Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., closed his speech to the Senate on Wednesday by quoting the LDS hymn “Oh Say, What is Truth.” The Atlantic's McKay Coppins sat down with him to find out why. Both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Flake recited words from the hymn after criticizing President Donald Trump for his repeated attacks on the media and comparing them to former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
In The Atlantic’s article, Flake said he felt it was the responsibility of America’s key institutions, including Congress and the press, to “put more guardrails around the president.”
“As a Mormon, my ears perked up at the end when you quoted that somewhat obscure Mormon hymn. I feel like we don’t sing that one much in church. Does it have some kind of special meaning to you?” asked Coppins.24 comments on this story
“Well, my wife is a musician, and when I was writing this, I said to her, 'What’s a hymn that talks about truth?' She immediately responded, 'Oh Say, What Is Truth?' So I looked at the words, and you know, I could’ve used any verse. The prior verses talk about despotism and tyranny,” Flake answered.
The hymn was written by John Jaques (1827-1900), a member of the Church who sailed to America from England in 1856. He and is family crossed the plains to the western United States with the Edward Martin Handcart Company.
Flake’s entire speech can be read at CNN.