People have to learn to stop applauding unethical conduct.
Roy Costner IV, honored with the opportunity to give the valedictory speech to fellow graduates of Liberty High School in Pickens County, South Carolina, decided to defy the School District’s decision to exclude prayers at graduation ceremonies. He began his prepared and approved graduation speech, then tore it up dramatically and segued into the Lord’s Prayer, to the apparent delight of many in attendance.
Roy accepted the invitation to give the speech under known conditions. He submitted text, supposedly in good faith. The school trusted him to meet his commitments. Instead, he hijacked the graduation ceremony for his own religious agenda.
One spectator told reporters that “it took a lot of courage” to do what Costner did. Baloney. There was nothing brave about his stunt. What was the school supposed to do? He had graduated. He couldn’t be arrested. Tackling him or turning off his microphone would have disrupted the ceremony further. He took no real risks: it was grandstanding. It was also a betrayal of trust, a broken promise, unfair to those who didn’t come to the a graduation ceremony to hear a sermon, and disrespectful of the school and attendees who were not religious. It was a purely unethical act in multiple ways. It was neither admirable nor noble.
If Costner wanted to protest the decision not to allow prayers at graduation, he could have declined the honor of speaking. He could have boycotted the ceremony. He could have carried a sign outside the festivities. Lying about what he was going to say, however, and double-crossing his school to give a forbidden prayer is no better, ethically speaking, than throwing away his speech and doing a Chris Rock routine, singing “Me So Horny,” or mooning the audience.
Those who applauded him for this inconsiderate and selfish act were as ethically out of line as he was.
Facts: Washington Times