"+1 for 'Manichean' [...]"
One of our lecturers at university actually argued that religious belief does have significance for social outcomes. The US has a very strong Protestant minority who believe that any bad things that happen to you are a punishment from God, so unfortunate people have done something wrong for which they need forgiveness, and if they don't seek it they are damned. No Manichaeanism required.
The US attitude to crime and healthcare on this hypothesis can be explained by Protestant fundamentalism, while the historically rather different British approach is based more on the nominal Catholicity of Anglicanism and the idea that we are all morally defective and shit happens without God as a causative agent. Therefore society as a whole should improve itself by dealing with crime and health as general social problems.
It may be popsci but it makes a kind of sense.