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?
If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the religious observances ahead for 2014, Huffington Post has you covered with a comprehensive list and slideshow of the year’s holy days for 10 major world religions.
The California Supreme Court has ruled Sergio Garcia, an immigrant currently living in the United States illegally, can practice law. Garcia, who applied for citizenship in 1994, completed his undergraduate studies and law school in America and has passed the bar. Fifty-nine percent of Americans believe the immigration system should give preference to immigrants who have a degree from a U.S. college or university, even if it means less space for others, while 37 percent say it should not give preference.
Two by two…by 350? The Torah Animal World in Brooklyn boasts at least one of every species of animal mentioned in the first five books of the Bible, and its director says the stuffed collection aims to make Scriptural stories come alive for visitors. Check out David Gibson’s article on the unique museum (and slideshow of awesome ancient animal photos) over at Religion News Service.
Utah officials have sent an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court requesting the review of a federal judge’s ruling to allow same-sex marriage in the socially conservative state. Head on over to our blog for a look at the divide between Americans who want the issue of same-sex marriage to be decided at the federal level versus those who prefer it be left up to the states.
Did you drink champagne on New Year’s Eve, or were you swilling Wild Turkey? Your answer may be related to your political leanings, according to a new graph over at The Washington Post which breaks down preferred drinks by political party.
And for today’s Flashback Friday, a Harris Poll from January 2000 found 72 percent of Americans agreed that changing to the new millennium was a lot of hype about nothing, while one-quarter (25 percent) disagreed.