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?
A transgender teacher is suing the Catholic prep school where he worked for more than three decades, saying that he was fired illegally. More than three-quarters (76%) of Catholics agree that Congress should pass laws to protect transgender people from job discrimination.
The Arkansas Senate passed a bill lifting the state’s ban on carrying concealed weapons in church. Only 20% of Americans believe that people should be able to take concealed weapons to a house of worship. The question now – will the Arkansas House agree?
The Boy Scouts of America may announce as early as next week whether they will allow gay scouts and troop leaders. As the LA Times notes, the decision is generating an emotional response on both sides of the debate. (Thanks to Ross for sending this in!)
A new report reveals that more than 4-in-10 (43.9%, to be exact) American households lack a financial safety net if they lose their income. And almost one-third have no savings at all.
Men who want to take your wife’s last name, prepare to do battle with the DMV. (Thanks to Ann for sending this in!)