Regarding Lee Herron's July 4 letter concerning The Battle Hymn of the Republic:
Mr. Herron's information is way off the mark. The only similarity this "anthem" has with the song John Brown's Body was the tune, which was actually borrowed from an old Methodist hymn, Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us?.
Julia Ward Howe was asked to write new lyrics; her poem was put to that same tune, but her inspiration was based on faith and the word of God - not that song.
"His terrible swift sword" Mrs. Howe spoke of was the sword of judgment of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Notice the "His" with capital H (as in capital G). You see, Mrs. Howe was an anti-slavery advocate who felt - as a lot of Christians in her day did (including President Abraham Lincoln) - that the war was the end for mankind, and God's judgment was coming as he promised in his word.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic does not glorify killing (of Southerners), as Mr. Herron suggested. If he would take another look at the lyrics, he will see why it is found in our hymnals.
It speaks of the glory of his coming, reading his word, the judgment seat and, most importantly, the reason Christ came and died for us. I see it as a message of truth that all sinners need to hear ... As a Christian and a Southerner, I will continue to sing this song. Glory, hallelujah. His truth still marches on.
Karen R. Jones, Augusta