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?
Lock up your detergent, folks – it’s more valuable than you think.
A California marijuana dispensary owner received 10 years in prison from a federal court earlier this week, starkly illustrating the tension between state and federal authority on the drug’s legal status. A slim majority (52%) of Americans oppose the legalization of marijuana.
Who’s sick of political polarization? A group formerly named the Republican Main Street Partnership, known for promoting moderate GOP politicians, announced that it will drop “Republican” from its name and start welcoming center-right Democrats into its fold.
Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, launched a campaign against gun violence yesterday, the two-year anniversary of the deadly shooting that killed six people and left Giffords in critical condition. The effort is largely aimed at combating the influence of the gun lobby, which enjoys relatively high support among Americans overall.
On Monday night, a Catholic advocacy group ran an ad during the BCS championship game featuring former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, who urged inactive Catholics to reengage with their faith. Although nearly one-third (31%) of Americans report that they were raised Catholic, only 22% of Americans currently identify that way.
It’s official: 2012 was the warmest year on record for the lower 48 states. Three-quarters of Americans agree that there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades.