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June 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: How I constructed 'The American Bible'

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Over the past year or so, I have been working on a book called "The American Bible." The hardest part was the table of contents.

“The American Bible” isn’t a new translation of the Christian Bible. It’s my term for the texts that function like scripture in American public life, the voices to which we are forever returning as we reflect together on what America is all about.

In some cases, we refer explicitly to these texts as “sacred” or “immortal.” At a campaign stop in Mesa, Arizona, in February, Mitt Romney implied that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution might be “inspired by God.”

In all cases, however, we treat them like scripture, returning to their words as we ponder the meanings and ends of our country, and invoking their authority in debates over gay marriage and taxes. In other words, these are the speeches and songs, letters and novels that continue to stir commentary and controversy, the voices that bring us together into the collective conversation that I see as the rite of our republic.

But which voices to include in my book? Which texts have “we the people” embraced as scripture? And what are the key commentaries upon them? As I struggled to answer these questions, I knew I'd be criticized for the choices I made.

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When "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know" appeared in 1987, author E.D. Hirsch was widely criticized for producing a list of “core knowledge” that was too conservative and too white. His 63-page list of people, places and events neglected knowledge that is central to the experiences of African-Americans, Latinos and women, many argued.

With Hirsch and his critics in mind, I began the quest for my canon by devising some defensible guidelines. I decided right away that the book should be descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, I would aim not to create a canon but to report upon one; I would include not the voices that inspire me but those that “we the people” have revered.

I then fixed on two criteria. First, I would look for texts that have generated conversation and controversy, books we value enough to fight about. Second, I would look for texts that speak to the meaning of “America” and “Americans,” telling us where our nation has been and where it should be going.

I also decided that I would include alongside my “biblical" books extensive commentary about each, tracking their "afterlives" over the course of U.S. history. In other words, my “American Bible” would look something like an “American Talmud,” with extensive commentaries tracking the conversations Americans had about the Declaration of Independence during the Civil War and about the Gettysburg Address during the civil rights movement.

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When Nathaniel Philbrick referred to "Moby-Dick" as “our American Bible,” he meant that Melville’s classic is a big book that carries inside it the “genetic code” of American life. In my view, however, "Moby-Dick" has not been as influential as either Harriet Beecher Stowe’s "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" or Mark Twain’s "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," each of which has carried considerable weight in our national conversation about race. So I eliminated "Moby-Dick."

Other cuts were more difficult. I am a big fan of “Leaves of Grass,” Walt Whitman's love letter to democracy. But I thought that “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ran even deeper into the American psyche, so "Leaves of Grass" had to go. Eventually, as the book ballooned beyond its limits, I had to let Longfellow's "Revere" gallop away, too. It just hadn’t provoked enough arguments.

Also slighted in "The American Bible" are more recent voices, since it is harder to generate a vast commentary tradition for a work from the 1990s or 2000s than for one published during the revolution or the Civil War. Still, I admit that most of the voices in this collection are those of dead white men. In fact, the only living author of an "American Bible" book is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial architect Maya Lin.

Nonetheless, women, native Americans, African-Americans and Muslims are among the authors of my “biblical” books, and voices of the commentators — from Frederick Douglass to Rosa Parks and Gloria Steinem to Alan Greenspan — are far more diverse.

"The American Bible" also ranges, in its primary and secondary texts, far and wide across the political spectrum. Radical historian Howard Zinn and consumer activist Ralph Nader are heard here. So are conservative activists and intellectuals such as William F. Buckley Jr., Robert Bork, Rush Limbaugh and Antonin Scalia.

When I finished constructing "The American Bible," I was delighted to see that there are lessons aplenty here concerning both what our forbears have said about our country and how they have said it. In a time when party passions threaten to divide the country, it is gratifying to recall the words our fellow Americans have used to try to unite it.

In his Farewell Address, Washington warns us against the "mischiefs of the spirit of party." In his First Inaugural, Jefferson says, "We are all Republicans; we are all Federalists." "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies," says Lincoln. And closer to our own time, Kennedy reminds us that "civility is not a sign of weakness."

My table of contents appears below. How have I done? What did I miss? What should I have cut? It's your book. Let me know.

Genesis

The Exodus Story

John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity” (1630)

Thomas Paine, "Common Sense" (1776)

The Declaration of Independence (1776)

Noah Webster, "The Blue-Back Speller" (1783)

Law

The Constitution (1787)

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

Roe v. Wade (1973)

Chronicles

Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" (1852)

Mark Twain, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884)

Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged" (1957)

Psalms

Francis Scott Key, “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1814)

Irving Berlin, “God Bless America” (1938)

Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land” (1940)

Proverbs

Benjamin Franklin, “Remember that time is money” (1748)

Benjamin Franklin, “God helps those who help themselves” (1758)

Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death” (1775)

Abigail Adams, “Remember the ladies” (1776)

Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a woman?” (1851)

Abraham Lincoln, “With malice toward none, with charity for all” (1865)

Chief Joseph, “I will fight no more forever” (1877)

Calvin Coolidge, “The business of America is business” (1925)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people” (1932)

John F. Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” (1961)

Ronald Reagan, “Evil empire” (1983)

Prophets

Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” (1849)

Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address (1961)

Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream” (1963)

Malcolm X, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1965)

Lamentations

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (1863)

Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982)

Gospels

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (1933)

Ronald Reagan, “The Speech” (1964)

Acts

The Pledge of Allegiance (1892, 1954)

Epistles

George Washington, Farewell Address (1796)

Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to the Danbury Baptists” (1802)

Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963)

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Books • Church and state • Culture wars • History • Leaders • Opinion • Politics • United States

soundoff (741 Responses)
  1. ArthurP

    Terrorism: Killing those with no political power in order to cause those with political power to do what you want.

    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)

    God is a mass murdering terrorist.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Follower of Christ

      Say what you want about God. At the end of the day all of those people from that time period now lay in the grave, but God name is still alive. And long after we all pass and lay in the world of the dead, God will still be God. What can you do about it? All you can do is try to do the impossible and silence His name/ not believe in Him. Complain and insult Him complain and insult Him. The scary question is what will He do about those who are foolish enough to waste the life He gave doing this.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • JM

      God created life...and eternal life...and the ability to love and to have families and relationships and joy...

      June 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • JM

      He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
      He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
      Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
      Our God is marching on.
      Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
      Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

      In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
      With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
      As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
      [originally …let us die to make men free]
      While God is marching on.
      Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
      Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

      He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
      He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
      So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
      Our God is marching on.
      Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
      Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      Onward Christian soldiers
      Onward onto war
      With the cross of Jesus
      Going on before

      Kind of makes the turn the other cheek garbage and the love thy neighbour BS, that christianity espouses sheer hypocracy. Praise the Lord and pass the ammo.
      RAmen...Peace and Love from the FSM.

      June 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Evangelical

      The Lord gave man life, and he has the power and the right to take it away.

      June 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  2. Follower of Christ

    Who has had a bigger impact in this world than Jesus? No one, no one even comes close. The 3 most popular religions fortold His birth, and talk about His divine birth. This is someone who lived 2000 years ago and currently He is the most powerful Mman. He is no longer in this world yet He still has the biggest impact. How can anyone deny who He is? I dont understand how people can try to debate the existence of Jesus Christ lol its funny to me. Just think about it, a poor man over powered one of the most powerfful empires in the world simply in the name of love. He didnt use force or violence He used LOVE. I came to an conclusion that Jesus is the only hope for this world, all i can do is put my full trust in Him. His words spoke loud, but His actions spoke even louder. His words and actions over powered everyone before Him, during His time, and after Him. Jesus is truly the Son of GOD Almighty. Everyone before they judge should actually read about Him and meditate on His teachings. Jesus was tortured for people He never met, for people He knew would deny Him, by the people He came to save. Jesus spelled out love with His life. All glory, honor, and power be to Jesus the Son of God. “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”

    June 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • ThatOneDude

      Three most popular religions? That doesn't even make sense. Are you including Judaism? First, they don't revere Jesus, and second, they aren't even on the top three. Hinduism is 3rd and Buddhism is 4th. Second, Jesus didn't overcome the Roman empire. The religion started in his name came to power during the general dissolution of the Roman empire. Perhaps you should take some remedial classes to learn the difference between causation and correlation.
      And there is NO direct evidence that the character you know as Jesus ever actually existed. He's probably a fanciful collage of a couple of rabbis, nothing more.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  3. Like-Minded Madman

    I like how he included Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." Way to stick it to the 99% with a book about glorifying Greed and world chaos.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • CatSh

      The problem with Atlas Shrugged is that Rand assumes that the wealthy are moral beings who act for the benefit of mankind in order to profit. A brief look at any society where wealthy businessmen are allowed the freedom to pursue profit without regulations reveals this is not the case. Yes, those who act immorally do go out of business, but the human cost of their greed is more than any society will tolerate.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Linda

      Yup.

      June 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Stephen Prothero

      Hey Like-Minded Madman, I wasn't trying to "stick it to the 99%" by including Rand. If you look at the book, it isn't just an anthology. It's MOSTLY commentary on each of these biblical "books." So the Rand chapter includes a lot of commentary, including some pretty caustic anti-Rand stuff, about the novel. In fact, some of the commentary I included was so negative the Estate of Ayn Rand refused to let me run an excerpt. Anyway, my book is not pro-Rand by any means–it's just trying to get the controversy on the table.

      June 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Ayn Rand is a perfect example of morality without God. All those who say that you can be good without God should read her book. Every man for himself and to hell with everyone else.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  4. ArthurP

    If the Bible was so important God, being all powerful and all knowing, would have made sure that there were no mistakes of ambiguities in it.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Follower of Christ

      Can someone who is mortal, weak, and limited tell someone who is all knowing, all-powerfull, and eternal what and how they should do things? God needs no counselor or advisor we do. You and everything you see or know came from Him so im pretty sure He has everything under control.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • ArthurP

      So Follower of Christ if that is the case then he does not need someone like you to lecture me on his behalf then. He can do it himself.

      So why doesn't he?

      June 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • CatSh

      Without faith, there is no religion. Without doubt, there is no faith. Therefore, God inspired a book of doubt to inspire faith.
      But what I can't figure out is why God wants us to believe what makes no sense and cannot be proved. Faith is not the same as love. God does not reveal Himself directly, so we cannot truly have faith in God. We are left with faith in a book of questionable authorship. Faith in the Bible is not the same as faith in God.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  5. JEM

    "But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust."

    "But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice."

    "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

    June 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Like-Minded Madman

      "If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church"

      Because butchering animals on a pedestal would go over so well in 21st century America. I think PETA would like to have a word with you.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • JEM

      That's an argument? For what?

      Most of the world eats meat. All of us are going to die: man, animals.

      Yeah, creator of the universe creates everything. Man ignores Him...doesn't bother saying "gee, thanks".

      PETA v. God. I don't worship PETA.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  6. Andrew

    Copies of copies of misinterpretations of someone else's mythology. Genius.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  7. Michael

    I like that the author included both the original "Pledge of Allegiance" and updated one.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Stephen Prothero

      Thanks, Michael. Obviously, there is tons of controversy about the "under God" insertion of the 1950s. But even before the Pledge dredged up church/state questions, it was being challenged in the courts–mostly for forcing school children to recite a formula. Is that American or the OPPOSITE of Americanism? That was the big question pre-Ike.

      June 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  8. smk

    In Quran God speaks to the whole humanity ....

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    God will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary did you say to the people, `Make me and my mother idols beside God?' " He will say, "Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.[5:116]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided. Quran [2:186]

    June 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Like-Minded Madman

      Too long, didn't read.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • SK

      @smk Search for 'The religion of peace Jesus Muhammad'. And please use your own mind. May God open your eyes!

      June 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  9. Doobie Doobie Doo

    Garbage as usual.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Andrew

      At least he tries, fulbright. Thanks for gracing us with your vicissitudes.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  10. Richard Koffarnus

    Perhaps a better FDR quote in the Proverbs would be, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself"?

    June 16, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Stephen Prothero

      Hi Richard–Agreed. But that one is in the book, as part of FDR's First Inaugural (one of my "gospels").

      June 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  11. WhatNext

    Opium for the masses

    June 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  12. Jack

    God is good. His love endures forever. Everyone is welcome to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    June 16, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  13. Waileka1

    P.S. AND his 'publishers' think his book is worth 14.95 in ebook format. Since I've been a published author for over 45 years now, and I own an ebook business, I state categorically that 15 bucks for an ebook is outrageous... particularly when the author is writing about a subject he CLEARLY doesn't 'grok'. Oh, maybe this 'author' understands 'religion' but he certainly does not understand the Word of God, and there is only one book that is Inspired by God: THE BIBLE. While someone has only put a toe in the water and not given himself to God, is not a follower of Jesus Christ, he has nothing to say about 'religion' that anyone who is a Believer needs to waste their time on... S. Prothero, cry out to God and allow Him to fill you with His Spirit... you are misleading and misguiding seekers of Truth. That Truth can only be found in The Bible... and God does not judge His people on how many verses they have memorized... only on their belief in him.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Hypatia

      Says who? You? I'll remember to forget that.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • ME II

      I think your use of the word "grok", belies your limited publishing experience. In addition, this book is apparently about the US and its "sacred" writings, not specifically about God or the Bible.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  14. Hypatia

    Definitely an *A" for creativity but the American 'Bible' is a 2000 page contract of incomprehensible legalese which says everything we create, own or earn belongs to the Corporations.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Stephen Prothero

      You mean like our Facebook pages?

      June 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  15. ME II

    I wouldn't have thought of Webster, but great choice.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Stephen Prothero

      Yeah, I tried to include both obvious and less obvious choices. Webster's Blue-Back Speller taught a century of Americans not only how to read but also how to think about themselves and their country. It's been called our "linguistic declaration of independence."

      June 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 16, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Pheadrus

      Heh... read the news lately? Just today a religious nut is arrested for killing a 4 year old 'gay' child. Syrian Islamic religious radicals are killing women and children. Pedophile priests are nabbed constantly. Ministers beat the 'gay' out of children, or beat their teenage daughters for 'insubordination'. Mormon and Christian cults repeatedly abuse and brainwash children behind walled compounds. The list goes on... and on...and on

      Now... please reply with a similar story involving an atheist. You might find one... but I bet you gotta do some heavy, heavy research.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • except that as atheists

      Joe Stalin atheist tortured imprisoned and murdered 24 million.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  17. ttwp

    "This bbok is yours."

    No....my book is the Holy Bible....inspired by God....written by men...revealing Go'd's love through His Son Jesus Christ.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  18. palintwit

    " I have already called Sarah Palin a pith-headed bimbo from the back of beyond, in this column. I shall now go one step further. By attacking the democratically elected President of the United States of America at a sensitive time in her country's history, she shows the tact of a boorish drunkard bawling obscenities at a funeral. "

    June 16, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Dan

      While I definitely agree Sarah Palin is pretty worthless, I disagree on one of your points. Obama may have been democratically elected, as have been every other president, save George Washington, no one can really know what a man is going to do during his term. As I talk to friends and complete strangers during my daily activities, I am learning that many who voted for Obama are completely fed up with him and what turned out to be a disaster in their opinions. His "hope and change" is not at all what they wanted.

      I say this to say, that while he was voted in, the people in general (at least all I have spoken to- all democrats, by the way) did not "vote" for what he has done (or not done)... at least not directly.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  19. SciGuy

    Lincoln's "Malice toward none, charity for all" would be like Hitler speaking about compassion for Jews. Why do Americans revere such blatant hypocrisy?

    June 16, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • ME II

      @SciGuy,
      Hypocrisy? What do you mean? This is from Lincoln's second inaugural where he is trying to heal a nation just out of Civil War, "to bind up the nation's wounds,". He's trying to get the country back together and limit the reprisals from things done during war.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • ME II

      ... besides comparing Lincoln to Hitler is just offensive.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • SciGuy

      Lincoln had invaded a peaceful people for the sole purpose of subjugating them, forcing them to remain in a "union" from which they had peacefully seceded. He had directed the military slaughter of hundreds of thousands of them for the crime of believing in the right to determine what govt they choose to live under. To then speak of malice toward none and charity for all is about as blatant hypocrisy as one could imagine, right up there with a similar sentiment had Hitler expressed it toward Jews. No doubt it is offensive, it is meant to be. I am deeply offended that Lincoln murdered my countrymen by the hundreds of thousands and people adore him as some compassionate man. He was a hypocrite, and so are all those who revere him while claiming to believe in liberty.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, look. A member of the KKK.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • The Shawdow (Shay-Dough)

      You are One Ignorant Person

      June 16, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • The Shawdow (Shay-Dough)

      Lincoln did not start the war. The South fired first at Fort Sumter

      June 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • ME II

      @SciGuy,
      "Lincoln had invaded a peaceful people for the sole purpose of subjugating them, forcing them to remain in a "union" from which they had peacefully seceded. "
      First, you can't invade your own country.
      Second, as far as I'm aware, there is no secession clause or amendment to the Consti.tution.
      Third, if you want to talk about hypocrisy then complaining about the southern states, with it's economy built on the subjugation of slaves, being subjugated is a great place to start.

      You are embarrassing the rest of the US. Please stop.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Phaedrus

      My goodness. Dinosaurs still roam the Earth. Who'da thunk..?

      June 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Jen

      Well I agree with sciguy that Lincoln should have allowed the south to secede (after bringing the African Americans up north of course). Of course they probably would have starved to death without all the food stamps provided to them by the government but oh well.....

      June 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Me2: "Second, as far as I'm aware, there is no secession clause or amendment to the Consti.tution."

      Are you married? Did you include a divorce clause in your vows? I didn't in mine. So, when my wife tried to divorce me, I beat her within an inch of her life, and told her if she brought it up again, she'd get more of the same. Afterwards, I spoke to her of my great love for her and that I harbored no malice. Do you now revere me as you do Lincoln?

      June 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Phaedrus: ad hominem fallacy.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Jen, good one. Except the northern states despised the blacks, and most had laws against blacks living in their states. Some of the people wanted them free, but free down there, not up here.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Me2, I understand your concern about embarrassment. I too was ashamed of and embarrassed for the US when I learned of the atrocities our ancestors visited upon the South. But understanding it and repenting of it are vital first steps.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  20. Waileka1

    Every day there is proof positive that CNN is manipulated by the devil. The fact that they printed this 'article' is one more item in that list. There is one Bible only ... THE BIBLE. To call this guy's flight of fantasy 'American Bible' is blaphemous. He's not an inspired preacher of God's Word, he's just some kind of 'professor'... 'scholar', hmmm, yeah.right. He's just a dilettante... and THAT is my God-inspired 'word of the day' for a 'scholar' who is thinking in the dark of his b*tthole.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • pimaster97

      Did you even read the article? He wasn't replacing The Bible or saying that The American Bible is what we should read in church. This is a collection of books that he thinks that us Americans take to heart and treat as scripture. Stop being ignorant, we gave you the article, go past the headline and see what it's really about

      June 16, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Hypatia

      Troll!

      June 16, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Michael

      Wow, way to actually not understand a word you've just read ... unless of course you didn't read the article and just jumped to your own conclusions.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • 0Patrick0

      Another Christian commenter who jumped to a conclusion about what the article said without having read it. I for one found the article informative, because it unintentionally gave me one more reason not to vote for Mitt Romney. Didn't know ol' Mittens had said anything as stupid as that.

      June 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.