The following invocation was delivered at the Independent Institutes 25th Anniversary Dinner: A Gala for Liberty, November 15th, in San Francisco:
We thank you that
you have called the human family into freedom
and shown us its painful cost
and shining glory.
Help us to discern true freedom
as we honor those among us
who have been its champions
and suffered in its cause.
We thank you that you have stirred up in us
the longing for liberty grounded in
a vision of the sacred.
Found in our seeking the good of all.
Found in the universal call to dignity, respect and honor,
Found in knowing that true freedom
brings with it great responsibility.
Help us reject freedoms devious substitutes:
self-indulgence and conspicuous consumption,
the lust for power and the pursuit of wealth,
the preserving of our own freedom at the expense of others,
and our mistaking it for the free rein of a corrupt
and corrupting conscience.
But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt,
And by their vices brought to servitude,
Then to love Bondage more than Liberty,
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty.*
Help us to choose the path of strenuous liberty,
particularly in these times of raucous politics
and ideological manipulation.
Give us a fresh vision of freedom,
in knowing that liberty can be neither bought nor sold.
Help us to see that freedom is a craft, and art,
something to be learned and earned,
fought for and---a work-in-progress
---your gift to us.
Above all, help us to see that to be free is
to be answerable to You,
whose service is perfect freedom.
May it be so!
*John Milton, Samson Agonistes (1671).