Explore the origins of America's unique religious landscape--how the New World challenged and changed the faiths the first European settlers brought with them.
Consider the origins of America's experiment in religious liberty, examining how the unlikely alliance between evangelical Baptists and enlightenment figures such as Thomas Jefferson forged a new concept of religious freedom.
Explore 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. In the White House, Abraham Lincoln, 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.
During the 1800s, modernity challenged tradition and drove a wedge between liberal and conservative believers. Isaac Mayer Wise established Reform Judaism while his opponents adhered to Old World traditions. Charles Briggs sought to wed his evangelical faith with modern biblical scholarship. William Jennings Bryan battled Clarence Darrow in a battle between scientific and religious truth.
After WWII, Billy Graham tried to inspire a religious revival in a battle with “Godless Communism.” Non-believers and religious minorities appealed to the Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of religious expression in public schools. And Martin Luther King, Jr. called upon the nation to honor both biblical teachings and the founders' democratic ideals of equal justice.
Explore the religious and political aspirations of conservative evangelicals' moral crusade over divisive social issues like abortion and gay marriage in the present day. 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.
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