God of the poor man this is how the day began
Eight co defendants, I, Daniel Berrigan
Oh and only a layman's batch of napalm
We pulled the draft files out
We burned them in the parking lot
Better the files than the bodies of children

I had no right but for the love of you
I had no right but for the love of you

Many roads led here, walked with the suffering
Tom in Guatemala, Phillip in New Orleans
Oh it's a long road from law to justice
I went to Vietnam, I went for peace
They dropped their bombs
Right where my government knew I would be

I had no right but for the love of you
I had no right but for the love of you

And all my country saw
Were priests who broke the law

First it was question, then it was a mission
How to be American, how to be a Christian
Oh if their law is their cross and the cross is burning

The love of you
The love of you

God of the just I'll never win a peace prize
Falling like Jesus
Now let the jury rise
Oh it's all of us versus all that paper
They took the only way they know who is on trial today
Deliver us unto each other, I pray

I had no right but for the love of you
And every trial I stood, I stood for you

Eyes on the trial
Eight a.m. arrival
Hands on the Bible

Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

I Had No Right Lyrics as written by Dar Williams

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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I Had No Right song meanings
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  • 0
    General Comment

    Another of Dar's wonderful anti-war songs. This one is about Daniel Berrigan, a catholic priest, poet, and anti-war activist.

    During the Vietnam War he and eight others (including Tom Lewis and Philip Berrigan), who later came to be collectively known as the Catonsville Nine, burned 378 draft files in Catonsville, Maryland.

    Despite being Catholic, he did not believe in the way the church had been running ("priests who broke the law") and sought to show the world that there were some priests who wanted to help. After the demonstration in Maryland the Catonsville Nine issued the statement: "We confront the Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country's crimes. We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor."

    He was later sentenced to three years in jail, but escaped the FBI by living underground for a few years though he still continued to give talks at rallys and demonstrations. He served his time when the FBI caught up to him years later and was finally released from jail in 1972.

    VampedVixenon November 06, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is an an excerpt from and interview with Dar

    DW: Do you know anything about the Berrigan Brothers? The Berrigans were, are, one’s still a priest, and the other was a priest. Out of conscious, out of prayer and conscious decided to create their own napalm, and put it on draft files in protest of the war. They burned these draft files and they went to jail for it. There was a trial for it. They called themselves the Catonsville Nine, Catonsville, Maryland, and they went on trial for it for three days and they were sent to jail for three years. They did it out of conscious, and they did it at a time when…Danny Berrigan did go over to Viet Nam, and when he was there they started a bombing campaign that they hadn’t done in six months. It was literally like the country was trying to kill him for his protesting. It was a really heavy time and he took a stand.

            It’s not as much a song about politics as a song about spiritual choice and spiritual reasoning. To me it was a song about spiritual reckoning as opposed to the politics although the politics of it were very important too in terms of how people took a stand. I actually saw Daniel Berrigan and I was telling him about how there was a book that written by the Presbyterian Church that basically said, “Presbyterian Clergy look at the Viet Nam war…” The first page says, “It’s a very difficult issue. It’s very hard to say what the best action is.” It was a terrible war. It was hard for large establishments to take a stand on it. This was the end of the Sixties. This was a time when a person could weigh in and say, “This isn’t making sense.” It was really poignant and sad to see the Presbyterian Church couldn’t find it in itself to go against the establishment. They went against the establishment in the name of religious belief. It was all too rare in this country to do that. That’s why I wanted to write a song about them.
    pnkseashelon January 16, 2006   Link

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