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? As you begin your day, take a moment to write down some recipes from the 1933 edition of the Congressional Cookbook. The next time you entertain, you could whip up a tray of “yum-yum gems” or try your hand at syllabub, where the recipe instructs chefs to “milk a cow” into a quarter of sweetened cider until there is “enough.” Throw it on top of some cream, and you’re set. Talk about farm to table.
New York Times columnists Gail Collins and David Brooks spar over whether the Occupy Wall Street movement is being overhyped. Even though they both disparage polling, which Collins says is responsible for “Herman Cain, Republican presidential front-runner,” we will nevertheless humbly offer up our numbers for scrutiny. More than 6-in-10 (62%) Americans believe that one of the biggest problems in this country is that more and more wealth is held by just a few people. You decide whether Collins or Brooks is right.
Speaking of Occupy Wall Street, over at the Washington Post, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite argues that Herman Cain’s vision of Jesus Christ as a “perfect conservative” is somewhat out of line. Jesus, Thistlethwaite says (borrowing a little from scholar James Crossan), was trying to create a “share-community” as opposed to a “greed-community.” Needless to say, Cain’s repeated assertion, “Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself,” does not jive with her vision of Christianity. The numbers seem to side with Thistlethwaite, although not decisively: 44% of Americans say that capitalism and Christian values are at odds, compared to 36% who say that the two are compatible.
A group of clergy from the United Methodist Church are vowing to marry same-sex couples, while another group remains opposed. We’ll see what happens when UM leaders meet at the end of the month. According to a recent PRRI survey, a slim majority (51%) of white mainline Protestants favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, his agency deported a record number of illegal immigrants during the fiscal year that ended in September Meanwhile, a new report by two law schools claims that many legal citizens are being arrested as part of the Obama administration’s effort to deport large numbers of illegal immigrants. Americans’ views on immigration are complex, but more than 6-in-10 (62%) of Americans say they prefer a strategy that secures the borders and provides an earned path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, compared to only 36% who support a strategy that secures the borders and seeks to arrest and deport all illegal immigrants already in the country.
W. Scott Poole’s new book, Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession With the Hideous and the Haunting, looks like a pretty fascinating read. Poole says that he sees monsters as “social constructions that take place at the intersection of religion, politics and the American way of violence.” No data on why (or if) Americans are “obsessed” with monsters (you’ll have to read the book to decide if we are), but we do know that 44% of Americans who say that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of what the Bible calls the “end times.”
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