“The American story cannot be fully understood without understanding the country’s religious history,” says series executive producer Michael Sullivan. “By examining that history, God in America will offer viewers a fresh, revealing and challenging portrait of the country.”

Since the days when the Puritan “city on a hill” beckoned on the horizon of the New World, religious faith and belief have forged America’s ideals, molded its identity and shaped its sense of mission at home and abroad.

God in America explores the tumultuous 400-year history of the intersection of religion and public life in America, from the first European settlements to the 2008 presidential election. A co-production of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, this six-hour series examines how religious dissidents helped shape the American concept of religious liberty and the controversial evolution of that ideal in the nation’s courts and political arena; how religious freedom and waves of new immigrants and religious revivals fueled competition in the religious marketplace; how movements for social reform — from abolition to civil rights — galvanized men and women to put their faith into political action; and how religious faith influenced conflicts from the American Revolution to the Cold War.

Interweaving documentary footage, historical dramatization and interviews with religious historians, the six-part series is narrated by actor Campbell Scott and includes appearances by actors Michael Emerson (as John Winthrop), Chris Sarandon (as Abraham Lincoln) and Keith David (as Frederick Douglass), among others.

This Lenten study will be led by Rev. Dale.

Lenten Study Schedule

Each Wednesday through Lent, we will hold a public viewing of the week’s episode followed by discussion.

Public Viewing: 6:00-7:00 P.M.
Discussion: 7:00-8:00 P.M.

**Participants are welcome to view each episode at their leisure if they are unable to attend the public viewing. A link to the videos is found here  and the episodes are also available on YouTube.

Wed. (Feb. 21): Episode 1, “A New Adam”

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.

Wed. (Feb. 28): Episode 2, “A New Eden”

Hour two considers 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.

Wed. (Mar. 7): Episode 3, “A Nation Reborn”

Hour three 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.

Wed. (Mar. 14): Episode 4, “A New Light”

During the 19th century, the forces of modernity challenged traditional faith and drove a wedge between liberal and conservative believers.

Wed. (Mar. 21): Episode 5, “Soul of a Nation”

Hour Five explores the post-World War II era, when rising evangelist Billy Graham tried to inspire a religious revival that fused faith with patriotism in a Cold War battle with “godless communism.”

Wed. (Mar. 28): Episode 6, “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.