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?
Craig Gross, pastor of XXX Church, says in a new op-ed for CNN that Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner’s continued indiscretions suggest a serious sexting addiction. Our data shows 76 percent of Americans believe sending sexually explicit messages by email or text is morally wrong.
Over at The Atlantic, Jonathan Merritt uses data from our recent 2013 Economic Values Survey to explore whether religious progressives could form a new “Moral Majority,” given that they outnumber religious conservatives among Millennials. However, PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones points out that religious progressives face significant hurdles including substantial geographic, ethnic and religious diversity, which could stymie organizational efforts.
Could religious unity help to combat violence in Latin America? Forty grassroots activists sure hope so, and have met in Guatemala City to discuss how their groups can play a role collectively in breaking the cycle of violence across the region. (Thanks to Yaz for sending this in!)
A state government agency in Alabama opened a recent meeting with a prayer condemning abortion and same-sex marriage, a controversial move that has re-ignited the debate over separation of church and state. PRRI data shows 72 percent of Americans completely or mostly agree that religion is a private matter that should be kept out of public debates over social and political issues.
A wholesome horror film? The filmmakers behind “The Conjuring” say the movie carries a strong religious message thanks to its focus on a real-life Christian family.
And now, a look at Furry Friends Friday: Sweltering Summer Edition.