Roy Costner IV Rips up Speech, Recites Lord's Prayer at Liberty High School

(Washingtontimes) A South Carolina valedictorian garnered wild applause after he ripped up his pre-approved speech and deliver...

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Comment by kris feenstra on June 6, 2013 at 6:32pm

Heh, if that had been my grad I'd have gone up and unplugged his mic. I actually respect the fact that he was willing to put his conviction first in ripping up the approved speech, but I also entirely disrespect that his belief is in self-centred promotion of his religion when acting as the representative of a broader group.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on June 6, 2013 at 9:17pm

So that's what passes for rebellious youth in 21st century South Carolina: recitation of a Christian prayer.

The valedictorian at my high school graduation in Massachusetts-- upon being given his diploma and being offered a handshake from the principal-- grabbed the man by the ears and planted a sloppy kiss right on his bald head. Then he produced a can of beer, held it up, and said into the mike, "I guess I'll have to leave now," and left the stage. The place went nuts: standing ovation, stomping feet, whistling, kids waving lighters back and forth, cheering, and all the dignitaries up there with 'deer in the headlights' expressions. Three or four other kids walked out as well.

This was an act of protest after several class members were kicked out of the senior show and banned from graduation for getting caught with a can of beer at a rehearsal. The format changed after that moment. No walk across the stage for a handshake and a diploma. We all stayed in our seats and got our diplomas in the mail, I suppose for fear we'd all follow suit with the 'kiss and fuck off' instead of the handshake.

Comment by Ed on June 6, 2013 at 9:57pm

The question is what does our 1st amendment right to freedom of speech really mean? Are we supposed to acquiesce to the demands of school authoritarians and not say those things that truly represent our identity? As valedictorian is he expected to maintain the codes of modern political correctness? I think not. While I don't agree with his compulsion to promote religion he does make a point. Would it have been any different if he had lambasted those in attendance for their silly faith in a god who cannot be proven to exist?

Comment by kris feenstra on June 6, 2013 at 11:10pm

Would it have been any different if he had lambasted those in attendance for their silly faith in a god who cannot be proven to exist?

Valedictorian is not really granted as a personal pulpit. It's a position which represents one's peers at graduation. The speech should seek to reflect the graduating class and not alienate parts of it. If you can't live up to that responsibility, why take it? Granted, once you have that position, it's on you to do with it what you will, but if I delivered an anti-theist valedictorian address, I don't think any religious grad would be out of order to spit in my face, literally or figuratively.

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on June 7, 2013 at 3:20am

I see this differently. It's push-back against atheists trying to change the culture. The whole reason he wasn't allowed to say a prayer before hand was because the county School board banned prayer at ceremonies because of a lawsuit. Since probably 80% of the students in that school (at least if not more it is South Carolina) were raised with religion, then it no wonder that they ate up his actions. It's interesting to note that as we are more successful in removing prayer from public functions, prayer can take the form of protest and fits well with the christian-persecution mythos.

On a side note, I agree with this in that his action were not noble but, self-righteous. And while he got Matthew 6: 7-13 right, he should have paid more attention to Matthew 6: 5-6.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on June 7, 2013 at 6:20am

Just to show more Christian privilege: this kid won't be punished, but in Alabama when a Native American girl wants to wear an eagle feather, a sacred symbol, bestowed to her in honor of her graduation, she gets fined a $1,000

Comment by Ed on June 7, 2013 at 7:32am

@ Kris

If the majority of the graduating class were religious it goes that he was representing his peers.

I agree with Sagacious Hawk that it represents "push-back."

Comment by Ray R. on June 7, 2013 at 9:24am
What an ignorant , self righteous , little prick . How in hell did he get to be valedictorian ? Doesn't say much for his peers .
Comment by Dr. Bob on June 7, 2013 at 12:07pm

One typically gets to be valedictorian by having the highest GPA in the school.  So perhaps not all that ignorant for a high school student.  As a public speaker, he also apparently knew his audience well based on the reaction he got.

I'm not a fan of public prayer in mixed company.  This, however, was less a prayer and more an act of civil disobedience. 

Comment by kris feenstra on June 7, 2013 at 1:42pm


He was representing a portion of his peers, but if prayer was banned due to complaints from atheist parents, then it's reasonable to wager it also puts him at odds with some of his other peers. It was, in their school, a contentious issue.

As for push back, you'd think someone that age could think of a more creative way to get it done while addressing principle, and without using the address as a venue to push his own religious needs.


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