Life Everlasting

The religious right and the right to die

This is the ballad of Doctor Lloyd Thompson, who may or may not have hastened a patient's death. This is a song about American secular democracy, which may be under a sentence of death, and about those forces gathering at the gallows. Most of all, this is a song about who owns your life.

Dr. Thompson will never be as well known as Timothy Quill or as notorious as Jack Kevorkian. He will be remembered, and doubtless would choose to be remembered, as a founder of one of Vermont's first hospice programs, which serves the geographical area where I happen to live and where I hope, not any time soon, to die. He also makes house calls, and therefore might have merited a ballad even without careening so close to outlawry.

Life Everlasting (Harpers.org)


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