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?
Do you love choose-your-own-adventure books? Book a plane ticket to the George W. Bush Presidential Center right now.
Senator Rand Paul, who previously expressed support for immigration reform legislation, called for last week’s immigration reform bill to be delayed “until we understand the specific failures” that allowed two immigrants to detonate pressure-cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon. Several Catholic Bishops are cautioning against this view, saying that the bombings should not be used to derail immigration reform.
Meanwhile, many Muslim leaders in the Boston area sought to distance themselves from Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the perpetrators of the bombing. One imam even said he would not perform last rites for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a firefight last week.
A surprising number of Americans don’t know that deportations of illegal immigrants have increased significantly over the past five or six years. This information (or lack thereof) seems to have an influence on Americans’ perceptions of immigration reform overall.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seeking expanded background checks for gun purchases and parental consent laws for minors to buy video games. Christie, a Republican, is up for reelection in Democratic-leaning New Jersey, but has also been considered a contender for the 2016 Republican nomination. The move has benefits in the short-term, but consequences in the long-term: Christie’s actions are likely to help him among Democrats, but not among Republicans.
Remember those old friends who have been playing the same game of tag for decades? It looks like Will Ferrell and Jack Black are going to borrow the idea as the premise for a new movie.
Does anyone want to start a medieval restaurant with me? “Tiny little fish” will be the centerpiece of the menu.