONE: Who sent you?
      ARTHUR: The Knights Who Say Nee.
      CRONE: Agh! No! Never! We have no shrubberies here.
      ARTHUR: If you do not tell us where we can buy a shrubbery, my friend
      and I will say... we will say... `nee'.
      CRONE: Agh! Do your worst!
      ARTHUR: Very well! If you will not assist us voluntarily,... nee!
      CRONE: No! Never! No shrubberies!
      ARTHUR: Nee!
      BEDEMIR: Noo! Noo!
      ARTHUR: No, no, no, no - it's not that, it's 'nee'.
      BEDEMIR: Noo!
      ARTHUR: No, no - 'nee'. You're not doing it properly.
      BEDEMIR: Noo! Nee!
      ARTHUR: That's it, that's it, you've got it.
      ARTHUR and BEDEMIR: Nee! Nee!
      ROGER: Are you saying 'nee' to that old woman?
      ARTHUR: Um, yes.
      ROGER: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say `nee'
      at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing
      is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under
      considerable economic stress at this period in history.
      ARTHUR: Did you say `shrubberies'?
      ROGER: Yes, shrubberies are my trade - I am a shrubber. My name
      is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
      BEDEMIR: Nee!
      ARTHUR: No! No, no, no! No!

      June 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Too funny!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  3. AverageJoe76

    HONESTY: I always thought it was stupid that God had a 'choosen people'. Sounds hyper-egotistical.

    "I AM THE LORD, YOUR GOD. I HAVE CREATED TIME AND SPACE. BILLIONS OF GALAXIES. WITH BILLIONS OF STARS WITHIN EACH. YET....... I REALLY HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR THESE GUYS IN THE NORTH AFRICAN DESERT OF EARTH"

    Just doesn't make sense to be omnipotent, then choose a 'favorite'.

    June 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • lol??

      You really do a have a pwoblem. Ego comes from a coke fried bwain. Pervert, too!!!!!!!!

      June 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

      8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers....

      June 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Ave atque Vale

      Robert Brown,

      I'm sorry, but that is typical, ethnocentric – "We 'Da Best" – "We Numbah One" – kind of stuff.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @lol?? – Sorry to offend if I have. Although your response makes me wonder if you're cutting school... I'm just saying it never made sense. I just feel God would be on a grander scale.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Ave atque Vale,

      Not on my part, I don’t happen to be Jewish or living in the bc’s. God was telling the children of Israel why he had chosen them.

      Christians are adopted.

      Romans 8:15
      For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

      The adoption is a gift, available to you too.

      Ephesians 2:8
      For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

      Then we become chosen by his mercy.

      1 Peter 2:
      9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

      10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @ Robert Brown – And God having any particular people doesn't seem........ i don't know..... made up? Because even if God favored the Eskimos, why THEM over all others? Even in concept it's uncomfortable. Therefore, this God is not MY God. It's their God. I'm looking for the God of everything. Sub-particle to largest construct. No favorites. Seen him? Yea, me niether.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      AverageJoe76,

      So, you think he isn’t your God because he chose a small nation to be a nation of priests to all people on earth thousands of years ago?
      He is the only God and is available to everyone through his son Jesus.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Robert Brown – Doesn't make any sense, Robert. Passing this onto a FEW people, then charging them with passing on the 'Ultimate Truth' to the rest of the world??? Even I know that won't work. People embellish. People lie. No one in the Bible failed at dissappointing God at some point EXCEPT his son, so why trust regular people with the most important information EVER? God would've done better passing it on itself.

      June 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      AverageJoe76,

      Nothing wrong with wondering why God chose men to deliver his message, I suppose everyone has wondered about that at some point. The good news is we all have access to the father thru the son. You can experience God for yourself. What could be better than that?

      June 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      "He is the only God and is available to everyone through his son Jesus."

      He is clearly not the only god, robert. Still snivelling, are you?

      June 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Remember, god also chooses whom he will hate from before birth and before the person commits any sins. Just read Romans 9.

      June 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  4. TC

    This isn't about a debate on the truth behind various religions, but a freedom of speech issue. Love it or hate it, this fellow was well within his rights, and his words were not ordered/requried/directed by the school. I don't see the problem.

    June 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • lol??

      The Public Servants already did their little revolution..They got the weapons.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • ME II

      Actually, he was required to get his speech pre-approved by the school. He lied though because he then tore that one up and went off-script.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • H. Lee

      Wow, a high school kid did something that the Powers didn't sign off on! How horrible is that!

      June 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @H.Lee,
      It's a sign of the apocalypse. I'm sure there's a verse about it in the Bible somewhere.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  5. AverageJoe76

    Looking for God, is like trying to capture infinity. And since niether can be obtained, you're doing yourselves a disservice by devoting great chunks of time towards it. Just saying....

    June 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Hokum

      June 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • lol??

      Churches are the false prophet and the nation of Israel is the antichrist.

      No other possible fit.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Vic

      Romans 1:20
      "20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

      Colossians 1:16
      "16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him."

      Hebrews 11:3
      "3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."

      Acts 17:24-28
      "24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’"

      All Scripture Is From:

      New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      June 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      Vic: Scripture is only valid to those who accept the dubious authority of that scripture

      June 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • lol??

      Stonehenge, I suggest you give up your rebellion and notice the cycles of iniquity.

      white horse-Bush #1
      red horse –Clinton
      black horse–Bush #2
      pale horse–Obama

      BTW, don't presume you can stop em. You a dust ball.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      lol?? i suggest you go fvck yourself

      June 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Confused Christian

      Well now i'm confused. We should not own people as slaves, but many people in the bible, even Abraham who was supposedly a friend of God, owned slaves. We should not practice incest and yet Abrahams brother Lot was allowed to get drunk and bang his daughters. We should only have one wife and yet many Kings of Israel had many wives and concubines. We are to never take another mans wife, and yet David was forgiven after taking Uriahs wife for himself and sending him off to the front lines to die. Who gets punished? God kills Davids first born baby, but forgives David and let's him continue to be King and even stays in the supposed lineage to Christ.

      It's seems like a lot of double standards in the bible to me.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Bible

    Do you own slaves? That's alright. You are in good moral standing with God.

    June 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Vic

      Galatians 3:28
      "28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

      All Scripture Is From:

      New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      June 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • lol??

      You are a slave to sin.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Vic

      Romans 8:2
      "2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."

      All Scripture Is From:

      New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      June 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • ME II

      @Vic,
      Isn't Galatians just saying that slaves can be Christian too. It says nothing about slavery being wrong.

      Isn't Romans just talking about the OT laws on sacrifice? It says nothing about slavery being wrong.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  7. Bible

    There are times when it's ok to murder your relatives.

    June 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      You don't need the Bible to know that.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Christians, please explain to me how your Bible can be the word of God? Please explain to me how you can live your life by its words and use those words to oppress other people? Please explain, given that the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

    This has nothing to do with whether you have a personal relationship with God. This has nothing to do with whether he has changed your life. I want you to explain how you can treat the Bible any more seriously than the collection of stories by men with ulterior motives of greed and power and subjugation of those they wanted to rule.

    All answers that do not retreat into mysticism will be gratefully accepted. Thanks! 🙂

    June 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • fred

      The "Word of God" is not in the translated English, Greek or Latin words of the Bible. The "Word of God" is what comes to the reader as he or she reads the Bible. The Bible reveals the heart and soul of the reader as the "Word of God" never returns empty. Take the story of Adam and Eve or the Flood story. These are of great importance in addressing the soul of the those who would choose to spend eternity with God. They are not about geologic events or biological origin of DNA.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • lol??

      Dyslexic doG sayz,
      "Christians, please explain to me ......................."

      Doggies eat dead masters. Get a grip.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • fred

      Regarding the source and accuracy of the King James we know that the Old Testament portion is 99% on track with the Dead Sea Scrolls from 100BC-400BC. If you want to argue the accuracy of the Dead Sea Scrolls we know that the source for them was meticulously copied by the Hebrew where this was their purpose. Bring the world of God to future generations and that work was supervised under great punishment for error.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The "Word of God" is what comes to the reader as he or she reads the Bible."

      So, it is a subjective thing?

      How does this translate to the word of god being unchanging? Or clear?

      "These are of great importance in addressing the soul of the those who would choose to spend eternity with God."

      First of all, do you seriously want to be alive for ETERNITY?

      Secondly, how can free will exist when you have an omniscient god?

      June 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @lol??

      hey I know I'm a doG but would you stop sniffing around my ar$e ...

      June 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Peaceful delusional fundiot nutter

      The King James Version (KJV), commonly known as the Authorized Version (AV) or King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.

      The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek and Latin.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorized_King_James_Version

      June 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      “So, it is a subjective thing?”
      =>No two people are alike why would their souls be alike? When Colin reads the flood story his sarcastic nature is revealed as is his lack of respect for anything outside a strong naturalistic belief. The story as a whole is very simple; few honor God with their lives (Noah) while the vast majority are wrapped up in themselves having fun in the most epicurean way possible. That is not subjective and is very clear. The difference between what God finds favorable and what is wicked is also very clear as is the result of both ways of living. That is not subjective. What that story sets up in your soul is a decision. I am like Noah or I am like the rest of mankind and that is how I wish to stay.

      “How does this translate to the word of god being unchanging? Or clear?”
      =>The same thing from thousands of years ago was also true in Jesus day 2,000 years ago as he referred to this generation being as in the days of Noah. Nothing changes, what is it that could possibly be made more clear?

      “First of all, do you seriously want to be alive for ETERNITY?”
      =>That is the difference between life and death. Life eternal does not begin at death but becomes part of the Kingdom of God when the Holy Spirit enters the soul upon acceptance of Christ. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. Perspective changes from the fatalistic concept of time which is sequenced into one without limits. That lack of limits is exciting in that it has never been experienced by you or me. We can speculate but it is meaningless speculation such as how did it feel to never exist and conclude I would not want to never exist.
      =>When the constraints of time is removed that is eternal where a second feels like 10,000 years and 10,000 years like a second. Certainly you have been caught up in joy and fun to the extent you forgot what time it was. That is a taste of eternity.

      “Secondly, how can free will exist when you have an omniscient god?”
      =>Have you not read the plan of God? Adam and Eve had free will. While in the presence of God in that garden everything was under the “dome” of Gods loving protective presence. There was no pain, no death, no fear, just two naked people without any shame or thought of any other existence. They exercised their free will and went outside of that presence.
      God knew they would do that and knows we all would do that sooner or later. Now outside of that perfect loving protective presence some exercise their free will and give up their desire for the things of this world and long for the Kingdom of God. That is a soul that cannot be kept from eternal life in the presence of God. That is the hope in a promised land Abraham spoke of and Moses all the way down to Saul of Tarsus who saw the light. That is the hope of those who believe in Christ today.
      It is by our free will we return to God and long for God

      June 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: if god knows everything that will ever happen, and god cannot be wrong, then people have no choice to do something other than what god knows will be done. why is that so hard to grasp?

      June 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      "God knew they would do that and knows we all would do that sooner or later"

      So, where is the free will?

      God knows it will happen
      God cannot be wrong

      June 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      also, fred, you have no authority to speak for god

      June 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: you say man has free will, but then go and describe a system where man does not ("god knows we will all sin soone or later")

      June 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      while we are at it, fred....

      if god knows who will or will not accept jesus as a savior, what is the point of letting those who will not be born?

      is it as a warning to others?

      does god get his rocks off torturng people?

      June 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      “if god knows everything that will ever happen, and god cannot be wrong, then people have no choice to do something other than what god knows will be done. why is that so hard to grasp?”
      =>We are mixing our space time constraints with God who is outside of our space time. In order for the theory of relativity to hold that which preceded our space and time must originate outside of our space time dimension.
      Another way to look at it God is eternal and while we are on a finite time line. We are limited God is not. Past, present and future apply to us because all we know is this time line. We make a decision in what is our present time while that position simply is as far as God is concerned.

      June 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      “also, fred, you have no authority to speak for god”
      =>agreed, I was just attempting to explain how something outside of our known space and time constraints would view our actions. There is no proven science or biblical explanation for how that could work only our speculation. Saul of Tarsus was a great philosopher and if I can remember his words on that I will send it.

      “if god knows who will or will not accept jesus as a savior, what is the point of letting those who will not be born?”
      =>Many at the last moment come to the realization of the emptiness of desire that is limited to the things of this world. We are instructed not to judge and remove those we think will not make it into the Kingdom for two reasons. The fist is that we may get it wrong and the second is that good and evil are necessary to draw out the contrast between those destined for the Kingdom and those who are not.
      Everything works to the good of those who are in Christ is the rule because God is good. An evil person can create havoc yet God turns all that around. Take the ugliness of Christ’s crucifixion which reveals sin in its many forms yet revealed the glory of God and the love of Christ. How could that be in such a horrid event?
      Jesus said it would have been better for some if they were never born yet their birth was allowed. Evil can refine or destroy a soul and the free will of the individual will make the choice.
      “does god get his rocks off torturng people?”
      =>anything that is not of God is sin and God has made a way to free yourself from that darkness. If you choose this sinful world over what God offers how is that God’s fault? An atheist desires a godless existence for some reason just as a believer desires God for some reason. It is free will and God allows it.
      It is all about our choice and God has set up creation to allow that choice to unfold. Jesus asked if there was any other way in the hours before his crucifixion yet there was not. Jesus was tortured by the sin that was poured on Him. God did not get His rock off on that yet revealed just what sin does to the burning holiness of God.

      June 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Another way to look at it God is eternal and while we are on a finite time line. We are limited God is not. Past, present and future apply to us because all we know is this time line. We make a decision in what is our present time while that position simply is as far as God is concerned."

      Again, you dance around the question. If there is only one way to go (the way "god" knows we will) there is no free will.

      I thought you said you do not purport to speak for god

      June 12, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • sam stone

      holiness of god.....what a crock of dung

      June 12, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • fred

      sam stone
      you said; "holiness of god.....what a crock of dung"
      => was that not out free will ? The declaration of independence we were endowed by our Creator. You used you gift of free will to say what you just said.
      The fact that I just read it for the first time did not impact your free will. How is it so hard for you understand God can look at you from all possible time perspectives and "know everything". That all knowing attribute of God did not change your free will.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      "was that not out free will ?"

      not if there is an omniscient god

      an omniscient god would have known i would have said this

      an omniscient got would be incapable of being wrong

      ergo, there is no free will

      June 13, 2013 at 7:14 am |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    @SCAtheist – "WHAT??? I have never been so insulted." I can try harder...

    June 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      "I've never been so insulted"

      Surely, with a face like that, you must have been.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      gentlemen, gentlemen. @SCAtheist is good people. Be gentle!

      June 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I was JK... I was going to say there are some uptight people on here... and then I realized that would be redundant to state on a religious blog...

      June 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  10. Drunken Monkey

    I'm curious as to what proof Austins God is... 80 proof? 151?

    June 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • lol??

      Why are drunken monkeys socies??

      June 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Drunken Monkey

      Why are most bigots conservies?

      June 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      lol
      Socie: a transitory ecological society of a developmental community : a seral community comparable to a society

      How is that word applicable?

      June 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • lol??

      R caranius sayz,

      "..............transitory ecological society..........."

      Yup, you are a temp employee.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      Come on, Drunken Monkey, Austin's god is 100% pure...that means 200 proof. Proof of this is how drinking up Jeebus has rotted what passes for his brain

      June 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Drunken Monkey

      Not even rubbing alcohol is 200 proof, though from some of Austins posts I wouldn't doubt he's swimmimng in the stuff.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Alias

      Let's be fair, Since none of us can prove Austin's god is less than 200 proof, the proof of the proof should be a personal matter of faith.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Honey Badger Don't Care

    “The existence of God is not a matter of proof; it is a matter of faith. We should not even attempt to try and prove God's existence.”

    Except that 1 Peter 3:15 commands that you always be ready to provide a reason why you believe. Or do you not follow what the bible says?

    June 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • lol??

      Freud was confused who his mama was. That's why he spied on her dressing.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Vic

      @H B D C "....."

      Your premise is invalid!

      Here is the CORRECT premise:

      Believing in the existence of God is not a matter of proof; it is a matter of Faith."

      June 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Vic
      Faith: The ability to ignore facts, logic and reason, and jump to an unjustifyable conclusion.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Yes, faith is belief without evidence, in other words a delusion.

      And if you read my post you will understand that what you said makes no sense in the context of what I posted. Or do you not believe what the bible says?

      June 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jeff

      The fuch does Freud have to do with anything, you stupid shit?? Jesus CHRIST, you're insane...

      June 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Vic

      We Christians Live by Faith

      Now, we know we CAN NOT see God BUT we see His mighty work.

      This Universe & Life In It ARE "Prima Facie" EVIDENCE Of God

      June 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Vic – no, it is not.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      the universe and life in it are evidence of:
      1 – the universe exists
      and
      2 – life exists.

      Reading anything more into that is just ridiculous.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Vic
      You clearly do not understand the term PIMA FACIE....stop using it.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Peaceful delusional fundiot nutter

      Now

      faith

      is the substance

      of things

      hoped for,

      the evidence

      of things

      not seen.

      Hebrews 11:1

      June 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  12. lol??

    Law??????????

    SCOTUS sayz da woeman rules over the man.

    ALL HAIL TO DA SALT PIRE!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Drunken Monkey

      Another thing in the bible that did not happen. Lot's wife being turned into salt so his daughters could get him drunk and bang him, what a wonderful bible story...

      June 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • lol??

      Drunken Monkey sayz,
      "Another thing in the bible that did not happen......................."

      Then you proceed to give your version of a bible story.

      SOBER UP !!!!!!

      June 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Drunken Monkey

      But as long as I stay drunk your bible says it's okay to bang my daughters! Why not stay drunk all the time! Doh, thats right, drunkeness is also a sin. So how the fvck did Lot get away with that again?

      June 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  13. Sol Invictus

    “There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.”
    ― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

    June 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  14. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "The average lead pencil can draw a line 35 miles long or write roughly 50,000 English words."

    June 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Pencils are made from graphite.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Not according to Snapple "Real Fact" #917

      June 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Lead hasn't been used for writing for hundreds of years and they stopped using lead paint on the outside of pencils in the fifties.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      LET
      Getting your "facts" from Snapple, the people who brought you Howard (King of all sleazia) Stern. Wow.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Ave atque Vale

      The only "lead" pencils were the thin rods used waaaaay back when to write on clay tablets and the like.

      There is no tin in what we call "tin foil" (aluminum foil) anymore either. There is such a thing as a thin foil made out of tin, but it's not what we use today.

      Ah, love trivia!

      June 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      LET

      Look at what you started! Cue Monty Python.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Egg and Bacon
      Egg, Sausage and Bacon
      Egg and Spam
      Egg, Bacon and Spam
      Egg, Bacon, Sausage and Spam
      Spam, Egg, Sausage and Spam
      Spam, Egg, Spam, Spam, Bacon and Spam
      Spam, Spam, Spam, Egg and Spam
      Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Baked Beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam

      June 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Now you're making sense!

      June 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  15. The real Tom

    "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."

    So much for DillDoe's statement in his defense that he was "suddenly moved by his conscience" to pray aloud.

    June 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Tap dance to follow shortly.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Henry

      Can’t we just let it go, Tom?

      June 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I can't believe anyone is still talking about this stupid kid...

      June 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ave atque Vale

      Of course it was not spur of the moment. It was quite a controversial issue in that small town for the past month or so...

      "In conversation with a Liberty area church pastor:

      "Just an FYI. Due to the controversy with prayer at school functions, we have been told that the school board will not allow us to have Baccalaureate at the school. It has now been moved to Flat Rock Baptist Church on Sunday May 19th at 6PM.

      We were told that LHS is following word from the board. Seems they are erring on the side of caution. We really don't know yet who made the decision. Hopefully we'll know more in a few days. We used to have them at the churches anyway, just the timing of it is not too good."
      http://www.thelibertymonitor.com/

      June 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Henry

      Stupid? He’s valedictorian!

      In my school, that meant all A’s.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Ave atque Vale" Hawai'ian translation "ALOHA"

      June 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • get to know your religion

      True, Henry. Like that whole 'Let my people go' pharaoh myth. People just need to let it go.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Henry – what's your point? All A's in SC is the same as all D's in Massachusetts...

      June 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • SouthCarolinaAtheist

      WHAT??? I have never been so insulted.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Vic

      "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.

      "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"

      Read the a r t i c l e and watch the videos!

      June 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • SouthCarolinaAtheist

      My school was one of the top in the nation!

      June 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Ave atque Vale

      Lucifer's Evil Twin
      "Ave atque Vale" Hawai'ian translation "ALOHA"

      Yeah (shalom too, I think). That reminds me... where has HawaiiGuest gone?

      June 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • SouthCarolinaAtheist

      Where ya at Lucifer? You seem to make your insults and then run!

      June 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • get to know your religion

      I've been wondering about HG as well.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      HawaiiGuest is in the military... maybe he is TDY or deployed? Haven't seen him in a while... then again I've been pretty busy myself...

      @SCAtheist – sorry dude... also, I am working on a report on a different system. That's more important than flipping back to NIPR to see what everyone is yelling at each other...at any particular moment.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Alias

      It's hard to find one reasonable criteria for ranking schools, but overall it seems SC is a full average for the country. Of course, they look real smart compared to most of the south, and clearly one full spot above Kentucky.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Science

      Comedy Gold.

      http://piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/07/piers-morgan-live-rewind-bringing-religion-into-school-the-nsa-data-mining-program-and-what-to-do-about-it/#comment-191586

      June 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Science

      Surf with cookies off and delete daily anyway an data mining.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Science

      Oops on

      June 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  16. palintwit

    Why is it everytime someone mentions Sarah Palin I think of slope-headed inbreds with more guns than teeth? Trailer trash goobers who wear beany-copter hats and drink out of mason-jars. Low lifes whose idea of a night out is taking their cousin to a Chick-fil-A. ( I also think of nascar )

    June 11, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • ME II

      No one ever mentions Palin, except you, of course.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Frank

      Palin has a mouth full of teeth.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Yeah but she's a demon in the sack.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      nclaw441
      “The existence of God is not a matter of proof; it is a matter of faith. We should not even attempt to try and prove God's existence.”

      Except that 1 Peter 3:15 commands that you always be ready to provide a reason why you believe. Or do you not follow what the bible says?

      June 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Sorry, posted in wrong spot.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  17. Alias

    @CNN

    We are getting tired of posting the same thing over and over on the same articles.
    Please give us a new article so we can all post the same things in a new place.

    It make it feel more interesting.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • .

      That's already been said before.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      but not on this thread!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  18. Vic

    Breaking News...Breaking News...

    It seems like Roy Costner IV has called the Atheist Hotline and started praying for them...

    Breaking News...Breaking News...

    Just kidding!! 😆

    June 11, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Praying is about as useful as a chocolate coffee pot.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • The real Tom

      Or a screen door in a submarine.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Vic

      Supplicating the Almighty High, Father, Son & Holy Spirit for mercy & meeting our needs works according to His Will.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • WASP

      @santa:the chocolate coffee pot would taste better and is more filling than the prayers as well. 🙂 XD

      June 11, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      The power of positive thought can be beneficial. Take sick people for example, prayer may act as a powerful placebo for some.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • JMEF

      ...sorry Dave...
      Takes a real genius to pray to the god that made them sick in the first place so they can feel better, religious logic at its best.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      You're missing the point entirely. Positive thought can instill a placebo effect in patients, and prayer is positive thought to religious people. There's no religious logic at work here.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Vic

      I posted a while back on a different blog site that placebo effect reveals supernatural powers.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Vicky, why don't your prayers cure your schizophrenia?

      June 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      No Vic, they don't.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Research showed that people who were aware others were praying for them during an illness actually had a worse outcome.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      why do you feel you need mercy, vic?

      June 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Vic

      Just an online (cyber) observation:

      @T r Tom "....."

      Do you have the Oedipus complex?!

      June 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Tom

      I imagine results would vary and the severity of the illness would be a major contributory factor. Prayer isn't going to cure ebola.

      June 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    God. The one who loves you so much, that he created hell in case you don't love him back... LOL

    June 11, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Pete

      Fear is the greatest selling tool which is why the writers created hell to sell their god.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Science

      Dyslexic doG and the red horn-y beast with pitch goes with the deal..............Comedy Gold.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Science

      Oops forgot fork.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Science

      Hey Dog............just had a bible thumper com to the door................to damn funny...........had bible in hand...

      Took stone and magnet and sent him away shaking his head. took 2 minutes. LOL

      June 11, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Science

      Oops come.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Science

      COMEDY GOLD................it is THE PEARLY GATES !.............what a JOKE !

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-18/#respond

      Every thread on the belief blog really.

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

      Sh-it the little blue box now that is funny.

      My Take: Will gay rights infringe on religious liberty? – CNN ...

      religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/25/my-take-will-gay-rights-infringe...

      Mar 25, 2013 · Better than Comedy GOLD.....it is THE PEARLY GATES !.....what a JOKE ! Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate. ... it is THE PEARLY GATES !.....what a JOKE !

      http://www.bing.com/search?q=COMEDY+GOLD................it+is+THE+PEARLY+GATES+%21.............what+a+JOKE+%21&form=HPNTDF&pc=HPNTDF&src=IE-SearchBox

      June 11, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Science

      Oops there was more there...................good jokes too.

      1,320,000 results Any time

      June 11, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  20. Bill Deacon

    Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4: 7

    June 11, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      What wisdom do you think you possess, Dill? The "wisdom" that tells you that you have some superior moral fiber that atheists lack? The "wisdom" to know what is best for another person as concerns her own body? The "wisdom" to know when to mind your own business as to who shall marry whom? The "wisdom" to recognize that laws aren't based on the bible and that no one has to live by your beliefs?

      Doesn't appear you have gotten much "wisdom" at all.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • JamesK

      Bill
      My dictionary defines wisdom as "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment". This makes it more wise to be an atheist than a believer, right?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Terry

      Sure, Bill. We'll all put our secret decoder rings on.

      Better google that one, fool.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Sue

      So, Bill, then will your loving god be OK with people who aren't "wise" enough to see things as you do through your particularly distorted pair of glasses (and don't believe your nonsense)?

      Or will he threaten them with torture forever, a punishment that should get him regarded as a serious human rights abuser?

      Your holy book says the case is the latter. So, no thanks. I won't bow to or worship such an ass hole of a "god". Please keep your crazy delusions, to yourself.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Science

      Hey bill go with out water............. there is your fairy.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Al

      Selling your daughter Bible style. Exodus 21:7

      June 11, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • WASP

      @bill: wisdom is merely the ability to use the information your brain stores to make your life and those around you better.
      nothing mystical to wisdom or knowledge.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @BIll
      “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!”

      – Robert Heinlein

      June 11, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      "What a maroon!" The Book of Bugs 14:4

      June 11, 2013 at 1:40 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.