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?
What’s it like to grow up Sikh in America? Tougher than you might think. Religion News Service’s Lauren Markoe has a new piece up on Sikhs’ efforts to build understanding of their religion, and has also posted a helpful fact sheet on the basic tenets of Sikhism.
Following the release of a set of principals to guide immigration reform by GOP leaders last week, President Obama indicated Friday that he’d be open to a middle-ground approach that might not include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants currently living in the United States illegally. Sixty-three percent of Americans favor providing a path to citizenship for immigrants currently living in the United States illegally, provided they meet certain requirements.
Why do sports fans pray for their favorite teams? Bob Smietana cites PRRI data in his exploration of the question over at The Wall Street Journal. Twenty-six percent of American sports fans report praying to God to help their favorite team at one point or another.
In related news, the organization American Atheists launched a new billboard near MetLife Stadium ahead of the Super Bowl featuring a priest and the test, “A ‘Hail Mary’ only works in football.” David Silverman, president of American Atheists, said the ad was at least in part a reaction to PRRI’s recent sports survey that found half of American sports fans report a belief that the supernatural is at play in sporting events. Be sure to head over to our blog for PRRI Communications Director Darcy Cohan’s take on this issue.
Finally, be sure to check out this awesome interactive visualization of which topics had people buzzing most on Twitter during President Obama’s State of the Union address!