Last week I spoke with Dr. James Hutson, Chief of the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress, about the role of religion in the United States. One of the many things he talked about was that a person who believed in a "future state of rewards and punishment" (i.e. a religious person adhering to a faith that had such doctrine) would be a better American than he or she otherwise would be because that doctrine would compel them to act morally. This, instead of being taught, compelled, judged, reprimanded, and re-taught by the state.
I think this is worthy of much thought, as we contemplate places of faith throughout the country and what is preached, what is believed, and how persons behave.