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 wondering what Miley Cyrus was doing on stage at the VMAs? Never fear, the Oxford Dictionary Online has announced it will add a definition for “twerk,” along with “food baby” and “FOMO,” to its collection. (Please excuse me while I “vom.”)
Thousands gathered yesterday at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, as speakers celebrated progress made in race relations while discussing the challenges that remain in achieving Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. PRRI data shows a significant economic divide between white and black Americans remains today on issues including educational attainment, income and unemployment rates.
A military jury has recommended the death sentence for convicted Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, the psychiatrist who killed 13 and wounded another 32 people during his 2009 attack. Sixty percent of Americans say the death penalty is morally acceptable, while 35 percent say it’s morally wrong.
As the Jewish High Holidays approach, our latest Graphic of the Week shows the differences between the holidays considered most important by younger Jews and those considered most personally significant for older Jews.
Walmart, the largest U.S. employer, will now offer benefits to employees’ same-sex domestic partners. Such a policy at Walmart is more likely to draw opposition from its shoppers than the same policy has for its competitor, Target. A majority (54 percent) of Walmart shoppers oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, while 62 percent of Target shoppers support legalizing same-sex marriage.
For all you J.D. Salinger fans out there, get excited: a biography and companion documentary about his life will be released next week, ahead of five unpublished books by the late author set for publication in 2015.