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? Hillary Clinton dropped in to Malawi for a mere six hours, but she must have said something to stir up a swarm of bees, which proceeded to “throng” the airport as she was leaving. It’s unclear whether anyone, in the chaos, channeled Nicholas Cage.
A new study from the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary shows that it’s no longer rare for seminary students to graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. Now, the center quips, students may be “too poor to take the vow of poverty” (just like the would-be nun who found herself in the same predicament).
Wondering whether black voters will abandon Obama over his position on same-sex marriage? In his latest for Figuring Faith, Dr. Robert P. Jones offers three reasons why this is a most unlikely scenario.
A mosque in Missouri burned down earlier this week. It was the second fire the mosque has seen in the past five weeks; the first was ruled arson. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the second fire, which was far more devastating than the first. The mosque, thankfully, was vacant at the time of the fire. A slim majority (51%) of Americans say they would be comfortable with a mosque being built near their home.
A new report from the Cato Institute sketches the “libertarian roots” of the Tea Party, arguing that the Tea Party is a “functionally libertarian influence on the Republican Party.” However, according to PRRI data, only about a quarter (27%) of Tea Party supporters consider themselves libertarians, while nearly half (47%) of Tea Party supporters say they are part of the religious right or Christian conservative movement. Kind of a brain-bender, huh?
A study from Ohio State University’s Zhenchao Qian shows that, unsurprisingly, young adults living at home tend to be concentrated in expensive metropolitan areas like New York City or Los Angeles. Apparently fewer recent grads want to move home to Des Moines. The 2012 Millennial Values Survey found that nearly half (48%) of younger Millennials (age 18-24) live at home with their parents.
If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss over negative campaign ads is about, perhaps it’s because you live outside the nine swing states where presidential ad funding has been concentrated. Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida have absorbed $350 million in television commercials to date – and we’re still 90-some days away from the election.