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?
New York City’s new police commissioner has shut down the controversial Demographics Unit, a police squad that gathered surveillance on Muslim communities within and beyond the five boroughs, saying he wants to “heal rifts between the Police Department and minority communities.” Two federal lawsuits continue to challenge the squad’s tactics used under the former commissioner. Almost two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) say that there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the United States today.
In a fascinating article at The Atlantic, the authors of the new book “The Confidence Code” point out that despite women’s undeniable progress in the workplace over the past few decades, men continue to get promoted faster and earn more. The X Factor, according to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, is confidence – but not just the feel-good-about-yourself kind. Rather it’s the turning-thought-into-action confidence that propels success. Click here to watch an interview with the authors.
Hobby Lobby president Steve Green has a hobby of his own: designing religious curriculums for public schools. A school board in Oklahoma voted this week to implement a four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Bible that was developed by Green.
Now that Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has legislatively overhauled the military’s policies on sexual assault, she’s turning her attention to college campuses. This week McCaskill sent a survey unprecedented in scope to 350 college presidents and plans to use the data collected to develop amore accurate picture of the current processes, systems and services in-place.
The Fix’s Chris Cizilla revisits a favorite topic among pundits, politicians and political scientists: where did all the ideological moderates in Congress go? And who’s most responsible for their disappearance?
At the New York Times, Thomas Edsall looks at the “durability” of two key foundational issues for American conservatives–same-sex marriage and abortion–and examines why, of the two, the former had about a twenty year half-life, while the latter remains such a politically potent issue. Among Republican Millennials 70 percent say having an abortion is morally wrong but fewer (57 percent) say that sex between two adults of the same gender is morally wrong.