The small town of Brandon, MS has gained quite an amount of attention over the last week. The attention stems from the Brandon High School band’s plans to play the Christian classic, “How Great Thou Art.” The local school board ordered the band off the field, forbidding them to perform at halftime of the opening football game of the season. The reason the school board reached such a decision is because a student, Magdalene Bedi, sued the school district in 2013, claiming her first amendment rights had been violated by sermons, prayers and religious activities conducted at the school. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves found in favor of Bedi and fined the school $7,500. He subsequently declared a $10,000 fine for any future violations. With the school playing up to 13 football games the school board did not chance such an enormous fine and ordered the band off the field. The rest of the story, as I read it, is a lone voice in the bleachers began singing the lyrics of “How Great Thou Art.” Soon the stadium was full of voices in unison singing the classic hymn. What would have been simply an instrumental performance by the band was now a Bill Gather sing along. Satan tried to give God a black eye and got knocked out. I suspect over the next few weeks there will be a movement of God among the students of Brandon. We need to remember what some intend for evil God uses for good. This is what Joseph told his brother in Genesis 50:20. I thank God for the display of the citizens of Brandon. They did not break the law. They submitted to authority and they glorified Jesus. God will honor such a demonstration.
My final thought on this matter is are we really going to ban classic Christian anthems from school music programs? I have always thought school music classes and programs were a way of celebrating our culture. America doesn’t have much culture because our nation is so young compared to the rest of the world. As a child, in music, we sang “Home on the Range,” “America the Beautiful,” “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” “Red River Valley,” and added to those we sang “Amazing Grace.” Christianity is a real part of our culture. Bands perform Motown and Punk Rock songs at halftime. I suspect somewhere a band will perform John Lennon’s song, “Imagine” that romanticizes about a Godless, communist society. All of these, while not necessarily my cup of tea, are acceptable to reasonable people because these genres are part of the American history. The liberal revisionists want to rewrite history where Christianity is not a major portion of our cultural history. Well, after last Friday night Christianity might still be more a part of our culture than we imagined.