Under Threat of $10,000 Fine, MS District Halts Marching Band Halftime Show Featuring Christian Hymn August 22, 2015

Under Threat of $10,000 Fine, MS District Halts Marching Band Halftime Show Featuring Christian Hymn

I’ve posted multiple times about the Rankin County School District (in Mississippi). This is a District where a school held a religious assembly during the school day, only to be exposed by one of the students, then held another one a year later. This is a place where another school in the District held a Gideon Bible giveaway. And this is a place where the Superintendent blocked the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance. Because of all this, a judge ruled that any future violations of church/state separation would result in an automatic $10,000 fine.

You’d think officials there would finally get the hint: The School District is not a church. They cannot be in the business of promoting religion.

I guess it still hasn’t sunk in.

Last night, the Brandon High School marching band members were told — just before the first football game of the season — that they could not perform because part of their show involved the Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art.”

That’s a song that includes these lyrics:

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

How you march to that, I have no clue.

What’s amazing is that the band director selected this song back in February, and the band members obviously practiced it for months… and yet no one said anything. Either no one realized a Christian hymn was problematic, or no one wanted to speak up and incite backlash.

Lucky for them, the School Board realized at the last possible moment that allowing the show to take place would trigger that court-mandated penalty, so they put a stop to it before it could go on. The band director wound up sending an email to students explaining the problem:

When I picked the halftime show in late February of last year it was with full administrative support, but the Rankin County School Board has decided that we are not allowed to perform the half time show due to recent court rulings,” an email from band director Tim Cagle stated.

School Board president Ann Sturdivant said because of the court order, the board “had no choice” but to make the decision it did.

So what happened during halftime?

The band didn’t play. They just sat on the sidelines. (That’s what fake Christian Persecution looks like, I suppose.)

The students and parents in the stands sang the hymn on their own, which they’re welcome to do, but gave away the fact that this was indeed a Christian song that had no business in a school-sponsored halftime show.

Mostly, I feel sorry for the band kids. I used to be in their shoes and I remember how much work went into those halftime performances. Because of Director Tim Cagle‘s irresponsibility, they have to modify their show before the next home game if they want the chance to step onto the field. Cagle owes them all an apology. He should’ve known better.

(Image via Paolo Bona / Shutterstock.com. Thanks to everyone for the link)

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