Coleman at the Bending Faith blog has posted an insightful essay by Stephen Prothero about the religious illiteracy of Americans.
This essay is well worth reading as are the introductory comments by Coleman.
I would only disagree with one statement that Prothero makes. He says, "Because of misunderstandings about the 1st Amendment, religious studies are seldom taught in public schools."
My own experience tells me this excuse is simplistic. Having participated in a conference of ministers discussing teaching creation science at a small town public school in Oklahoma, I know that conservative preachers will drop their demand for public schools to teach creation science if that also means the schools will be teaching the creation accounts and religious beliefs of Native Americans and other religions.
Religion is all or nothing for conservative Christians. They don't want "teaching about religion" -- certainly not comparative religion -- they want the schools to indoctrinate students in their own brand of religion. If they can't have that, they don't want public schools teaching anything about religion at all.