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Atheist group blasts teen valedictorian for reciting Lord’s Prayer

WWII Jesus Memorial
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A video of high school valedictorian Roy Costner IV setting his approved speech aside and reciting the Lord’s Prayer has gone viral, much to the chagrin of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

The Wisconsin-based atheist group blasted Costner’s gallant effort as “open defiance,” according to Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes.

“The valedictorian who so insensitively inflicted Christian prayer on a captive audience at a secular graduation ceremony, is a product of a school district which itself set an unconstitutional example by hosting school board prayer,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a prepared statement.

The S.C. school district had been in a battle over public prayers after FFRF filed a complaint objecting to what they called an “unconstitutional prayer practice,” Starnes reported.

After taking the podium last Saturday, Costner thanked his parents for his Christian upbringing and then said: “And I think most of you will understand when I say…” and then began reciting the Lord’s Prayer in spite of the school district’s decision to not include prayer at graduation ceremonies.

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” Costner declared. “Thy Kingdom come…” As surprised attendees realized what was happening, applause broke out accompanied by loud cheers.

American Center for Law & Justice’s Matthew Clark wrote last year that FFRF’s goal “is to eradicate every vestige of our religious heritage as a nation.”

Clark noted that the organization “has tried to ban the National Motto, silence the Pledge of Allegiance, eradicate public prayer, and now remove a nearly six decades old World War II memorial.”

In response to his actions, Costner said: “I’m happy with what I did. I want this to glorify God. I want to use this as a witnessing tool and I hope others will stand up for God in our nation.”

Todd Starnes gives a gripping account of the teen’s mindset leading up to his courageous stand, which can be read in it’s entirety here.

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Tom Tillison

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