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?
The 2013 American Values Survey, just released today, finds that despite conventional wisdom linking the Tea Party movement with the libertarian arm of the Republican Party, a majority of libertarians (61 percent) say they do not consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement. For more on the findings, please be sure to check out our research page. And if you’re in the Washington area, come on out to our launch today at 2:30 p.m. over at the Brookings Institution! We’re featuring a presentation by PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones as well as a panel discussion on the survey’s findings by Brookings Senior Fellow William Galston, American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Karlyn Bowman, Cato Institute’s Vice President for Research Brink Lindsey, and Ethics & Public Policy Center Senior Fellow Henry Olsen.
A Baptist pastor and her husband, a Hindu monk, have worked together to create a cool new book on interfaith marriage. “Saffron Cross,” written by J. Dana Trent with the help of Fred Eaker, is part of a recent boom of books on the topic of interfaith relationships which also includes Susan Katz Miller’s recent “Being Both.” Less than 3-in-10 (29 percent) Americans say that having different religious beliefs is a major problem for a marriage or romantic relationship.
The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating new piece on the rise of religious discrimination claims, as employees push back on a range of workplace mandates they say clash with their religious beliefs and practices. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which handles such complaints, received 3,811 religion-based claims in 2012, just below the record level of 4,151 in 2011. More than one-third (36 percent) of American workers say they have observed or have been subjected to religious “non-accommodation” in the workplace, according to the 2013 Survey of American Workers and Religion by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.
Huffington Post Religion is offering up an interesting article on Lou Reed’s relationship with his Jewish identity following the musician’s death over the weekend.
And be sure to check out Josef Sorett’s latest for The New York Times, “Don’t Read Too Much Into the Numbers,” in which he examines the relationship between religious attendance and affiliation across faith groups!