Participants in the faux debate of "science vs. religion" might be mistaken in the approach to the fundamental question at hand. Is it possible that we do not need everyone to believe in all well-established scientific theories as long as they understand them? Perhaps the entire frame to teaching evolution (for example) should allow students to refrain from belief in one side or the other, as long as they demonstrate understanding of the nature of the idea.
As an illustration, in the time of slavery and abolition, the fundamental causation and economic properties which underlie that peculiar institution were not really at issue. It was understood that chattel labor was inherently necessary for the southern plantation economy and class system. The fundamental operating processes were not at issue, it was the moral and social values implied by that system which were at issue.
Similarly, should it not be possible to reframe the teaching of something like evolution so that students can understand how and why it works without having to attach a moral or social value to that process? In political science, one can understand Marxism-Leninism without believing in it. In law enforcement, it helps to understand the mind and impulses of a criminal, but that does not excuse the criminal. In comparative religion itself, one can understand and explain the Buddhist concept of nirvana without believing in it. In all three cases, an understanding of the idea or process illuminates the greater debate and allows for a more complete experience of our world, without creating an obligation to believe or act in one manner or another on the person doing the understanding
The requirement for a functional citizen is an understanding of how the world works, not a value judgment that it should work that way. The fight for Americans to understand evolution can be a battle separate from, though related to, the fight for Americans to accept evolution.
And reframing the debate in this way may have many significant, long-term benefits. I would submit that if pollsters were to ask whether people understood evolution, rather than whether they accepted or believed it, the nature of the debate over the question itself would change. If headlines read that 80% of Americans understood how evolution is supposed to have brought us into being, our standing in comparison with other countries would be much different. There is already anecdotal survey evidence that evolution is understood among the creationist population, it is acceptance of human evolution which is the difficult barrier.
A change in how we approach this divisive question would also allow us to achieve the ends of wider acceptance of evolution. After all, with understanding comes acceptance. We can achieve a kind of herd immunity from irrational thought if we can spread the understanding of science, while - for now - ignoring the question of whether those who understand truly accept it. After all, without manifestation in irrational action, disbelief inflicts no harm on society. This is the essence of the separation of church and state, "believe what you want, but understand these are the rules."
Thus, it may be a good long-term plan to attack ignorance instead of belief in our current tilt with those who would deny evolution, because it creates a path for the knowledge of evolution to seep into uninformed corners: In order to know thy enemy, you must first understand their motivations and tactics. In order for them to know how to "defeat" evolution, they must first understand it.
And since it is supported by logic, upheld by observable evidence, and tested by experimentation, I will put my money on evolution in that battle, every time.