Christianity is on the decline nationally, but not so in the halls of Congress.
A new study from the Pew Research Center reports that in 115th Congress 91 percent describe themselves as Christians.
“This is nearly the same percentage as in the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962, the earliest years for which comparable data are available), when 95 percent of members were Christian,” says Pew.
Here’s some other nuggets from Pew:
Fully two-thirds of Republicans in the new Congress (67 percent) are Protestant, while 27 percent are Catholic. The breakdown between Protestants and Catholics is more even among the Democrats; 42 percent of the Democratic members are Protestants and 37 percent are Catholics.
Among non-Christian religious groups, Jews and Hindus had the biggest gains (an increase of two seats each). Jews, who make up 2 percent of the U.S. adult population, hold 30 seats in the new Congress (6 percent), up from 28 seats in the 114th (5 percent). However, Jews occupy far fewer seats than they did in the 111th Congress (2009-10), when there were 45 Jewish members of the House and Senate.
The number of Muslims in Congress (two) stayed the same, meaning there are now more Buddhists and Hindus serving in Congress than there are Muslims. One of the two Muslims in Congress – Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. – is considering running for chair of the Democratic National Committee and has said he would resign his seat if he is selected. (Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., is the other Muslim serving in the 115th Congress.)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the Democrat from Hawaii, is Hindu. Sen. Brian Schatz is Jewish.
The election of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, the Democrat from Hawaii, brought the number of Buddhists in Congress from two to three.
One of the other two Buddhists in the 115th Congress is Sen. Mazie Hirono, the Democrat from Hawaii.
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