"We are very sensible that our constituents hold those rights(rights of conscience) infinitely more valuable than all others; and we flatter ourselves, that while we consider morality, and the public worship of God, as important to the happiness of society, we have sufficiently guarded the rights of conscience from every possible infringement. Surely it would it would be an affront to the people of Massachusetts Bay to labour to convince them, that the honour and happiness of a people depend upon morality; and that the public worship of God has a tendency to inculcate the principles thereof, as well as to preserve a people from forsaking civilization, and falling into a state of savage barbarity."
This next quote comes from General George Washington, written just before he retired from his post as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and all public office (until called upon again later to do his duty) in 1783 after the signing of the peace Treaty of Paris. This is "George Washington's Circular Letter to the States".
"I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you,and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation."
"Wherefore political as well as spiritual freedom is the gift of God through Christ. The second in the catalogue of blessings; and so intimately related, so sympathetically united with the first, that the one cannot be wounded without communicating an injury to the other. Political liberty is the visible pass which guards the religions. I...am fully convinced, that spiritual freedom is the root of political liberty. As the union between spiritual freedom and political liberty seems nearly inseparable, it is our duty to defend both. And defence in the first instance is best."
-Thomas Paine, "Thoughts on defensive War."
There is a new study out by Harvard's Robert Putnam and Notre Dame's David Campbell that says the following about religion and its influence in America:
"Between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith;
Roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives;
Young people are more opposed to abortion than their parents but more accepting of gay marriage;
Even fervently religious Americans believe that people in other faiths can get to heaven;
Religious Americans are better neighbors than secular Americans—more generous with their time and treasure, even for secular causes—but the explanation has less to do with faith than with communities of faith;
Jews are the most broadly popular religious group in America today.
Generosity: “Any way you slice it, religious Americans are simply more generous.” (454)
Altruism: “Religion is the strongest predictor of altruism”; more than “education, age, income, gender, race, and so forth.” (464)
Trust: “Religious people are both more trusting … and (in the eyes of others) more trustworthy themselves.” (461)
Life Satisfaction: “Religiosity is among the closest correlates of life satisfaction, at least as strong as income.” (490)
Civic Involvement: “With the partial exception of socioeconomic status, religiosity is, by far, the strongest and most consistent predictor of … civic involvement.” (454)"
http://www.americangrace.org/ & http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/article/religious-americans-as-neighbors-insights-from-american-grace