Monday, October 11 through Wednesday, October 13th at 9:00 p.m.
How has religious belief shaped American history? What role have religious ideas and spiritual experience played in shaping the social, political, and cultural life of what has become the world's most religiously diverse nation? GOD IN AMERICA, a presentation of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, will explore the historical role of religion in the public life of the United States. The six-hour series interweaves documentary footage, historical dramatization and interviews with religious historians.
Monday October 11 at 9:00 p.m.
A New Adam/A New Eden
The first hour of GOD IN AMERICA explores the origins of America’s unique religious landscape — how the New World challenged and changed the faiths the first European settlers brought with them. In New Mexico, the spiritual rituals of the Pueblo Indians collided with the Catholic faith of Franciscan missionaries, ending in a bloody revolt. In New England, Puritan leader John Winthrop faced off against religious dissenters from within his own ranks. And a new message of spiritual rebirth from evangelical preachers like George Whitefield swept through the American colonies, upending traditional religious authority and kindling a rebellious spirit that converged with the political upheaval of the American Revolution.
Tuesday October 12 at 9:00 p.m.
A Nation Reborn/A New Light
The next episode explores how religion suffused the Civil War. As slavery split the nation in two, Northern abolitionists and Southern slaveholders turned to the Bible to support their cause. Former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass condemned Christianity for sanctioning slavery. In the White House, Abraham Lincoln struggled to make sense of the war’s carnage and the death of his young son. The president, who previously had put his faith in reason over revelation, embarked on a spiritual journey that transformed his ideas about God and the ultimate meaning of the war.
Wednesday October 13 at 9:00 p.m.
Soul of a Nation/Of God and Caesar
The final hour of GOD IN AMERICA brings the series into the present day, exploring the religious and political aspirations of conservative evangelicals’ moral crusade over divisive social issues like abortion and gay marriage. Their embrace of presidential politics would end in disappointment and questions about the mixing of religion and politics. Across America, the religious marketplace expanded as new waves of immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and Latin America made the United States the most religiously diverse nation on earth. In the 2008 presidential election, the re-emergence of a religious voice in the Democratic Party brought the country to a new plateau in its struggle to reconcile faith with politics. God in America closes with reflections on the role of faith in the public life of the country, from the ongoing quest for religious liberty to the enduring idea of America as the “city on a hill” envisioned by the Puritans nearly 400 years ago.
Visit the forum and express your views at www.forum-network.org.
WPBT2's religion and ethics program Viewpoint will gather four experts for a follow up discussion on religion's role in shaping America's social, political and cultural history. This program will air Sunday, October 31st at 12:00 PM and Thursday, November 4th at 7:30 PM on WPBT2.