Stephen Prothero on 'The American Bible'

'American Bible' by Stephen Prothero
Book cover courtesy of publisher

Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land is Your Land" in a New York hotel room in 1940. It has since been performed hundreds of times in union halls and rallies.

It is a song that religious scholar and writer Stephen Prothero thinks of as a psalm--important and often controversial words that give meaning to who we are--to our American character.

As he collected those songs, speeches and scriptures, Prothero followed this path: "My chief criterion," he writes, "has been the ability of a given text to generate controversy and conversation. Which words have Americans cited and recited in their ongoing debate over the meanings and ends of America?"

In Prothero's new book "The American Bible" he looks at the texts that have generated controversy, driven debate and shaped how Americans view their country. He joined The Daily Circuit to discuss what he included in the collection.

VIDEO: Prothero on The Colbert Report

What texts do you think are sacred to Americans? Comment on the blog.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.