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?
Cracks in the infidelity glass ceiling? Women are narrowing the cheating gap.
The European Parliament has revoked French politician Marine Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity, meaning she’ll face charges for violating racial hatred laws thanks to her anti-Muslim rhetoric. Six-in-ten Americans report that too many of their fellow citizens believe that all Muslims are terrorists.
Once an extremist, always an extremist? Not so, according to Maajid Nawaz, who tells the story of how he turned from an Islamist recruiter to a democracy advocate.
The White House says President Obama will not label Westboro Baptist Church a hate group, arguing that it’s not the government’s place to do so. The administration’s comments come in response to a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of Americans requesting that Washington take action against the group, well-known for protesting high-profile military and civilian funerals.
Archaeologists in Israel have discovered that as early as 10,000 B.C., people buried their dead in graves lined with plants and flowers. Fewer Americans are choosing burials today, opting for cremations instead.