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? Public health notice: your skinny jeans could be giving you heartburn. Based on this litany of health hazards associated with your favorite fashions, it seems like we’d better all switch to muu-muus, just to be safe.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who, as promised, vetoed his state’s same-sex marriage bill last week, saying that he wants the issue to be decided by the voters), is defending New Jersey’s reputation for bluntness and straight-talking like a pro. During a discussion about tax rates, he declared that Warren Buffett, the billionaire who lent his name to Obama’s proposed tax hike on the rich, needs to “just write a check and shut up.” He also says that it’s fair game to hold Rick Santorum accountable for comments, made in 2008, about Satan’s plans for the United States. Santorum begs to differ.
Just across the Hudson, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the NYPD’s controversial surveillance of Muslim college students. Given that a strong majority (60%) of Americans believe that too many of their fellow citizens think all Muslims are terrorists, Bloomberg’s defense of the NYPD’s actions may not be an easy sell.
If you thought the debate over whether Catholic hospitals and schools should be required to provide no-cost birth control was complicated, you haven’t delved into the world of mergers between Catholic and secular hospitals. What happens when a Catholic hospital wants to take over a facility that previously performed abortions and tubal ligations? Well…it’s complicated. Read more at the New York Times.
U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan sparked outrage over reports that Qur’ans were burned in a landfill at their base. Two-thirds (66%) of Americans agree that all religious books should be treated with respect, even if they don’t share the religious beliefs of those who use them.
Some Latino Mormons are using Mormon theology to speak out against Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration.
And, if you want to know what Mitt Romney looks like when he’s not campaigning, take a look at this collection of photos of Romney hanging out with his family.
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