July 5, 2019

Watch Melania as the band plays the "beauty of the lilies Christ" verse of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at yesterday's salute to America.

I was waiting to see if the band — I think it's the United States Marine Band ("The President's Own") — would sing the strikingly religious, decisively Christian verse of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

There's a long pause, so you think the song might be over, but then it begins —
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on.
So I was watching very closely at this point, and I found Melania's reaction fascinating:



I'm seeing her lean toward Trump as if by magnetic force at the first line of that verse. I think she's affected hearing about Christ. She's religious (perhaps) or struck by the daring of the inclusion of forthright religion. Or maybe the words "born across the sea" felt personal to her, born overseas. Does she associate her husband with Christian religion?

Is the magnetism charisma?
Charisma (/kəˈrɪzmə/) is compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.

Scholars in sociology, political science, psychology, and management reserve the term for a type of leadership seen as extraordinary; in these fields, the term "charisma" is used to describe a particular type of leader who uses "values-based, symbolic, and emotion-laden leader signaling."

In Christian theology, the term appears as charism, an endowment or extraordinary power given by the Holy Spirit....

The basis for modern secular usage comes from German sociologist Max Weber... "Charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities."
By the way, in that clip, do the singers keep the original line, "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free," or do they change "die"? I know sometimes "die" is changed to "live," but they don't do that. I hear the "-ie" sound clearly, but with no articulation of the "d." Do they say "hie" — which means hurry — "Let us hie to make men free"?

I think if you're going to sing that verse at all and compare yourself to Christ, you need to stick with the original, "die." I can see dropping the whole verse, because it's questionable as a matter of taste, theology, and the separation of church and state. But if you're going to sing it, the best way to justify your choice is history, so hew precisely to the original text.

240 comments:

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Ann Althouse said...

Stay on the subject of the post. I deleted the first comment because it brought up something else. Don't respond to this comment. Look at the post to see what belongs in the comments.

tcrosse said...

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings it as "let us live to make men free".

Leslie Graves said...

Some choir directors, in choirs I've sung in, ask that in situations where a beginning word starts with a hard consonant, only a limited number of singers pronounce that consonant while the rest sing just the part of the word after the hard consonant. This is to avoid multiple voices all saying a "t" or a "d" but not quite simultaneously...sounds bad. Of course, these were extremely amateur choirs.

Ann Althouse said...

"Let's die!" is a pretty awful thing to incite people to do. It's like ISIS.

For those who believe in Christianity, Christ's dying is supposed to be enough. He's not setting an example, with the idea being that the rest of us should up and die too. It's more the idea that he died so we could live. He died, so we should die — that doesn't sound like Christianity. Where's the resurrection?!

tcrosse said...

General Patton would ask that we make the other sonofabitch die to make men free.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

The BHotR has a deep historical resonance with Black folks. You can sing/play it and not even the most clueless Lefty will challenge it.

Birkel said...

Questionable, sure.
But are those questions good ones?
YMMV

Mr Wibble said...

He's not setting an example, with the idea being that the rest of us should up and die too.

Actually, he's pretty explicit that following him will require a willingness to suffer and die for one's faith. "Take up his cross..."

Birkel said...

Good point, Cracker Emcee.

Expanding on that, I heard many themes that would resonate with black folks.

Ann Althouse said...

@Leslie That might be going on here. I hear "I" so clearly. Just the vowel sound.

But I suspect that muting the yelling out of "DIE!" is part of why they're choosing to focus on the vowel sound.

"DIE!" really is the peak of the verse, musically.

Notice how clearly the word "beauty" is sung, with plenty of articulation of the "t" (and even harsher consonant than "d").

Also, the "d" in "died" in "died to make men holy" is quite clear. In fact, everything else in the verse is crisply articulated, as if they're obsessed with articulation and really want us to hear the text.

So, more than ever, I think they backed off on "die," but do not intend to change the text. It's "die," but you can't hear it.

Birches said...

That version was made for the Tabernacle Choir (it won a Grammy). They change it to live because they are a bunch of old, retired singers in peacetime. I was sure actual soldiers would keep die. I get emotional on that verse. Every time.

Temujin said...

I dunno. I think you're reaching here seeing Melania lean towards Trump at that first line. I do note that the dress she is wearing has a left shoulder bare with a diagonal cut, with a right shoulder covered. That may make it seem as if she's leaning.

Or I'm leaning.

Either way, it sounded beautiful. I was in an airport and did not see it. I did, however, get to watch CNN. aarrgh.

EDH said...

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free

Althouse said...
He died, so we should die — that doesn't sound like Christianity. Where's the resurrection?!

"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." Romans 13:1

rcocean said...

Yes, the original line was die to make men free. I've heard it in versions done during WW2. Rarely after that. People dig freedom, but not to the point of giving up their lives.

Of course, the author of the words, lived to a ripe old age after the Civil war. Its about all those *other* people dying, including substitutes. During the civil war, the soldiers originally sung about "John Brown" and "hang Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree". I always liked "Live". I have no intention of dying for someone else's freedom and I doubt many would disagree.

Lucid-Ideas said...

The Battle Hymn of the Republic in its current form (new lyrics applied to an old British tune) took on new meaning during the Civil War as an anthem. An anthem to an overwhelmingly Christian nation and cohorts of men under arms - themselves Christian - many of whom would die in horrifically ghastly ways or live the rest of their lives with ghastly injuries.

So no. I don't think it's any less appropriate a rendition to play on the 4th of July than playing Creedence Clearwater Revival as a representation to men who fought for their country during Vietnam.

A lot of 'dying' and killing have been done to a bunch of tunes, many of them religious. Still appropriate.

Ann Althouse said...

"The BHotR has a deep historical resonance with Black folks. You can sing/play it and not even the most clueless Lefty will challenge it."

From Wikipedia:

"The familiar "Glory, glory, hallelujah" chorus—a notable feature of both the "John Brown Song", the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", and many other texts that used this tune—developed out of the oral camp meeting tradition some time between 1808 and the 1850s.
Folk hymns like "Say, Brothers" "circulated and evolved chiefly through oral tradition rather than through print.[9] In print, the camp meeting song can be traced back as early as 1806-1808 when it was published in camp meeting song collections in South Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

"The tune and variants of the "Say, brothers" hymn text were popular in southern camp meetings, with both African-American and white worshipers, throughout the early 1800s, spread predominantly through Methodist and Baptist camp meeting circuits."

Fernandistein said...

I'm seeing her lean toward Trump as if by magnetic force

I'm seeing her non-magnetically shift position slightly because she has been standing for a long time.

I think she's affected hearing about Christ.

That probably made her back hurt.

TJM said...

Melania, who speaks 5 languages, is the classiest First Lady since Jackie Kennedy. HUGE upgrade from the last one

rcocean said...

Its a thrilling part of the song, but but I don't like the idea of roping Christ into what is in effect a war song or making out he's on "our Side". And the South was fighting for "freedom" too. Just a different kind. Freedom from Northern "tyranny". Freedom to keep their "way of life". The Confederacy was a libertarian paradise.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I suspect some of the singers charged die to lie in honor of Donald Trump.

Nobody said...

You can sing/play it and not even the most clueless Lefty will challenge it."

And here I thought that was off topic, talking about how no lefty ever would or could have written that song.

Ann Althouse said...

The "John Brown Song" had all kinds of lyrics, made up by soldiers. From the Wikipedia article I linked in my previous comment, I see that some of the lyrics were about another man who was also named John Brown. The published lyrics include, "John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back!"

"The "flavor of coarseness, possibly of irreverence" led many of the era to feel uncomfortable with the earliest "John Brown" lyrics. This in turn led to the creation of many variant versions of the text that aspired to a higher literary quality. The most famous of these is Julia Ward Howe's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," which was written when a friend suggested, "Why do you not write some good words for that stirring tune?""

She was trying to blot out the irreverent stuff and get all exalted.

wwww said...

Althouse writes: "For those who believe in Christianity, Christ's dying is supposed to be enough. He's not setting an example, with the idea being that the rest of us should up and die too. It's more the idea that he died so we could live. He died, so we should die — that doesn't sound like Christianity. Where's the resurrection?!"


In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on.

Think they sang "die," which is the accurate historical verse. Song was written Nov 1861, Civil War. Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, wrote the song. There were abolitionist Christian debates about how to end slavery leading up to the Civil War. You can see from the song lyrics where Julia Ward Howe stood on the issue. Ward used the music from John Brown's Body for Battle Hymn.

from wikipedia:
Kimball's battalion was dispatched to Murray, Kentucky, early in the Civil War, and Julia Ward Howe heard this song during a public review of the troops outside Washington, D.C., on Upton Hill, Virginia. Rufus R. Dawes, then in command of Company "K" of the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, stated in his memoirs that the man who started the singing was Sergeant John Ticknor of his company. Howe's companion at the review, The Reverend James Freeman Clarke,[8] suggested to Howe that she write new words for the fighting men's song. Staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe wrote the verses to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."[9] Of the writing of the lyrics, Howe remembered:

I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, "I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them." So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pencil which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.[10]

Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" was first published on the front page of The Atlantic Monthly of February 1862. The sixth verse written by Howe, which is less commonly sung, was not published at that time. The song was also published as a broadside in 1863 by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments in Philadelphia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic

Freder Frederson said...

For those who believe in Christianity, Christ's dying is supposed to be enough.

In what church were you raised? Because you overlooked the resurrection part, which is much more important than the dying part.

To believe that Melania is anything but and atheist (raised in a communist country with parents-because of their status-that were most likely party members) is a bit of a stretch. Is there any evidence of conversion as an adult or that anyone in the family (except for Jared and Ivanka) regularly attend religious services.

rcocean said...

"I will never march in the infantry, ride in the Cavalry, shoot the artillery, i will never zoom on the enemy, because i'm in the Lord's army."

I sang that as a kid in Sunday school and i think it makes more sense theology. Although, i really liked it because when it came to the "zoom" part everyone would do the "hand-as-airplane-zooming motion"

Tommy Duncan said...

I reacted to the clip exactly like Melania. My eyes welled up, my lips quivered and I felt the awe of the occasion, the music and lyrics. It happens to me every Memorial Day and 4th of July when the Battle Hymn is performed. I believe Melania is authentic and possesses a depth born of experience.

EDH said...

I was more fascinated by the range of emotion running across Melania's face, from prideful tearing to gentle smiling uplift.

Were they standing behind a new milkshake-proof barrier?

Ann Althouse said...

Watching Melania, I felt that she wanted to touch her husband, to be held by her husband, but knew that wasn't the protocol. So she arc'd toward him gracefully.

Birches said...

We sang this same arrangement in high school choir. We also switched die to live. Seemed more appropriate for high schoolers. That was a few years before 9/11. I wonder how that event might affect the idea of young people dying for a righteous cause.

rcocean said...

Battle Hymn is a beautiful song - the Mormon Tabernacle choir version has given me chills. But the words and sentiment really grate on me, i have to turn my brain off to enjoy it. There's that awful "Lets go on a Crusade and kill others for their own good" sentiment that I hate. I prefer to fight wars for self-defense, or large empty hunks of land.

Ann Althouse said...

"In what church were you raised? Because you overlooked the resurrection part, which is much more important than the dying part."

Maybe reread my comment.

When you think something's not there that should be there, before you exclaim that it's not there, make sure it's not there.

Yes, Jesus died and rose from the dead. The soldiers incited in battle may die, but they will not rise up again (other than in the afterlife, which is not the story with Jesus, so the parallelism is not there).

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

The "He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat" stanza has the most effect on my reptile brain. Particularly the "He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat" line. Nobody ever seems to sing that stanza.

(Irremediably seared in my hippocampus with the other stanzas is "Glory/glory halleluuuujah/Teacher hit me with a ruuuuuler/I knocked her on the bean with a rotten tangerine/....")

P.S.: not seeing the Melania thing, either.

rcocean said...

Getting back to Mrs. Trump she looks beautiful and moved by the sentiment. I wonder if George Bush was watching and swaying at home?

Birches said...

Not really a song to choose for a supposed white supremacist, is it?

And sorry, rcocean, freeing a people from slavery seems like the most appropriate cause to rope Jesus into. I don't care what other factors the South had for fighting. The North's cause was just and right.

Ice Nine said...

>>Ann Althouse said...
"I think if you're going to sing that verse at all and compare yourself to Christ,..."<<

No one, in the writing of that verse, nor in the performance of it yesterday, nor in the choosing of it for yesterday's performance (since it is all too easy to suspect that that is where you're going with that line - go ahead, deny it), *compared* themselves to Christ. The song calls merely for following the lead of Christ - the inspiration given by Christ's sacrifice, which any language maven should understand is nothing similar to comparing oneself to him.

glam1931 said...

Its a thrilling part of the song, but but I don't like the idea of roping Christ into what is in effect a war song or making out he's on "our Side".

Understandable, but I don't think that's what's happening here...the song simply recommends following Christ's example of self-sacrifice.

wwww said...

more from Wikipedia on the author of the lyrics:

"Julia Ward Howe was married to Samuel Gridley Howe, the famed scholar in education of the blind. Samuel and Julia were also active leaders in anti-slavery politics and strong supporters of the Union. Samuel Howe was a member of the Secret Six, the group who funded John Brown's work."

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on.

Swede said...

Melania will be one of those people that the press will talk about kindly after Trump leaves office.

You know, when they do their once every few years reflection, like with GHWB, GWB, and Mittens.

"Gosh, maybe....you know, maybe..they weren't so bad after all. I mean, sure, we savaged them relentlessly while it served our purposes, but you know, in hindsight, I guess they weren't quite all that satanic after all. My bad".

Trump won't ever get that treatment. McConnell won't see it, either. They did things that actually shaped America's future, particularly with the courts. Unforgivable.

Ann Althouse said...

@ Ice Nine

"Compare" means "estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.."

Howard said...

Ann Althouse is mesmerized by Melania's cat eyes and choreographed body language. Master persuader indeed.

Howard said...

Blogger Swede said...

Melania will be one of those people that the press will talk about kindly after Trump leaves office.

You know, when they do their once every few years reflection, like with GHWB, GWB, and Mittens.

"Gosh, maybe....you know, maybe..they weren't so bad after all. I mean, sure, we savaged them relentlessly while it served our purposes, but you know, in hindsight, I guess they weren't quite all that satanic after all. My bad".

Trump won't ever get that treatment. McConnell won't see it, either. They did things that actually shaped America's future, particularly with the courts. Unforgivable.


Right, and you people will continue to call Moochelle a trannie gorilla

Hagar said...

My sister, married in England, wanted "something light," like "John Brown's baby had a pimple on his nose" played at her funeral. She thought it was such a cheerful tune.

Chuck said...

Lol.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

AA: "Let's die!" is a pretty awful thing to incite people to do. It's like ISIS.

That an its variants are only "pretty awful" to people who come from your particular historical milieu of Christianity. If it's "like ISIS", then centuries of militaristic exhortations among Christians and everybody else are "like ISIS". Whatevs. "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is a fighting song, heard and interpreted more in the spirit of Colonel Inglis's "Die hard, men, die hard!" or Low Dog's "It is a good day to die" than your (excuse me, rather prissy) analysis. Many of the men who heard and sang that song were dying (by the hundreds of thousands) to set men free.

Unknown said...

Julia Ward Howe's husband financed John Brown, and, of course, the song compares him to Christ.

Emerson and Thoreau were accessories to the fact after his raid. Both men helped one of Brown's party cross the border into Canada. If they had been discovered, they surely would have been tried and executed.

Bob Boyd said...

You had me at "watch Melania"

gilbar said...

I was at Gettysburg yesterday, looking at the 1st Minnesota infantry monument
THEY knew what the song words were

Michael K said...

I think you're reaching here seeing Melania lean towards Trump at that first line

I didn't see it either. Since Howard brought it up maybe I can mention how impressive Melania's eyes are.

I can almost see her Indo European ancesters riding the Chariots out of the Steppes.

gilbar said...

83% casualties, in about 15 minutes

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Freder said Is there any evidence of conversion as an adult or that anyone in the family (except for Jared and Ivanka) regularly attend religious services

Merely attending religious services does not make you a Christian (or any other religion).

God lives in your heart and on your actions. You can be a Christian and never set foot in a church. Religion is outside of a building and does not necessarily exist in preening in your best clothing on a Sunday, or other days set aside for religious purposes.

In fact, some of the worst "Christians" I know are those who religiously attend church and make a big deal out of their "faith".

You have no idea what lurks in the hearts of men. You aren't Lamont Cranston :-) Kind of judgey aren't you?

RE the song: I had always heard the words as "Let us fight to make men free" which made sense. Reading the lyrics as "Let us die to make men free" was a surprise to me.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Howard

I agree with you Howard. Don't insult Gorillas! What did they ever do.

(PS Harambe did nothing wrong)

rcocean said...

John Brown deserved to be hung. He was a Left-wing wacko who wanted to kill people. A domestic terrorist. He was also mentally ill, and heard "voices".

Michael K said...

you people will continue to call Moochelle a trannie gorilla

No, NFL linebacker about covers it.

wwww said...

Christian abolitionists in Julia Ward Howe's world:

-Biblical discussions of Egypt/ Moses/ Pharaoh/ slaves/ freedom and the jubilee/ ending of slavery.
-John Brown and Kansas. Christian Abolitionists funded the Kansas Jayhawkers. Her husband funded John Brown's Virginia activities.
-Christian abolitionists saw slave masters as trying to keep enslaved people from Christ because slave masters had the power to keep people from attending religious services, slavery meant marriage was illegal, slave masters could restrict baptisms. & Abolitionists saw slavery as encouraging sin: Slavers selling children away from parents, masters sexually harassing and raping enslaved women.
-American Abolitionism grew in numbers and organization after the Second Great Awakening. Burned over District. Revivals. Camp and church meetings.

Chuck said...

I will say; the one single standout rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic — the one that changed my understanding of, and feelings for the song, was its having been played at the National Prayer service following the 9/11/01 attacks, as President Bush led everyone out of the cathedral.

No longer was the song a historical artifact, an antiquity. It was real, present and it meant war.

etbass said...

Rcocean, there’s quite a bit of scriptural precedent for calling on God for help in warfare.

reader said...

I love that verse. It has taken on a different meaning for me after going through my grandmother’s things. Finding memorabilia from the Civil War and then getting my great great grandfather’s records from National Archives. He was sick the rest of his life after fighting in the war. My husband’s great great grandfather died in battle, shot through the throat. It just makes it seem more personal.

Howard said...

...and Gluten Morgen to you too, Doc

Seeing Red said...

American Exceptionalism.

Michael K said...


Freder said Is there any evidence of conversion as an adult or that anyone in the family (except for Jared and Ivanka) regularly attend religious services

Merely attending religious services does not make you a Christian (or any other religion).
<

Freder, as usual, has no idea of how Christianity survives in communist societies. There are millions of Christians in China just as there were in the USSR. One of my medical students, whose mother was a professor at the U of Beijing, told me her father was trained as a physicist but worked as an auto mechanic because he was Christian,.,

Seeing Red said...

600,000. Did die to make men free.

wwww said...

"I was at Gettysburg yesterday, looking at the 1st Minnesota infantry monument
THEY knew what the song words were

They sure did. They sure did. Very brave the men who went into those battles -- they knew what it meant, they knew the odds, they knew the state of the medical profession at the time.

More musical context: John Brown's Body was a very common marching song at the time. It can be sung slowly or fast and upbeat like a march. Less refined verses circulated like:

Hang Jeff Davis to a sour Apple Tree!
Hang Jeff Davis to a sour Apple Tree!

FWBuff said...

I heard “die”, which surprised me too.

But even the first verse of this song is filled with Christian imagery. The words “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord./ He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” are taken directly from the scene in Revelation 14. Julia Ward Howe believed that this battle for freedom was apocalyptic justice and that death was a necessary part.

Ice Nine said...

>>Ann Althouse said...
@ Ice Nine
"Compare" means "estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.."

I, of course, know exactly what "compare" means, and the specific definition you have chosen from many is as good as any. And it is precisely the reason for my comment. So let me reword my comment (edited): No one, in the writing of that verse, nor in the performance of it yesterday, nor in the choosing of it for yesterday's performance, *"estimated, measured, or noted the similarity or dissimilarity between*" themselves and Christ. They noted his example and resolved to follow it, period - and that idea is not remotely encompassed in the definition you provided (nor the many others I just checked).

rcocean said...

"83% casualties, in about 15 minutes"

"The order was instantly repeated by Col Wm Colvill. And the charge as instantly made down the slope at full speed through the concentrated fire of the two brigades breaking with the bayonet the enemy's front line as it was crossing the small brook in the low ground there the remnant of the eight companies, nearly surrounded by the enemy held its entire force at bay for a considerable time & till it retired on the approach of the reserve the charge successfully accomplished its object. It saved this position & probably the battlefield. The loss of the eight companies in the charge was 215 killed & wounded. More than 82% percent. 47 men were still in line & no man missing. In self sacrificing desperate valor this charge has no parallel in any war."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

It's more the idea that he died so we could live. He died, so we should die — that doesn't sound like Christianity. Where's the resurrection?!

A basic tenant of Christianity is that his followers should seek to emulate him. To become more Christlike. And, if that means dying rather than betray your beliefs, or dying to uphold them, well then there is the resurrection.

In fact, baptism is all about dying. Its about extinguishing your old, carnal self and being born again, renewed.

wwww said...

"No longer was the song a historical artifact, an antiquity. It was real, present and it meant war.
600,000. Did die to make men free."

Very much both of these things. So many injured and dead. It was not theoretical to Americans living at the time. The author visited the troops in the midst of wartime. Not peacetime.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"Let's die!" is a pretty awful thing to incite people to do. It's like ISIS.

Yes, Julia Ward Howe is just like ISIS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Ward_Howe

Big Mike said...

Like DBQ I was taught that the stanza was “As He died to make men holy, let us fight to make men free,” which gives you the long ‘I’ sound and makes more sense in getting the soldiers eager for the conflict ahead.

rhhardin said...

The styling has no appreciation of the music, is what I notice. It's of the senseless cadenza in the star spangled banner pop singer genre.

Maybe Melania likes classical music in its classical form.

rcocean said...

"Rcocean, there’s quite a bit of scriptural precedent for calling on God for help in warfare."

It makes sense to call for Jehovah's help when battling heathens and fighting for your life. Wasn't that the Jews were usually doing?

Beth B said...

Is it really that hard to understand what abolitionist Julia Ward Howe is saying? She is calling on people of conscience to follow the example of Christ, who was willing to sacrifice Himself to wash away the sins of mankind. It's not a matter of whether Christ's sacrifice should have been "enough" at that point. America was an overwhelmingly Christian nation in her time, so she would have been fairly certain that her audience would understand that particular comparison. She is putting forth a moral call to Christians. She is exhorting her fellow citizens to fight and be willing perhaps even to die to wash away the sin of slavery from this country. Her poem is a call to action, written in the early days of the Civil War, not some post-modernist treatise on why dying for a cause isn't Christ-like or how His death should have been the end of it. The comparison to ISIS is ridiculous. The question about "Where's the resurrection?" seems forced and intentionally obtuse. Is this what creating a controversy for the sake of having a controversy to talk about looks like?

rcocean said...

"600,000. Did die to make men free."

True, but its not enough. Reparations must be paid - per the Democrats.

Ann Althouse said...

"Think you are still getting the resurrection part wrong though."

Eh. I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do.

wwww said...

"I heard “die”, which surprised me too.

But even the first verse of this song is filled with Christian imagery. The words “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord./ He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” are taken directly from the scene in Revelation 14. Julia Ward Howe believed that this battle for freedom was apocalyptic justice and that death was a necessary part."

Yes - Revelations. So I'm sort of surprised this wasn't commonly known & Althouse was surprised by the stanza. I suppose that stanza is often not sung. But: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord? He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored": That's very well known. It's not a subtle reference.

rhhardin said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3v9unphfi0

That's what a capella stuff should look like. Watch the soprano at 1:36

Mark said...

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
-- Jesus of Nazareth

The idea of willing to put your life on the line and possibly die in battle for the greater cause is hardly as mystifying or non-Christian as some seem to believe.

wwww said...

"Is it really that hard to understand what abolitionist Julia Ward Howe is saying? She is calling on people of conscience to follow the example of Christ, who was willing to sacrifice Himself to wash away the sins of mankind."

I agree w/ Beth. I am confused and missing something. Why is this hard to understand? She wrote the song in the context of the US Civil War.

rcocean said...

"She is exhorting her fellow citizens to fight and be willing perhaps even to die to wash away the sin of slavery from this country."

Ugh. That weird combination of Leftism/Religion/War - that Howe believed in. Slavery wasn't a sin. Nowhere in the bible is it labeled that. It was wrong but not sinful. We had slavery from the time of Christ till the 19th Century - that's over 1800 years.

Sherman said it best: "If we must be enemies, let us be men and fight it out, as we propose to do, and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God and humanity. God will judge us in due time.."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The soldiers incited in battle may die, but they will not rise up again (other than in the afterlife, which is not the story with Jesus, so the parallelism is not there).

Actually, Christians will rise up bodily.

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

Philippians 3:20-21

Mark said...

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat;r but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life."
-- Jesus of Nazareth

wwww said...

"Actually, Christians will rise up bodily."

Underlining this sentence. When Howe wrote the lyrics this was a commonly understood religious belief. & She would not have needed to explain that the lyrics were Biblical.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Ron Winkleheimer: "A basic tenant of Christianity is that his followers should seek to emulate him. To become more Christlike. And, if that means dying rather than betray your beliefs, or dying to uphold them, well then there is the resurrection."

Do some subsets of Christianity not do the whole 3 Theological Virtues/4 Cardinal virtues thing? Exposure to these concepts was big in my RC upbringing, don't know if it's not a Prod thing. (No snark, honest question to non-RC Christians out there.) My point here being that the great Christian cardinal virtue of "fortitude" in this scheme has very much to do with willingness to die. E.g., "Thus, all fortitude has reference to death. All fortitude stands in the presence of death. Fortitude is basically readiness to die or, more accurately readiness to fall, to die, in battle." (Source: some guy in some book I just dug out of the dust on my back shelves.)

(Just like ISIS! With the slight difference that suicide is traditionally a mortal sin for Christians, so the definition of martyrdom and strictures on getting yourself martyred are just a tad different from the ones ISIS lays out. But other than that, just like ISIS, right?)

doctrev said...

"Eh. I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do."

This probably explains why you think history is the best reason to sing that verse. Admittedly, lukewarm Christians face an obvious temptation to change it, but history isn't why many Christians sing of being ready to die for the cause. They do it because they believe it- even when commemorating a war that destroyed 2% of the American population, and could have killed more.

IF you don't understand that a major number of religious people in America are mainly held back from holy war because of the rigid structure of their lives and the legitimacy of the American government, you don't actually understand these people at all. 500 years ago, their sentiments were enough to launch crusades against the other side of the world. 100 years ago, the Christian sentiment was vital for recruiting against the Hun. I wonder: is that sentiment truly dead, or just sleeping?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

1 Thessalonians 4:16
Luke 14:14
Revelation 20:5
Romans 11:15

In fact, Lutheran dogma is that people don't go to heaven.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mortalism

Mark said...

I will agree that in today's self-centered world, the idea of sacrifice for the greater good makes little sense. Just like much of Christianity is foolishness and a stumbling block for the modern world.

Michael E. Lopez said...

When you're singing in a group you often soften the vowels a little so that you avoid having micro-differences in timing accentuated by the hard, percussive instant. They might have done that.

That said, I heard "die" loud and clear. I listened to it four times. I think you might just be losing it in the sudden crescendo.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

1 Corinthians 15:52

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

AA: Eh. I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do.

Ahem. I seem to remember your merrily going hammer and tongs over some theological point in the past. Rather a similar point to the point that's too stupid too argue about now, iirc.

Apparently the stupidest things are a lot of fun, sometimes.

Big Mike said...

Point of information. The 600,000 number includes 240,000 Confederate soldiers who manifestly did not die to free the slaves. Union losses of 360,000, mostly white but the death toll included many black soldiers at Ft. Pillow and Ft. Wagner (see the movie “Glory”).

Big Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Confused said...

@rcocean

It's interesting that you sang a different version of that "Lord's army" song than I did. We sang:

"I MAY never...BUT I'm in the Lord's army." The version I remember didn't preclude doing both. I wonder if it's a denominational difference? I am Presbyterian, which doesn't have a strong connection with pacifism, at least not historically.

wwww said...

"in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

1 Corinthians 15:52

Yes. I'm confused. Thought this was a basic sort of common knowledge, even for people who are not Christians.

Seeing Red said...

Thank you Big Mike.

narciso said...

Slavery is indeed a sin:

http://emergencenj.org/blog/2019/01/04/does-the-bible-condone-slavery

Bruce Hayden said...

“In what church were you raised? Because you overlooked the resurrection part, which is much more important than the dying part.”

The Union Army would have been primarily mainline Protestant. Probably very heavily. That is mostly because of the demographics of the states that were sending the bulk of the volunteers. The big immigration of Roman Catholics was a bit later, and there was some comment I read about the Irish being prominent in the draft riots in some of the big cities. To the RC out there, I am not suggesting that a lot of RC didn’t fight, but numerically historically it was more Protestant.

And because of that, the emphasis very much was on Resurrection. And that is why I have long seen this as a Christian call to martyrdom. Christ could die for our salvation, the least that we could do in return is to offer to die to free the slaves, secure in the knowledge of the resurrection, having been willing to die in a holy cause.

Much of the Abolitionist movement came out of that mainline Protestant tradition. I have noted before here that we have letters back and forth between the wife of a Civil War vet ancestor and her sisters (back in Oberlin, OH) during the 1850s, and it was very clear from their conversations that they considered human slavery deeply evil, and abolishing it was important enough to their salvation to be willing to die for it.

narciso said...

The union cause wasnt entirely an abolitionist cause, but one cant deny that was one of the inadvertent results

Richard Aubrey said...

Melania's eyes are striking. But if you were putting in an order for your next kid, you probably wouldn't request that model.
IMO, that makes it more difficult to read her reactions.

Orson Welles has a reflection on the composition and about Howe.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GCfM60RriM



William said...

As Christ transfigures you and me, so do the lyrics transfigure the melody. The lyrics provide a far more convincing and noble cause for dying than the wish to hang Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree. Melania looked like she was affected by those lyrics and, since she was a beautiful woman, her reaction looked beautiful. That's why they pay models the big bucks....Perhaps they'll reinstate the original lyrics. They're secular and more in keeping with our current wish to topple Confederate statues. We are all made better people when we deface a statue of Robert E. Lee.....The original lyrics to the Rodgers & Hart song were something like "Oh, Lord, please make me a star". The melody is supremely haunting and the original lyrics about moving to Hollywood and becoming famous were clever enough but didn't really enhance the melody. The right lyrics can make a melody sublime.

Mark said...

While we continue this exercise of creating confusion and controversy where there is none, it should be pointed out that Melania's reaction to hearing the verse (which is imperceptible) is no different than the hundred other times that she has heard it being played at the White House or some other event.

The military bands sing it all the time -- and they always sing it as written -- "let us die to make men free."

William said...

Pardon. I was talking about the Rodgers & Hart song, Blue Moon.

Otto said...

Melania is one hot FLOTUS.

Ann first says "Maybe you can review the history of the use of that verse to take people into war."

Ann the says "Eh. I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do"

First she does some Christian bashing and then says lets not talk about religion because it is stupid.
Now I agree having a deep religious conversation at this website is not warranted, but don't knock a religion and then say I don't want to talk about it . It is not clever and just plain disingenuous.

BTW you must have argued religion personally since you were brought up a Christian and turned to Atheism.

Mark said...

It should also be pointed out that this call to fight -- and to give up one's life if necessary -- was written during that early part of the war when General McClellan had established a very pretty army, but had little intention of actually using it.

Freder Frederson said...

"Freder, as usual, has no idea of how Christianity survives in communist societies. There are millions of Christians in China just as there were in the USSR. One of my medical students, whose mother was a professor at the U of Beijing, told me her father was trained as a physicist but worked as an auto mechanic because he was Christian,.,"

Very nice anecdote. What the hell does it have to do with Melania's upbringing? Her father was a regional manager for state owned auto dealers. For a job like that party membership would have been pretty much mandatory.

Narr said...

As a historical point, would someone please explain to me the common snark--it's here on this thread--that the CSA was some sort of libertarian effort. How so? (I suspect it's just a cheap and lazy shot: the safest thing any non-libertarian can do is smirk about how everyone knows the bad guys are really just libertarians, especially the bad guys who self-identify as D's or R's.)

The WABAWTS was again not a single-issue or monocausal event. There were Prots, Papists, and Jews on both sides, with as far as I know not much statistically significant variance. Some Unionists later saw the war as against "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion." (I guess they didn't notice the libertarians.)

The Confederate Cabinet was pretty diverse. Judah Benjamin was Jewish, NavSec Mallory a Catholic; I think the Union cabinet was all Prot(?) but could be wrong about that.

For the curious, go read C. Vann Woodward's "Strange Career of Jim Crow" and Nina Silber's "Race and Reconciliation" (OWTTE). Neither spends much time discussing libertarians.

Narr
Thirsty for knowledge

Mark said...

Interesting trivia from the Washington Post -

It was November 1861, and [Julia Ward Howe] was on her first trip to wartime Washington, with her husband and her minister.

The day before, she and thousands of others had attended a review of Union troops at Baileys Crossroads. In the traffic jam on the way back to town, she had joined in singing the new soldiers’ song, John Brown’s Body.”


Baileys Crossroads is about a mile and half from here. And on the road coming back to the District, they would have marched right past my home.

roger said...

"I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do."

Millions of Americans will disagree with you here. I might suggest that the "things people do" is your undoing. Tell me, when the Quakers risked their lives to bring slaves north into Canada was this a stupid thing people do?

Perhaps revisit Stowe and think more clearly on this assertion.

Marc said...

Thank you, ADSB, for those comments (0958 and 1007). The Church has temporarily, since the 70s, anyway, and in many places, given up teaching about the virtues, which must have terrible consequences. But I think that the Protestant churches have, too. I love to read here and respect Althouse but she's, like us, a creature with both virtues and also imperfections.

I didn't see Mrs Trump leaning into Mr Trump, either, but it did certainly seem as if her face expressed some emotion. I myself don't find this at all surprising since I always tear up at some point or another during the singing of 'Battle Hymn of the Republic'.

traditionalguy said...

OMG. Has Melanie gone pentecostal? That reaction is a tip off. She knows Trump better than we know him. And therefore she knows about his deep Christian faith.

Many historians say the Abolish Slavery activists of Lincoln and Grant's GOP only won because they had the better Hymn.

wwww said...

"The lyrics provide a far more convincing and noble cause for dying than the wish to hang Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree."

To clarify: I was not saying the lyrics were the same. As commenter Mark noted, she used the melody of John Brown's Body for Battle Hymn.

"The version that we know today came to be when an abolitionist author, Julia Ward Howe, overheard Union troops singing "John Brown’s Body" and was inspired to write a set of lyrics that dramatized the rightness of the Union cause. Within a year this new hymn was being sung by civilians in the North, Union troops on the march, and even prisoners of war held in Confederate jails."

As Mark said: "The military bands sing it all the time -- and they always sing it as written -- "let us die to make men free."

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"Just like much of Christianity is foolishness and a stumbling block for the modern world."

Duh-yamn, you must hate Muzzies.

n.n said...

Separation of Church, Mosque, Chamber, Den, Synagogue, Temple, etc. and State.

There are worse causes to die, sacrifice, or abort than self-defense. In fact, the Chamber and Den's contemporary causes of social justice adventures (e.g. "war"), abortion for commoditization, social progress, pleasure, comfort, democratic leverage, profit, and population control are transhuman summary judgments and cruel an unusual punishment not limited to refugee crises, waterboarding, trail of tears, slavery forced by "clean" wars.

Religion or moral philosophy in a universal, or quasi-religion or ethics in a relative, selective, opportunistic frame. There is a reason why left-wing secular (e.g. atheist) causes have produced the most casualties and collateral damage, competitive with Islamic universal philosophy, but in a compressed time span.

Annie C. said...

Mark said...
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
-- Jesus of Nazareth

The idea of willing to put your life on the line and possibly die in battle for the greater cause is hardly as mystifying or non-Christian as some seem to believe.

An Althouse, my son told me several years after his discharge that his job was to die for the company. As a Marine in Moto T, in both tours of Afghanistan, he drove the lead vehicle in all convoys. Although he had a small IED vehicle on the front of his truck, if he hit one, he probably would have died, or been seriously maimed.

He volunteered each time. I, dumbfounded, asked why. He simply said, "It was the right thing to do if he could save his company."

That is not like ISIS, it is much more like Christ.

I am still to this day dumbfounded by his character. He's a good kid.

Limited Perspective said...

When you are old facing death, you look back and wonder if your life had meaning. When you're young facing death you wonder if your death will have meaning. The song wasn't written for a retired college professor looking at annihilation a few years down the road, it was written for young men, mostly Christian, heading into combat with a real chance dying the next day.

I'm sure for the Northern farm boys walking into volleys of musket balls, Ann's enjoyment of Bob Dylan songs would have sounded idiotic and nihilistic. They probably would have preferred to go to their death singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" over "Blowin' in the Wind."

n.n said...

"I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do."

Morality, ethics, and other behavior protocols. Faith, conflation of logical domains, and other beliefs outside of the near-frame. Traditions, parades, sacrifices, and so on and so forth. Individual dignity vs color blocs (i.e. diversity). Intrinsic value and when does a human life acquire and retain her right to life... Fight! Perhaps to die, is a very secular cause.

Charlie said...

In addition to John 15:13, there's this teaching in Matthew 16:24:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me."

'Taking up your cross' didn't mean wearing a piece of jewelry around your neck. Christianity doesn't command believers to die to prove their faithfulness, because God created life as a blessing to be enjoyed. But on the other hand, it takes a realistic and long view, stating plainly (with Christ and his disciples as examples) that there is eternity following this life, and in this life we can suffer, even die, because there is continuing war going on between evil and good. Sometimes God's faithful get fed to the lions for the amusement of the king, sometimes they are called on to be heroic and self-denying out of love for others, sometimes they live quiet and unremarkable lives of simple faith and trust in the God who sent Christ to save them.

mockturtle said...

Dying to make men free is meant here in the military sense, not the theological sense. This is a battle hymn.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Freder:
Very nice anecdote. What the hell does it have to do with Melania's upbringing? Her father was a regional manager for state owned auto dealers. For a job like that party membership would have been pretty much mandatory.

You still haven't got a clue and don't seem to have any hope of ever getting one.

Being a Christian or a member other suppressed religious group in a state run by people who will oppress you, economically disadvantage you or even KILL you will cause you to minimize or even hide your faith.

You want to live? You want to be able to make a living for your family? You want your children to live? What would YOU do? I'm pretty sure it would not be to martyr your self or family on a principle.

See: Jews in the Inquisition where they were given the "choice" of converting or being tortured to death.

Melania has said that their family is/was Catholic. So even IF her father and family played good party member to the Communist party....that doesn't mean that they were not still religious.

Again....merely going to church does not guarantee you are a good Christian (or Jew) and neither does NOT going to church make you not a Christian.

(anyone around her have a clue bat handy?)

Rabel said...

"I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind."

Althousian behavior by Howe.

Rabel said...

"For those who believe in Christianity, Christ's dying is supposed to be enough. He's not setting an example, with the idea being that the rest of us should up and die too. It's more the idea that he died so we could live. He died, so we should die — that doesn't sound like Christianity. Where's the resurrection?!"

"Eh. I'm not going to fight about religion. It's one of the stupidest things people do."

You threw the first punch.

Mark said...

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

M Jordan said...

Greatest anthem/hymn/song ever written and this verse is the greatest of them all. It is the entire theology of God and man in a single verse.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Melania looks like she was just a bit wobbly, but not leaning in toward Trump. Her face looks pretty stoic until the chorus where she has a slight upturn of her lips. Curious if people are looking for her to actually express human emotion. She does smile broadly on occasion and she’s quite lovely when she does so.

Not Sure said...

AA said: some of the lyrics were about another man who was also named John Brown.

According to this source, it wasn't just that some lyrics were about another John Brown, it's that the other guy was the subject of the original "John Brown" lyrics. This rings true to me, since the original "cause" being fought for by Union soldiers was preserving the Union, not liberating slaves. I doubt that the abolitionist JB was an object of universal approval at the time of his execution.

Cassandra said...



For a, or even perhaps the, most stirring rendition of the most stirring Battle Hymn of the Republic listen to Odetta as she sings it "die to make men free": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VsE9T4Sr30

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“I am still to this day dumbfounded by his character. He's a good kid.”

He is a son you can be proud of.

M Jordan said...

Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.” We die serving Christ in many ways.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Let's be clear though -- Howe did not mean to die for one's Christian faith per se, nor to take up one's cross to die for Christ's sake (which is what Jesus meant when he said it). She meant to die for the sake of good and righteousness in the freedom of all men. The earlier line, "Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel," clearly associates slavery with Satan and evil.

That was her specific meaning, although it does indirectly then refer to Jesus.

M Jordan said...

Btw, Althouse, I don’t believe in “Christianity,” I believe in Christ. Big difference.

n.n said...

Christ's death cleared "original sin", but it is for people... persons to follow the principles of his religion or moral philosophy, to strive, to repent, and to sin no more.

Is the right of self-defense recognized by Christian philosophy?

Are human sacrificial rites (e.g. elective abortion), summary judgments, cruel and unusual punishment, or deny life deemed unworthy of life recognized by Christian philosophy? Was Christ Pro-Choice (e.g. politically congruent)? From a purely near-frame perspective, it wholly fails to be internally, externally, and mutually consistent.

wwww said...

More information on the author of the song:

Though raised an Episcopalian, Julia became a Unitarian by 1841.[7] In Boston, Ward met Samuel Gridley Howe, a physician and reformer who had founded the Perkins School for the Blind.[2][8] Howe had courted her, but he had shown an interest in her sister Louisa.[9] In 1843, they married despite their eighteen-year age difference.[2] She gave birth to their first child while honeymooning in Europe. She bore their last child in December 1859 at the age of forty. They had six children: Julia Romana Howe (1844–1886), Florence Marion Howe (1845–1922), Henry Marion Howe (1848–1922), Laura Elizabeth Howe (1850–1943), Maud Howe (1855–1948), and Samuel Gridley Howe, Jr. (1859–1863). Howe was an aunt of novelist Francis Marion Crawford.

Howe raised her children in South Boston, while her husband pursued his advocacy work. She hid her unhappiness with their marriage earning the nickname "the family champagne" from her children.[10] She made frequent visits to Gardiner, Maine where she stayed at "The Yellow House," a home built originally in 1814 and later home to her daughter Laura.[11]

Howe was born in New York City. She was the fourth of seven children. Her father Samuel Ward III was a Wall Street stockbroker, banker, and strict Calvinist. Her mother was the poet Julia Rush Cutler,[2] related to Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution. She died of tuberculosis when Howe was five.

Howe was educated by private tutors and schools for young ladies until she was sixteen. Her eldest brother, Samuel Cutler Ward, traveled in Europe and brought home a private library. She had access to these books, many contradicting the Calvinistic view.[3] She became well-read,[4][5] though social as well as scholarly. She met because of her father's status as a successful banker, Charles Dickens, Charles Sumner, and Margaret Fuller.[4]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Ward_Howe

Annie C. said...

Thank you Inga. I am very proud of him.

Mark said...

It is the entire theology of God and man in a single verse.

Indeed. It is not only for wartime. It is applicable to every day life. It is about that agape love of overcoming selfishness and subordinating yourself, putting others first and sacrificing your own wants and desires, for the good and betterment of one's neighbor.

wwww said...

"She was inspired to write "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" after she and her husband visited Washington, D.C., and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in November 1861. During the trip, her friend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words to the song "John Brown's Body", which she did on November 19.[17] The song was set to William Steffe's already existing music and Howe's version was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War."

"She helped found the New England Women's Club and the New England Woman Suffrage Association. She served as president for nine years beginning in 1868.[18] In 1869, she became co-leader with Lucy Stone of the American Woman Suffrage Association. Then, in 1870, she became president of the New England Women's Club. After her husband's death in 1876, she focused more on her interests in reform. In 1877 Howe was one of the founders of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union in Boston.[19] She was the founder and from 1876 to 1897 president of the Association of American Women, which advocated for women's education. She also served as president of organizations like the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association and the New England Suffrage Association.[20]"

On Mother's Day:

In 1872 she became the editor of Woman's Journal, a widely-read suffragist magazine founded in 1870 by Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell.[21] She contributed to it for twenty years.[2] That same year, she wrote her "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world", later known as the Mother's Day Proclamation,[22] which asked women around the world to join for world peace. (See Category:Pacifist feminism.) She authored it soon after she evolved into a pacifist and an anti-war activist. In 1872, she asked that "Mother's Day" be celebrated on the 2nd of June.[23][24][25][26]

On the 4th of July:

Her efforts were not successful, and by 1893 she was wondering if the 4th of July could be remade into "Mother's Day".[23] In 1874, she edited a coeducational defense titled Sex and Education.[18] She wrote a collection about the places she lived in 1880 called Modern Society. In 1883, Howe published a biography of Margaret Fuller. Then, in 1885 she published another collection of lectures called Is Polite Society Polite? ("Polite society" is a euphemism for the upper class.) In 1899 she published her popular memoirs, Reminiscences.[2] She continued to write until her death.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Ward_Howe

n.n said...

the most stirring Battle Hymn of the Republic listen to Odetta as she sings it "die to make men free"

It states clearly and plainly that the privilege of freedom may require the ultimate sacrifice. Enter this battle with eyes wide open.

Yancey Ward said...

Sometimes you just lean one way or the other to help your feet.

I don't Twitter, so were there complaints about the song? It wouldn't surprise me if there were.

Rosa Marie Yoder said...

What Otto says at 10:35 A.M.

rcocean said...

"I MAY never...BUT I'm in the Lord's army." The version I remember didn't preclude doing both. I wonder if it's a denominational difference? I am Presbyterian, which doesn't have a strong connection with pacifism, at least not historically."

This was in Sunday school and it could be we sang 'Will' because "May" was too formal for little kids in the early 70s. Or maybe our teacher just got it wrong. We were NOT singing out of a hymn book -but followed the teacher.

rcocean said...

at the end of the war, the South was offering Freedom to blacks who joined the Confederate army (and their families). IRC, some land went along with it. It should be remembered that while 3.5 million blacks were slaves, there were 250,000 free Blacks in the South, some of whom served as servants, teamsters, etc. in the confederate army.

Michael K said...

The LA Times managed to find a list on semi-anonymous celebrities who tweeted anti-TRump stuff to celebrate the 4th,

A few I know of and am disappointed that they chose to reject half the country.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

As for "bad theology" This is n extract from a letter written by Pliny the Younger to Trajan.

"Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have followed the following procedure: I interrogated them as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome."

Biff said...

I wonder how the line would have sounded to a listener in the 1860s, who likely had a different relationship and experience with death than most 21st century Americans. Death, at all ages, was much more present in people's lives.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“She helped found the New England Women's Club and the New England Woman Suffrage Association.”

So how do you like her now...?

Freder Frederson said...

Being a Christian or a member other suppressed religious group in a state run by people who will oppress you, economically disadvantage you or even KILL you will cause you to minimize or even hide your faith.

You want to live? You want to be able to make a living for your family? You want your children to live? What would YOU do? I'm pretty sure it would not be to martyr your self or family on a principle.


I would argue that being a good Christian requires you to make exactly these sacrifices. How deep is your faith if you are not willing to be economically disadvanged, or even killed, for it. After all, Christianity promises everlasting life. What possible punishment that the government can mete out is worth sacrificing your soul? One of the most important lessons of the New Testament is our disgust at Peter denying Christ three times (and hoping we would not do the same if put to the test).

gspencer said...

Know Jesus, know peace

No Jesus, no peace

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Julia Ward Howe was descended from the Puritans who settled New England and was steeped in that tradition. That puritanical zeal still exists, but has been secularized. The new puritans go to war against imaginary Nazis, Orange Man, and the unwoke white masses and firmly believe in their own righteousness.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

I hate it when singers dick around with the tempo like that. It isn't a funerary hymn.

Perhaps Melania caught something from Angela Merkel at the last summit.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“Inga, how do you like Susan B. Anthony?”

What does she have to do with the Battle Hymn of the Republic?

Mark said...

I hate it when singers dick around with the tempo like that.

When the military is singing it, they can "dick around" with it all they want. They earned it.

Peter said...

I suggest "Let us die to make men free" is poetic license for "Let us go to war to end slavery".

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

True. She doesn't. I deleted the comment.

wwww said...

Julia Ward Howe was a Unitarian by the 1840s. Living in Massachusetts. Boston. New England. Husband supported John Brown.

Massachusetts religious history: The Massachusetts Unitarians inherited the old Puritan churches and Harvard Divinity school, originally Puritan, was dominated by Unitarians by the 1830s. Oberlin College was founded and funded by Christian abolitionists. John Brown was Calvanistic, New England.

These radical Christian abolitionists were who they were. Howe was who she was. A specific person wrote it, she had a specific history.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

It's like ISIS.

No. The motivation and purpose is different
"Martyrdom" for ISIS is to inflict as much damage on the infidel as possible.
When Isis dies, it is not to "set men free", or any sort of benefit.
It is a selfish act.

Read 1 Cor 13-- esp verse 3: "If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."
Sacrificing yourself for the sake of anything but other's good is pointless.
If you run into a burning building to save lives, but lose your own, is love.
(No greater love...)
If you run into a burning building for no one it's vainglory.

What ISIS is dying for is not what the BHoR is about at all.

"I regret that I have but one life to give for my country" --N. Hale

Michael K said...

The new puritans go to war against imaginary Nazis, Orange Man, and the unwoke white masses and firmly believe in their own righteousness.

Yes, and Harvard and Yale, both Puritan seminaries, along with Howard's beloved Boston, are centers of secular Puritanism.

whitney said...

Melania is a recent Catholic convert. She's religious

YoungHegelian said...

@Freder & others:

Melania Trump is Catholic.

wwww said...

"She was inspired to write "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" after she and her husband visited Washington, D.C., and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in November 1861. During the trip, her friend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words"

Who was her friend and the minister, James Freeman Clarke, who suggested Howe write the Hymn? Unitarian Minister. Friends with Margaret Fuller. Anti-slavery activist. Theodore Parker.

Born in Hanover, New Hampshire, James Freeman Clarke attended the Boston Latin School, graduated from Harvard College in 1829, and Harvard Divinity School in 1833. Ordained into the Unitarian church he first became an active minister at Louisville, Kentucky, then a slave state, and soon threw himself into the national movement for the abolition of slavery. His mild theology was unusual for the conservative town and, reportedly, several women walked out of his first sermon. As he wrote to his friend Margaret Fuller, "I am a broken-winged hawk, seeking to fly at the sun, but fluttering in the dust."[1]

In 1839 he returned to Boston where he and his friends established (1841) the Church of the Disciples which brought together a body of people to apply the Christian religion to social problems of the day. One of the features that distinguished his church was Clarke's belief that ordination could make no distinction between him and them. They also were called to be ministers of the highest religious life. Of this church he was the minister from 1841 until 1850 and again from 1854 until his death. He was also secretary of the Unitarian Association and, in 1867-1871, professor of natural religion and Christian doctrine at Harvard.

Clarke was an advocate of human rights. Being a Boston Latin School alumnus, he served on a committee of the Massachusetts Society for the University Education of Women which was greatly instrumental in establishing Girls' Latin School in 1878. Tempered and moderate in his views of life, he was a reformer and a conciliator and never carried a pistol as fellow preacher Theodore Parker did. He published few verses, but is regarded by some as a poet at heart. A diligent scholar, among the books by which he became well known is one called Ten Great Religions (2 vols, 1871–1883).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Freeman_Clarke

wwww said...

The friend and minister who suggested to Howe she write the song:

"He was also secretary of the Unitarian Association and, in 1867-1871, professor of natural religion and Christian doctrine at Harvard."

Amy said...

I watched and was moved by it as well.
But what also struck me was how ALL the dignitaries (Trumps, Pences, heads of military) stood almost perfectly still for so long. And Melania in heels. I would have much trouble doing so. So while I do think she was moved (which seemed clear from slight facial expressions), I think any shifting was due to the challenges of maintaining her position for so long.

We enjoyed watching.

(I also wondered if they would sing 'die to make men free' - at first listen it seemed so. But then when you mentioned 'hie' and I listened again, I reconsidered. Who says "hie" though? I think 'fight' would be a better and more accurate substitute word than die, hie or live.

Bilwick said...

As I've written before, I often wonder if "liberals" and other State-shtuppers celebrate the Fourth . . . why? I once asked put one "New Tory" (almost as stupid as Inga and a little better read and more articulate) to that question, and in effect what he said is that he celebrated the fact that, thanks to the American Revolution, he could now elect representatives who could consign us to serfdom. (As opposed to the unelected despots of the Ancien Regime who could just consign us to serfdom by ukase or fiat). I could only think of the guys who suffered through Valley Forge and think, "Why did they bother?"

Goddess of the Classroom said...

I believe the repetition of "die" was more an effective rhetorical device than a religious statement.

Otto said...

Hot, hot, hot Flotus.
https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/05/melania-white-top-yellow-jeans-combo-bedminster/

narciso said...

it might be Old English, Unitarianism is sort of the margarine of Christianity, a pudding without the belief in jesus, that underlays everything, it takes an overlegalistic interpretation to misrepresent the nature of slavery in the old and new testament,

Unknown said...

Whenever I hear it sung I see long lumbering blue columns marching toward the sound of guns.

wwww said...

Everyone can have their own opinion of the song, the lyrics, and the stanza. & apparently there is a debate about a stanza that seems pretty straightforward to me. I thought everyone knew that stanza and recognized the Biblical references, but I guess not.

It is a simple historical fact that Julia Ward Howe was a Massachusetts Unitarian by the 1840s, her friend who suggested she write the Hymn was a Unitarian minister, and she was acquainted with others of the Concord Renaissance like Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller.

Kirk Parker said...

'die' vs 'live'? Good grief, Althouse, didn't you see the song's title?

Now, maybe my response is overblown, but it seems SO intuitively obvious that a "battle hymn" written while an actual existential war was going on is talking about dying for the cause, and "live" is a more modern, poetically-deaf, paux-pacifistic revision... somewhat like that guy who rewrote "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war" to the much friendlier and non-patriarchial "Onward Christian people, strolling into life".


Michael K.,

We met a young Chinese woman who was going to school here in the US. Her parent was the head of the One Child Policy office in [large recognizable city name redacted]; the daughter was a secret Christian--at least secret back home, she didn't mind telling us or openly attending church services here.

Kirk Parker said...

doctrev @ 9:58am,

Well said. BUT in this day of historical illiteracy, it's dangerous to mention the Crusades without pointing out that they were about reclaiming once-Christian territory from a hostile invader. For many people reading, this will be the first time they've ever heard that part of the story.

Kirk Parker said...

Ron W @ 11:39am,

Pliny the Younger -- patron saint of state-fellators everywhere: "...whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished."

Narr said...

OTOH, there were Southern and secesh women such as Elizabeth Avery Meriwether, postwoah colleague and ally of Susan B. Anthony and E. Cady Stanton (for as long as they could stand each other, anyway). I call her the Confederate Suffragist.

I'll check back later; maybe someone will yet explain to me the connection between libertarianism and slavery.

Narr
Rudely asking historical questions in a theology discussion

Bilwick said...

Much the same way Inga and other State fellators react to the playing of the Internationale!

Andrew said...

Althouse: "For those who believe in Christianity, Christ's dying is supposed to be enough. He's not setting an example, with the idea being that the rest of us should up and die too. It's more the idea that he died so we could live. He died, so we should die — that doesn't sound like Christianity. Where's the resurrection?!"

I haven't read all the comments, so others may have answered this.

1) For Christians, baptism is a picture of death and resurrection. We are buried with Christ, and are raised with Him to "walk in newness of life."

2) The Christian life is one of continually being "conformed to the death of Christ" so that we can walk in the power of His resurrection. We are supposed to die to ourselves that we might live to God.

3) The song, however, is clearly pointing to the physical and self-sacrificing death of Union soldiers in the context of ending slavery. The implied presumption is that they will be rewarded in the next age, after their physical resurrection.

rhhardin said...

Julia A. Moore was another poet of the time, much beloved by Mark Twain for the child death count in her works. Featured in modern times in _The Stuffed Owl_.

traditionalguy said...

On November 11, 1864 the Army of the Tennessee marched southeast out of town towards McDonough serenaded by their Bands with John Brown's Body as they set fire to the depopulated homes they had lived in for 60 days since the Battle of Jonesboro and Atlanta's surrender.

Don't tell me the mid western boys were not taking revenge on southerners.

rightguy said...

Mark Steyn has the definitive piece on the song itself:

https://www.steynonline.com/5587/the-battle-hymn-of-the-republic

narciso said...

libertarianism is about what one does with one's own body, slavery is about the disposition of others, slavery is akin to the opium trade, a business that deals in domination of others, sadly quite a number of folks, like the forbes and Delano clan, in the us, the barings and others in the uk, the latter had their business run by the british east india company,

richard mcenroe said...

It's almost like she came here from a totalitarian state or something.

Andrew said...

Wow. At last I agree with Chuck on something.

The singing of The Battle Hymn of the Republic in the National Cathedral right after 9/11 was one of the most powerful things I have ever seen. Everyone was still in shock. That song perfectly captured the mixture of grief and anger we were all feeling, and prepared the country for war.

Having said that, what a tragedy that we are still spinning our wheels in Afghanistan, and American troops are still dying over there for nothing of consequence.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin said...

They sang "die," clear as a bell.

I'm Jewish so maybe I don't have a dog in this fight, but the lyrics make perfect sense to me--Jesus died on the cross for the sake of humanity present and future, and as God He could have chosen not to die--so why should we not be willing to die to free others? Not that we are committed to die, but we are willing to take the risk for a high purpose.

Not my religion, but I see no problem with those sentiments.

Althouse, you're over-thinking this.

mockturtle said...

Andrew @ 1:27: Thank you for the cogent perspective. And your later comment on Afghanistan. I'm always delighted to enjoy the fruits of clear thinking.

mockturtle said...

And Martin: Yes, Althouse overthinks everything, makes mountains of molehills and misses the forest for the trees. And hates cliches. ;-D

wwww said...

Althouse writes: "She's religious (perhaps) or struck by the daring of the inclusion of forthright religion"

Final comment. Want to underline the song does not wait until the last stanza to include religion. The entire song makes Biblical references. I thought everyone knew this one? In any case, Americans did know the reference in 1861.

Revelations 14:19-20: So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God"

[An] angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud [Jesus], “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.” So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven who also had a sharp sickle……“Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God’s wrath. (Rev 14:14-19)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on

narciso said...

we used to have a richer vocabulary before engel v vitale, stripped the bible out of the public square,


https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/05/china-no-trade-deal-tariffs/

Michael K said...

Not that we are committed to die, but we are willing to take the risk for a high purpose.

Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?
GySgt. Daniel J. "Dan" Daly, USMC
near Lucy-`le-Bocage as he led the 5th Marines' attack into Belleau Wood, 6 June 1918

narciso said...

and the squirrel chase, that makes a mockery of this ceremony,


https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/06/27/crowdstrikeout_muellers_own_report_undercuts_its_core_russia-meddling_claims.html

Penn Neff said...

Otto and Rabel are exactly right. Fewer things are mor irritating than the smug dishonest ignorance of the professional academic. I mean raeallly “religious disagreement is “stupid”. That passes for serious thought in a faculty lounge.

Michael K said...

We met a young Chinese woman who was going to school here in the US.

MY student has a brother who was back in China at the time. I asked her about the one child policy and she replied,"Oh, they are not so smart." I think ti was probably her high status mother but did not say so.

She came to America to go to medical school so she could care for her parents in old age. She said China has no pension system, even for university professors. She is now a breast surgeon in LA.

MikeR said...

"let us die to make men free" Unbelievable. Who would change that to "live"? Do people who want reparations understand why people fought in the Civil War?

madAsHell said...

Who can recall the alternative "Battle Hymn" lyrics that we all learned on the playground during recess??

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured ev'ry teacher; we have broken ev'ry rule
We have bound and gagged the principal and tossed him in the pool
Our gang is marching on!


I remember the chorus advocating shooting the teacher.

Roy Lofquist said...

rcocean said...
... I have no intention of dying for someone else's freedom and I doubt many would disagree.
7/5/19, 8:46 AM

Fuck you, RC. I disagree.

rcocean said...

"Fuck you, RC. I disagree."

Please tell me which war you fought in. Give unit, position, and time in combat. I just hope you're not David French.

narciso said...

You dont but others do, this who soldiers fight and die for,

rcocean said...

"libertarianism is about what one does with one's own body,"

No it isn't. what a joke. Goddamn, Libertarians in their constant expanding, ever retracting, ever changing definition of "True Libertarianism". What a clown political philosophy. Every criticism is met with "That's not TRUE Libertarianism">

Ice Nine said...

Penn Neff said...
Otto and Rabel are exactly right. Fewer things are mor irritating than the smug dishonest ignorance of the professional academic. I mean raeallly “religious disagreement is “stupid”.

Yeah, sure, Althouse's smugness, overthinking everything, etc. is pretty well-known here. But don't pile on with a fabrication. She did not say “religious disagreement is “stupid” - she said *fighting* (arguing vigorously) about religion is stupid. Quite a big difference. I find very little cause to defend her much of the time but c'mon, fair's fair.

rcocean said...

The problem with all you world savers and crusaders is always want someone else to go on your crusade "for Freedom" and fight and die. Not only that, but you end up making things worse and getting a lot of innocent people killed. We went on a Crusade to "Save Democracy" in WW1 and we ended up with Hitler and Stalin 20 years later.

narciso said...

Your argument is that of the libertarians no one can be compelled to fight and day? For any reason.

n.n said...

The libertarian philosophy is founded in the belief of dynamic, individual reconciliation, which fails when individuals do not hold a religious/moral consensus. So, we establish Dens, Chambers, etc. and propose ethics (i.e. relative, selective, opportunistic) and other regulatory protocols, and the left-right nexus is realized with an interminable progression left-ward and single, central, monolithic regimes.

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