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?
A new Gallup poll shows that young people (age 18 to 29) are increasingly opting for wine or spirits as opposed to beer. In the early 1990s, 71% of young adults preferred beer, while just 41% say that beer is their alcohol of choice today. A recent PRRI survey found that more than 4-in-10 (42 percent) Americans have tried marijuana at some point in their lives, including 43 percent of young adults.
Take a look at our new Graphic of the Week, which looks at people’s perceptions of whether Jesus and prophets’ message to help the poor was intended to support charitable acts by individuals or to develop a more just society.
The Berman Jewish Policy Archive and Berman Jewish DataBank have just launched the Jewish Survey Question Bank, which features PRRI’s own Jewish Values Survey in its catalogue of more than 15,000 Jewish social research survey questions.
Well-known and widely respected religion sociologist Robert Bellah passed away July 31 at the age of 86. He leaves behind a wealth of literature and accomplishments including receiving the National Humanities Medal in 2000 and the American Academy of Religion Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion in 2007.
And for Furry Friends Friday, check out Matt Damon playing Spanish charades on Univision with a dolled-up dog named Halle Berry (who apparently has phone conversations with human Halle).