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? Pie can be a contentious issue, but I am not at all surprised that strawberry rhubarb almost beat out apple as the favored pie in NPR’s (very unscientific) poll. It’s just that good.
The Fortnight for Freedom, two weeks full of events organized by the U.S. Catholic bishops in response to perceived encroachments on religious liberty by the Obama administration, launched last night. Dr. Robert P. Jones has a new “Figuring Faith” piece up with a fortnight’s worth of facts about religious liberty, which we’ll be unpacking further on the blog over the next two weeks. Exciting, eh?
A new Pew Research Center survey on voter engagement reveals that Romney supporters are following the election more closely than Obama supporters, but it’s not because they’re particularly enthusiastic about their candidate. Instead, antipathy toward Obama is driving Republicans to pay more attention to the unfolding campaign.
It turns out that some Christian conservatives are just as worried about harsh anti-gay sermons delivered from a handful of church pulpits giving “Christianity a bad name”. Earlier this year, nearly 6-in-10 college-age Millennial Christians (age 18 to 24) reported that “anti-gay” describes present-day Christianity somewhat or very well.
Nearly half (48%) of younger Millennials (age 18-24) say they live at home with their parents. But now, new Census data shows that the fact that so many young adults live at home actually obscures the fact that many of them are in poverty. According to the Census Bureau, “The official poverty rate for young adults aged 25 to 34 living with parents was 8.4 percent in 2010, but if poverty status was determined by personal income, 45.3 percent would have been in poverty.”
On Wednesday, members of Congress sparred over whether Rep. Peter King’s series of hearings on Muslim “radicalization” increased hate crimes or racial profiling, or added to the United States’ image abroad as a nation at war with Islam. Last year, when the hearings were taking place, a majority (56%) of Americans said they were a good idea. However, 7-in-10 (72%) also agreed that Congress should not single out the Muslim community.