Governments have always striven to instill unity in the populaces they govern. Understandable, considering the easiest way to control the population is when they have a high degree of similarity. In centuries past, governments looked to religion to instill a unified value system in its citizenry - such as Nebuchadnezzar and his great idol, Pharaoh and his deification, Rome and its Emperor worship, Constantine and Christianity, Prussia and the unified national church - the list goes on. The United States even fell into this category until recent years; prior to the sixties Christianity predominated and the government looked to the church to form the moral values of its citizens. Then the minority religions gained a voice and the government realized its predicament: they were walking a tight line as far as the anti-establishment clause was concerned. So, the government had to back off from its quasi-Christian mindset to endorse diversity. Now it had a problem: who could it look to to instill a unified mindset?
The government turned to the one thing it can control: education. Our educational system, public and private, could be used by the government to form the value systems of its people. In recent years, the government has been flexing its muscles in order to change the curriculum into a creature designed to make children into the little governmental "yes men" it desires, forming the young into people who look to Uncle Sam for all the answers: to tell them what to think, and what to buy. Don't believe me? Just read the editorials and see the number of people screaming for the government to fix all their little problems. The government has, in essence, made itself into a god by instilling into people the hope that it can provide for all their happiness and needs.
That is not all - it has taken a page out of our book and is using education to brainwash our children with the ideal of acceptance. Take, for instance, a school in Massachusetts, reading King and King to 2nd graders. Massachusetts has a vested interest in having people accepting the homosexual lifestyle - because they need continued support to maintain the legality of homosexual marriage in the state - so they are training them on their desired path early so they won't go astray.
Where does all of this place religion in our society? On the outside, of course, and dismissed as a non-entity, un-important. Am I dismayed by this? Yes and No. Yes, because religion is a major factor even if secular society wishes to deny it. And No, because the government's dismissal of religion does nothing to affect the truth, because the truth never changes. Besides, Christianity seems to do pretty well when it is on the outside. Not to mention, Christianity is not a religion of control as much as it is a religion of influence through true freedom.