Mark A. Smith is professor of Political Science and an adjunct professor of Comparative Religion and Communication at the University of Washington. His research focuses on economic and religious groups, ideas, and influences in American politics. In his new book, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, Dr. Smith argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is and is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them.
Welcome to the Morning Buzz, PRRI’s morning dose of religion-related news with a shot of data – because what doesn’t liven up a morning round-up like some public opinion numbers?
A coalition of religious groups are lobbying Republican members of the Congressional super committee to raise taxes on the wealthy. For more on whether Americans believe that capitalism and Christian values are compatible, check out this PRRI survey from April.
The Virginia Board of Health approved far-reaching regulations on abortion clinics last week that could shut down many of the state’s 22 facilities. These changes are among the strictest in the nation. A recent survey conducted by PRRI found that American attitudes on abortion are complex – for more detailed information about what Americans think about whether abortion should be accessible, or if it is moral, take a look at this PRRI report.
A typhoon is bearing down on Japan, and could bring landslides and flash flooding to the area of the country hit by the tsunami in March. Do Americans think natural disasters are a sign from God? And how did they react in the wake of the events in Japan last March? PRRI has answers here.
And in an act of utter brilliance, a few hotels have started letting guests play with and walk dogs dubbed members of their “staff”. Who wouldn’t want to have a puppy for an afternoon? The only difficulty would be giving the dog back at the end of the day.
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