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?
Tired of feeling the pitter-patter of tiny feet kicking the back of your seat when you fly? Check out this Singapore airline’s new solution — a kid-free cabin. The best part? Upgrading costs about the same as a couple of those in-flight cocktails you’d need to survive the tot-friendly rows.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, a non-Hispanic Republican representing a New Mexico district bordering Mexico, has continued to win re-election in a majority Hispanic district in spite of his opposition to a path to citizenship for immigrants currently living in the United States illegally. His approach takes the middle ground between deportation and granting citizenship by proposing to offer legal residency but not a path to citizenship. However, this plan finds little support from either party, as only 14 percent of Americans support legal residency but not a path to citizenship for immigrants currently living in the United States illegally.
The PRRI/Brookings Economic Values Survey‘s findings on religious progressives and religious conservatives continue to generate discussion, as Tom Krattenmaker’s latest op-ed for USA Today takes a look at North Carolina’s recent Moral Monday protests in light of the growing number of religious progressives across the country. For more of Krattenmaker’s take on this issue, check out his latest book, The Evangelicals You Don’t Know.
In other news from the Tar Heel State, a law passed this week making North Carolina the seventh state in the country to prohibit judges from considering Islamic law. Governor Pat McCrory allowed the bill to become a law, but chose not to sign it. Just 14 percent of Americans agree that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Shariah or Islamic law as the law of the land in the United States.
The ongoing controversy over National Security Agency intelligence gathering practices (particularly with regard to officials checking up on their potential love interests) has led to this great new meme: #NSAPickupLines. A personal favorite — “Roses are red, violets are blue, your PIN number is 6852.” Enjoy.