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?
Most well-respected political operatives probably don’t expect to be mocked for their signature. But the internet is merciless – and Jack Lew’s signature is also ridiculous.
Vice President Joe Biden will meet tomorrow with a representative from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to discuss gun policy reform. More on Americans’ views about the NRA in our weekly graphic.
The Washington National Cathedral, known for hosting countless state events, will soon begin to perform gay wedding ceremonies. The Cathedral is an active house of worship within the Episcopal Church, which recently developed a blessing rite for same-sex couples. A majority (56%) of white mainline Protestants favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.
The Pope recently expressed concern about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Although he addressed his remarks primarily to European nations, it’s likely that talking about economic inequality would resonate with American Catholics, a majority (62%) of whom say that in its statements about public policy, the Catholic Church should focus more on social justice and the obligation to help the poor, even if it means focusing less on issues like abortion and the right to life.