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December 22, 2008

New Congress Reflects Overall U.S. Religious Landscape

The religious makeup of the incoming 111th Congress roughly matches the overall American religious landscape, with overrepresentation among Jews and Mormons, according to new analysis by the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Just over half (55 percent) of House and Senate members who will take office on Jan. 6 are Protestants, compared to 51 percent of the U.S. population. The second-largest group, Catholics, make up 30 percent of lawmakers, compared to 24 percent of all Americans.

Among Protestants, Baptists lead in the House and Senate, at 12 percent, followed by Methodists (11 percent), Presbyterians (8 percent), Episcopalians (7 percent) and Lutherans (4.5 percent).

Like the nation as a whole, the proportion of mainline Protestant members in Congress has fallen in recent decades. Methodists, for example, made up nearly one in five lawmakers in 1961. Episcopalians and Presbyterians have seen similar drops, while Lutherans have remained
relatively steady.

Catholics, meanwhile, have grown from 19 percent in 1961 -- the same year John F. Kennedy took office as the nation's first Catholic president -- to 30 percent today. Catholics make up a larger share of the Senate (37 percent) than the House (21 percent).

Jews make up 8.3 percent of the new Congress, compared to just 1.7 percent of the general population. Mormons, too, account for 2.6 percent of Congress but 1.7 percent of the general population.

The 111th Congress will see the return of two Muslims (Democrats Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana) and two Buddhists (Democrats Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii) who were all elected to the House during the 110th Congress.

The Pew analysis said no Hindu has ever been elected to Congress, although a Sikh, Rep. Dalip Singh Saund, represented California for three terms beginning in 1957. Only one member of Congress, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., is a professing nonbeliever; five members did not specify a religious affiliation in data collected by Congressional Quarterly.

Comments

That's interesting but why doesn't religion show up in the voting and passing laws we are forced to live by when it comes to moral issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, gambling, forcing people to go against their morals and accept stuff they don't believe in i.e, like the forced teaching on sex is okay to children of parents who are so against this concept in public schools, passing laws that teenagers can keep secrets like abortion from their parents who are legally still responsible for what the kid does in any other situation, passing laws against free speech under the guise of race laws leading to the first step towards control of the populace. Once politicians get in office, politicians forget how and why they got in office and take up the thinking of those they are catering to, other politicians in their parties and, oh my God, the green piece of paper or their sexual needs, etc. Of course, maybe they wanted to get so high up that they could do what they really wanted to do without recourse (until an election comes up and the opposition brings the "stuff" up). And don't tell me, well, we vote them in. We vote them in expecting them not to be creeps, which until they show they are creeps, we don't know they are creeps.