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?
How economically divided is your community? This amazing widget will show you.
According to reports, 10 members of the 113th Congress either identify as religiously unaffiliated or do not specify a religious affiliation. This may not seem like a large number (and it’s not, given the number of Americans who are unaffiliated), but it’s surprising, considering that two-thirds of Americans say they’d be uncomfortable with an atheist president. Thanks to Richard for sending this in!
Meanwhile, a reflection on how to allow children to choose their own religion. This is an increasingly pressing concern, as young adults leave the religions of their childhood: while only 11% of younger Millennials (age 18-24) were religiously unaffiliated in childhood, one-quarter (25%) currently identify as unaffiliated, a 14-point increase.
The White House is allegedly mulling over a much broader gun-control agenda than simply reinstating the expired assault-weapons ban. For more on Americans’ perspectives on gun control, take a look at our recent survey.
At the Huffington Post, a plea from journalist Laura Sessions Stepp for politicians to listen to the people who elected them.
A pop-inspired call for the Catholic hierarchy to ordain women is making waves in the Catholic blogosphere.