What texts do you think are sacred to Americans?

Our guest today at 11:20 is Stephen Prothero, a religious scholar and the author of ‘The American Bible.’ This new book is an examination of the texts that have inspired Americans and make up a canon for our nation.

Prothero includes the Gettysburg Address, ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ and the ‘Autobiography of Malcolm X’ amongst others.

What texts would you include?

Here’s President Eisenhower’s farewell address, which Prothero includes in his “American Bible.”

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • Craig

    Maybe not sacred, but controversial books on the topic of mass media’s position in American culture I would include Daniel Boorstin’s prescient book, The Image. And Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent.

  • Stephanie Curtis
  • beryl John-knudson

    Don’t ignore Tom Morello “The Road I must Travel”…powerful voice for this crazy era through which we are passing.!

  • Stephanie Curtis

    Recommended by a caller: Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-changin’.

  • Charleen

    From the 60’s, I remember discussing the meaning of the words, “All we are is dust in the wind”. Don’t remember the song title or artist.

  • Vicki

    phil ochs song “Power and the Glory”

  • Song (Instrumental):

    “The Star Spangled Baner”, as played by James M. Hendrix at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 1969.


  • stephanie curtis

    Never heard of Tom Morello? Here he is performing Road I Must Travel.

  • Perry

    How America uses these words: “Hemp” unites, “marihuana” divides, “cannabis” defines.

  • America may have “lost its way” during the 1960’s, but America also woke up and grew up during the 1960’s.

  • Stephanie Curtis

    Mentioned on the air by our guest and audience:

    Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin

    God Bless America

    Letter from a Birmingham Jail

    The Constitution

    The Declaration of Independence

    Noah Webster’s Blue Back Speller

    Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?

    In the Ghetto by Elvis Presley

    Common Sense by Tom Paine

    Huckleberry Finn

    Atlas Shrugged

    The Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix

    Vietnam Veterans Memorial

  • Michael in White Bear Lake

    Hearkening back to summer when the family took a trip to New York City, my ten year old son has a project to identify geographical location that satisfy a number of clues given by the teacher. For, ‘A place of intense emotion” we discussed the Statue of Liberty, and the meaning and message conveyed to those escaping the old and laying all hope on the new.

    The New Colossus

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  • Austin in Mpls

    You were talking about the Star Spangled Banner – I would include Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as a controversial piece. So many love to pin it as quintessential American patriotism; but if you actually tune in to the lyrics, you hear a much deeper critique of the world around us.

    I would also name Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn” as a wrenching social commentary of its day.

  • One of our callers who we couldn’t get to today mentioned that he has not heard a black perspective on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. He mentioned that he’s heard this book frequently mentioned and yet no black person has provided a response. Here’s an old NPR clip I found that provides how some in the black community perceive this book.


  • LM

    What Prohibition Has Done to America

    by Fabian Franklin

    A concise, forceful argument against the Eighteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Beginning in 1920, this Amendment prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the United States, until it was repealed in 1933. Franklin states that the Amendment “is not only a crime against the Constitution of the United States, and not only a crime against the whole spirit of our Federal system, but a crime against the first principles of rational government.”, he predicts runaway bootlegging and organized crime. A passionate defense of liberty.

    Parallels drawn, the Prohibition of Hemp/cannabis and the War on Drugs looms insidiously successful to feeding corruption in unintended (and intended) ways,

  • Jeremy


    from Essays: First Series (1841)

    Ralph Waldo Emerson