Apparently the answer to that question is yes, in an article in the New Republic! The writers sight a review by Mike Gerson of a new book by Bob Putnam and David Campbell’s upcoming book, “American Grace”:
Against the expectations of hard-core secularists, Putnam asserts, “religious Americans are nicer, happier, and better citizens.” They are more generous with their time and money, not only in giving to religious causes but to secular ones. They join more voluntary associations, attend more public meetings, even let people cut in line in front of them more readily. Religious Americans are three to four times more socially engaged than the unaffiliated. Ned Flanders is a better neighbor.
The behavior supposedly has more to do with social relationships and less to do with beliefs or theology. Nevertheless, church folks seem to be better folk on the average and exemplary citizens.
The book also notes that the younger generation is not following suit and joining churches as much as past generations. Does that mean the country will be less civil in the future?
The contention of the book and this article is that perhaps religion had a major part in making the country great and secularists probably should re-think removing civil religion from public life in America.