Dan Gilmore / Aug. 24, 2015

Football Crowd Circumvents Judge’s Order

Singing “How Great Thou Art” in spite of the courts.

To be fair, the county’s hands were tied. After a student sued the school district because in 2013 the school held, in the words of the Clarion-Ledger, several “Christian assemblies,” the Rankin County School District still had a Christian pastor deliver a prayer at an award ceremony and distributed Gideon Bibles. In response, a federal judge ordered the school to halt every iota of religious expression in the schools. “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 said. And that meant the rendition of “How Great Thou Art” the Brandon High School band was working on could not be performed at the football game halftime show. But the action that could land the school district with a contempt of court charge is perfectly fine for a lone citizen to do. As Todd Starnes writes, “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. … Oh what a sight it must have been — as hundreds and hundreds of people stood together and with one voice sent a message to Judge Reeves.” And in that moment, the community demonstrated what it cherished, and what it stood for.

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