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? Obama prepped for a meeting with House leaders by picking up some hoagies – because we all know that the debt ceiling negotiations are only testy because everyone’s blood sugar is running low. The resulting photo, of course, immediately became a meme.
The NOAA is reporting that, as of April, Americans have officially experienced the hottest year on record. They’re likely to be divided on the cause: among the solid majority of Americans who believe the earth is getting warmer, nearly two-thirds (64%) believe that climate change is caused by human activity, compared to 32% who say it is caused by natural environmental patterns.
The Presbyterian Church’s Northern California declined to rebuke a retired minister who performed same-sex weddings when gay marriage was legal in California, even though she was found guilty of violating the Presbyterian Constitution by an ecclesiastical court. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of white mainline Protestants say that if their place of worship decided to allow blessings of gay and lesbian couples, they would continue to attend.
Meanwhile, two scholars make an economic case for same-sex marriage.
This demonstration for a more “kosher” Internet makes liberal use of Facebook and Twitter.
A Catholic college in Ohio announced that it’s dropping its health care plan to protest the White House’s contraceptive mandate. Catholics are nearly evenly divided on whether religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception. A slim majority (52%) of Catholics believe that they should while 45% believe that they should not.
Advocates point out that Latinos care about more than just immigration.
This November, Massachusetts might elect a gay Republican to Congress.