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?
A new survey finds not all families home-school like the famous Duggar clan: just 16 percent of parents who home-school their kids cite religious or moral instruction as their primary motivation, compared to 36 percent who said the same in 2007.
The Vatican is asking priests around the world how they deal with sensitive issues, like same-sex couples and contraception, in their parishes. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of American Catholics agree gay and lesbian relationships should be accepted by society, while 18 percent disagree. And on contraception, most American Catholics (81 percent) say using artificial birth control methods is morally acceptable, while 14 percent say it’s morally wrong.
CNN Money’s Jennifer Liberto is profiling families affected by food stamp cuts, as millions are set to receive less money following a $5 billion cut to the benefit program Friday. Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) of Americans say someone in their household has received food stamps during the past two years, while 81 percent say no one in their household has received such benefits.
Which health plans under Obamacare cover abortion? If you’re using Healthcare.gov to find your plan, good luck figuring out an answer. The site wasn’t designed to make plans covering abortion clearly identifiable, and it’s causing political problems on both sides of the aisle. Thirty-nine percent of Americans favor making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, while 57 percent oppose.