And if you recommend listening to a great Dzogchen teachers webcast to a friend you are being religious? Some of the ways religion is defined by science, there is no universally accepted definition so far, would without doubt cover the DC for example. Saying "I don't believe in religion, it is evil" could very easy qualify as a religion also. You got a belief, could be anything, and a few people that agrees and that are ready to defend that belief and there you are. You can not easily separate teaching and the necessary organization that is carrying the teaching. Isn't it so that the Buddhas Dharma carried by the Sangha is defined as religion by others?
And by any chance do you doubt that there's also a religious phenomenon when it comes to the DC? Do you by any chance think the DC is somehow free of religion? However that doesn't make Dzogchen a religion. Some understand this, some live this, some don't. Our teacher, however, stresses this aspect often. We need to go beyond belief. Dzogchen is only Dzogchen with experience of the real nature. Until then it's a fantasy.
The same probably can be applied to Buddha's Dharma in general. It didn't start as a religion but it became one. It became one because unenlightened beings have this fantastic propensity to cling to things in order to feel in control, to feel safe,to feel oriented and so on and so forth.
One of the biggest obstacles to any Buddhist is actually practicing Dharma. Do you know that line from Dromtonpa"oh... that's good, but even better is practicing Dharma!" in that story of the old man circumbulating the stupa, reading texts and meditating? The base for giving up concerns for this worldy life, that is nothing more than realizing through experience the dream nature of our samsaric experience, is something that goes beyond religion. Religion may be the package for the set of illusions that will help you get there. However, if you get stuck there, stuck at the finger instead of reaching the moon, kaput, you cut your own legs.
At the end what matters seems to be if the practitioner goes beyond religion instead of getting stuck at it. When one clings to a religion, one clings to a belief system, nothing more. Dzogchen, Vajrayana, Buddhism, you choose the name. As long as it is a matter of belief it will simply fall short of what is Dharma. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche tries to avoid a religious attitude from his students, always stressing the importance of experience, not tenets, not beliefs, not artificial codes and what have you. This is a good thing, I think.