There's currently much flap, it seems, over video of Senator Obama's pastor of twenty years giving a sermon in which he shouts rather forcefully that black people should not sing the song "God Bless America" but rather "God Damn America".
One may say many things about about the Reverend Wright's comments, and I'm sure many will, but in my case the fuss reminded me of one of my favorite stories, and thus took me pleasantly out of the here and now.
The Man Without a Country was written by minister Edward Everett Hale, and appeared (anonymously) in the December 1863 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. It tells the story of a young naval officer who is caught up in Aaron Burr's treason shortly before the 1812 war and says, at his court martial for said treason, "God damn the United States. I hope never to hear its name again."
The court chooses to issue that as its sentence.
The story is at once patriotic and deeply humane -- perhaps unsurprisingly as it comes from a time during which the nation was engaged in tearing itself apart in the greatest war it has ever fought. Slightly easier on the eyes than the above reproduction of the original publication in the Atlantic is this electronic version from Bartleby.
It's not a very long read, and much rewards the reader for his trouble. Definately something I would put down as a "must read" in any homeschooled high school or junior high curriculum.
Xenophon's Cyropaedia (Books V-VIII)
8 hours ago