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
ReligionHouseSenateTotal% Congress% Pop.
AME (v)2020.4(u)
Anglican1010.2(w)
Assembly of God4040.70.5
Baptist5976612.316.3
Buddhist2020.40.5
Christian (x)162183.46.8
Christian Reformed2020.4(v)
Christian Scientist5050.90.1
Church of Christ1120.41.2
Church of God0110.20.5
Congregationalist0110.2(z)
Congregationalist-Baptist1010.2(u)
Disciples of Christ2020.40.2
Eastern Orthodox4150.90.3
Episcopalian2710376.91.7
Evangelical2020.40.5
Evangelical Lutheran1010.2(u)
Evangelical Methodist1010.2(u)
Hindu0000.00.4
Jewish3013438.01.3
LDS (Mormon)105152.81.3
Reorganized LDS1010.2(u)
Lutheran143173.24.6
Methodist48136111.46.8
Muslim1010.20.5
(Church of) Nazarene1010.20.3
Presbyterian359448.22.7
Protestant (x)224264.92.2
Quaker1010.20.1
Roman Catholic1292515428.724.5
Seventh-day Adventist2020.40.3
Unitarian1120.40.3
United Church of Christ2461.10.7
unaffiliated6061.114.1

(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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  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com The Exterminator

    Great, scary chart that really got me thinking. In fact, I’ve set my thoughts down in a post of my own, which you can see by clicking over to my site.

    Thanks, Hemant, for the inspiration.

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    That chart ain’t too encouraging. At least there are no scientologists there.

  • Siamang

    To tell you the truth, I put scientologists no better or worse than any of those, when it comes right down to it.

    I’m sure that will be a position believers of other traditions take offense as, although I don’t mean it that way.


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