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?
Members of Congress have taken heat for continuing to receive paychecks during the government shutdown, and some are responding by refusing their salaries until federal workers get paid. The Washington Post has a great piece showing which lawmakers are on the growing list of those giving up their salaries, and what they plan to do with the money instead.
Most (56 percent) of Americans say the government should guarantee health coverage for all citizens, even if it means raising taxes. But what if it means extending wait times? As several aspects of Obamacare took effect earlier this week, some medical professionals are asking how their dwindling ranks will handle the onslaught of newly insured patients come January.
What does it mean to be Jewish? Pew Research Center’s latest study asks just that, and offers in turn a wealth of information about Jewish identity in America today. Perhaps the most interesting is the study’s finding that more than one-in-five American Jews say they have no religion but identify themselves as being Jewish. To read more about how the survey’s results compare with PRRI’s own Jewish Values Survey, be sure to check out my latest blog post!
The United Nations reports that nearly a billion people worldwide benefit from migrant wages, as more and more people leave their home countries for jobs that allow them to send money back to friends and family. U.N. officials say migration is a win-win for home and host countries alike, as home countries receive a financial boost and host countries gain the workers their economies need to grow.
Could snake oil help our heart health? New research indicates it might. (I say we round them all up and ask questions later. Who’s with me?)