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?
Helsinki may be the most honest city in the world, according to a new study by Reader’s Digest. Reporters traveled to 16 cities on four continents where they pretended to drop wallets, then watched to see how many folks returned them. Here’s hoping you don’t lose your valuables in Lisbon…
The PRRI team is presenting our new Hispanic Values Survey today at the Religion Newswriters Association annual conference in Austin. The report will be released on our website today at 3 p.m. EST–be sure to check it out!
The Washington Post has an interesting new piece detailing how Obamacare could affect the lives of eight different people living in and around the nation’s capital. How will you be affected? Check out the Post’s online calculator, courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation, to find out how much you would pay for insurance.
Have we woken up from the American dream? Dan Kadlec’s latest for Time Magazine examines whether the dream still exists today as it has for generations past, or instead is changing into something new. Fifty-three percent of Americans believe that the American dream, that if you work hard you’ll get ahead, still holds true, while 42 percent say it once held true but doesn’t anymore.
Former President George H.W. Bush attended a same-sex wedding of two friends and, while there, signed their wedding license. Does this mean the longtime GOP leader is endorsing same-sex marriage? If he is, he’s only joined by 32 percent of his party’s faithful, while 61 percent of Republicans oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.
And for this week’s Furry Friends Friday, I’ve got great news! Long-running conservation efforts are paying off in Europe, where researchers say several species have made a comeback from the brink of extinction. Boars and wolves and bison, oh my!