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1623. Christians at War (John F. Kendrick)


Category: Music
Duration: 00:03:43
Description:
From its beginning in 1905 to the USA's entry into World War I in 1917, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) became one of the most active labor unions in the country, due to the widespread appeal of it's goal to overthrow capitalism and form "one big union" of all workers. The IWW realised that appealing to workers with music was more powerful than any other form of propaganda. The union's songbook, "Songs of the Workers" (also known as "The Little Red Songbook") originated in the Spokane, Washington, branch of the IWW.

The IWW's use of music and song developed partly from the union's rivalry with organized religion. Although they believed religion was just a tactic of the bosses to distract workers' attention away from the evils of capitalism by promising "pie in the sky", they recognized the appeal of religion, especially as promoted by organizations like the Salvation Army. In an attempt to beat the Salvos at their own game, when a Salvation Army band met in public to sing and play music, Wobblies would often turn up and sing their own lyrics to the band's tunes.

During the First World War the IWW ridiculed the war effort in parodies that pointed out the hypocrisy of the USA claiming to have God on their side while fighting against another Christian country. This song, written by John F. Kendrick P and first published in the 9th edition (the Joe Hill Memorial edition) of the Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook" in March, 1916, is one of the best known examples. It is a parody of the popular Christian hymn, "Onward, Christian Soldiers".

This song is now on the "Art of Peace" website: http://www.missingpeaceart.org/art_of_peace_links.htm

Lyrics and chords:
D ............................. A .......... A7 ................. D
Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
........................................... A ..... E ...................... A
Slay your Christian neighbours, or by them be slain.
A7 ...................... D ................................ G
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
........................................................................... A
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill.
D ......................... A ............ A7 ...................... D
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
.................................................... G ........ A7 ........ D
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.

Onward, Christian soldiers, rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite,
Splinter skulls, with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ OK's the bill.
Steal the farmer's savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Saviour's bums must eat.
Burn the peasant's cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Drench the land with gore;
Mercy is a weakness that all the gods abhor.
Bayonet the babies, jab the mothers too;
Hoist the cross of Calvary to hallow all you do.
File your bullets' noses flat, poison every well;
God decrees your enemies must all go plumb to hell.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Blighting all you meet,
Trampling human freedom under pious feet,
Praise the Lord whose dollar sign dupes his favored race!
Make the foreign trash respect your bullion brand of grace.
Trust in mock salvation, serve as pirates' tools;
History will say of you: "That pack of God damned fools."


You can hear a playlist of my satirical and parody songs here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=PLEFC5EFD3C7FC636C

Lyrics and chords of many of my songs are no longer available, as my website has expired. I am currently posting lyrics to the information panels on all my videos and those that are too long to post in full will be found here: https://raymondsfolkpage.wordpress.com

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