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? According to a DC chef, mallowcremes may be seasonal, but pig ears and duck hearts aren’t just Halloween oddities. He’s one of the handful of American chefs who are trying to bring “variety meats,” or offal, back onto Americans’ plates. Yum…?
This week, the House is expected to take up a measure that would reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States and encourage the public display of the motto in schools and other public buildings. It’s unclear how this would jive with the nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans who agree that we must maintain a strict separation of church and state.
Melissa Rogers, the director of Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs, spoke on PBS Chicago’s “30 Good Minutes,” calling for non-Muslims to defend American Muslims’ freedom of religious expression. For more on Americans’ conflicted views about Islam and Muslim Americans, see our recent report.
At the New York Times, almost a dozen people weigh in on the question: “What exactly would a Christian platform look like?”
At a campaign stop in Iowa, Michele Bachmann reiterated her position on the children of undocumented immigrants: they should not eligible for citizenship and she “would not do anything” for them. Sixty-two percent of Americans prefer a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform, but Bachmann’s stance (and her staunch pro-life position) might endear her to some conservative Catholics.
A poll from the Des Moines Register shows that Mitt Romney is unpopular with the state’s evangelical voters. This parallels what we found in our October Religion & Politics Tracking Survey, which showed that nationally, Republican and white evangelical Protestant voters are more than twice as likely to identify with his political views than with his religious views.
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