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?
Starbucks is offering a new deal through Friday: buy a cop of coffee for someone else, and get yours free. CEO Howard Schultz says he hopes the “Come Together” promotion will set an example for lawmakers in Washington to work together.
Today, Janet Yellen is set to be confirmed as the first female chair of the Federal Reserve. Her appointment as America’s economist-in-chief should bring a renewed focus to jobs and unemployment, as she’s previously identified those two issues as the most significant challenges currently facing the Fed. More than one-in-four (26 percent) of Americans say the lack of jobs is the most critical economic issue facing the United States today, followed by the rising cost of health care (18 percent), the budget deficit (17 percent) and the increasing gap between the rich and poor (15 percent).
NPR’s All Things Considered is asking Americans to share their thoughts on the afterlife. The discussion, led by an evangelical Protestant pastor , an imam, a nun, a rabbi and a philosopher, is drawing out some interesting responses. The Pew Forum’s Religious Landscape Survey found most Americans (74 percent) believe in life after death.
Faith leaders from across the country are gathering to tell lawmakers that the government shutdown is hurting them, too. Check out this interesting article to learn some surprising ways the shutdown is affecting religious groups and their work.
Where’s the silver lining in this government shutdown? Tom Clark may just have found it–he created a Google spreadsheet that allows furloughed federal workers to find work with local start-ups. Way to go, Tom!