alphatrigger saidA few thoughts:
I would respectfully point out that the 19th century (in terms of US history) there never was a threat of the US or even the Southern States becoming a theonomist* government. People then were perhaps more openly religious and read Bibles in classrooms and so-forth, but the dawn of the 19th century was the end of any sort of established churches in the USA.
Even today, while some on the far left/militant atheists will try to create a case that the Theonomist/Christian Reconstructionist movement, there simply isn't a chance of any sort of momentum for such a movement.
Even local or regional successes at trying to establish Old Testament Law as a sort of a christianized form of the Muslim Shari'ah Law would be crushed by the courts, if not the active involvement of the ACLU, the ADL, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among other civil rights groups.
And as for the Creationist lobby, while I believe that people should be able to believe in whatever creation lore they choose to, Academia is very secure in its defense of materialistic evolution as the primary and agreed upon explantion for the origin and development of life on earth.
Again, not likely that the "riding dinosaurs" crowd will overturn a century or more of accepted scientific knowledge.
@Columbusite: Oddly enough, Hitler was not terribly religious. At least not in the sense we commonly hear the word "religious".
True, he had an outward (mostly youthful) identity with the Roman Catholicism that was prevalent in Southern Germany and Austria of his youth, but later history seems to suggest that he became taken with a mix of esoteric Hinduism, Occultism, native German paganism, all with a very thin veneer of Christianity to make his presentation of ideals more palatable to the Germanic masses... and all of it subsumed in service to the State (the Reich).
In fact, Hitler and the Nazis (and the Thule Society as a spiritual forebear) strove to create a state religion, not for the sake of a religious state, but as a tool to ensure the devoted obedience of the people to the Reich.
Hitler wanted to be as much the Messiah for his Reich as Jesus is for Christians. In this manner, he was very much an anti-christ.
You make good points, but a little more literal than I meant it to be taken. What I was refering to are things like the Far Righter Christian Organizations in Texas are now trying to take texas back to the days when Anal Sex was a punishable offense, in spite of the Supreme Court knocking down those 19th century laws as unconstitutional.
Southern Baptist Far Righter Christians would gladly stop interracial marriages.
The far Right Christians would definately take away the freedom of gays to be foster Parents or adopt and children.
The Far Right Christians are actively working to make it impossible for a woman to get an abortion.
They would take away sex education and especially any mention of homosexuality as being a normalized human relations 'option'.
The list goes on and on as to how they'd take us back to the 19th Century.
These Subtle ways of bringing 'god' back into American Government are basicly mixing Christian 'values and principles' into legislation. These efforts are creeping in through the back door and are very dangerous. Never forget that Human Nature has not changed and its just as easy for Americans to lose freedoms now as ever in history. All that needs to happen is have major catastrophies take place, or our being attacked and the Sheeples will go for anything under the banner of "keep us safe".
Keeping religion out of our government is a very important effort, look at all the effort and organizing the far right christian groups are doing to bring 'America back to god'. Its for control, its to bring people into line with their Christian beliefs, and many of these groups firmly believe it their duty to 'stop the gay indoctrination' because they believe our country is punished by gods 'natural disasters' for turning our country's back on god and allowing gay rights, gays to serve in the military and etc. Watch many of the TV evangelists, listen to the preachers on the radio and you'll hear them say this stuff. Read from Right Wing Watch and you'll be alarmed at what I call the "Christian Talaban" and their efforts to legislate their beliefs.