A Mississippi school district had just been through some serious gavel pounding from a federal judge — including a $7,500 fine — and didn't want any more problems.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves gave Rankin County School District the word on July 10, saying it promoted Christianity during school hours after it agreed to stop. So Reeves fined the district $7,500 and again ordered it to stop sponsoring prayers at graduations, assemblies, athletic competitions and other school events, WLBT-TV reported.
"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," Reeves added.
So when the district learned that Brandon High School's marching band was planning to play the Christian hymn "How Great Thou Art" during halftime at Friday night's football season opener, it was decided that was too close to the judge's ban and the performance was cancelled.
But that didn't stop dozens of parents and students and fans from performing 'How Great Thou Art" on their own:
"It bothers me because you look at the schools and all of the school shootings and all the bad things that are happening, and wonder why," parent Kimberly Moore told WLBT. "It's because we're allowing evil to step in."
"I don't fault our school district because I know they are trying to do what's right as a community and for the school," Moore added. "But ... in another I'm like we gotta take a stand on behalf of Christ."
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