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?
Still feeling the American spirit? Check out this guide to speaking like George Washington.
Relatedly, James P. Byrd offers up an interesting look at the role religion played in the American Revolution for the Washington Post.
Officials are calling the bombing of a world-famous Buddhist temple in eastern India an act of terrorism. The attack, which targeted several sacred sites with a series of eight blasts, caused minimal damage and left two wounded.
Here’s some good news for 30-something women hoping to get pregnant: new research shows your chances of conception aren’t drastically lower than they were ten years ago.
The state of Missouri is discussing new methods for executing prisoners, including using a gas chamber, after drugs used for lethal injections have becomes scarce. Americans are divided in their support for the death penalty for those convicted of murder; 46% support it, while 47% prefer life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Where in the world can a bartender get away with charging $16 for a shot of Jim Beam? NPR reporter Sean Carberry provides the answer, along with a look at the strange set of rules for drinking in Muslim countries.