The foot soldiers in some of America's greatest battles carried neither guns nor swords. Instead, armed with Bibles and faith in God's mercy, they prayed and marched and fought to end slavery, improve social welfare and establish civil rights.
Members of those churches, some of which became known as mainline denominations, were society's vanguard, shaping the country's culture and refining debate.
But those times are long past. Today, the opposite is occurring as secular culture defines mainline churches' dialogue on everything from social issues to politics and morality, tellingly shown this summer at the emotional and acrimonious national gatherings of the Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Church. Read More.