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?
Would America be a better place if it were ruled by jazz musicians?
This week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin. The plaintiff contends that the university’s attempts to admit a student body that reflects the state’s diversity violates the Constitution. Around 3-in-10 (28%) younger Millennials say affirmative action policies should be pursued to increase diversity, while 9% say they should be pursued to redress past discrimination, and 57% say they should not be pursed at all.
Thousands of pastors purposefully violated IRS restrictions that require church leaders to refrain from political endorsements this weekend.
Obama’s approval rating may have fallen, and Romney’s campaign has seen a quick infusion of campaign cash since the debates. With polls now showing a tightening of the race could enlisting the help of Big Bird make a difference?
Could voting on the side of the losing candidate actually make men’s testosterone levels drop?
Someone vandalized the Obama campaign’s headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, by spray-painting “Muslim lier” on a large banner outside the building. Comments about spelling errors aside, it’s worth noting that a significant number of Americans (16%, to be precise) believe, incorrectly, that Obama is a Muslim.
Are baby boomers going to church more often, or just lying to pollsters? Wade Clark Roof, a PRRI board member, explains that baby boomers’ increased church attendance may be tied to their acceptance of mortality.