One’s Woman’s Battle to Evolve the American Spirit: A Mother’s Day Note from Rabbi Waskow’s Shalom Center

by mgopin on May 12, 2013 · 7 comments

Please read this amazing proclamation from 1870 by an amazing American woman, Julie Howe. I grew up with the Battle Hymn of the Republic ringing in my ears, played on so many patriotic occasions, and so very violent. You come to define patriotism and your national spirit by a very few cultural artifacts that are most familiar to you. But so often, digging deeper into history, it turns out that those selections had an agenda at the hands of someone who wanted to define a  country in one way, with one spirit, in this case a very militant spirit. I lost that sense of patriotism due to the bad taste that Vietnam and the Cold War left in my young mouth. But I did not have to lose patriotism, I just had to contest its formulation exclusively with ante bellum Julia Howe, and not the whole Julie Howe. We need to fight for the positive spirit of our countries and our cultures and help it evolve to where the earth needs us to go. 

Look at the very same author, and the difference between 1861 and 1870, AFTER Julia Howe has seen the unthinkable, how such a young country could murder five hundred thousand of its teenagers on the battlefield. Her insights so deep, her visionary approach to international relations way ahead of its time. 

Howe’s insights reflect some of the most important elements of a human way of thinking that evolves away from violence. Let’s analyze them:

“The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

 Blood does not wipe out dishonor,

 Nor violence indicate possession.”

The beginning of nonviolence is the recognition that 1. the sword rarely achieves the balance of justice, and that 2. the sword always involves murder, not just justifiable war as its advocates gleefully guarantee . War never fulfills most of its promises. 

More importantly, the honor culture of blood for blood is an idol that endlessly consumes its subjects. Honor through the spilling of blood is a false god that always leads to more and more bloodshed, more and more dishonor. Finally, violence may be a way to take things, but it is not the same as possession, legal and moral possession that the world recognizes. 

We see in the visionary thinking of Julia Howe the evolution of the American spirit. But this spirit will only become part of the American character when every time the Battle Hymn of the Republic is played, these words are recited afterward. 

This sounds like a fantasy, and it is a fantasy in the near future, but I imagine the Vikings would not recognize Norway. We are the Vikings of American history, and I hope our warrior spirit will become as quaint one day as Viking clothing. 

 Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870

[Julia Ward Howe, who in 1861 wrote the lyrics of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” in 1870 issued the following Call for A MOTHERS’ DAY FOR PEACE. Year after year, Rebbetzin Eve Ilsen of Boulder Colorado has sent it out as a reminder, to members of the Jewish renewal community. The Shalom Center is happy to celebrate Mother’s Day this year by joining in Ms. Ilsen’s practice. May the day Ms Howe proclaimed soon come! — ED.]

 Arise thenwomen of this day!

 Arise, all women who have hearts!

 Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

 Say firmly:

 We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,

 Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,

 For caresses and applause.

 Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

 All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

 We, the women of one country,

 Will be too tender of those of another country

 To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

 From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with

 Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!

 The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

 Blood does not wipe out dishonor,

 Nor violence indicate possession.

 As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil

 At the summons of war,

 Let women now leave all that may be left of home

 For a great and earnest day of counsel.

 Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

 Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

 Whereby the great human family can live in peace…

 Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

 But of God –

 In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

 That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,

 May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient

 And the earliest period consistent with its objects,

 To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

 The amicable settlement of international questions,

 The great and general interests of peace.

© Marc Gopin

Previous post:

Next post:

adobe premiere free download

buy cheap creative suite adobe reader download portable adobe flash direct download cheap adobe reader download 5 download adobe flash 9 for h264

adobe rider download

buy cheap adobe illustrator CS5 adobe page maker full download download and install adobe flash onto my computer cheapest free download adobe rea adobe in design 2 download

adobe photoshop 8 free download full version

buy cheap adobe after effects adobe pagemaker trial version download adobe photoshop cs3 extended download for free buy cheap adobe photodeluxe download adobe photoshop cs download osx

adobe 8 crack download

adobe acrobat x cheap can i download adobe filter factory adobe golive cs2 download buy cheap adobe nine flash player download free adobe photoshop 6 download

adobe flash player 9 cannot download to internet explorer 7

cs5 master collection cheapest free adobe pdf maker download adobe creative suite 3 download cheap download adobe cs3 free p2p adobe photoshop tutorial download

adobe acrobat pdf download free

buy cheap creative suite 5 adobe after effects cs2 download adobe flash psp download buy cheap adobe illustrator 8 download adobe illustrator cs3 crack download

adobe acrobat 6 free download

buy online creative suite 5 download adobe illustrator cs2 trial adobe live motion download buy online adobe cs3 free download pdf and adobe and download

download adobe photoshop elements 5tutorial

adobe incopy buy online free download adobe acrobat professional 6 free adobe illustrator cs2 download cheapest adobe photoshop trial download free adobe photoshop elements download

adobe photoshop 8 free download adobe photoshop cs3

adobe creative suite 5 cheap adobe download site adobe indesign download cheapest download adobe photoshop 8 cs adobe acrobat download warez

free download able adobe

cheap photoshop lightroom 3 download adobe pdf writer 4 adobe after effects demo download cheapest adobe photoshop 8 free download pdf and adobe and download

adobe flash player download for vista 32 bit os

cheapest cs5 master collection adobe flash offline download iran download adobe photoshop buy online download adobe photoshop download cracker adobe acrobat

download adobe reader 5

buy online adobe premiere pro adobe acrobat writer download adobe premiere free download buy online is download for adobe flash player free adobe file converter download

free adobe illustrator cs3 download full version

adobe web premium cheapest download add on error with adobe acrobat download adobe after effects 5 buy online free adobe photoshop elements download free download of adobe photoshop cs2