For a potential American president, claiming to have God on your side is pretty persuasive to many American voters. It's a suggestion the Republicans in particular have used to good effect. But for the first time in generations, it's the Democrats who are promoting themselves as the party of God, with their candidate Barack Obama frequently citing his faith as his inspiration. Contrast this with rival Republican John McCain, who has described evangelicals as "agents of intolerance" (but now exploits
In the third program of the series, Simon Schama looks at how religion - and particularly the black church - has shaped US politics. This mainly involves him sitting through several Southern church services (looking slightly uncomfortable), but he does get inexplicably excited while reading some ancient documents that reveal early attitudes towards religious freedoms. But then, of course, the hypothesis of this whole series is that America's future is rooted in its past.