How Lame Art Thou Squabbles

How Lame Art Thou Squabbles

Corey WilsonThursday,27 August 2015

The war on Christianity continues in America. On Friday, a high school band in Mississippi was… banned from playing “How Great Thou Art,” a religious hymn, during the school’s halftime show. An objective atrocity—an infringement on their rights. Proof that the enemy will not stop until Christianity is purged from their once great land.

I grew up in Canada—that socialist country with all the maple syrup that always beats you at hockey—and I grew up singing “Away in a Manger” at Christmas assemblies. It never bothered me, and even now, as detached as I’ve become from the religion of my childhood, it still doesn’t. They’re just songs. But for other people, ones who do hold faith—faith in a different god—they may not be just songs.

But the question is: do I think we should stop making our kids sing those songs at school? The answer is yes. I grew up in a cultural melting pot just outside Toronto—the butthole of Toronto, some call it—I had a lot of kids of different races, and creeds in my classrooms. For that reason I don’t think it’s fair to usher them into an assembly and force them to sing a song about Jesus. And you were forced; I remember being scolded for not singing along—for not “participating.”

Now, according to Wikipedia, 86% of the population in Brandon, Mississippi is white, and I’d wager that the majority of those people hold faith in some sect of Christianity. So our circumstances don’t exactly line up, but I don’t think it matters, and here’s why.

School is a state-run service, and since Brittany Mann, a resident of Brandon, invoked the Founding Fathers so too shall I. Your Founding Fathers promised a separation between church and state; Brandon HS receives state funding, correct? Therefore, it’s a state service. The state doesn’t get to have religious beliefs. Tax payers–the ones who fund the schools–should be allowed to attend a school event without having another person’s beliefs be thrown at them. Not everyone believes in the Bible, but everyone pays taxes. Get it?

We have Catholic Schools where I’m from, where “Religion” is an actual class, and the teachers send home letters urging parents to forbid their children from watching The Da Vinci Code—and not because it sucked.

Brandon High School is not a Catholic school; it’s a public school. Meaning, obviously, it’s open to the public. I would imagine that there are no Muslim schools, no Muslim District School Boards, in Brandon, and so I’d imagine that any Muslim (or Atheist, Hindu, or whatever) students would have no choice but to attend Brandon (or whichever other public high school was available).

For that reason, Brandon HS doesn’t get to play “How Great Thou Art.” Can you play the song at the church’s annual bake sale? Of course! Could you play it at a Catholic school’s halftime show? Of course! But not at a public school.

Your Founding Fathers, the ones you so readily invoke to support your freedom of religion, don’t support you parading your religion at public schools. And another thing, America was not founded on Christian values. Stop saying it was.

I would imagine that those who were quoted in Starnes’s article wouldn’t support this song being sung at a half time show, or this one. No, I’m sure it’d just be another excuse to get upset and proclaim that Christianity is being threatened.

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