Hank Williams

Religion, politics, and ideas ofHank Williams

Summary

Williams was born and raised in a Baptist home, but wasn't religious as an adult.

Williams was a Republican.

Editorial

Hank Williams was born in Mount Olive, Alabama and was raised in a dozen or so towns and cities in Alabama. He died in the back of his car of alcohol and drug-related heart failure in 1952.

Williams' mother was, among other things, an organist in a Baptist church. Throughout Hank's life, his mother attempted to steer him toward religion, but it didn't really work out.[1]

Williams never really spoke about faith or God or religion. It's widely thought that he just wasn't a religious man. He did, however, write a few religious tunes. But the running theme seems to be the absence of faith. His song, "Dust on the Bible," talks about friends whose Bible is unused and some lyrics of his song, "I Saw the Light," include:

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin/I wouldn't let my dear savior in/Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night/Praise the lord I saw the light.[2]

But we must separate art from the artist and songs like these are a dime a dozen from old-school country singers.

Culture shaping with a bit of politics

Williams was a Republican all his life. He was particularly impressed with Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom Williams officially endorsed for president, citing his military successes in World War II.[3]

Other than that, Williams didn't enter the debate much. His son, Hank Jr., would make up for it in spades when he expressed his, shall we say, frustration when Obama was re-elected, calling him an America-hating Muslim.[4]

However, one could argue that Williams was instrumental in shaping American culture. His music not only became a seminal influence in country music but it oriented American rock 'n roll. He is even named in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame as an "early influence."[5] While not political in name, it certainly helped to make America what it is today.

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