Religious Representation in Congress

Jonathan Tilove of Newhouse News Service wrote about the religious firsts in the new Congress.

The summary:

The new Congress will, for the first time, include a Muslim, two Buddhists, more Jews than Episcopalians, and the highest-ranking Mormon in congressional history.

Some other interesting points:

Of the 43 Jewish members of Congress, there is only one Jewish Republican in the House and two in the Senate.

In the new Congress, two-thirds of all Catholic members will be Democrats.

… Jews have continued to gain representation in Congress (8 percent in the new Congress) even as their share of the national population has waned (1.3 percent in 2001).

For Buddhists and Muslims, the 110th Congress represents their baptism in congressional representation.

The two Buddhist Democrats — Reps. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Hank Johnson of Georgia — both have avoided talking about their religion, saying it is an entirely private matter.

And of course, the kicker:

But perhaps the most underrepresented group in Congress is the 14 percent of all American adults who, according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, conducted by scholars at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, claim no religion at all. Only six members of Congress, all Democrats, identify themselves as religiously unaffiliated: Reps. John Tierney and John Olver of Massachusetts, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Mark Udall of Colorado.

And while unaffiliated is not necessarily the same as atheist/agnostic, only those six members chose to keep their beliefs to themselves.

Here’s a full chart of the different denominations (I say mine looks nicer than the one in the article… because I use boxes):

Charting the Religions of Members of Congress
Religion House Senate Total % Congress % Pop.
AME (v) 2 0 2 0.4 (u)
Anglican 1 0 1 0.2 (w)
Assembly of God 4 0 4 0.7 0.5
Baptist 59 7 66 12.3 16.3
Buddhist 2 0 2 0.4 0.5
Christian (x) 16 2 18 3.4 6.8
Christian Reformed 2 0 2 0.4 (v)
Christian Scientist 5 0 5 0.9 0.1
Church of Christ 1 1 2 0.4 1.2
Church of God 0 1 1 0.2 0.5
Congregationalist 0 1 1 0.2 (z)
Congregationalist-Baptist 1 0 1 0.2 (u)
Disciples of Christ 2 0 2 0.4 0.2
Eastern Orthodox 4 1 5 0.9 0.3
Episcopalian 27 10 37 6.9 1.7
Evangelical 2 0 2 0.4 0.5
Evangelical Lutheran 1 0 1 0.2 (u)
Evangelical Methodist 1 0 1 0.2 (u)
Hindu 0 0 0 0.0 0.4
Jewish 30 13 43 8.0 1.3
LDS (Mormon) 10 5 15 2.8 1.3
Reorganized LDS 1 0 1 0.2 (u)
Lutheran 14 3 17 3.2 4.6
Methodist 48 13 61 11.4 6.8
Muslim 1 0 1 0.2 0.5
(Church of) Nazarene 1 0 1 0.2 0.3
Presbyterian 35 9 44 8.2 2.7
Protestant (x) 22 4 26 4.9 2.2
Quaker 1 0 1 0.2 0.1
Roman Catholic 129 25 154 28.7 24.5
Seventh-day Adventist 2 0 2 0.4 0.3
Unitarian 1 1 2 0.4 0.3
United Church of Christ 2 4 6 1.1 0.7
unaffiliated 6 0 6 1.1 14.1

(u) no discrete category exists in the American Religious Identification Survey
(v) African Methodist Episcopal
(w) included with Episcopalians
(x) no denomination stated

(y) less than 0.05 percent
(z) included with United Church of Christ


[tags]Jonathan Tilove, Newhouse News Service, religion, Congress, atheism, Christianity, Christian, Muslim, Buddhism, Jew, Judaism, Episcopalian, Mormon, Republican, Democrat. Catholic, Mazie Hirono, Hawaii, Hank Johnson, Georgia, John Tierney, John Olver, Massachusetts, Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii, Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin, Mark Udall, Colorado[/tags]

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