Mississippi high school band ordered to stop playing Christian hymn

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A federal court ruling means the high school band is banned from playing the song "How Great Thou Art" during half-time performances. (KTRK)

A high school band in Brandon, Mississippi, has been told to stop playing religious music during its half-time performance.

The band's half-time show includes the song "How Great Thou Art." School officials say playing the song at a football game would violate a federal court order issued earlier this year, WJTV-TV reports. The court order bans prayer, religious sermons and other religious activities from school-sponsored events.

The federal lawsuit was filed two years ago by student Magdalene Bedi. She filed the suit in response to the number of Christian assemblies and prayers being held on the high school campus.

"This is not an attack on Christianity. It's the constitution," Bedi told WJTV-TV. "There are very clear cases that outline religion in schools. The district has been violating it for years, so much so that some people don't even realize what the actual law is."

If the band was to perform the song, the school district could face a $10,000 fine. Now, band members and other community leaders are trying to fight back, painting cars with the phrase "How Great Thou Art" in hopes of getting support to get the ruling overturned.

"We want to stand in solidarity with Brandon High School band. We want to stand together with all other Christians, all other citizens who want to fight this with us," Salvation Army Captain Ken Chapman told WJTV-TV.

School leaders say they also don't agree with the federal court ruling, but they will enforce the decision because it is the law.
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