EAGLE editorial stance on hymns defies logic

Published 6:25 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

Once again, your unsigned editorial (this one on Aug. 26) has taken a position contrary to logic.

What person raised in the South does not love old hymns? They are beautiful expressions of our faith that we sing at church, at private clubs, at private schools or at home. But I do not once remember once — at any of the Southern public schools I attended for 10 years — singing or the band playing a church hymn at an assembly or a football game. Good Lord, we would never have done that because of the fight between Baptist vs. Methodist vs. Presbyterian hymns!

The only religious song I remember being played by a band at a public school was at college in 1972 when the Old Miss band played the most gorgeous medley of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Dixie” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” at a halftime show.

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So why, for heaven’s sake, would a band leader at a public high school — already under scrutiny — choose to teach “How Great Thou Art” for a presentation in 2015? Of course the school had to cancel it — it is a public school, not a church or a church school. You state that “the country is getting away from the core values of our Christian belief that most Southerners were raised believing.” Aside from the faulty grammar of that statement, it seems to make a presumption that all raised in the South are Christians and that all Christians raised in the South agree with merging religion and public schools, and that the country should waive the right embedded in the Constitution to separate religious institutions from governmental institutions in order to protect the religious values of some Christians who were raised in the South as part of a particular branch of Christianity.

As a committed Christian raised in the South, who does not agree with mixing one particular form of Christianity with public educations — that position is inherently unfair, illogical — and rude. There is no way that Jesus would agree with force-feeding religious beliefs to a captive audience present for a sporting event.

I am sure the singing was lovely at that stadium where most of the people present shared the same belief systems. But I am equally sure that there were people there who only nervously joined in, or quietly did not join in, or wished they could just leave. Once that sort of emotional group-think starts, there is no room to allow for other points of view. I know from being in the midst of a similar situation and feeling very uncomfortable. Bottom line — church songs are wonderful; but they belong in church or other private places — not at public school events.

Judy Daniel