As far as I can see, this is bad news for everybody. Atheists and agnostics like to think of themselves as smarter than the God-bothering trailer trash on Tobacco Road, and deeply dislike the thought that they are losing the argument among the most intellectually qualified and best prepared; religious people have to be concerned for the future of religion when whole social classes are dropping away.
It is also very bad news for the poor. The rich can actually get along without much religion; one of the nice things about being rich is that money can frequently shield you from the consequences of a weak character and bad decisions. If you are rich enough, you can do very poorly in high school but Daddy will have a nice chat with the college president after which the school gets a new gym and you get a slot in the freshman class. You can be pretty sure that the college won’t flunk you out or expel you without a lot of second chances and counseling.
Oh, and if somehow you booze and flirt your way through college and don’t pick up any useful skills, don’t worry. You won’t have any student loans to repay and Daddy will make sure that you find something to do.
The poor aren’t so lucky. The poor kid who wants to get ahead actually has to achieve something. He or she has to sacrifice, defer gratification, learn useful skills, and endure the scorn of classmates who think he or she is a geek and a nerd. Some of us are able to do all that and more without the strength and focus that comes from faith in God — but most of us need all the help we can get.
I’ve been able to manage without, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people can’t. And it seems that the public schools have finally done Dewey’s job.