Dateline: 4 July 2005
In 1832, Samuel Francis Smith, a New England minister, "felt the impulse" to write a patriotic hymn. On a scrap of waste paper, in 30 minutes time, he composed the words to My Country 'Tis of Thee. The tune, from a German hymnal, dates to 1740.
It is a beautiful song with eight stanzas. The 4th is a prayer...
Our fathers’ God to thee,
Author of Liberty
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, Our King!
"Our father's God" is the God of all creation; the God of the Old Testament Patriarchs; the God who sent His son to earth to atone for the sins of men. This song acknowledges, and declares boldly, that God alone is King over America, that He is sovereign, that He is the "Author of our American Liberty."
This song, these sentiments were once widely understood and accepted by our American popular culture. That is no longer the case. I wonder, with that being the situation, how much longer can "freedom's holy light" continue to shine?