Stephen Prothero: Memorial Day and the American Bible

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans ...share...a collection of core texts that "we the people" regard as authoritative and a long-standing tradition of debating what these texts have to tell us about the meaning of "America." To be an American is to debate whether the business of America really is business. It is to ask about budget deficits or public Christmas displays, "What would Jefferson do?" Whereas Catholics come together to participate in the Mass, Americans come together to argue about the speeches, songs and sayings that compose the "American Bible."

This unofficial canon includes founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as well as songs such as "God Bless America" and speeches by Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Reagan. It also includes novels from "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to "Atlas Shrugged."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

Posted May 25, 2012 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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