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?
Think about this the next time you grumble about a layover or a long flight.
As some predicted, media discussion about gun control took a sharp dip during the holidays, and has now shrunk to a pre-Newtown level. A slim majority of Americans favor stricter gun control laws, but a policy change may require renewed attention from the media.
Will the Tea Party rebellion live on in the new House?
San Francisco reclaimed the title of highest minimum wage in the country on January 1, although increases in payroll taxes may erase much of this gain. Two-thirds of Americans favor raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.00 an hour.
In the 40 years since Roe v. Wade, have pro-choice advocates lost the struggle over abortion rights? (The full story, unfortunately, is behind a paywall, but this should give you a taste). It’s worth noting that perspectives on abortion’s legality differ markedly according to the situation.
A not-so-gentle reminder that defensive driving is always the wisest policy.