The Pew Research Center has been taking a census of religion on the Hill as the 115th Congress gets down to business, and it finds that while Christianity has been declining among the general population, our elected representatives are still 90% Christian.
Among the 293 Republicans elected to serve in the new, 115th Congress, all but two identify as Christians; there are two Jewish Republicans – Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee – who both serve in the House. Democrats in Congress also are overwhelmingly Christian (80%), but there is more religious diversity on this side of the aisle. The 242 Democrats in Congress include 28 Jews, three Buddhists, three Hindus, two Muslims and one Unitarian Universalist – as well as the only member of Congress to describe herself as religiously unaffiliated, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. In addition, all 10 members of Congress who decline to state their religious affiliation are Democrats.
Pew found that the incoming freshman class helped to raise the religious diversity of the Congress – but did not have the numbers to make a huge difference.
The new, 115th Congress has the smallest freshman class of any Congress in the last 10 years – 62 new members will be joining 473 incumbents.
Of the new members, half are Protestant and roughly a third are Catholic.
Additionally, 13% of freshmen are members of non-Christian faiths, nearly double the share of incumbents who are not members of a Christian faith.
Episcopalians/Anglicans account for 6.5% of the 115th Congress, and 3.2% of the incoming class. We make up 1% of the general US population, according to the Pew numbers.
Read more numbers and analysis here.
Featured image: new members of Congress gather for a photo in November 2016; still from CSpan