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 got a good night’s sleep, you’re likely feeling more in touch with your spiritual side this morning. Religion News Service’s Cathy Lynn Grossman says that’s just one of the findings of SoulPulse, a newly launched app that studies spirituality and faith in daily life.
For the first time in history, more than half the members of Congress are millionaires, with their median net worth coming in at just more than a million dollars ($1.1 million for Democrats and slightly above $1 million for Republicans). Average Americans aren’t living quite so large, as this new map of poverty by county across the country over at The New York Times illustrates.
The Obama administration says the federal government will recognize the marriages of the estimated 1,300 same-sex couples who’ve tied the knot in Utah since a federal judge ruled it legal December 20, even if the state government refuses. Half (50 percent) of Americans favor requiring the federal government to recognize marriages between gay and lesbian couples that were performed in states where they are legal, while 38 percent oppose.
You may remember that while most Americans (54 percent) hold unfavorable views of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, a strong minority (44 percent) hold favorable views. Check out this fascinating map showing where in the country groups are spending the most money on anti-ACA television advertising in an effort to boost these unfavorable views, as well as how many people in each area are currently uninsured.
Finally, Pandora says it uses a political ad-targeting system to advertise for presidential, gubernatorial and congressional elections, which plays ads for Democratic candidates to users who listen to hip-hop and classical music, while those who prefer country and Christian tunes are more likely to hear ads for Republicans.