American Civil Religion: What Americans Hold Sacred

Paperback | January 1, 2014

byPeter Gardella

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The United States has never had an officially established church. Since the time of the first British colonists, it has instead developed a strong civil religion that melds national symbols to symbols of God. In a deft exploration of American civil religious symbols ranging from the LibertyBell and Vietnam Memorial to Mount Rushmore and Disney World, Peter Gardella explains how the places, objects, and symbols that Americans hold sacred came into being and how they have changed over time.In addition to examining revered historical sites and structures, he analyzes such sacred texts as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the Kennedy Inaugural, and the speeches of Martin Luther King, and shows how five patriotic songs - 'The Star-SpangledBanner,' 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' 'America the Beautiful,' 'God Bless America,' and 'This Land Is Your Land' - have been elevated into hymns. Arguing that certain values--personal freedom, political democracy, world peace, and cultural tolerance--have held American civil religion together, this book chronicles the numerous forms those values have taken, from Jamestown and Plymouth to the September 11, 2001, Memorial in New York.

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The United States has never had an officially established church. Since the time of the first British colonists, it has instead developed a strong civil religion that melds national symbols to symbols of God. In a deft exploration of American civil religious symbols ranging from the LibertyBell and Vietnam Memorial to Mount Rushmore an...

Peter Gardella is Professor of World Religions at Manhattanville College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:January 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195300181

ISBN - 13:9780195300185

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. What Is American Civil Religion?2. America: The Name, the Concept, and the Word3. Jamestown and Its Anniversaries4. The Mayflower Compact5. Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the Indians6. City on a Hill: From Jesus to Winthrop, Kennedy, and Reagan7. The Freedom Trail and Boston Common8. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Slave Quarters9. The Flag10. The Declaration of Independence11. The Great Seal and the Dollar Bill12. The Constitution13. Washington, D.C.: The City, the Capitol, and the White House14. The Star-Spangled Banner15. The Washington Monument16. The Battle Hymn of the Republic17. Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address18. Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address19. Arlington National Cemetery20. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island21. America the Beautiful22. The Lincoln Memorial23. Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills24. God Bless America25. This Land Is Your Land26. The Four Freedoms27. Iwo Jima: The Picture, the Monuments, and the Battle28. Disney Parks29. The Kennedy Inaugural30. King's Speeches: The Mall (1963) and Memphis (1968)31. Vietnam Veterans' Memorial32. Transforming the National Mall33. Ground Zero, Martyrdom, and Empire34. Conflict, Consensus, and the FutureIndex