Polyventure Publications

In 1865 when Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the words to the familiar hymn Onward Christian Soldiers he was referring to the admonition in II Tim.2:3 to endure hardship as a good soldier does for his commander, and as a soldier should not be entangled in the affairs of the world.  The hymn became the favorite processional of William Booth's evangelistic and pacifist group, The Salvation Army.  Booth and Sabine-Gould would have been appalled when Churchhill met Roosevelt in 1941 on the HMS Prince of Wales and had the hymn played, and when it was again played at General Eisenhower's funeral in 1969.  Unfortunately, many in American churchianity today think of the song as a battlecry to fight the world's wars.  This was early perceived in Mark Twain's War Prayer, and in the following lyrics to Onward Christian Soldiers written by Joe Hill.  Joe Hill led the socialist organization Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1905-1917.  The IWW was very anti religion, but very perceptive of the American 'christian' worldview in the following lyrics with appeared in their Little Red Songbook.


Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
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 okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Savior's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' 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 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! Blight all that you meet;
Trample 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 tyrant's tools;
History will say of you: "That pack of G.. d.. fools."