""In 1984, 7.3 percent of respondents answered "none" when the General Social Survey asked what their religious preference was. Twenty years later, nearly twice as many, 14.3 percent, gave the same answer. Of course, the number of non-religious people will varies depending on how you ask the question. (For instance, the National Election Studies asks respondents whether religion plays an important part of their lives; in 2004, 23 percent said no.) But however you define them, no one doubts that their numbers are increasing."
The argument, in short, is that just as the elite-level secularization of the 1960s and '70s (in the intelligentsia, the Courts, and the Democratic Party) produced backlash in the form of the religious right, so now that backlash has bred its own backlash, in the form of a mass secularism whose attitudes toward religion, politics, and church-state separation are more European than anything we've seen before in American political life."
rossdouthat.theatlantic.com, 15 Jun 2007