We have heard a lot about courage lately and it is driving me crazy.
The latest cowardly lion to burst on to the stage is Roy Costner IV. He was valedictorian at Liberty High in Pickens County, South Carolina and was thus was allowed to give a graduation speech. Like many schools, the speech has to be approved in advance by the principal. Since it was going to be an approved speech representing the school, the prinicipal apparently told him to leave out any mention of religion. This is a little a bit of grey area. In general, a student can make personal statements about their religion, but no one at the public school ceremony should be leading a Christian prayer.
To Roy Costner IV, this was too much of a restriction, so he submitted one version to the school for approval, but read another version. With a flare for the dramatic, he “courageously” tore up the approved speech and read, in part, “I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age. And, I think most of you will understand when I say ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, …”, thus, reciting the Lord’s Prayer in full to thunderous applause from the audience.
Since then the Christian media has crown Roy Costner IV there new hero. The American Thinker writes
This brave stand has resonated with many Americans, as evidenced by 600,000 views on YouTube and coverage by major media outlets like CNN. Suppressing convictions of Americans because they happen to be religious in nature is unconstitutional and just plain wrong. For the liberty to believe and express one’s beliefs is a freedom to which countless men have fought and died. Perhaps Costner’s courageous speech will help remind us of who we are.
Excuse me? Courage is going against the majority view and standing up for the minority. Jessica Ahlquist was courageous in getting an illegal prayer banner removed from a school wall. Rebecca Vitsmun was courageous for saying “I am actually an Atheist” on national television when pestered by Wolf Blitzer to praise his lord. The complainants at Valley High and Connellsville Junior High who have to use pseudonyms due to threats of retaliation by ‘good Christian folk’ are courageous.
On the other hand, the conservative branding of courage is just plain silly. Priscilla from the News Hounds (We watch Fox so you don’t have to!) summed it up in a wonderful post:
Megyn Kelly Drools Over Newest Christian Boy Hero Who Defied School Prayer Ban
After introducing Costner, she asked him what it “felt like” when he heard the cheers. Costner said it was an “awesome moment.” Kelly wanted to know if he “got the chills.” When he said he had “goose bumps all over,” Kelly said “awwww.” Kelly described the serious school administrators, seated behind Costner, as “a buzz kill.” She scrunched up her pretty face as she noted that these old squares had to pre-approve his speech. Course this being “fair & balanced” Fox News, Kelly didn’t mention that the school district has come under fire for its attempts to foist Christianity on all students and that’s why they tried to ensure that there was no appearance of schools sponsored prayer at graduation – which, as attorney Kelly should know, has been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. (Lee vs.Weisman)
In addition, Annie Laurie Gaylor from FFRF writes:
If Costner went to a Christian school, there would be no discussion, said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. But in public schools, even in a place where there may be a religious majority, prayers such as his are clearly unconstitutional, she said. What’s more, she added, what he did shows contempt for school district policy and a lack of sensitivity for his audience.
“It’s aggressive. It’s supremely rude,” she said. “This student is old enough to know that not everyone in the audience is Christian.”
I would like to a see a little more Scarecrow and little more Tinman. Unfortunately, Roy Costner IV is lacking brains, a heart, or courage to stand up for the Constitution and for the non-Christian minorities, which are the actual freedoms to which countless men (and women) have fought and died to uphold.