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.
This week on State of Belief Radio, I provided some context in a segment about recent claims that black Americans will abandon President Obama over his endorsement of same-sex marriage. I observed:
What the poll really reveals is that these issues rank very, very low on minority voters’ radar screens. We had, for example, less than one in five, so only 18% saying, for example, that the issue of same-sex marriage among African-Americans was a critical issue facing the country today. And you compare that to more than seven in ten saying that the economy is the critical issue. So like most Americans, actually, in this election cycle, minority voters are just very tightly focused on the economy…
Last week, I published a post on his Washington Post blog, “Figuring Faith,” in which I sketched out three reasons why Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage won’t hurt him among black Americans.
Watch the segment below: