Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church of England and in one bold stroke made the church subordinate to the state. From then on, the church could exercise only what rights the state granted it. Our country was founded by British citizens who grew up with this as part of their heritage.
Not all of the world was so innovative. Around that same time, the Spanish Inquisition was underway. In Spain, church teachings drove national policy. The church determined who monarchs should be and what policies were appropriate. Politics took its lead from religion.
It's been centuries since then but cultures take generations to change. I suspect that this sort of difference in history would create different sensibilities, different cultures, with Catholics and Protestants.
Justice Scalia, for instance, has made it clear that his role model is Thomas More. More refused to acknowledge Henry VIII's role as head of the Church of England, a refusal for which he was eventually beheaded by the English and later named a saint by Catholics. It is hard to more clearly state one's revulsion to the church being subordinated to state than the declaration that More is your idol. Had More won in his contest with King Henry, England would have remained under the control of Rome. In Scalia's preferred world, when the Vatican later shut down scientists like Galileo in Italy they would have also been able to shut down scientists in England. Scalia's adoration for More would make more sense in a country more scientifically and socially backwards like Italy, Colombia or even 16th century Spain than 21st century US. Yet here he is, casting the deciding vote and writing the majority opinion on today's decision about religious rights of owners vs. healthcare rights of their employees.
I could be wrong but I suspect that if the Supreme Court still had a few Protestants to balance against a few Catholics, the religious rights of business owners would not have defined medical care for their employees.
The current court:
|Name||Religion||Appt. by||On the Court since|
|John Roberts (Chief Justice)||Roman Catholic||G.W. Bush||2005|
|Antonin Scalia||Roman Catholic||Reagan||1986|
|Anthony Kennedy||Roman Catholic||Reagan||1988|
|Clarence Thomas||Roman Catholic||G.H.W. Bush||1991|
|Samuel Alito||Roman Catholic||G.W. Bush||2006|
|Sonia Sotomayor||Roman Catholic||Obama||2009|
|Ruth Bader Ginsburg||Jewish||Clinton||1993|