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?
In response to the Sandy Hook shooting, teachers should be armed, says Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Roughly 1-in-10 Americans (but 35% of Tea Party members) say that allowing more private citizens to carry guns for protection is the most important thing that can be done to prevent mass shootings.
Marc Ambinder argues that gun control should include ammunition control too.
Why do so many school shootings occur in small towns? Wonkblog has some theories.
Meanwhile, a Utah 6th-grader is in custody after bringing a gun to school, reportedly so that he could defend himself in case of an attack.
Beginning next year, French girls between the ages of 15 and 18 will be able to access free birth control, without parental permission or notification. It’s unlikely this proposal would be popular on the other side of the Atlantic, where only 52% of Americans agree that methods of birth control should be generally available to teenagers age 16 and over without parental approval.
Pew’s new survey on global religion shows there are as many religiously unaffiliated people worldwide as there are Catholics. For more on the diverse makeup of the religiously unaffiliated in the U.S., check out our recent survey.