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?
At least in the U.S., being told by a supernatural force that you should be in office doesn’t always translate into support at the ballot box. But Venezuela’s acting president’s experience is a little more colorful than usual.
At our blog, PRRI Research Associate Juhem Navarro-Rivera chronicles the slow decline of America’s pastime.
Some lawmakers in North Carolina are attempting to permit an official state religion, so as to forestall federal attempts to enforce church-state separation. Interestingly, North Carolina’s constitution requires public officials to believe in God (this has been unenforceable for quite some time).
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will go up against Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, comedian Stephen Colbert’s sister, in a special election for the state’s 1st congressional district. Sanford has been working to get into voters’ good graces after it was discovered that he had been having an affair during his time in office. Approximately 7-in-10 Americans say it is a serious moral problem if an elected official cheats on his or her spouse.
I will be out of the office for the next few days, but I will leave the Buzz in the capable hands of my colleague, Cristina Stanojevich. I’ll see you next Thursday, April 11!