Christian hymn gets school band banned from opening game

From Mississippi News Now

By Maggie Wade

The Brandon (Miss.) High School Band did not perform at halftime during a season-opening game Friday night.  A statement from the Rankin County School District says a July federal court order is the reason the band was banned from Friday night's halftime show.

The band had been slated to perform the hymn "How Great Thou Art."

The district made the decision to ban the halftime show after learning the hymn was included in the performance.

"It bothers me because you look at the schools and all of the school shootings and all the bad things that are happening, and wonder why. It's because we're allowing evil to step in," parent Kimberly Moore said.

Moore and dozens of parents and students sang the hymn during halftime Friday night in response to those who banned its performance.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a court order on July 10, which said "defendants are permanently enjoined from including prayer, religious sermons or activities in any school sponsored event including but not limited to assemblies, graduations, award ceremonies, athletic events and any other school event. That means administrators, teachers and staff of the Rankin County School District may not participate in any religious activity, or solicit or encourage religious activities at school or while performing duties as a RCSD employee.”

Judge Reeves said the district continued to promote Christianity during school hours after it agreed to stop. He fined the district $7,500 and again ordered it to stop sponsoring prayers at graduations, assemblies, athletic competitions and other school events.

The Rankin County School District and the Rankin County School Board felt the halftime performance of a church hymn would violate Judge Reeves' order, and they could be fined another $10,000 per violation.

"I don't fault our school district because I know they are trying to do what's right as a community and for the school. But in one sense I don't fault 'em and in another I'm like we gotta take a stand on behalf of Christ," Moore said.


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