ICC Note: According to reports, Mississippi’s Brandon High School’s marching band was restricted from playing during halftime because the hymn “How Great Thou Art” was a part of the routine, in violation of a previous court order. News of the restriction quickly spread around town. At a recent game, in an act of defiance, an individual from the crowd began to sing the song, eventually leading to the rest of the crowd joining in.
By Todd Starnes
08/21/2015 United States (Fox News) – There was no halftime show under the Friday night lights at Mississippi’s Brandon High School — the marching band had been benched.
The band was ordered off the field because the Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art” was a part of their halftime show — in violation of a federal court order.
“The Rankin County School Board and District Office are very saddened students will not be able to perform their halftime show they have worked so hard on this summer,” the district wrote in a statement to the Clarion Ledger newspaper.
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.