All Religious Event Entries - Events By Name
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Autobiography of a Yogi Published

Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1946, continues to be used by followers of his Self-Realization Fellowship and as college textbooks.

1978 Revelation on Priesthood

In 1978, the Church of Latter-day Saints opened the priesthood to male members of African descent for the first time.

9/11

On September 11, 2001 ("9/11"), al-Qaeda terrorists crashed two planes into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. More than 3,000 people died.

Abington School District v. Schempp

In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that required Bible readings and recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional.

Adopting Act of Westminster Confession

By adopting the Westminster Confession of Faith (1729) as its doctrinal standard, American Presbyterianism moved a step closer to becoming a fully regularized denomination.

Adrian Rogers Elected as President of the Southern Baptist Convention

In 1979, Baptist conservatives elected Adrian Rogers as president of the Southern Baptist Convention as the first part of a takeover strategy.

African Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church formed after years of unequal treatment with white Methodists. It is the oldest existing African-American denomination in the U.S.

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church formed in 1821 as a response to racial discrimination and segregation.

Al Smith Presidential Campaign

Alfred E. "Al" Smith became the first Catholic nominee for president when he ran as a Democrat in 1928 against Herbert Hoover.

Albert Cleage and The Black Madonna

In 1967, Albert Cleage revealed to his congregation a painting called "The Black Madonna," a provocative start to the Black Christian Nationalist Movement.

Allegheny County v. ACLU

This 1989 case dealt with religious holiday symbols on government property and found that a combination of religious symbols does not violate the Establishment Clause.

Alma Bridwell White Becomes First Female Bishop

In 1918, Alma Bridwell White (1862-1946) was consecrated bishop of a Holiness sect she founded, becoming the first woman bishop of a Christian church.

American Bible Society Founded

The American Bible Society (est. 1816) is a faith-based voluntary society that distributes millions of Bibles throughout the country.

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

In 1810, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions formed in order to send Congregationalist and Presbyterian missionaries all over the world.

American Chapter of Soka Gakkai Formed

The Japanese-based Soka Gakkai Buddhist society commissioned its U.S. chapter in 1960. In 1991, the chapter reorganized as Soka Gakkai International-USA.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, passed in 1978, acknowledged the importance of Native American religious traditions and pledged to protect their rights.

American Revolution

When the first shots were fired in 1775, the Colonies didn’t even have a military. Eight years later, the United States had defeated England.

Ann Lee Migrates to America

Ann Lee (1736-1784) brought a Christian sect known as the Shakers from England to the American colonies in 1774.

Antoinette Brown Ordained by Congregationalists

In 1853, Antoinette Brown (1825-1921), a woman's rights activist and abolitionist, became the first woman to be ordained by a Mainline Protestant church.

Assemblies of God Founded

The Assemblies of God started with a handful of Pentecostal ministers in Hot Springs, Arkansas in April 1914, but would grow into a global phenomenon.

Auburn Affirmation

In 1924, the Auburn Affirmation denounced the Five Point Deliverance as a necessary means for ordination in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Augustus Tolton Becomes Ordained Catholic Priest

On April 24, 1886, Augustus Tolton became the first fully and recognizably African-American Catholic priest.

Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois

The Baha'i House of Worship, located near Chicago in Wilmette, Ill., was opened in 1953 and is the only Baha'i temple in North America.

Baptist Bible Union

The Baptist Bible Union was a fundamentalist association of churches which had separated from the Northern Baptist Convention in 1923.

Baptist Missionary Association of America

The Baptist Missionary Association of America, which split from the American Baptist Association in 1950, is the largest Landmark Baptist denomination in the United States.

Barbara Harris Ordained as Anglican Bishop

The Right Rev. Barbara Harris (1930-present), an African-American Episcopalian, was consecrated the first female bishop in the Worldwide Anglican Communion in 1989.

Bay Psalm Book printed

The Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in English in North America.

Benjamin Randall Organizes the Free Will Baptists

Itinerant preacher Benjamin Randall organized the Free Will Baptists in New England in 1780.

Bible Baptist Fellowship

The Bible Baptist Fellowship formed after a split with J. Frank Norris in 1950 and became the largest association of independent Baptists in America.

Bible Presbyterian Church

The Bible Presbyterian Church, led by Carl McIntire in 1937, was the product of division between Presbyterian traditionalists and fundamentalists in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Billy Graham Holds First Integrated Crusade in Chattanooga, TN

In 1953, Billy Graham's decision to hold an integrated crusade in the South helped shift racial attitudes among white evangelicals.

Billy Graham's Los Angeles Crusade

Billy Graham's Los Angeles Crusade (1949) catapulted the southern evangelist into the national spotlight for the first time.

Billy Graham's New York Crusade

In 1957, Billy Graham's New York Crusade became his largest American revival campaign with more than two million attendees.

Birmingham Church Bombing

On September 15, 1963, a bomb detonated inside 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. Four young African-American girls were killed, sparking national outrage.

Bishops' Program for Social Reconstruction

The "Bishops’ Program for Social Reconstruction" (1919) was a Catholic initiative supporting guaranteed wages, health insurance, and worker protections.

Brown University

In 1764, the Philadelphia Baptist Association commissioned James Manning to found Brown as a Baptist college.

Buddhist Churches of America

The Buddhist Churches of America, formed in 1944 and headquartered in San Francisco, represents mainstream Japanese American Buddhism.

Bureau of Immigration

In 1920, the National Catholic Welfare Council gave aid and guidance to new Catholic immigrants through its Bureau of Immigration.

Cane Ridge Camp Meeting

Barton Stone organized the Cane Ridge camp meeting (1801), the largest and most famous religious revival of the Second Great Awakening.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal at Duquesne University

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement influenced by both Catholicism and Pentecostalism and whose American roots can be traced to Duquesne University in 1967.

Catholic Church Abuse Scandal

The Catholic Church has recently been the subject of a widespread scandal involving Catholic officials accused of sexual abuse and cover-ups.

Catholic Worker Movement

In 1933, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker Movement, a group of Catholic communities promoting social justice and hospitality toward the poor.

Charles Finney's Rochester Revival

Charles Finney's Rochester Revival (1830-1831) played a foundational role for the more widespread revivalism and conversions of the 1830s and 1840s.

Chief Seattle's Speech

An 1854 speech by Native American Chief Seattle (1780-1866) inspired the 20th century environmental movement, despite being heavily rewritten.

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1870, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church formed after southern black Methodists desired to form their own denomination following the Civil War.

Christianity and Liberalism Published

John Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism (1923) challenged the cultural shift toward modernist interpretations of the Bible within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Church of God (Cleveland, TN)

The Church of God (Cleveland, TN) was founded in 1886 and is the oldest Pentecostal denomination in the United States.

Church of God in Christ

The Church of God in Christ was formed in 1897 in Mississippi. It is the oldest and largest black Pentecostal body in the United States.

Church of Satan

Anton Szandor LaVey (1930-97) started the Church of Satan in 1966, offering a new Golden Rule: "Do unto others as they do unto you."

Church of Scientology

In 1954, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) began the Church of Scientology with teachings on how to reach a blissful "state of clear."

Church of the United Brethren in Christ

In 1800, the Church of the United Brethren in Christ formed as a result of evangelizing German immigrants. It is the first uniquely American denomination.

City of Boerne v. Flores

In this 1997 case, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had overstepped its constitutional powers in enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Civil War

The Civil War (1861-1865) was fought between the U.S. government and 11 southern states. The Union prevailed, slaves were freed, and nearly 700,000 people died.

Cold War

The antagonistic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, known as the Cold War (1947-1991), lasted for nearly half a century.

Colonial Period

Colonial America took root in Virginia in 1607 and gained momentum when the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts. By 1760, there were two million settlers.

Congregation Rodeph Shalom

The first Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere, Rodeph Shalom, was founded in Philadelphia in 1795.

Congregational Methodist Church

In 1852, the Congregational Methodist Church broke off from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South over church governance disputes.

Conservative Baptist Association of America

William Bell Riley, fundamentalist minister and Bible college president, led the Minnesota Baptist Convention out of the Northern Baptist Convention in 1947.

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Moderate Southern Baptists formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991 to protest the conservative dominance in the denomination during the prior decade.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

In 1810, the Cumberland Presbytery formed as a response to ordination and theological differences with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded

In 1874, former slaves in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded an independent denomination, later named the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America.

Death of Francis Asbury

Francis Asbury’s 1816 death marked the end of an influential 55-year ministry, but American Methodists continued to flourish following his death.

Death of Joseph Smith

An angry mob broke into Joseph Smith's jail cell and killed him on June 27, 1844. Smith became a martyr at the age of 38.

Dennis Bennett's Charismatic Outpouring

In 1960, Dennis Bennett's public announcement of his baptism by the Holy Spirit led to the Second Wave of Charismatic Christianity in America.

Diocese of Baltimore

On November 6, 1789, the first diocese in the United States was established in Baltimore, Maryland.

Duke University Founded

A group of Methodists and Quakers founded a subscription school in 1838 that would eventually become Duke University.

Dzemijetul Hajrije

Dzemijetal Hajrije, America's oldest existing Muslim organization, was formed in 1906 by Bosnian immigrants who came to Chicago to help dig subway tunnels.

Early Mormon Women Found Female Relief Society

In 1842, four Mormon women organized the Female Relief Society to aid the poor and help women grow in the church.

Election of Jimmy Carter

In 1976, Jimmy Carter was the first self-proclaimed "born again" Christian elected president of the United States.

Election of John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic President of the United States when he defeated Richard Nixon in the 1960 election.

Elisabeth Elliot Publishes Through Gates of Splendor

Elisabeth Elliot’s (1926-2015) book about the martyrdom of her husband and three other missionaries, Through Gates of Splendor (1957), is an evangelical classic.

Ellen White Helps Found Seventh-day Adventists

In 1863, Ellen G. White (1827-1915), was instrumental in founding the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which worships on Saturday and believes Christ's return is imminent.

Emory University Founded

In 1836, the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Emory College in Georgia.

Employment Division v. Smith

This 1990 case determined that citizens could not be exempt from generally applicable and religiously neutral laws because those laws burdened their exercise of religion.

Eugene Peterson's The Message Published

In 1993, Eugene Peterson began publishing sections of The Message (Bible), which translated the Christian Bible into modern everyday language.

Evangelical Methodist Church

In 1946, the Evangelical Methodist Church formed in response to fears of liberalism within the Methodist Church.

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

In 1981, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church became the third major conservative denomination to split off from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

Everson v. Board of Education

In this 1947 case, the Supreme Court first applied the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (i.e. no law establishing religion) to the states.

Execution of Mary Dyer

On June 1, 1660, Mary Dyer (1611-1660), a friend of Anne Hutchinson, was executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for her Quaker faith.

Fanny Crosby Writes "Blessed Assurance"

Fanny Crosby’s "Blessed Assurance" (1873) became one of the most popular Christian hymns.

Female Ordination Controversy in Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1880, Anna Howard Shaw and Anna Oliver both were denied ordination rights by the Methodist Episcopal Church, stirring tensions regarding female ordination.

First African Presbyterian Church Organized

In May 1807, John Gloucester organized the first African American Presbyterian Church.

First Buddhist Temples Built

In the 1850s-1880s, Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought Buddhism to America as they searched for work in Hawaii's plantations and California's gold rush.

First Buddhists Elected to U.S. Congress

In November 2006, voters in Georgia and Hawaii elected the first two Buddhists --Democrats Hank Johnson and Mazie Hirono -- to the U.S. Congress.

First Camp Meeting, Rehoboth, NC

In 1794, Daniel Asbury and the Methodists held the first recognized camp meeting in the United States.

First Convent of Nuns in America

The first Catholic convent in America was founded in 1790 in Maryland by four contemplative Discalced Carmelite Nuns who came from a convent in Belgium.

First Daoist/Traditional Chinese Temples in the U.S.

Daoism (i.e., Taoism), one of China’s recognized religions, arrived in San Francisco in the 19th century as Chinese immigrants sought work in California’s gold rush.

First General Assembly of the PCUSA

In 1789, American Presbyterians created the General Assembly and adopted a new name, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (i.e., PCUSA).

First LDS Temple (Kirtland)

Joseph Smith founded the first Latter-day Saints temple in Kirtland, Ohio, on March 27, 1836.

First Methodist Missionary Societies Organized

In 1819, American Methodists organized their first missionary societies in New York and Philadelphia.

First Methodist Societies Established

From 1763 to 1766, the first Methodist societies in America were established in Maryland, Virginia, and New York.

First Ordained Southern Baptist Woman, Addie Davis

In 1964, Addie Davis became the first woman ordained in a Southern Baptist church.

First Presbytery Formed in Philadelphia

The formation of a presbytery in Philadelphia in 1706 brought official Presbyterianism to the colonies.

First Purpose-Built Mosque

In 1929, Syrian-Lebanese immigrants constructed the first purpose-built mosque in America in Ross, N.D., to serve their small community of Muslims.

First Salvation Army Meeting in America

The Salvation Army conducted its first formal meeting in the United States in New York City in 1880.

First Shinto Shrine in the U.S.

On November 3, 1898, Japanese immigrants built the first Shinto shrine in the United States in Hilo, Hawaii.

First Sikh Gurdwara

The first gurdwara, a Sikh gathering place, was built in 1912 in Stockton, C.A., by settlers attracted to the fertile farmland similar to their native Punjab.

First Wave of Feminism

The 72-year struggle to grant women the right to vote evolved as the central theme of the first wave of American feminism (1848-1920).

First Wesleyan Missionaries Arrive in America

Though Methodists were already in America, John Wesley sent Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore to America in 1769 in order to further spread Methodism.

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple

Built in 1988, Hsi Lai Temple near Los Angeles is the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere.

Formation of the Alliance of Baptists

Liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention, frustrated by the conservative takeover of the denomination, formed a progressive association of churches in 1987.

Formation of the Associate Reformed Presbytery, or "Seceders"

The Associate Reformed Presbytery, formed in Philadelphia in 1782, represented Scottish immigrants from the "seceder" tradition in the Church of Scotland.

Founding Period

With independence won, the United States of America began creating a new government during the Founding Period (1783-1791), including the selection of the first president.

Fox Sisters Contact a Spirit

America's Spiritualism movement, which believes spirits of the dead can communicate with the living through mediums, traces its roots to two young girls in 1848.

Francis Asbury Arrives in America

Methodist missionary Francis Asbury travels from England to America in 1771 and becomes the leader of American Methodism.

Free Methodist Church

Benjamin Titus Roberts and John Wesley Redfield founded the Free Methodist Church in 1860 after failing to reform the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Free Will Baptists Founded in North Carolina

In 1727, Paul Palmer founded North Carolina’s first Baptist Church. This led to the spread of Baptist churches throughout the state.

Freedmen's Aid Society

In the 1860s, the Freedmen's Aid Society formed with the goal of increasing educational opportunities for blacks in the American South.

George Bourne Dismissed for His Opposition to Slavery

Presbyterian minister George Bourne lost his pastor position in 1815 for advocating the immediate emancipation of the slaves.

George Washington's Letter to Touro Synagogue

President George Washington's 1790 letter to Jews in Rhode Island is widely regarded as his most emphatic endorsement of religious liberty and acceptance.

George Whitefield's First American Preaching Tour

George Whitefield's preaching tour (1739-1740) helped propel his career as the preeminent revivalist of the First Great Awakening.

Georgetown Founded

In 1789, Georgetown University became the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States.

Gilbert Tennent Preaches "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry"

Gilbert Tennent's 1740 sermon, "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry," helped spark the Old Side-New Side division among American Presbyterians.

Great Depression

The Great Depression (1929-1939) brought the biggest economic upheaval in U.S. history. Millions of people were unemployed, banks/businesses failed, and there was sweeping poverty.

Half-Way Covenant

The Half-Way Covenant adjusted the requirements for full membership in the New England Congregational churches

Hanover Presbytery Organized in Virginia

The 1755 founding of Hanover Presbytery in Virginia highlighted the rapid expansion of evangelicalism in the South during the First Great Awakening.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin

In 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1886) spread a powerful message that slavery was evil and Christian love could eradicate it.

Harry Emerson Fosdick Preaches "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?"

In 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick's sermon accused fundamentalists of being "essentially illiberal and intolerant." His subsequent dismissal made Fosdick a martyr for liberal mainline Christianity.

Hebrew Union College

Hebrew Union College, the oldest center of Jewish higher education in America, was founded in 1875 with its first campus in Cincinnati.

Henry Dunster Becomes President of Harvard

In 1640, Henry Dunster became the first President of Harvard College and helped lay the foundational structure for America’s most renowned institution for higher learning.

Hindu Temple Established in San Francisco

On Jan. 7, 1906, Indian-born Swami Trigunatita helped build one of the first Hindu temples of the western world in San Francisco.

Huston Smith Publishes The Religions of Man

In 1958, Huston Smith published his landmark textbook on comparative religion, The Religions of Man in 1958, later renamed The World's Religions.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (i.e., Hart-Celler Act) permitted more Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu immigrants into the United States, changing the U.S. religious landscape.

Indian Manual Training School Founded in Oregon

In 1835, Methodist missionaries established a mission and manual labor school for American Indians, which was largely unsuccessful.

Initiation of the Baptist Landmarker Movement

In 1851, the Baptist Landmarker movement began and embroiled the Southern Baptist Convention in controversy.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Parbhupada (1896-1977) founded the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in 1966 in New York to bring Krishna worship to the West.

Islamic Center of America

In 1963, after years of fundraising, Lebanese Muslims in the Detroit area opened the Islamic Center of America, one of the oldest Shi'a mosques in America.

Islamic Society of North America

The Islamic Society of North America was created in 1982 as an umbrella group to support and unite the burgeoning Muslim population in America.

James O'Kelly's Congregational Revolt

In 1792, James O'Kelly, concerned with the power of bishops, led the first schism in the American Methodist Church.

Jerry Falwell Helps Found the Moral Majority

With the help of Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell in 1979, the founding of the Moral Majority would later influence Ronald Reagan's election in 1980.

Jewish Theological Seminary of America

The Jewish Theological Seminary, founded in New York in 1886, is the educational center of Conservative Judaism.

Jim Crow Laws

Abolition freed the slaves, but blacks were kept segregated from whites in the South through local and state regulations known as Jim Crow laws (1890-1965).

John and Charles Wesley Visit America

In 1736, John and Charles Wesley arrived in Savannah, Georgia. Although disappointing, the mission impacted the early stages of Methodism.

John Chivington Leads Sand Creek Massacre

In 1864, former Methodist Episcopal Church pastor John Chivington led a massacre against Colorado Native Americans, now known as the Sand Creek Massacre.

John R. Mott Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

In 1946, John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting religious peace through his ecumenical efforts.

Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration

The Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of 1965 revoked the mutual excommunications of 1054 that led to the Great Schism.

Jonathan Edwards Preaches 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God'

Jonathan Edwards's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (1741) was one of the foundational texts of the First Great Awakening.

Junipero Serra Establishes First Missions in California

Junipero Serra established Mission San Diego on July 16, 1769. This helped extend Spanish control in California and brought Christianity to Native Americans.

Keith Ellison Elected to U.S. Congress

On Nov. 7, 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to national office, joining the U.S. House of Representatives for Minnesota's fifth district.

King Philip's War

For 14 months (1675-1676), Indians raided settlements and colonialists launched counterattacks. It ended after King Philip, the chief of the Wampanoag Indian tribe, was assassinated.

Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization for Catholic men that formed in Connecticut in 1882.

Lemon v. Kurtzman

This 1971 ruling established an influential precedent (the "Lemon test") for whether a law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Liberty University

Jerry Falwell founded the small Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971, which would grow into the largest private, nonprofit university in America by the 2010s.

Life of David Brainerd Published

Jonathan Edwards published The Life of David Brainerd (1749) to promote evangelical theology during the First Great Awakening.

Lottie Moon Sent to China as a Southern Baptist Missionary

In 1873, Lottie Moon went to China as a Southern Baptist missionary at a time when sending unmarried women to the mission field was rare.

Major Upsurge in Hindu Temples

The 1970s, and early 1980s, saw an explosion of Hindu temples in America, courtesy of a new law allowing for more immigrants from India.

Margaret Towner Ordained in PCUSA

Margaret Towner's ordination in 1956 was the culmination of a long struggle for gender equality in the Presbyterian Church USA.

Marjorie Matthews Elected Bishop

Marjorie Matthews was elected bishop in the United Methodist church in 1980. She was the first female elected bishop of any mainline Christian church.

Mary Evans Thorne Appointed Class Leader

Mary Evans Thorne is believed to be the first woman appointed as a class leader in American Methodism around 1770.

Massachusetts Bay Colony

In 1630, a group of Puritans, led by John Winthrop, established the Massachusetts Bay Colony after fleeing religious persecution in England.

Merger of UPCNA and PCUSA

The merger of the UPCNA and the PCUSA in 1958 created the largest Presbyterian denomination in America, but was followed by controversy and dissension.

Merger of UPCUSA and PCUS

In 1983, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States merged to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1784, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the first official Methodist denomination in the United States.

Methodist Episcopal Church, South

In 1845, the contentious issue of American slavery divided the Methodist Episcopal Church into Northern and Southern denominations.

Methodists Approve Full Ordination of Women

In 1956, the Methodist Church finally permitted the full ordination of women after years of resistance.

Mikveh Israel

Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia began as a Jewish cemetery (1740) but later became a synagogue (1782), one of the earliest existing Jewish synagogues in America.

Million Man March

The Million Man March in 1995, organized by the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, was the largest gathering of African Americans in U.S. history.

Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign

Mitt Romney became the first Mormon nominee for president when he ran as a Republican in 2012 against Barack Obama.

Mother Mosque of America

The "Mother Mosque of America," established by immigrants in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the oldest purpose-built mosque still in use.

Muhammad Ali Converts to Islam

After winning his first heavyweight championship in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay (1942-2016) announced he had converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

Murders of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman

In 1847, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, early missionaries to the Oregon territory, were killed by the Cayuse Indians in a widely publicized massacre.

Nat Turner's Rebellion

Nat Turner’s rebellion (1831) is the most famous slave revolt in American history.

Nation of Islam Founded

On July 4, 1930, W.D. Fard founded the Nation of Islam, one of the most radical and militant religious movements of the 20th century.

National Association of Evangelicals Founded

The National Association of Evangelicals was founded in 1942 to provide representation for evangelicals in Washington, D.C., and with the broadcasting industry.

National Association of Free Will Baptists

In 1935, the two major "branches" of Free Will Baptists joined together to form the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

National Baptist Convention

The National Baptist Convention has been the largest national association of African-American Baptists since 1895 despite major denominational splits in 1915 and 1961.

National Catholic War Council

The National Catholic War Council in 1917 allowed the Catholic hierarchy to display its patriotism and to unite on a national level.

Native American Peyote Controversy

Despite passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, legal judgments continued to challenge the use of peyote in religious services until 1994.

New School-Old School Controversy Splits the General Assembly

The New School-Old School controversy, driven by theological differences during the Second Great Awakening, split the mainstream of American Presbyterianism in 1837.

Northern and Southern Factions of the Methodist Episcopal Church Reunite

The Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited in 1939, nearly a century after the issue of slavery divided them.

Northern Baptist Convention

The Northern Baptist Convention formed in 1907 and represents the theologically liberal and politically progressive strains of the Baptist tradition.

Oblate Sisters of Providence Founded

The Oblate Sisters of Providence, founded in Baltimore, Md., in 1829, was the first Roman Catholic congregation founded by women of African descent.

Olympia Brown Ordained By Universalist Church

In 1863, women's rights activist Olympia Brown (1835-1926) became the first woman to be ordained by the Universalist Church.

Ordination of Ruby Knapp Bixby by the Free Will Baptists

In 1846, the Freewill Baptists ordained Ruby Knapp Bixby, making her the first licensed female Baptist preacher.

Orthodox Presbyterian Church Founded

In 1936, discontented conservative Presbyterians left the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Papal Condemnation of Slave Trade

In 1839, Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade in the papal bull entitled In supremo apostolatus, but American Catholics were tentative about ending slavery.

Pat Robertson Founds Christian Broadcasting Network

In 1961, Pat Robertson founded the Christian Broadcast Network, which became a multi-million dollar outlet for Christian television.

PCUSA Allows Same-Sex Marriage

On June 19, 2014, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed an amendment to allow pastor to perform same-sex marriages.

PCUSA Approves Gay/Lesbian Ordination

On July 8, 2010, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved the ordination of "openly"/partnered gay and lesbian members. Many conservative members left the denomination thereafter.

Peyote Religion and the Native American Church

Use of peyote, a psychedelic source for Native American spirit ceremonies, became widespread in the mid-1880s. In 1906, peyote groups formed the Native American Church.

Philadelphia Baptist Association

In 1707, Welsh Baptist immigrants in Philadelphia formed the first permanent Baptist denomination in America.

Philadelphia Confession of Faith

The Philadelphia Baptist Association adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith in 1742, unifying Particular Baptist churches throughout the country.

Phoebe Palmer Writes The Way of Holiness

In 1843, Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) first published The Way of Holiness, an important evangelical classic outlining a "shorter way" to ecstatic union with God.

Pilgrim Holiness Church

The Pilgrim Holiness Church (1897) was originally a Methodist prayer league that grew into a denomination by the early 20th century.

Plenary Councils of Baltimore

The Plenary Councils of Baltimore were a series of meetings of the American Catholic bishops held in 1852, 1866, and 1884.

Plymouth Plantation

Plymouth Plantation was a North American colony settled in 1620 by English Separatists, later known as Pilgrims, who desired to practice their own religion freely.

Presbyterian Church in America

In 1973, conservative Presbyterians dissatisfied with the liberal tendencies of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. left to form the Presbyterian Church in America.

Presbyterian Church in the U.S.

The Civil War divided northern and southern Presbyterians, leading those in the South to secede and form the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. in 1861.

Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church

In 1969, this Supreme Court case prohibited the government from interfering in doctrinal disputes between churches.

President McKinley Addresses Methodist Ministers on Philippines

On November 21, 1899, President William McKinley told Methodist leaders that he had been divinely inspired to annex the Philippines.

Princeton University Founded

New Light Presbyterians founded Princeton University in 1746 as one of the first national colleges in America.

Progressive National Baptist Convention

In 1961, the Progressive National Baptist Convention split from the National Baptist Convention, USA, due to disputes regarding Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights activism.

Prohibition

The 18th amendment made the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol illegal in the United States for 13 years (1920-1933).

Publication of "Economic Justice for All"

The United States Catholic bishops wrote the pastoral letter entitled "Economic Justice for All" (1986) to promote the economic well-being for all citizens.

Publication of "The Challenge of Peace"

In 1983, the Catholic bishops of the United States published the "Challenge of Peace," which denounced the arms race during the Cold War.

Publication of An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty

In 1773, Isaac Backus published a collection of sermons promoting religious liberty and the separation between church and state.

Publication of Appeal to the Christian Women of the South

In 1836, Angelina Grimke published Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, which urged other southern Christian women to denounce slavery.

Publication of Autobiography of Peter Cartwright

Peter Cartwright’s Autobiography (1856) recounts the famous Methodist circuit rider’s life, from his conversion to his encounters with famous American figures.

Publication of Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery

Maria Monk's controversial Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery (1836) depicted illicit encounters between priests and nuns, rape, infanticide, and murder.

Publication of Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee

Jarena Lee’s 1836 autobiography is one of the first extended life accounts of a black woman in America.

Publication of Encyclical Humanae Vitae

Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae reaffirmed the Catholic Church's ban on artificial birth control and serves as a continuing source of controversy.

Publication of Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis

Pascendi Dominici Gregis, a 1907 encyclical by Pope Pius X, defined Modernism as "the synthesis of all heresies."

Publication of Encyclical Rerum Novarum

Rerum Novarum, an 1891 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII on protecting the working class, is a foundational text in modern Catholic social thought.

Publication of Encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae

Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, an 1899 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII, condemned the heresy of Americanism.

Publication of Scofield Reference Bible

The Scofield Reference Bible, first published by Oxford University Press in 1909, would sell two million copies by the end of World War II.

Publication of Shailer Mathews's The Faith of Modernism

Shailer Mathews's The Faith of Modernism (1924) was an influential systematic theology of theological liberalism.

Quebec Act

The Quebec Act of 1774 led to a resurgence in anti-Catholic sentiment in the American colonies and increased tensions between colonists and the British government.

Ququnok Patke Prophesies

Ququnok Patke (c.1790s-1837) was a Kootenai Indian whose prophecies in the early 1800s made her legendary throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Ralph Elliott Fired in the "Genesis" Controversy

When Southern Baptist seminary professor Ralph Elliott challenged the historicity of Genesis, conservatives forced him to resign (1962), foreshadowing the conservative resurgence in the SBC.

Rebecca Gratz Founds First Hebrew Sunday School

Under Rebecca Gratz's oversight, the first free Hebrew Sunday school opened in Philadelphia in 1838.

Reconstruction and Industrialization

During the Reconstruction and Industrialization period (1865-1890), the South struggled to recover after the Civil War. Meanwhile, United States was emerging as an industrial giant.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allowed the "compelling state interest" test to apply to federal level, not just the state level.

Reunification of New School and Old School Presbyterians

After 30 years of division between New School and Old School Presbyterians, the factions reunited in 1869.

Rhode Island Royal Charter

In 1663, the Rhode Island Royal Charter made a unified government in the colony possible, acknowledged American Indian land rights, and declared religious toleration.

Rise of Equal Rights Movements

The social justice movements of the 1960s were infectious, giving rise to women, racial minorities, and LGBT groups seeking equal rights in the United States.

Roger Williams Founds Providence, Rhode Island

In 1636, Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, which became known for its religious tolerance and deregulation of religious behavior.

Salem Witch Trials

During the Salem Witch Trials (1692-1693), citizens accused one another of witchcraft, leading to mass hysteria and the imprisonment/death of approximately 170 community members.

Sally Priesand Becomes First Female Rabbi

On June 3, 1972, Sally Priesand became the first female rabbi ordained in America -- and the first woman in Judaism to earn seminary ordination.

Sarah Dickson Becomes First Female Presbyterian Elder

On June 2, 1930, Sarah Dickson became the first female elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Scopes Trial

The Scopes Trial (1925) highlighted the tension between literal interpretations of creation accounts in the Bible and evolutionary theory in the 20th century.

Scottish Covenanters Form First Presbytery in Pennsylvania

Expatriates from dissident Scottish Presbyterians formed a presbytery in central Pennsylvania in 1774.

Second Vatican Council (Vatican II)

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was a Catholic ecumenical council that attempted to reconcile Catholicism with the challenges of modernity.

Sherbert v. Verner

This 1963 case introduced the "Sherbert test"; the government must show that burdening the individual's practice of religion is based on a compelling state interest.

Signing of the American Baptist Bill of Rights

The American Baptist Bill of Rights (1939) defended the separation of church and state, paving the way for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Silver Bluff Baptist Church

Silver Bluff Baptist Church was founded over the course of 1773-1775 as the first black Baptist church in America.

Sojourner Truth's Methodist Conversion

In 1843, Sojourner Truth converted to Methodism and found her calling as an important social activist for blacks as well as women.

Sojourners Magazine

Sojourners magazine, founded in 1971, promoted a greater prominence of liberal Christian views on social issues within the evangelical community.

Southern Baptist Convention Founded

The Southern Baptist Convention (1845) resulted from a split between Northern and Southern Baptists over slavery. It is now the largest Protestant denomination in America.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Founded in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) believed that racial equality was a Christian imperative and utilized non-violent protests to combat racism.

Sufism Comes to United States

Fulfilling the wishes of his Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan sailed to America in 1910 to spread the message of this mystical arm of Islam.

Swaminarayan Akshardham

The world's largest Hindu temple, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, opened in 2014 in Robbinsville, N.J.

Synod of 1737 and the Old Side-New Side Controversy

The Synod of 1737, which restricted itinerancy and tightened ordination standards, launched the Old Side-New Side Controversy, which divided American Presbyterianism for two decades.

The Christian Advocate First Published

In 1826, the Methodist Episcopal Church commissioned the Christian Advocate, a weekly newspaper that became one of the most popular periodicals in the country.

The American Sunday School Union

In 1817, the American Sunday School Union formed as a faith-based voluntary society to spread education and knowledge of the Bible throughout the country.

The Cooperative Program Instituted in the Southern Baptist Convention

In 1925, the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program centralized budgetary authority and aided the growth of the denomination.

The First Great Awakening

The First Great Awakening (1730s-1770s) was a series of religious revivals that propelled the expansion of evangelical denominations in the colonies.

The Methodist Social Creed Adopted

In 1908, the Methodist Episcopal Church developed an official creed to address social problems of poverty and child labor exploitation.

The Plan of Union of 1758

The Plan of Union in 1758 ended the Old Side-New Side controversy among American Presbyterians.

The Plan of Union of 1801

In 1801, the Plan of Union united the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists in efforts to evangelize the Midwest.

The Primitive Baptists Coalesce

In 1827, the Primitive Baptists began forming in response to growing Baptist denominationalism.

The Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening(s) (1790s-1840s) fueled the rise of an evangelical Protestant majority in antebellum America, giving rise to new denominations and social reform organizations.

The Trial of Margaret Meuse Clay

In 1770, local authorities trialed Margaret Meuse Clay for challenging the gender norms of colonial society and for preaching without a license.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church Connection

In 1843, abolitionists split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over slavery and church governance.

Theosophical Society Founded

Founded in New York in 1875, the Theosophical Society popularized such Eastern tenets as karma and reincarnation in a new religious movement emphasizing spiritual evolution.

Thomas Coke's Anti-Slavery Resolution, "Christmas Conference"

The Christmas Conference of 1784 allowed American Methodists to establish their new denominational identity in the United States and to reaffirm their opposition to slavery.

Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson's letter contained the phrase "a wall of separation between Church and State," important in later legal interpretations of the first amendment.

Tim LaHaye publishes Left Behind

Starting in 1995, the Left Behind series of novels about the Rapture would become the best-selling works of American Christian fiction.

Touro Synagogue

Touro Synagogue was dedicated in 1763 in Newport, R.I. It is the oldest dedicated synagogue in America.

Trial of Albert Barnes

The trial of Presbyterian minister Albert Barnes regarding his unorthodox theology in 1835 increased tensions between Old School and New School Presbyterians.

Trial of Anne Hutchinson

In 1637, Anne Hutchinson was put on trial in Massachusetts for promoting "free grace" theology and challenging colonial authorities.

Trial of Charles Augustus Briggs

The 1892 heresy trial of theologian Charles Augustus Briggs anticipated the fundamentalist-modernist controversy in the Presbyterian Church twenty years later.

Triennial Convention

In 1814, the Triennial Convention became the first formal Baptist missionary agency in America.

UMC General Conference Denies Sexuality Amendment

In 2008 and 2012, the United Methodist Church denied changes in the Book of Discipline, which would have permitted a more liberal stance on homosexuality.

Union Church of Africans

In 1813, the Union Church of Africans became the first independently organized black church in the United States.

United Methodist Church

In 1968, Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church, the largest Methodist denomination in the United States.

University of Chicago

In 1890, John D. Rockefeller and William Rainey Harper founded a non-sectarian university in Chicago to promote progressive education and modernist theology.

University of Notre Dame Founded

French Priest Edward Sorin founded the University of Notre Dame in 1842. It became the most renowned Catholic university in the world.

UPCUSA Confession of 1967

The 1967 Confession added calls for racial and social reconciliation, but conservatives in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) accused it of hedging on essential doctrines.

Ursuline Convent Riots

In 1834, an anti-Catholic mob burned down a convent and school run by Ursuline nuns in Charlestown, Mass.

Utah

In 1847, Brigham Young led the Mormons into Utah after facing persecution at home. The land was considered a Mormon "Zion."

Vanderbilt University Founded

In 1873, Vanderbilt University was founded in Nashville, Tennessee with the initial goal of training local Methodist ministers.

Vietnam War

America’s two-decade involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) was costly and divisive. It claimed more than 58,000 U.S. lives and cost 140 billion dollars.

Vietnamese Buddhists Come to United States

Vietnamese Buddhism spread across America as thousands of refugees arrived after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Virginia's Religious Disestablishment

In 1786, the Virginia legislature passed a bill by Thomas Jefferson ending the Anglican Church's formal establishment as the state religion.

War of 1812

The War of 1812 (1812-1815) is often called the second American Revolutionary War, because it again pitted America against Britain.

Wesleyan Church

In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged to form the Wesleyan Church.

Wesleyan College

In 1836, Wesleyan College was founded in Macon, GA. It is the oldest college for women in the world.

Wesley's A Collection of Hymns, for Use of the People Called Methodists

This 1780 hymnbook, written by John Wesley, became the definitive hymnbook for Methodists.

Westward and Southern Expansion

The United States of America began pushing beyond the boundaries of its original 13 states, until its holdings spanned from sea to sea (1790-1848).

William Seymour and Azusa Street Revival

The Azusa Street Revival (1906-1915) was a defining event for early Pentecostalism and functioned as the catalyst to the growth of American Pentecostalism.

William Tennent's "Log College"

In 1727, William Tennent's "Log College" became the first seminary in North America.

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was founded in November 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio, after a series of anti-alcohol protests by women.

World Parliament of Religions

In 1893, the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago introduced many non-Christian faiths to America -- including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto and Taoism.

World War I

World War I (1914-1919) began in Europe, but grew into an unprecedented global conflict with 65 million troops. It was called the Great War.

World War II

With the rise of Adolf Hitler, Germany began annexing neighboring countries, leading to the second World War (1939-1945) and the deadliest conflict in world history.

Xavier University of Louisiana Founded

Xavier University of Louisiana (est. 1915) is the only historically black Catholic institution of higher learning in America.


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