Video: HS band barred for playing hymn, crowd sings it instead

Just when you’re starting to think that the entire country is going down the tubes sideways, a story comes along to remind you that it all just might work out in the end after all. Todd Starnes at Fox news uncovered one of those small town stories of political correctness infecting the courts and running completely off the rails this week. At Brandon High School in Mississippi, the traditional Friday Night football game was missing their halftime show. The school’s marching band had been ordered off the field because their presentation included the hymn How Great Thou Art. That may sound strange, but it was the result of a court order. (Fox)


In 2013 a student sued the district over a series of Christian meetings that had been held on school property, the newspaper reported. The district later settled the lawsuit and acknowledged they had violated the student’s First Amendment rights.

In July, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves ruled the district had violated the agreement after a Christian minister delivered a prayer at an awards ceremony.

Judge Reeves, who was appointed to the bench by President Obama, came down hard on the school district — ordering them to pay thousands of dollars in fines. He also warned the district that future violations would cost them $10,000.

“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,” the order reads.

I suppose the marching band playing a hymn out on the football field falls under the category of “prayer, religious sermons or activities.” So the band was benched and it looked like it would be a quiet and significantly less joyous halftime. That is, as Starnes described it, until one person stood up. Then another. And another. And before you knew it, this is what happened.

Starnes describes the event beautifully.

And what they did — would become known as the musical shot heard around the world.

During halftime of Friday night’s game – a lone voice began to sing the forbidden song.

“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,” the singer sang.

Brittany Mann was there and she witnessed the entire moment of defiance.

“We were just sitting there and then one by one people started to stand,” she told me. “At first, it started out as a hum but the sound got louder and louder.”

She said it was a “truly incredible” moment to watch hundreds of people singing together in the stadium.


People often scoff at the idea of a “slippery slope” in politics, but this is probably one of the prime examples of how real the premise can be. When the courts decided to ban prayer in school it opened the door to a virtual extermination of religion on school grounds. It’s simply ludicrous to believe that there is some threat being posed by a school band playing the instrumental version of a hymn. It also reinforces the politically correct idea that, beyond freedom of religion, your freedom of speech somehow includes the idea that you are protected against hearing any speech you disagree with. If we found a school where children of other faiths were being forced to participate in a prayer to a different god than the one they worship, I’d be right on board with criticizing them. But the idea that you can never be exposed to a different religion is insane.

And while we’re on the subject, how did we wind up at the point where it simply applies to schools? The basis for that argument was that the schools were funded with taxpayer money, but wouldn’t the same rationale then be applied to any government function on all government property? How is it that the President can attend the National Prayer Breakfast every year? For that matter, when the current president was inaugurated, how is it that we could have an invocation, a benediction and the playing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic on government property? There’s a big disconnect in these rulings and this Mississippi judge is a prime symptom of what’s gone wrong.


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David Strom 5:20 PM | April 19, 2024