God in America, Coming to Your TV Soon!



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Paul Harvey

Here's the press release for the much-anticipated PBS "American Experience" production for the fall, "God in America," to be premiered Oct. 11 - Oct. 13. Program summaries are available here.

Coming This Fall to PBS: God in America
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE present six-hour documentary series

Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 - Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, 9-11 p.m. ET

Boston, MA [April 14, 2010] -- 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?

For the first time on television,
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, which interweaves documentary footage, historical dramatization and interviews with religious historians, will air over three consecutive nights on PBS beginning Oct. 11, 2010.

God in America
examines the potent and complex interaction between religion and democracy, the origins of the American concept of religious liberty, and the controversial evolution of that ideal in the nation's courts and political arena. The series considers the role religious ideas and institutions have played in social reform movements from abolition to civil rights, examining the impact of religious faith on conflicts from the American Revolution to the Cold War, and how guarantees of religious freedom created a competitive American religious marketplace. It also explores the intersection of political struggle and spiritual experience in the lives of key American historical figures including Franciscan Friars and the Pueblo leader Po'pay, Puritan leader John Winthrop and dissident Anne Hutchinson, Catholic Bishop John Hughes, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, Reform Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, Scopes trial combatants William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, evangelist Billy Graham, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Moral Majority's Jerry Falwell.

"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."

To extend the reach of the series beyond the television screen,
God in America has formed strategic partnerships with The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, the Fetzer Institute, Sacred Space International and other organizations. An integrated multimedia campaign set to launch six months prior to broadcast will include community engagement activities, media events and an interactive God in America Web site. The campaign will deepen public understanding of religion and spiritual experience in the life of the nation by encouraging the public to explore the history of their own religious communities and their individual spiritual journeys.

"Americans are awash in a sea of faith, but their knowledge about religious faiths and religious history often runs as shallow as their commitment to religion runs deep," notes Stephen Prothero, chief editorial consultant for
God in America, professor of religion at Boston University, and author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- And Doesn't. "A series like God in America can help correct that imbalance and provide the basis for a common understanding of the role religion has played in American public life."

God in America is an
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE/FRONTLINE co-production, headed by series executive producer Michael Sullivan, series producer Marilyn Mellowes, series director David Belton, and producer/directors Greg Barker andSarah Colt. The executive producer for FRONTLINE is David Fanning. The executive producer for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is Mark Samels.

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