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?
The cup holder has a long and storied history.
Tim Tebow pulled out of a speaking engagement at the Dallas church led by Robert Jeffress, a pastor who has made controversial remarks about homosexuality, Islam and Mormonism. Half (50%) of Americans approve of athletes expressing their faith publicly by thanking God during or after a sporting event – the question, in this case, is whether Americans would view the event as an endorsement of Jeffress’ political views.
What do American Catholics want from the new pope? Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO, has some answers at Figuring Faith, his Washington Post blog. Relatedly, Pew finds divisions within the Catholic community about the Church’s direction under a new Pope.
A “pastafarian” motorist in New Jersey tried to wear a spaghetti strainer on his head in his driver’s license renewal photo and was rebuked by DMV employees, who said that head coverings were only permissible for religious reasons. “Pastafarianism,” or the Church of the Flying Spaghettic Monster, is a movement centered around opposition to teaching intelligent design and creationism in public schools. The jury’s still out on whether it counts as a “real” religion.