I don't see it as overly exaggerated. No one brings up the topic at work. I don't hear it in the grocery store. I don't see it discussed in the magazines on display in the check out line. So, it isn't a factor in daily life unless one chooses to seek out others for a conversation.
Politically, I don't think religion plays as great a role as the nay sayers would have one believe. Most politicians who have attempted to pull out the religion card have faded from the limelight shortly thereafter. How do you know an atheist hasn't been president? You only know that a professed atheist hasn't been president. I probably wouldn't vote for a candidate who went out of their way to insist everyone knew they didn't believe in God. That would be playing the religion card also. Strongly professed faith in anything negates your appeal to me.
And, I know people will say what about issues such as abortion. We also have strong factions who are pushing for animal rights from a moral standpoint. Not motivated by religion, yet attempting to railroad legislation through. There are many other examples of attempts to change policy in order to ensure personal values are forced on all of us. I sometimes wonder why Christians are singled out when so many others are attempting the same things.