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?
McDonald’s is opening its first all-vegetarian restaurant. (Don’t worry – I just pinched myself to see if I was dreaming, too.)
Providing further evidence that Democrats believe the issue of same-sex marriage will benefit them politically, convention speakers are are now touting the party’s support of same-sex marriage. Two-thirds of Democrats and a majority (54%) of political independents support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally while 7-in-10 Republicans are opposed.
Meanwhile, black pastors are working to mobilize their congregations for Obama. As Dr. Robert P. Jones predicted earlier this summer, black religious leaders say that Obama’s support for same-sex marriage is unlikely to be a deterrent for black voters.
One would think that VP candidates’ marathon times are not particularly relevant to their job description, but because I know you were wondering – yes, Sarah Palin is faster than Paul Ryan (and Al Gore is slower than everyone).
Who’s delivering prayers at this year’s DNC? Interestingly, Orthodox leaders have offered prayers at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, even though Eastern Orthodox Americans comprise less than 1% of the population.
Third-party candidate Virgil Goode made it onto the ballot in Virginia, one of the most hotly scrutinized states in this year’s race. Given that Goode could siphon off votes from Romney, this is unlikely to be the last you hear about him, unless the Republicans are successful in their bid to get him kicked off the ballot.
Johnny Cash’s to-do list is surprisingly relatable – especially for those who dislike to-do lists.