Amid claims that Christianity is on the decline among U.S. citizens, the recently elected members of the 115th Congress are overwhelmingly Christian, according to a new analysis from the Pew Research Center.
And, as it turns out, not much has changed over the past 50 years, as 95 percent of politicians called themselves Christian when the 87th Congress was in power in 1961-1962; that proportion still stands at 91 percent for the new 115th Congress.
Remarkably, of the 293 Republicans elected this cycle, 291 are Christians. The remaining two politicians — House members Lee Zeldin and David Kustoff — are Jewish, according to data compiled by CQ Roll Call and analyzed by Pew.
And while the vast majority of the 242 Democrats who were elected to the 115th Congress — 80 percent — are Christian, there’s a bit more diversity in that camp, with 28 Jews, three Buddhists, two Muslims, three Hindus and one Unitarian Universalist in the mix. Additionally, one person — Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema — is unaffiliated.
One other intriguing note: there were 10 members of Congress who declined to give a religious affiliation; each of these individuals is a Democrat.
Another finding worth noting is that Protestantism has decreased in prevalence over the past 50 years. While 75 percent of Congress was Protestant in 1961, that proportion is now down to 56 percent. Meanwhile, the proportion of Catholics has increased from 19 percent to 31 percent, according to Pew.
The below graphic reveals where the 115th Congress stands on faith:
The religious composition of Congress isn’t necessarily reflective of the nation as a whole. Consider that the share of Americans calling themselves Christian has decreased from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the rise of the religiously unaffiliated grew from 16.1 percent in 2007 to 22.8 percent in 2014, according to Pew data.
So, while 91 percent of Congress is Christian, just 71 percent of the general public said the same, though the bigger disparity is seen among the religiously unaffiliated. While only one person in Congress embraces the unaffiliated label, 23 percent of Americans said they are either atheist, agnostic or not connected with a particular faith (the third is the largest share).
Read the entire Pew report here to see where members of Congress stand.
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