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?
As Americans mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day, be sure to check out PRRI’s graphic, “The Dream by the Numbers,” highlighting the continued racial disparities in income, employment, and community problems in America today. Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to say crime, lack of opportunities for young people, lack of funding for public schools, lack of good jobs, and home foreclosures are major problems in their community.
Ever wonder how minimum wage in America came into being? NPR has you covered with a look at the history behind the federal mandate’s creation. Seventy-one percent of Americans favor raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour, while 24 percent oppose.
Gallup has a new poll out on Americans’ satisfaction (or lack thereof) with the U.S. economy, as well as with the country’s role in world affairs. In June, 35 percent of Americans said the economy had gotten better during the past two years, 34 percent said it had gotten worse, and 28 percent said it had stayed about the same.
And did you know Americans are more likely to watch the Super Bowl (72 percent say they’ll tune in) than either the Winter Olympics (68 percent) or the World Cup (27 percent)? Head on over to my latest blog post for a look at who’ll be watching!
In other sports news, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” may just be the most quoted Bible verse by Christian athletes. But what does Philippians 4:13 really mean? Head on over to Religion News Service for columnist Jonathan Merritt’s take.