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?
Stressing about how long it may take to get your Cyber Monday deals by snail mail? You may not have to wait long in years to come if Amazon’s latest project takes off — the company has just introduced Prime Air, a system of flying delivery drones, saying they could be ready to drop off customers’ packages within 30 minutes of online purchase by 2015.
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New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who until recently was head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says the Roman Catholic Church has a marketing problem. Dolan says that while the Catholic Church does not favor same-sex marriage, its leaders are tired of being characterized as “anti-gay” rather than “pro-traditional marriage.” Thirty percent of Americans report holding unfavorable or cold feelings toward the Catholic Church, compared to just 14 percent who say they hold similar feelings toward Catholics.
Religious broadcaster Paul Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, has passed away. The televangelist was well-known for preaching the prosperity gospel and for his highly publicized luxurious lifestyle. Americans are split on whether they believe preachings on the prosperity gospel: 46 percent agree with the statement that God always rewards those who have faith with good health, financial success and fulfilling personal relationships, while half (50 percent) disagree.
Be sure to check out The Washington Post’s interesting map of America, as divided up by regional speech patterns. And if you like that, check out their map of the country re-drawn as 50 states with equal populations!