Why Christians Are Disproportionately Powerful in Congress

Jan 9, 2017

By Emma Green

The 115th Congress is back in session, and at least one thing looks the same as usual: 91 percent of its members identify as Christians. This proportion has basically remained constant for more than five decades, as long as this kind of data has been available, according to a new study from Pew Research Center. What has changed is the U.S. population: Only 71 percent of American adults identify as Christians.

Some religious minorities, including Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, are slightly underrepresented in Congress relative to their population sizes in the United States, while others, including Jews and Mormons, are slightly overrepresented. But these groups aren’t the source of the demographic mismatch between Congress and the rest of the country. The Americans who are vastly underrepresented in Congress are those who don’t identify with any religion at all: Only one member of Congress, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, says she is religiously unaffiliated, while 10 others declined to state their affiliation in surveys and interviews with CQ Roll Call.

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4 comments on “Why Christians Are Disproportionately Powerful in Congress

  • According to the story they are underrepresented because the don’t vote or don’t care so they don’t vote. That would seem like something that would be pretty obvious. I would also be suspect of the survey numbers. Remember, surveys and polls said Clinton would win.

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  • I truly wish a new candidate would say that there should be freedom OF religion, but would also say that there must be freedom FROM religion. Then when asked what religion he/she was, that candidate would say unaffiliated. The let the media find out that the candidate was an atheist, then ask the obvious question ” Don’t you believe in God??” From that would follow a ground shaking answer….NO!!

    What would follow would be equivalent to “draining the swamp” but with far more consequences with startling excellent results. Just think of how many people would say “THAT IS IT!! WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT TO BE THE CASE!!!” It might begin a new Renaissance, a new age of enlightenment! One that would help reduce the poison of religion. ALL religions.

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    fadeordraw says:

    While remembering RD comments in Vancouver late last year that US Congress and Senate representatives must be either naïve (not his word) or liars (his word), for their religious declarations, the poll word “affiliate” to a religion or faith, I would think, is too slippery to corner a politician; there’s a Grand Canyon in meaning between “affiliated with” and “belief in”. Still, the general understanding is that were a US federal politician to declare that policy positions would be based on evidence, on reason and science, the very approach we’d want all political leaders to have in the governance of our wellbeing, that he or she with such an approach would be unelectable. There’s a long way to go to get to the shared understanding that we’re living on the planet the same as plants and animals and the governance exigencies therefore involved.

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