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? Have you ever wondered what your kitchen would look like if you didn’t replace any of your kitchen appliances for 50 years? Maybe a bit like this.
Just as the American Catholic bishops begin to step up the “great national campaign” to preserve religious liberty (which is, at least in part, a response to President Obama’s contraceptive mandate), two priests in Pittsburgh took the opposite tack. They chastised their local bishop for alienating women with his stance on birth control, and creating “a lot of anger” among the laity. Will lay Catholics rise up against the contraceptive mandate, or should the bishops back down? More on Catholics’ perspectives on the religious liberty debate here.
An interesting piece at the New Republic explores why “swing voters” may be a much larger category than we typically assume.
President Obama faced some significant blowback from gay rights activists after deciding not to sign an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT people by employers with federal contracts. It seems unlikely that such an executive order would incite much protest from the public. A strong majority (79%) of Americans favor employment discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people.
Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, rebuked a Democratic pundit who declared that Romney “never worked a day in her life,” sparking a debate about stay-at-home moms, lesbian moms, and the “war on women.” What do American women really think? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?
And finally, in Herman Cain’s new ad, we learn what happens when someone throw chickens at you from off-camera. It’s not pretty.
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