I wrote a big response which included a series of quotes from Founding Fathers ripping on religion. Guys like Jefferson, Paine, and Madison. Anyway:
Originally Posted by ClarkC
Contrary to what Time magazine's headline writer thinks, the United States federal government is not synonymous with "the US." Individuals in the USA spend far more or charity than individual citizens in any other developed nation. When there is a disaster somewhere, aid starts flowing from countless charities in the USA to the spot that needs it. In most countries, the people figure it is the job of the government, not of private citizens, to render overseas aid.
And in some countries, people think of the government as an instrument of the people, unlike in the USA, where an alarming majority sees the government either as the enemy or as their masters. We, the private citizens, should look at the government as our civil servants, and make them behave accordingly.