Statute of Religious Liberty, gave legal status to the principle of the separa-
tion of church and state.
BRANCHES OF CHRISTIANITY
Even in the early years of the church, branches, or groups holding beliefs
opposed to official doctrine, developed. But Christianity remained practi-
cally one great community for almost a thousand years. In the 800s,
however, a division, between the church at Rome and the church at
Constantinople (now Istanbul) developed. In 1054, rivalries between these
two groups resulted in a final separation between Greek Catholics and
Roman Catholics. The Eastern church, Greek Catholics, came to be called
the Eastern Orthodox church. After the Reformation, many groups holding
beliefs differing from the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic beliefs de-
veloped. These non-Catholic Christians are generally called Protestants.
CHRISTIANITY IN THE UNITED STATES
From the arrival of the first settlers in America, the variety of expressions
of the Christian religion in the United States has been extensive. As of 1977,
there were over 800 distinct groups or bodies which identified themselves
with American Christianity.
The majority of the early settlers were followers of the larger and
better known contemporary Roman Catholic and non-Roman Catholic
(Protestant) groups such as, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist,
and Lutheran. A smaller representation of the early settlers identified with
non-Catholic groups which are not as widely known. The Mennonites,
Quakers (Friends), Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Church of God are
included in these groups.
Within America, Christianity is one of the largest religious communities.
The largest percentage of naval personnel are members of the Christian
community. Christian chaplains comprise the largest faith group included
within the military chaplaincy.
Groups Within Christianity
Though not all inclusive, the Christian denominations listed in the
following paragraphs are indicative of the broad spectrum of Christian
worship forms found within the United States. It is not to be assumed,
however, that all of the religious groups which are aligned with one of these
denominations are similar in all of their beliefs or practices.
ADVENTIST CHURCHES.Adventist churches stem from the 19th-
century preaching of William Miller. William Miller was so influential that
for years his followers were known as Millerites. Miller, a veteran of the
War of 1812 and a serious student of the Bible, believed in the imminent
second coming of Jesus Christ. Two sacraments are observed, Baptism and
Communion. They practice immersion as the Biblical form of Baptism and
foot washing as a preparatory service for Communion.
Seventh-Day Adventists observe their Sabbath on Saturday, tithe their
incomes, and abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. They seek religious