Congress More Religious Than U.S. Population; Nearly 92 Percent Christian This Year

pewgraphicThe Pew Research Center says there will be little change in the religious makeup of the nation’s legislative body when the 114th Congress comes into session today, with more self-identifying Christians than the overall population in the United States.


There will be one Jewish lawmaker in the GOP: freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York. The only Republican Jew in the 113th Congress was former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Overall, there are five fewer Jewish members in Congress than in the last session.

All of the other 301 Republicans in the House and Senate identify with some branch of Christianity. Two-thirds of the caucus is Protestant, a quarter are Catholic and 5 percent are Mormon.

Pew studies have found 49 percent of American adults identifying as Protestant, 22 percent as Catholic, 2 percent Jewish, and 20 percent unaffiliated with any religion. Blue Dog Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is the only member of Congress who describes herself as unaffiliated.

Among the rest of the Democratic caucus, 44 percent are Protestant, 35 percent are Catholic, 12 percent are Jewish, two are Mormon (including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid), two are Buddhist (Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Hank Johnson) and one is Hindu (Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard). Nine Dems refused to state any religious affiliation.

There remain two Muslims in Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.).

Seven ordained clergy members serve in Congress, four Republicans and three Democrats.



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