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.
What do kids these days think about the news, and religion, and all that jazz? Check out PRRI’s latest report (conducted jointly with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University) for more.
The Obama campaign launched a series of Spanish-language ads, targeted at the country’s growing Latino population. Obama may also get a boost from some of Mitt Romney’s previous comments about policies like the DREAM Act that are popular among the Latino community.
Earth Day is coming up, and the Atlantic has a piece on how some evangelicals see environmentalism as “creation care.” A majority (54%) of white evangelical Protestants believe that God gave humans beings the task of living responsibly with animals, plants and the resources of the planet.
Are lay Mormons slowly starting to voice support for gay and lesbian people? There certainly hasn’t been much evidence of this to date. Overall, a strong majority (75%) of Mormons oppose same-sex marriage.
According to the Barna Group, a Christian-affiliated research organization, 50 percent of Americans believe that the Bible, the Qu’ran, and the Book of Mormon hold different expressions of the same truths.
It looks like Republicans are coming home. Also, Rev. Robert Jeffress announced that he was supporting Romney “despite” his Mormon faith. Rev. Jeffress, as you’ll recall, made headlines last fall for publicly denouncing Mormonism as a “cult.”