The 114th Congress is in, it’s controlled by Republicans, and Pew has the numbers this week on what religious tradition has the wheel. Here are three quick takeaways.
1) Congress is Almost Entirely Christian
Unlike the American population (73 percent), approximately 92 percent identify themselves as Christians, with most of them being Protestant (57 percent) and fewer Catholic (31 percent). Even fewer are Mormon (3 percent) or Orthodox (0.9 percent). The religiously unaffiliated, however, are 20 percent of the U.S. population, but only .2 percent of Congress. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is the only one who self-identifies as unaffiliated.
2) Other Groups Fare Better Than the Unaffiliated
According to Pew:
“Many of the nation’s smaller religious groups are represented in roughly equal proportion to their numbers in the U.S. adult population. Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus combined represent roughly 2% of American adults and 1% of Congress. Jews continue to have greater representation in Congress (5%) than in the population as a whole (2%), but there are five fewer Jewish members in the 114th Congress than there were in the 113th, and 11 fewer than there were in the 112th Congress.”
3) Religious Diversity Does Not Belong to the Republicans…or Really All That Much to the Democrats Either
According to Pew, “Of the 301 Republicans in the new Congress, only one – freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s 1st District – is not a Christian.”
Democrats in the new Congress are somewhat more religiously diverse than Republicans, though not as diverse as the population as a whole. Of the 234 Democrats in the 114th Congress, 104 (44%) are Protestant, 83 (35%) are Catholic, 27 (12%) are Jewish, two (1%) are Mormon, two are Buddhist, two are Muslim, one is Hindu and one does not identify with a particular religion. (Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., both of whom caucus with the Democrats, are counted as Democrats for the purposes of this analysis.)
To read more, see the rest of the report here.