American Bible: What’s your favorite patriotic song? OUR FLAGS IN WORLD WAR II: The U.S. Office of War Information circulated this poster 1943-1945 to stir patriotism.Today is Flag Day! This is a commemoration of the day in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the flag. Seeing the American flag or hearing “The Star Spangled Banner” evokes positive feelings in most Americans, as we know from my national surveys of American values.

Our national anthem glorifies the American flag and the nation for which it stands. “Today the flag remains the nation’s most enduring symbol,” writes Stephen Prothero in American Bible, “in part because of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.” Our national anthem is a patriotic song that Prothero includes in Psalms, one of the sections of his new book. The other secular Psalms he includes are “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin and “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie.

These secular Psalms sing America’s values and ideals, though as Prothero points out, they are not without controversy. Some have objected to the national anthem because it glorifies war, others because it’s based on an old English drinking song. And, Guthrie wrote his song as a protest to “God Bless America.” Says Prothero: Guthrie saw the song as “saccharine pap” that covered up the nation’s ills.

But Americans love “The Star Spangled Banner.” Eighty-two percent said they wouldn’t change it or replace it, according to a poll this week by Rasmussen Reports.

How well do Prothero’s three songs sum up America?

What’s missing from his list?

And, what is your own favorite patriotic song?


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Originally published at, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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