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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 • My Take • Opinion • Politics • United States

soundoff (741 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changeth things

    June 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  2. AaronS

    The American "Bible" is surely a book of aspirations. Like Paul, it is "not that we have attained," but these are the things we long for, as well as the things that have caused us to long for something more. If this book were a sound track, it might have the "Andy Griffith Show" theme (whistling) to speak to our aspirations for a simple, plain, happy life of freedom. In any case, I applaud the collection thus far, with two exceptions: 1) Ayn Rand does NOT speak, I think, for most Americans. She is one of those voices that, taking logic to it's intellectual but destructive conclusions, cannot see any gray areas, but presses us to accept some form of full, unfettered freedom...or tyranny. I'll have none of her, thank you. Also, I do not think that Malcolm X speaks for most Americans, nor for most African Americans. I think W.E.B. Du Boise, Booker T. Washington, or MLK, Jr., could all have spoken more effectively to African American aspirations. But with those exceptions, below are some others I'd add (further, I think it would be a good idea to have this present conversation BEFORE you write the book–ha!):

    1) As *Nate* pointed out, I think "The New Colossus" ("give me your tired, poor, huddled masses") poem MUST be included.

    2) Truman's "The Buck Stops Here" notion, which articulated our (then) culture of accountability.

    3) Perhaps MacArthur's "Old Soldiers Never Die" speech? (Or perhaps his "I shall return" statement to the Filipinos that speaks of the American resolve.)

    4) Teddy Roosevelt's "The Man in the Arena"

    5) Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

    6) FDR's "nothing to fear but fear itself."

    7) The newspaper article published by the Cherokees just prior to the Trail of Tears, in which they argue that they had taken on all of the trappings of western civilization–farming, Christianity, education, etc.–and still the Americans were pushing them out, breaking treaties to do so.

    8) I think the Nativity and Passion stories are as interwoven into our national fabric as any other story, likely informing much of our worldview.

    9) "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Nothing speaks more to the American resolve, yet magnanimous nature, than these words.

    10 "Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God." If nothing else, this affected the American DNA by causing many to realize that there is a God...and He very much cares how you act.

    Just my thoughts.

    June 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  3. RichardSRussell

    "How I constructed 'The American Bible'"
     
    Scissors?

    June 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  4. TAK

    Interesting. Not one scientist or inventor on the list. Where would this country be without them?
    And did the author really mention "intellectual" and "Rush Limbaugh" in the same sentence?

    June 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Just like you liberals to put your faith in science. I put my faith in God. Science is mainly only theories.

      June 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Karen

      Evang, faith is not even a theory. It is a lesser thing, entirely for cowards and dullards such as yourself.

      June 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • THE*ONE*TRUE*GOD

      Evan – you are truly the most retarded, stupid person I have ever created – complaining about science as a bunch of theories, with your complaint entered by a computer on an internet forum

      June 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @Evan...,
      You may put faith in God, but you depend on science to survive and live. Food, transportation (you and the stuff you use to live), communication (the computer you're using), nearly everything.

      June 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  5. Dave

    I thought maybe yoiu'd like to include Roosevelt's speech "Day of Infamy" about the bombing of Pearl Harb0r. On 911, it was repeated over and over and in the days following as a "rally cry" like "Remember the Maine" but more enduring. it essentially is a belief by Americans that our country will not be invaded, armies will not take "her" by force, we will remain a "beacon of democracy" for all time. I don't know for sure where you'd put it, but the rugged individualism and patriotic power prose surely have stirred people for an enduring 1/3 of our country's entire history so far!

    June 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  6. VanHagar

    MEII–good ones–much better than Arthur's listless attempt. Still, you have to look behind the text to get the context. There are two theories regarding the genealogy...According to one of the oldest theories, some scholars assign the differences in genealogies to the "Levirate marriage" tradition. This custom said that if a man died without bearing any sons, his brother could then marry his widow, and their sons would carry on the dead man's name. For this theory to hold up, it would mean that Joseph, the father of Jesus, had both a legal father (Heli) and a biological father (Jacob), through a Levirate marriage. The theory suggests that Joseph's grandfathers (Matthan according to Matthew; Matthat according to Luke) were brothers, both married to the same woman, one after the other. This would make Matthan's son (Jacob) Joseph's biological father, and Matthat's son (Heli) Joseph's legal father. Matthew's account would trace Jesus' primary (biological) lineage, and Luke's record would follow Jesus' legal lineage.

    One of the most widely held theories suggests that Matthew's account follows the lineage of Joseph, while Luke's genealogy is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This interpretation would mean that Jacob was Joseph's biological father, and Heli (Mary's biological father) became Joseph's surrogate father, thus making Joseph Heli's heir through his marriage to Mary. If Heli had no sons, this would have been the normal custom. Also, if Mary and Joseph lived under the same roof with Heli, his "son-in-law" would have been called "son" and considered a descendent. Although it would have been unusual to trace a genealogy from the maternal side, there was nothing usual about the virgin birth. Additionally, if Mary (Jesus' blood relative) was indeed a direct descendant of David, this would make her son "the seed of David" in keeping with Messianic prophecies.

    If either of these theories are correct, there is no contradiction. If you want to second guess 2000 years later, you can. But since both of these texts were written approx. same time by people who probably know each other, I'm inclined to accept no contradiction.

    June 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @VanHagar,
      Is there any reason to think that there was a "Levirate" marriage involve? Other than the need to reconcile this contradiction, that is.

      Is there any reason to think that one is Mary's lineage and one is Joseph's? Other than for reconciliation, that is.

      Doesn't it make more sense that each author was attempting to connect Jesus to David to etc. but did it in a different way? In other words one or both of them made a mistake. If it were any other text, that would be a fair and valid as.sumption, why not for this book?

      You asked for contradictions. One person cannot have two different geneologies. If you want to be "inclined to accept no contradiction," that's your choice, but don't claim that the text wholly without contradiction. At most you can only state that it's possible that it's not contradictory, if these conditions are true.
      On the face of it, if taken literally, these two lineages contradict each other.

      June 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • ME II

      Something else has been bugging me about this. Not that anyone is reading this now, but just a question.

      "The theory suggests that Joseph's grandfathers (Matthan according to Matthew; Matthat according to Luke) were brothers, both married to the same woman, one after the other. This would make Matthan's son (Jacob) Joseph's biological father, and Matthat's son (Heli) Joseph's legal father. Matthew's account would trace Jesus' primary (biological) lineage, and Luke's record would follow Jesus' legal lineage."
      If the Jospeph had two fathers one biological and one legal through "Leverite" mariage, wouldn't those two father's by definition need to be brothers to each other? And if they were brothers, then would they in turn have had the same father and therefore the same lineage from that point on?
      The problem is not just Joseph's father, but Matthat's / Matthan's father? Levi or Eleazar ? More Levirite marriages? ... but the same issue would occur in that they should be brothers and therefore have the same father.

      I may be missing something, but this doesn't seem to make sense even with Leverite marriage.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  7. Derike

    I think that you should make another volume of this book to incorporate the important things that had to be left out of Volume 1. I am sure as time goes by there could be a volume 3. These can be good reference books for all to see where our country came from , what we fought for, what we have overcome and what we are going through. It of course will not please all but I am sure the author will read all of these comment and can incorporate suggestions into another volume....so I hope. I do plan to pick up a copy. I love my country. I am proud to be an American. No matter your racial or ethnic makeup we are Americans first and everything else second. As the early settlers said as they sailed from England to this land of opportunity, "There is no King, except King Jesus."

    June 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  8. Drew

    The problem with an America Bible is that no one really agrees on what America "means" yet. We are too young of a culture

    June 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Drew

      I think it's funny that this Bible acts as though the sixties never happened

      June 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Big Joe

      Yeah Drew, except for all those pesky entries from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and JFK and Ike...

      June 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  9. Sue

    Thank you for your list, I look forward to the book. It has been very tiresome to hear one or another side pick up tiny bits of our culture and use them against the 'other' side, I hope your book will help us remember balance and help us ground in our shared history. I'm sorry you had to leave out 'Leaves of Grass' but understand the constraints.

    June 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  10. Jack

    Everyone is welcomed at – thestarofkaduri.com

    June 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • ....

      report abuse on all this bs

      June 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Drew

    How do you avoid including Kerouac?

    June 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  12. subtleserpeant

    Not so sure Atlas Shrugged should be there, although a very good book by Ms. Rand.

    June 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Ayn Rand is an object lesson for all those atheists who say we can be good without God. Her immoral philosophy stemmed directly from her atheism. Without God all is permitted.

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

      Typically illogical argument from evangelical. Just because one atheist is immoral doesn't mean all are. There are plenty of immoral christians too. That said, I probably dislike Rand at least as much as you do

      June 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • ME II

      Actually, Rand's morality, or lack thereof, depending on your opinion, comes from her own philosophy, Rational Objectivism, I think it's called, not Atheism.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Dan

      Rand's philosophy was certainly atheistic though

      June 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Evangelical .. Morality does not come from God(s) or religion .. it comes from societal norms. ie: For most of human history it was immoral to claim a woman as your own (marriage) but now marriage is considered to be moral.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • ME II

      @Dan,
      In the sense that it made no mention of God, that is true.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Evangelical

      @Horses

      That's moral relativism. We must fight against moral relativism.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Dan

      It's been a while since I read Atlas Shrugged, but I'm pretty sure god is mentioned and debunked at some point. Rand also wrote about her atheism in some of her non-fiction work.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Mark

      @Evangelical, have you ever met an atheist who thinks rape and murder should be permitted?

      Without religion morality is based on reason, not Iron Age superstition.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      evangelical ... why must we move away from it? It's the natural state of human psychology .. as we evolve physically and psychologically so does morality evolve. Being anchored to one state of understanding leaves us stagnant & what's the purpose if we can't move forward?

      June 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • ME II

      @Dan,
      Sorry, yes, I think God came up in her novel, Atlas Shrugged, and definitely in Fountainhead. And she was definitely an Atheist herself.
      I was just saying that her philosophy, Objectivism, was focused on objective reality and didn't go into god(s), much, if at all.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Dan

      Agreed, her atheism was more a byproduct of her worldview

      June 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • JoeP199

      There's nothing immoral about her philosophy (Objectivism). It's just hopelessly naive, in that it assumes that ethical behavior will prevail in the end. That may be true when the ethical person is smarter or has other advantages on the unethical. Unfortunately, the rise of China as a world power as well as the past financial crisis have provided more than ample evidence that the ruthless and dishonest can win, if they can deceive the masses or simply overpower them.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  13. Dan

    He cut out Moby Dick but left Atlas Shrugged?!?! With all due respect to Mr. Prothero, he doesn't know s*** about literature

    June 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Chad

      "cut out Moby Dick" sounds painful

      June 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • ME II

      Some, I think, would agree with you. However, I don't think Moby Dick ever fit the "American Bible" ti.tle anyway and don't miss it at all in this "Bible".

      June 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Dan

      Good point, at the end of the day I guess you get the Bible you deserve. If Americans would rather read Rand than Melville then it is our loss as a nation

      June 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • ME II

      @Dan,
      Any literature left behind is a loss, true. Although, perhaps, I never fully understood Melville, as I never understood why it was considered a 'Great American Novel'. I'm not sure that the initial critics weren't right about it.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Drew

      Right, at the end of the day the value of a given piece of literature is subjective. I think you really should give Moby Dick another chance though, maybe read some contemporary criticism on it. That might help you sink your teeth into it

      June 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • ME II

      @Drew,
      Thanks. Contemporary criticism may be worth a look, however, I don't think I can make it through another reading though.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Drew

      Fair enough, it's not an easy book

      June 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  14. Mark

    This is a decent table of contents for an American Bible, but why the religious reference?
    Why a Bible verses a historical atlas?

    June 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  15. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    And once again, we ask JUST WHAT DOES STEPHEN P HIMSELF BELIEVE ABOUT GOD OR THE GODS which brings us to that famous (maybe infamous) prayer supplied free of charge and vitiating most of Stephen P's new book.

    The Apostles' aka Agnostoics' aka Apollo's Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    (references used are available upon request)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    June 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  16. joe

    You're right. If that isn't an American classic and a statement of American faith, I don't know what is.

    June 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  17. john the guy not the baptist

    A question for Stephen Prethro or anyone that has a copy of the Book.

    Reading down the list of contents you can not help but notice many prominent names and I imagine that a fair percentage were delivered as speaches. My question is did you provide attribution to the many speach writers that were paid to write and/or perfect the content? Just a little footnote to give credit were credit was due. I mean some of the guys on the list couldn't get their foot out of their mouth if left on their own.

    June 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  18. Zuazua

    LeBron James: The Decision

    June 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  19. Mark

    As societies develop, becoming wealthier and more educated, they become less religious. This trend is not unique to the USA, it is observed around the world. In one or two hundred years the majority of the developed world will be irreligious.

    June 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Evangelical

      And it's a pity.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Perihelion of Mercury

      It's no pity that evangelicals and their ilk are being left behind as humanity moves forward. It's a great thing, you old goat.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Henry

      Not really. Societies tend to go through phases of very religious and not very religious. Currently the US is at the highest level of religious belief since its independence, although there is some data suggesting that a down swing is beginning. One of the lowest points was shortly after independence.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Atheists can't make a comment without an ad homenim attack.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mark

      @Henry, based on objective research and polling data America along with most of the rest the world is at its least religious point. The trend is away from religion. America was founded on secularism and shortly after indepedence we were very secular, which is different from irreligion.

      If you think America is more religious now than during the Cold War you may want to read up a little on American history.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Chad

      Evagenlical, its ad hominem.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Evangelical: Upset that you never made it past 3rd grade? I understand how when Mark said we are more educated you'd be frightened...most children with imaginary friends fear change! Your whole idea that the rapture is coming soon may just be correct but only in the sense that we are near the end of religion.

      June 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @Evangelical,
      "Atheists can't make a comment without an ad homenim attack."
      Hmm... wouldn't that be considered an ad hominem attack?

      June 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      it's only a pity to the proponents of cultural stagnation

      June 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      Eva: And you cannot make a comment without reeking of self-piety

      June 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  20. nate

    You forgot the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

    June 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
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