Roy Costner IV, a former public school student from South Carolina, stunned the audience at his high school graduation last weekend when he ripped up his previously-approved valedictorian speech, going on, instead, to speak about God – and then deliver the Lord’s prayer.
The act, which drew loud applause, was taken in opposition to the School District of Pickens County’s decision to axe prayers from graduation events, Christian News reports. Officials said that they had recently received complaints from atheist activists and church-state separatists, leading to the removal of invocations from all school events.
But that didn’t stop Costner.
The Liberty High School ceremony is already making its way into national headlines, as the valedictorian’s actions and the subsequent cheers this past Saturday were caught on video.
As he spoke, Costner went from merely mentioning “the Lord” to jumping right into the well-known prayer.
“Those that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today. I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age,” he said. “And I think most of you will understand when I say -”
And that’s when he commenced the popular invocation.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” Costner continued. “Thy Kingdom come…”
Throughout the entirety of the prayer, cheers and clapping raged. The school district, which, as stated, was already facing scrutiny over graduation prayers earlier this year, has no plans to punish the former student for his actions (after all, he’s no longer under their authority, so what retribution could he receive?).
Some in attendance praised the speech as bold, while it’s likely that atheist activists and other church-state separatists will be less-than-contented by the inclusion of prayer.
“I think it took a lot of courage to do that,” one attendee said of Costner’s decision. “People were [supportive] that he stood up for what he believed in.”
Students, according to the district, must have their speeches approved before delivering them at graduation. While Costner began speaking from his secular script, he eventually deviated and invoked his faith.