Federal Judge Carlton Reeves Orders Marching Band to Remove Hymn from Halftime Show-Mostly Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves ordered a Mississippi high school marching band to remove the hymn “How Great Thou Art” from its halftime performance.
This one is mostly true.
U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves issued an order that “permanently enjoined” religious activities at the school, which includes the marching band’s performance of a hymn.
Reeves, who was appointed to the bench by President Obama in 2010, didn’t specifically nix the hymn from halftime performances at Brandon High School in Mississippi. But the Rankin County School Board announced it had decided to strike the hymn because of Reeves’s injunction against religious activities at the school:
The order states: ‘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.’
If we were to perform this show, taking a chance of how it would be perceived by others, and the court deems it is in violation of previous rulings, not only would the Rankin County School District face harsh fines, but also RCSD would be forced to terminate the employment of anyone associated with the decision to perform the show.
Reeves issued the order in response to a lawsuit that was filed in 2013 against the Rankin County School District over Christian assemblies held at schools in the district.
The school board agreed that it had violated the student’s First Amendment rights and settled the lawsuit. The student received $7,500 in the settlement, plus attorney fees. An order issued by Reeves also said the district would pay a $10,000 fine per violation going forward, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
Fox News reported that community members protested the hymn’s removal from the halftime show at the first football game of the year by singing the hymn from the bleachers:
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.
Even though Judge Reeves didn’t single out the marching band’s performance of a hymn during halftime, we’re calling this one mostly true since his order compelled the school board to remove it.