Sunday, February 14, 2010

Author of Liberty

We all mishear lyrics when we're children. When I first learned the patriotic song "My Country 'Tis of Thee," in kindergarten, we sang one of the later stanzas, and I thought the opening line went "Our father's gone to the author of liberty, to thee we sing," not "Our fathers' god to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing." Maybe I had the kernel of atheism in me even at that young age, though I didn't fully embrace it until I was in the midst of my bar mitzvah lessons. Anyway, it started me thinking. Was the author of liberty someone you went to visit when you died? My father died when I was two years old. Did he go to the author of liberty?

I asked my mother. At first she didn't know what I was talking about, so I told her about the song. I'm pretty sure she changed the subject.

Perhaps death is indeed the author of liberty, but I'll take the bondage of life for as long as possible.


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