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? I’m back from vacation, and excited to be bringing you interesting and offbeat stories once more.
The internet appears to have claimed another victim: print encyclopedias. But then again, when is the last time you dusted off the Brittanica to check a fact or figure? And how else could we have access to helpful real estate information like this?
Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Dr. Williams has seen Anglicans and Episcopalians through a decade of controversy over gay and lesbian ordination, as well as the ordination of women. For more on the controversial issues that confronted Dr. Williams during his tenure as Archbishop, take a look at this Sunday’s column by Ross Douthat.
Are single women (or, if you prefer the hilarious abbreviation, “swingles”) the new swing voter? A new poll from Pew shows a “cavernous” 20-point gender gap between Obama and Romney, which is boosting Obama.
Last month, a Maryland priest denied communion to a lesbian woman at her mother’s funeral, sparking fierce attacks on both sides. This seems to illustrate, yet again, the gap between the Catholic hierarchy and the laity on gay and lesbian issues; for example, nearly 6-in-10 (59%) of Catholics support same-sex marriage.
According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Rick Santorum’s supporters are far more likely than Romney’s supporters to believe that religion should have a stronger role in politics. Santorum, a Catholic, has garnered a great deal of support from evangelicals over the past few months; notably, according to PRRI’s recent survey, white evangelicals are the only major religious group to believe that religious liberty is threatened in America today.
John McCain declared that the GOP needs to “get off” the issue of contraception and get back to focusing on jobs and the economy. Makes sense, given that even across party lines, all voters agree that jobs and unemployment are critical issues facing the country.
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