Published On: Fri, Jun 7th, 2013

Roy Costner, South Carolina student rips up valedictorian speech, says Lord’s Prayer in response to prayer ban

Roy Costner IV, the student from South Carolina who 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, now talks about why he did this. (See video below)

 “God’s such a big, important part of our life with everything going on, our community really needed it,” Costner tells The Blaze. “Our community is really strongly opposed to the school district’s decision to remove prayer.”

Roy Costner Lords Prayer graduation speechAs for Costner, he believes that the removal of God and prayer from public schools will have negative consequences.

“Originally, they were only supposed to take away prayer in the school district before meetings — [but then] they blew it way out of proportion, taking prayers out of anything,” he said, noting that teachers aren’t even allowed to participate in invocation events before the school day begins.

All if this in mind, Costner felt compelled to take action.

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.

“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…”

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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation negotiating details in South Carolina school district lawsuit over graduation prayer - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Roy Costner created a stir at in another South Carolina graduation when he delivered the Lord’s Prayer(photographed) – read more here […]

  2. musclepharm assault review says:

    At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast coming yet again to
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  3. Your Name... says:

    It is so not solution for ban the Pray .

  4. S. J, Mazzotta says:


    Was Mr. Costner praying in a synagogue? On a street corner? No? Then the passage you cited does not apply to him; does it?

  5. Jenny says:

    Roy Costner you’re my hero!!! God BLESS you!

  6. john says:

    Really, Matthew 6.5, you really need to get out a little. I can see you do not smile allot and you hate everyone around you who does follow the good book word for word. I’m pound of him; he stood up for something he believes in, right in front of god, country and his peers.

  7. doug says:

    Isn’t the issue here really his freedom of speech? He didn’t ask anyone to join in with him or to convert to his way of thinking. He merely exercised his constitutional right to express his thoughts. He was not speaking as a representative of the school-he’s not an employee-but an American citizen who is free to say what he believes, just as anyone is free to not agree with him. I would support anyone of any faith or none in this circumstance.

  8. Bill says:

    A selfish young man who does not even follow the words of his own God.

    Matthew 6:5
    When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

    • Karyn says:

      Bill…he wasn’t doing it to show off or boast his religion. He did it because the school board told the students they weren’t allowed to pray at graduation. The separation of church and state does not mean students can’t pray…they can’t be forced to pray. He wanted to pray and felt he and fellow classmates were being denied that right.

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