Most people have way too much respect for freedom of religion—at least in the way they might think of it. As with all other freedoms we’ve anointed ourselves with, your freedom of religious expression extends only to where my freedom of skepticism begins. Often, freedom of religion is taken to mean an exemption from criticism. All religions may not be equal, but they’re all fair game for doubt—in America, at least.
In no other sphere but religion does this phenomenon exist, whereby a statement of belief, no matter how asinine or fantastic, is above ridicule. A person may profess a belief in elves, and be justifiably laughed at from here until tomorrow, but let some poobah solemnly espouse the idiocies of Christian Science or the Book of Mormon, and we are constrained to hear him respectfully.
Of those Founding Fathers everyone is so fond of bringing up, yes, some (but not all) of them were devout, but few of them were religious. That is, they looked upon organized religion with a jaundiced eye, and their very first clause in the very first amendment to the body of the Constitution forbade the Congress to establish any religion.
An agnostic eschews belief, which he is free to do under our government. He may think that all religions are untrue, or that all are equally true. He does not deny that religion can be a consolation, an inspiration, and even a legitimate way of looking at the world. He just does not regard it in any of those ways himself.
Sooner or later, the organization of religion becomes the tyranny of religion. If we are to have true freedom of religion, then we must try to take for ourselves what is sensible from a religion and leave behind what is nonsensical. When we swallow an imbecility, we perpetuate a superstition. Are we to pretend to believe in the patently not true, because millions look upon it as holy? Then we pretend to ourselves.