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?
Science and religion may not always mix, but if you want to understand the universe, researchers say you’ve got to get on board with the “God particle.” Francois Englert and Peter Higgs, the two scientists credited with predicting the existence of the Higgs boson particle, were honored with this year’s Nobel Prize in physics!
Washington may be closed for business, but that didn’t keep thousands from gathering on the National Mall to march for immigration reform yesterday. The event, called Camino Americano: March for Dignity and Respect, aims to push the House to consider the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June. Sixty-three percent of Americans say immigrants currently living in the United States illegally should be allowed to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, while 14 percent say they should be allowed to become permanent legal residents, but not citizens; 21 percent say they should be identified and deported.
Faith leaders Naeem Baig, Sister Simone Campbell and Rabbi David Saperstein have co-authored a new piece urging action be taken for the roughly two million low-wage workers employed by the federal government, including some who are paid below minimum wage and rely on government support for food and housing. Seventy-three percent of Americans say they strongly favor or favor increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour, while one-in-four Americans say they oppose or strongly oppose raising the minimum wage.
The New York Times is highlighting a new study showing American adults are behind many of their peers around the world in math, literacy and technical skills. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say America’s best days are behind us, while 54 percent say America’s best days are ahead of us. And now, on to less depressing news…
Want to start your own religion? Well, now you can, thanks to the Huffington Post’s third annual create-your-own-religion competition. Just come up with a name, some core beliefs and holidays, and start recruiting followers!