It is somewhat rare for songs to address historical events, rarer for songs to reflect a liberal faith, and even rarer still for songs to do both.
However, there are several reasons why a liberal faith needs songs about historical events.
First, we can learn many things from history. It can teach us about social justice and about the causes of prejudice and exploitation. It can teach us about how humans have done things that are both harmful and good. These are all issues that are crucial to understand from the perspective of a progressive faith. The more we understand about events that happened in the past, the better equipped we are to make the world a better place today.
Also, some historical events are important and simply need to be remembered. For example, it could be important to remember tragic events such as the Trail of Tears, the Colfax Massacre, and the Holocaust. However, when life becomes hectic and busy, it can be challenging to take the necessary time and effort to learn about and remember these events. By putting these events into songs, it can make them memorable. It can remind us to think about them.
Historical events also provide stories that can function as metaphors or analogies. The story of a historical event can draw us in, invite us to consider what it means, what we can learn from it, how it may be like events at the present time, and how it may be different. In this way, historical events provide a lens through which we can view events at the present time.
Finally, it is good to put historical events into music because history is fascinating and historical events provide powerful, emotional material for music. Sometimes fictional stories can move us and make us think. But, because historical events involve real people facing real life challenges, they have the potential to be more powerful than fiction.
For all these reasons, I often use historical events as material for music.