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 daily 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?
It’s been discovered that April 1st is a religious holiday. April Fools’! Seriously, though, Religion News Service traces the origins of April Fools’ Day to a Pope from the 16th century.
Play ball! Yesterday marked the opening day of the 2014 baseball season. To test your baseball acumen, take this quiz by George Will at the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog.
This weekend, Florida, Kentucky, UConn and Wisconsin will battle it out for the top spot in this year’s NCAA championship. Only 612 people correctly predictedthe entire Final Four bracket.
A new survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post, finds many struggling with physical and mental health problems resulting from their service.
As the Department of Homeland Security is reviewing ways to make the deportation policy in the United States more humane, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has written a letter to President Obama which outlines immediate steps that could be taken on the road to a legislative solution. When asked how the immigration system should deal with immigrants who are currently living in the US illegally, 63 percent of Americans say the immigration system should allow them a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, 14 percent of Americans say allow them to become permanent legal residents but not citizens, and 18 percent of Americans say identify and deport them.
The Nobel Prize-winning United Nations group Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that unless things are brought under control – especially greenhouse emissions – no one on the planet will be immune to the effects of climate change, which could include risk of death or injury on a wide scale, probable damage to public health, displacement of people and potential mass migrations. A slim minority of Americans (16 percent) say that enacting legislation to address climate change should be the highest priority for the President and Congress; 31 percent say high but not the highest; and 51 percent say a lower priority.