In the comments to this post at Dean’s World, there was a discussion of the various ways government and religion can interact. The commentor notes, and I agree, that a major reason the USA is so religious compared to other developed nations is the separation of church and state. This leads to two other thoughts.
The first is that while I’m an atheist myself, I generally side with the religious against hard core secularists who aren’t looking for separation but expungement. Religion shouldn’t work directly on government, but there’s nothing wrong (and much right) with indirect influence through the actions of believers as citizens. Why religion and Christianity in particular is considered “out of bounds” for influencing political opinions doesn’t seem to have any basis except hatred, which is not a good basis for political philosophy.
The other thought is that it seems to me to be a mark of laziness to want the government to enforce religious doctrine, at least for Christians. Perhaps my memories are too hazy to be reliable, but I thought God had told his worshippers to go out and spread the word themselves, not to contract it out to government apparatchiks. It is the practice of religion that makes it strong, not the coercive might of it. The fact that American believers have to work on the government indirectly through spreading belief and influencing non-believers makes both religion and our government stronger and better.