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.
I suspect that this was inspired by C-SPAN’s secret desire to be more like ESPN.
Next week, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Our new survey finds that half of Americans favor federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also gearing up to hear arguments on California’s Proposition 8. Nearly 6-in-10 (57%) Californians favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. In advance of the two cases, NPR has compiled an interesting timeline of gay marriage in law, pop culture, and the courts.
The New York Times notes that our new survey provides “potentially heartening information” to GOP lawmakers who are trying to overhaul the party’s position on immigration reform. It’s also good news for religious conservatives who are seeking to make a moral case for immigration reform: in his latest for Figuring Faith, Dr. Robert P. Jones outlines the moral values behind Americans’ overall support for a path to citizenship.
The bipartisan Senate immigration plan could give permanent legal status to an unlimited number of students who earn graduate degrees from U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering or math. Three-quarters of Americans favor a similar plan.
If you like bread, Passover can be a challenging holiday – which is why you should take a look at these chametz-free recipes. And if you’re celebrating Easter (and have a steady hand), check out these DIY Easter basket treats.