Sports are ruining the forward progress of our country. Too often, sports fanatics get together and do various things like roast meat from the backs of their cars. There is often bloodshed in the name of sports teams, often occurring between impassioned sports fans. Then there is also the sacrifice made by athletes themselves, many of whom suffer permanent physical injury from repeated concussions and ligament damage. Never mind that recreational sports provide a framework for exercise and the building of community; the fact that Sports have manifested itself in such an ugly way shows that it is a waste of anyone's time. As a result, we should make fun of athletes and sports fans as much as possible with the assurance that we are better than That.
This line of reasoning is not so different from the attacks on religion. While I am unabashedly atheist, I think projects like Bill Maher's Religulous (which I have not personally seen) miss the point. While religion has lent itself to excessive fanaticism and fundamentalism, the Bible Belt's Christianity and the Taliban's Islam reflect perversions of religious ideology rather than the negative effects of religion. When analyzing the problems of a society, considering the reasons for the perversion and the ways in which religious philosophy have been perturbed is a much more productive use of time than bemoaning religion for causing such evil. The fact that people do ugly things in the name of religion is not evidence of the corrupting power of religious ideology but a symptom of greater societal problems. In particular, examining religious fundamentalism in the United States reveals not the "evils of religion" but that the United States has areas that are so backwards and uneducated as to have people susceptible to such superstition.
By "religion," first consider not the loaded word it has become but the essence of belief--the Platonic form of what is embodied in the holy text. This is the pure thing separate from the associated religious institution and from the manifestion of religion in past/present/future society. In general, pure religious ideology provides a theological/metaphorical framework for living. If you go back to the texts of the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad-Gita, they provide ideas to think with and concepts to believe in. Engaging with these texts abstractly on the level of metaphor and metonymy provides great insight into how to live. There is nothing in the texts themselves proposing any sort of fundamentalism or closed-mindedness*. The Old Testament teaches justice; the New Testament teaches love; the Bhagavad-Gita teaches selfless service. None of these are bad concepts; perhaps the cocky libertarians who go around denouncing religion without knowing very much can learn something from religion.
Abstract consideration of religious texts is not that far off from what we can expect from religion in present times. If you look outside of the United States, there is evidence that people are able to engage with religion in a rational way. The same monotheistic, "enclosing" (to quote on criticism of Christianity) religions that cause all sorts of bad things in America are causing people to do just fine in Europe. I have heard the Anglican Church described as something of a "social club," and one friend even reported viewing a baptism being performed in a pool. (The validity of this report is questionable.) In Italy, home to the Vatican, people seem to take what the Pope says much less seriously than people do around here. People are able to handle a much less serious form of (the same!) religion and engage with it on a much more intellectual level. (And don't forget the Far Eastern religions: who has heard of people starting wars in the name of Buddhism?) In very few developed, first-world countries is religion one of the reasons why it is still a question whether women should be allowed control over their own bodies.
I hope this leads you to conclude that "religion" is not the root of the problem. Religious fundamentalism derives not from the principles of religion but from people needing simple frameworks to fill a void. This void comes from the lack of education. Religion provides a simple, closed way to explain the world; it provides easy answers for people who do not have access to more complex answers. To believe that people are not better than the narrow mindsets they have when only exposed to religion is to have too little faith in humanity (or too much faith in one's own genetic superiority). Lack of exposure to many ideas causes general fear and suspicion of new ideas; it is this fear that leads to the superstition and fundamentalism that characterizes too much of the religious belief in the United States.
To conclude, saying "religion is preventing the forward process of our country" is a useless statement. Appreciating religious texts and deriving moral and spiritual wisdom from them is one thing; deriving a closed-minded way of living from religion is a totally different thing. Blaming religion for the problems in America today draws attention away from the real issues at hand: the inequality of education and wealth that causes religious fanaticism to prevail in parts of the United States*.
* There are parts of the Bible saying to kill all people worshiping another God, but we must perform an amortized analysis, since most of the Bible does not say things like this.
** This is one reason libertarians are goons. The same people who go around saying that what you get is what you deserve also enjoy going around making fun of people for reasons that stem from lack of education, which ultimately come from inequality and things like lower taxes (and thus less funding for education).
Fun fact: There is nothing in Judaism that says you can't get buried in a Jewish cemetary if you get a piercing or tattoo. (The New York Times says so.) Be careful about conflacting religious doctrine with rules of the religious institutions and religion in practice.