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Fr. Jim notes a site that expounds upon the utter creepiness of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

I don't think most church musicians/litugists realize just how much stuff this music rakes up. I know that nearly every "patriotic" holiday near a Sunday in ALL of the northern Churches I've been to, and in those Southern Churches run by Northern liturgist, we are subjected to this song, which I steadfastly refuse to participate in in any mode whatsoever, so profoundly offensive do I find it to about nineteen different sets of sensibilities.

It would be nice if others would pay attention. This song is, like the Confederate Battle flag, better consigned to history.

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I have to admit, I have no strong feelings in any direction about "Battle Hymn of the Republic." (My favorite song about the Civil War is "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," but that says nothing about my sentiments about the war itself, which lean Northern. I just like the song for its expression of what it is like to be defeated in war.) But I love your last line.

It is consigned to history. That's why, for example, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. could quote its first line to such effect in his April 3, 1968 "I've Been To the Mountaintop" sermon.

It's a wonderful first line, and MLK used it to great effect. I want to be clear on why I said I liked Steven's last line; it's that I just don't like the song as a whole as much as I dislike the Confederate flag.

Even in a place as far away as Singapore, we have sung to this song at least a couple of times as a closing hymn in the closing mass! Not quite this song, but different lyrics sung to the same tune.

Prior to the link from Fr. Jim, I have no idea at all this song has such creepy historical background!



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 29, 2005 12:29 PM.

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