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? Modern art is so much fun: here, you can check out van Gogh’s innards. If contemporary literature is more your style, here’s how to write a book guaranteed to win the Man Booker prize (the catch: you’ve got to be British).
A year after Osama bin Laden’s death, a Pew study shows that support for al Qaeda is low in Muslim countries. For more on Americans’ perspectives on bin Laden and al Qaeda just days after the terrorist mastermind’s death, check out this PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey from a year ago.
A new study shows that religious people are less likely to be moved toward generosity by compassion.
A longtime Republican foreign policy spokesman who is also openly gay resigned from Mitt Romney’s campaign only a month after being hired. His resignation was triggered by a storm of criticism from social conservatives.
Meanwhile, gay columnist and activist Dan Savage has angered some Christians, after he suggested in a speech at the National High School Journalist Conference that Christians ignore aspects of the Bible they don’t like, and they should “learn to ignore the b——- in the Bible about gay people.” Considering that 95% of Americans agree that religious books should be treated with respect, even if the beliefs of those who use them are not shared, it’s perhaps understandable that he is now being asked to eat his words.