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The halftime show at a football game over the weekend featured Rice University’s Marching Owl Band playing “YMCA,” carrying rainbow flags, and spelling out the word “Pride.” It was a true celebration of LGBTQ culture.

Why now? Because Rice was playing against Baylor, a Christian university with anti-gay policies.

Baylor has a “statement on human sexuality” that endorses “purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.” Students aren’t allowed to even join advocacy groups that support LGBTQ rights that may contradict conservative Christian theology. Earlier this month, the school refused to grant recognition to Gamma Alpha Upsilon (GAY in Greek), an LGBTQ-focused student group that’s been fighting for recognition since 2011.

No wonder Rice’s band was inspired to adapt its Star Wars show in order to make room for the pro-gay moments.

“We just think that’s kind of ridiculous,” [band spokesperson Chad] Fisher said. “And so we all got to our show writing meeting Sunday, and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is like exactly what our show needs to be about. We absolutely need to call Baylor out for this.’ From there, it just kind of happened.”

It’s a brilliant way to push back against the hate. The band’s show won’t change Baylor’s policies, but it will bring attention to the school’s Christian bigotry. These beliefs don’t deserve any respect and Rice letting a national audience know they don’t stand for it either is one hell of a way to warn potential students about the school’s rules.

Baylor eventually won the football game. But there’s a reason more people are talking about Rice’s band.

(Thanks to Scott for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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