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?
It can be tough to get going on a Monday morning, and sometimes a cup of coffee seems to be just what the doctor ordered. While research has shown moderate coffee consumption can offer significant health benefits, a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds consuming four or more cups a day drastically increases your chances of death by any cause if you’re younger than 55.
Michelle Boorstein explores the challenges facing the interfaith movement as more congregations engage in interfaith worship. Thirteen percent of Americans report that they follow the teachings or practices of more than one faith.
T.M. Luhrmann offers up a new piece on the practice of speaking in tongues among members of charismatic Christian churches in Ghana and Nigeria. Nearly one-in-five Americans speaks in tongues while praying at least several times a year, but Luhrmann says the practice remains largely stigmatized in the United States. (Thanks to Arnie for sending this in!)
What’s next for the GOP? Chris Cillizza examines the divergent paths being blazed by Chris Christie and Rand Paul, and whether the party is big enough to accommodate the differing visions being offered by each likely 2016 candidate.
Why are Millennials leaving the church? CNN’s Belief Blog features an informative conversation with Rachel Held Evans and Hemant Mehta offering different perspectives on this question. A majority of younger Millennials (age 18-24) say that the word “judgmental” describes present day Christianity very or somewhat well.