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?
Good news for those of you who are interested in amateur exorcism: 96% of exorcists believe that any mature Christian can command demons in Jesus’ name.
Two words were conspicuously absent from the Republican National Convention’s prime-time hours: Tea Party.
Mike Huckabee performed a remarkable about-face this week, saying that he cares “far less” about where Mitt Romney, a Mormon, takes his family to church than where he will take the country. If you’ve forgotten, only five years ago, Huckabee cheekily asked whether Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers (they do not). Last fall, half (50%) of white evangelical Protestants said they did not believe that the Mormon faith was a Christian religion.
Meanwhile, a new poll reveals that “rich” has overtaken “Mormon” as the word most frequently used to describe Mitt Romney.
Churches in Washington State are being informally reprimanded for gathering money to support a campaign to overturn gay marriage in the state.
This extremely unscientific poll seeks to plumb the depths of the collective RNC psyche. An interesting nugget: a few RNC delegates think Romney was born in Mexico.
A pithy explanation of how the country’s changing demographics will alter the country’s landscape, courtesy of Senator Lindsay Graham.
Who woulda thunk it: when you dye a pigeon, it looks kind of pretty. A word of advice to the presidential candidates: training a new generation of pigeon-painters would create jobs AND brighten the streets of New York. Just a thought.