Band continues playing religious hymn at football game

A separation of church and state group asked that West Laurens High School band stop playing "Amazing Grace" at football games. They continued their tradition Friday night.

"Amazing grace, how sweet thou sound." Many have heard the popular Christian hymn, and at West Laurens High, fans say the school's band has always played the tune.

Though it's tradition, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says its unconstitutional. In a letter Friday to the school district, they demanded the band cease all religious hymns.

"I don't think you can come in and dictate what we do," said student Cassie Stancil in response to AU's demands.

Stancil was one of many fans who cheered on the band for playing the tune they've performed for decades. And during the moment of silence, she along with hundreds, bowed their heads and recited the "The Lord's Prayer."

"It's our right and we get to choose what we want to do," said student Abby Wade.

This isn't the first time Americans United reached out to the school. In May of this year, they told administrators to cut out the song, and to replace the prayer with a moment of silence.

On the August 21st game, many fans recited "The Lord's Prayer" during the moment of silence.

In AU's most recent letter, they stated that the band director, Michael Dukes, violated the constitution further and "reached out to local churches to bring their members out to the game."

They asked the Laurens County Board of Education to ensure that the hymn stop, and that Dukes cease the promotions of prayer at the school.

Dukes told us in a response to AU's letter "we're not doing anything illegal."

He promises to keep tradition and keep directing his band to play "Amazing Grace."

In the letter, Americans United requested the school district reply within two weeks.


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