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Faith on the Fourth
June 29, 2017
Every time we gather for the national anthem or retell the story of our founding fathers, we're participating in a 'secular religion' that is uniquely American.
America's Civil Religion June 29, 2017
For the past 50 years or so, there’s been a fascinating idea floating around: that in the absence of a state religion, we need a kind of secular religion to bind us together. We may not have a Notre Dame Cathedral, but we have a set of beliefs, holidays and sacred spaces that help define who we are as a nation, while tapping into the deep human longing for myths and traditions.

Richard Gamble, history professor at Hillsdale College and author of In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth 
Kirk Savage, author of Monument Wars: Washington, DC, The National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape 

Reading List on Civil Religion:

"Civil Religion In America" by Robert Bellah 
God's New Israel: Religious Interpretations of American Destiny edited by Conrad Cherry
Bonds of Affection: Americans Define Their Patriotism edited by John Bodnar
Sacred Harp, Plus the Faiths of Our Founders June 30, 2017
First, we hear a sonic tribute to sacred harp. It's a form of music that is distinctively American, which got its start right around the time our country was becoming a new nation.

Then, we examine the faiths of our founders. Sometime around the 1980s, we in America started to imagine the Founding Fathers as older, wiser versions of ourselves. For many conservatives, the founders became good church-goers, intent on creating a Christian nation.  And for many liberals, they became secular deists, with little need for God or organized religion. The truth is somewhere in between. 

Nancy Groce, folklife specialist at The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
Frank Lambert, author of The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America
Public Domain
Customizing the New Testament with a Razor Blade June 30, 2017
It turns out that Thomas Jefferson, our third president and the lead author of the Declaration of Independence, spent his off hours in the White House creating his own personal Bible. Using a razor blade and a glue brush, he carefully removed miracles, resurrections, and all parts of the Gospels he considered supernatural. What was left was a work of private reflection, written in secret. 

Mitch Horowitz, executive editor of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House Publishing

Click the image below to view a digital copy of Jefferson's Bible
Podcast Extra: Turning the Tables on Church Homophobia June 30, 2017
If you’re familiar with Black churches you know they’re lively and uplifting places. That’s how San Francisco native Yvette Flunder remembers hers. At the Pentecostal Church she grew up in, she recalls pastors and church leaders who were tender and kind and understanding. That is, until one topic came up. This segment comes to us from our friends at The Spiritual Edge, a multimedia project out of KALW in San Francisco. It was produced by Hana Baba.