Segments in this Video

United States: Secular by Law (03:03)


Under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. is a secular state that gives freedom of religious choice to its citizens.

United States: Secular by Choice (04:45)

Though they were deists, the Founding Fathers did not want a state-established church. They were joined by Baptists and Quakers who yearned for religious freedom. The U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation as so many believe.

Separation of Church and State (03:34)

The United States has a strong Christian majority today, but Constitutionally, the country does not have an established religion. The original settlers argued on theological grounds for the freedom of religion.

Colonial Christianity in America (01:19)

The religion of American colonists focused more on God the Father than on God the Son. Their relationship with God tended to be fear based. The name Jesus was not commonplace in colonial households.

Great Awakening in America (03:25)

In the 1730s, some colonialists developed a more personal relationship with God, but not until the 1800s did more widespread change occurred in Christianity with a greater focus personal relationships with Jesus (God the Son).

Spread of Christianity in America (03:03)

With Jesus at its core, Christianity spread throughout the U.S. People began to see America as a Christian nation, and in the 1950s, "In God We Trust" was added to paper currency. Yet, America remains a secular society.

America's Religious Diversity (03:35)

America's religious diversity continues to grow, as does the segment of people who want nothing to do with organized religion or with the concept of "under God."

Religion and Democracy (01:50)

Criticism of secular humanism arises from the fear that it has become an established religion in itself. Secular humanists have the right to express their views, but do not have the right to exclude religious voices from public discussions.

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Church and State: Christianity, Religious Diversity, and Secular Humanism in America

Part of the Series : Beyond Theology
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



The separation of church and state represents one of the most fundamental principles of American democracy. While some contend that the United States needs to return to its roots as a “Christian nation,” others point out that the Founding Fathers crafted a system specifically designed to guard against any form of state-sanctioned religion. After reviewing the substance of the debates that took place during the Constitutional conventions, this program examines the evolution of Christianity in the U.S. and reflects upon the growth of religious diversity as well as trends toward secular humanism. Participants include Boston University’s Stephen Prothero; Diana Eck, of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University; Robert Bellah, of U. C. Berkeley; retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong; Princeton University’s Robert Wuthnow; and the Reverend Peter Gomes, of The Memorial Church of Harvard University. (28 minutes)

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL39588

ISBN: 978-1-60467-549-8

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“This is an ambitious series with some of the most interesting voices in religion in America today. They take us beyond the current conflicts about religion and politics and show us a hopeful vision of faith based on the deepest longings of heart and mind.”  —Bill Moyers


Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.