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? Two questions: is this clam eating the salt or just bringing it into its shell for investigation? And could all convenience store robberies be averted with a little firmness on the part of the cashier?
Although not all Americans agree on the best way to tackle immigration reform, there is a consensus of opinion that it falls under the purview of the federal government, rather than the states. For more on Americans’ perspectives on immigration and state’s rights, check out Dr. Robert P. Jones’ latest for Figuring Faith.
According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Obama’s supporters are more excited about their candidate than Romney’s are about theirs. Needless to say, however, there are an awful lot of voters who don’t seem all that jazzed about the coming election.
I can personally attest that Bagan, a vast, dusty plain full of centuries-old temples in various states of disrepair, is a religious site well worth visiting. But for those of you who don’t want to trek all the way to Myanmar, CNN has compiled eight religious wonders right here in the lower 48 states.
The Episcopal Church approved the ordination of transgender clergy, in a move that is likely to resonate with most lay Episcopalians.
A new study of Muslim extremists texts reveals that Muslims are not, in fact, seeking world domination. Instead, the study says, extremists are more concerned with protecting their faith from foreign intrusion. Nevertheless, Americans apply a double standard when evaluating violence committed in the name of a religious faith: More than 8-in-10 (83%) Americans say that those who commit violence in the name of Christianity are not truly Christian, while less than half (48%) of Americans extend this same principle to Muslims.
The Bush dynasty may not be over yet. George P. Bush is thinking about testing the political waters.