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? Louisiana residents, I am sorry to say that yours is the least peaceful state in the nation.
In an article for the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart argues that Democrats are more anti-Mormon than Republicans, but adds that the Democratic Party must resist the siren call of anti-Mormonism throughout the general election campaign. At Religion Dispatches, Joanna Brooks takes issue with his analysis, pointing out that “no polling organization has ever gathered satisfactory qualitative evidence from Democrats who express reservations about voting for a Mormon.” It’s true that, last fall, PRRI found that significantly more Democratic voters (50%) report feeling at least somewhat uncomfortable with a Mormon serving as president than Republican voters (36%) or Independent voters (38%). Whether that’s a sign of anti-Mormonism or perhaps anti-Romneyism is much harder to say.
Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Arizona’s immigration law, a controversial piece of legislation that allows police officers to ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop. The ruling, when it comes down this summer, could have a resounding impact on immigration policy in the U.S. For more on the values that inform Americans’ views on immigration policy, check out our blog.
Conventional wisdom may assume that younger Millennials are more tolerant, but the 2012 Millennial Values Survey shows marked racial tension. Dr. Robert P. Jones has more at the Huffington Post.
A new poll from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice shows that SuperPACs may actually discourage Americans from voting. According to the poll, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans say that they trust government less because big donors to super PACs have more influence than regular voters.
This is just sad.