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? Amelia Earhart remains as lost as she was two months ago, while an organization called TIGHAR is $2.2 million poorer.
Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison for his role in covering up sex abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests. He is the first U.S. clerical official to receive a conviction in this scandal, but the Associated Press says he may not be the last.
How do you feel about microtargeting, the process which allows political campaigns to create online ads specifically targeted to you? A new survey released by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania shows that 86% of respondents did not want political campaigns to tailor ads to their interests.
Frank Bruni takes on Michelle Bachmann in his latest column for her role as a Christian of “exclusionary spite.” Thanks to Neil and Arnie for sending this in!
There are still three whole months left in the presidential campaign, but according to a new survey from Pew, most Americans think they know just about everything they need to about both of the presidential candidates. Unsurprisingly, however, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to feel they need to learn more about Romney to form a clear impression of him (34% vs. 21%). More on how Romney could appeal to evangelical Christians (a key Republican demographic) in the coming months at our blog, from PRRI Affiliated Scholar Melissa Deckman.
Meanwhile, a new Marist poll finds that 66% of Americans believe candidates spend more time criticizing their opponents than addressing the issues, while almost as many (64%) say negative campaign ads “harm the political process” either “a great deal” or “a significant amount.”
In lighter news, do you want to learn Yiddish and grow some spinach while you’re at it? Yiddish Farm is the place for you.