And from a former professor of mine, no less:
Why the recent flurry of church/state issues? In America it is part of the politics surrounding the so-called “culture wars”: The rising influence of conservative Protestants in the Republican party has mobilized liberals against any political role of organized religion—especially since conservative Catholics have been allied with conservative Protestants on most of the issues “south of the navel” (issues, that is, that liberals are personally anxious about). The politics in Europe is different: Conservative Christianity (Protestant or Catholic) is not very significant politically, but the perceived threat of militant Islam has made secularism (such as French laicite) appear as a defense of European values against theocracy.
It's interesting to me that when the institutional Episcopal Church decides to insert itself into the "culture wars", it tends to take the side that is contra-conservative, even when the conservative argument is an extension of mainstream theology. Hence, the Episcopal Church often allies itself with a minority argument [at least among practicing Christians] espoused by a secular, sometimes non-theist, organization that has no interest in reciprocity. This isolates the Church among other churches and denominations and, in turn, places the Church in a disrespected position among the secular ideologues.
[Before anyone gets upset with my opinion, especially those who prefer the minority view, I should point out that I don't care one way or the other. I don't determine the ideological course of the Episcopal Church as I have neither the power, the position, nor the interest to do so. I was taught, and rigorously, to objectively regard the actions of society, its institutions and people, as one observes a strange and wondrous animal.]