I got up one Sunday morning when I was eight or nine and turned on the TV. Growing up in Windsor, a border city, we picked up Detroit stations, even in the pre-cable days of the early 1970s. So, that meant that I found religious programming rather than the cartoons I was probably hoping for.
What I saw left a lasting impression on me. A row of beautiful, wholesome looking young women in pastel coloured chiffon dresses stood in a beautiful, natural setting as they sang, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching off to war…” Besides wondering how they managed to flash their perfect smiles for every syllable, I was immediately appalled.
Even at that tender age, I was offended. Despite my lack of sophistication, I could see the hypocrisy. Kill for god? Doesn’t one of the commandments read, “Thou shalt not kill”? Now I’m supposed to believe god wants us to kill when it suits him? And I could see it was a sales job, too. I may have been pre-pubescent, but I knew a pretty girl when I saw one and, somehow, that sex sells. Somebody wanted people to buy the ideas of war and god.
At that time, the US was embroiled in the Vietnam war, fighting against the communist North. Being godless, they were presented as a threat to American ‘values’. It wasn’t about money, markets, or business opportunities, of course. It’s amazing how history keeps repeating itself.
If I, a child, could see through this ruse, why couldn’t the adults across the border? Are people really so blinded by religion? Apparently, they are. Give them eyes, that they might see.
‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, a song I suspect has its origins in the Crusades, was the most offensive song I’d ever heard, and it remains so.
Tags: 1970s, Christianity, Christians, commandments, Crusades, Detroit, evangelism, god, history, hypocrisy, lyrics, media, Music, Onward Christian Soldiers, religious programmes, religious programming, sales, songs, Sunday, television, ten commandments, TV, TV evangelists, Vietnam, Vietnam War, war, Windsor