Flashpoints USA with Bryant Gumbel and Gwen Ifill Photo: Bryant Gumbel and Gwen Ifill
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In Focus
About the Series
Flashpoints USA with Bryant Gumbel and Gwen Ifill is an innovative public affairs series from PBS that brings together both compelling examinations of critical issues and a dynamic pairing of two of the most respected names in journalism.

Television Poll How do Americans feel about issues of church and state? View the results of the Flashpoints USA nationwide survey.

God in America Religion and the Law The Politics of God

What place does religion have in America?
The separation of church and state is seen as American doctrine. But is it? What did the framers of the Constitution have in mind for the relationship between the two? And what is the reality today?

Flashpoints USA with Bryant Gumbel and Gwen Ifill examines these tough questions in an effort to help us understand and evaluate the the role of religion in politics, government and public life. Before joining the discussion on this Web site, use the background information, transcripts and video clips provided in this section to take a look the debate surrounding the separation of church and state. Then add your thoughts to the discussion, examining religious choices in our daily lives, some of the legal issues before the Supreme Court and the importance of religion in the upcoming presidential election.

God in America
While the "separation of church and state" is one of the most familiar phrases used when discussing religion in American government, those exact words do not, in fact, appear in the Constitution. Did America's founding fathers intend to place a wall between church and state? Or were they simply striving to ensure the protection of religious freedom? More...

Religion and the Law
The relationship between church and state is the subject of several major court cases that have recently been decided or are currently winding their way through the American legal system. Issues such as the use of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, religious monuments in public spaces and same-sex marriage have all been in the headlines and the center of much debate around the country. How does the "separation of church and state" play out in the eyes of the court? More...

The Politics of God
George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives and openly religious rhetoric make some Americans uncomfortable. But Bush is not the first president to express his religious beliefs. In fact, our country has a history of its leaders mixing religion and politics. How big a role should religion play in government and politics? More...

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