Thursday, June 06, 2013

High School Graduate – Roy Costner IV - Going against the Grain for One’s Faith – Since When Do Christians in the US need Courage to Express their Faith?

Roy Costner was the class valedictorian of Clemson’s, Liberty High School and he has done something that makes him a hero in some people’s eyes, and unethical in others. According to Local NBC 12, Costner, who had a prepared and approved speech for the graduation ceremonies, decided to go a different route. The school district had banned prayer, and Costner, in a display of passion only the young and devout can manage, gave a short speech, ripped up the prepared speech, and launched into a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The fact that the end of the prayer is barely audible due to the cheering of his fellow students (shown in the video below) (NBC News), speaks volumes about how the young of our nation understand the oppression of religion, or more specifically Christianity, in today’s politically correct society.

Link to You Tube Video Roy Costner Graduation Prayer


The headline from MSN “High school valedictorian rips up speech, says Lord's Prayer –

Roy Costner IV decided God was going to be part of his graduation regardless of what others thought” is telling of how the “mainstream” believes Christianity should be expressed – obviously not in public. The article’s final paragraph cites why this was such a “crime” against our society:

“Eby told Christian News that Costner was showing his opposition to the school district's decision to omit prayers from school-related events. The policy switch came after school officials received complaints from atheist activists and church-state separatists.”

Eby refers to the school districts spokesman, and there will be no action taken against Costner, according to the same article. Atheists who believe in no God, apparently misread the Constitution, along with so many others who have a lack of understanding of the document that guides our nation’s laws and practices. Separation of Church and State only means that no one religion would be established above all others. Therefore, expressing one’s faith in a public building or venue is certainly acceptable – regardless of that faith. It would be unacceptable if say Congress and a like minded Executive Branch made a law that stated everyone in the nation must practice “Veganism” – that would be against the Constitution, however, prayer, and religious displays, in public and private in our nation – are not.

Yet, each year, more religious symbols, especially those of a Christian nature, are found to be disappearing from the public square, as if, it is shameful, or worse, hurtful to others to be – Christian. In using the term Christian, this is being applied to all denominations. It is with this knowledge, that today’s youth are rebelling against the marginalization of their faith, regardless of how it is seen or is meant to be seen by government officials who are threatened by lawsuits by groups who have no idea of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. Those officials take down Christmas objects from the public square, stop the singing of Christmas Carols in schools, go so far as to ban Christmas colors (red and green) at the “Holidays” – lest someone be offended.

It is the constant derision that is driving young men and women, to express themselves more openly – and to the youth who felt this young man was courageous for doing so – truth be told – he was. So often we are told to tone down our religious beliefs, by display or spoken word – by family members to strangers who find it “uncomfortable”. How on earth did this happen?

Most likely because Christians, turning the other cheek, in a biblically correct manner, never thought to protest the erosion of their rights. Or perhaps, it was due to those who would deride them publicly for doing so: A fine example comes from the blog: ironically titled: “Ethics”. The headline reads:”Bad Valedictorian Ethics In Pickens County”, and what follows is alarmingly bitter:

Roy Costner IV, honored with the opportunity to give the valedictory speech to fellow graduates of Liberty High School in Pickens County, South Carolina, decided to defy the School District’s decision to exclude prayers at graduation ceremonies. He began his prepared and approved graduation speech, then tore it up dramatically and segued into the Lord’s Prayer, to the apparent delight of many in attendance.


Roy accepted the invitation to give the speech under known conditions. He submitted text, supposedly in good faith. The school trusted him to meet his commitments. Instead, he hijacked the graduation ceremony for his own religious agenda.

Although, the writer obviously has a right to their opinion, it is just that, an opinion, and just as right is the young man’s decision to recite the Lord’s Prayer in lieu of a prepared speech. It was his honor, not the schools honor, it was his speech to make, and that particular prayer, the one given to all Christians by Jesus Christ himself, is more than appropriate today. This is especially true as these young men and women are faced with challenges that 2 or 3 generations ago were not even considered as egregious. The fact that they are now faced with college, and a huge debt, with much uncertainty as to whether or not they can find employment once they graduate, is a key factor, Let alone the state of moral decay into which our nation has fallen, in biblical terms, one might suggest we are as bad if not worse than Sodom and Gomorrah of the Old Testament. Therefore, with news of murders, gangs, injustices, wars, and poverty and corruption on every level of government, the need for religion is greater today than it has ever been. If one is a Christian, (Catholic, Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist, et. al.) one might be more prone to pray, for themselves and for everyone in this nation.

However, that might get them in some hot water, or derided by peers, or censored by a school. It should not, and for that reason, this young man’s act was heroic – he gave a gift to his classmates, as well as the world – the gift of saying, expressing one’s faith is ok. That young man taught a lesson all of us can appreciate, stand up for one’s self, one’s faith, and the U.S. Constitution. That is this bloggers opinion.

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