The 113th US Congress and Religion

According to the Pew Research Center, the current (113th) Congress includes the first Buddhist to serve in the Senate, the first Hindu to serve in either chamber and the first member of Congress to describe her religion as “none,” continuing a gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors trends in the country as a whole. While Congress remains majority Protestant, the institution is far less so today than it was 50 years ago, when nearly three-quarters of members belonged to Protestant denominations.

Catholics have seen the biggest gains, adding seven seats, for a total of 163 and raising their share to just over 30%. Protestants and Jews experienced the biggest declines in numerical terms.

There is a large disperity between the percentage of U.S. adults and the percentage of members of Congress who do not identify with any particular religion. About one-in-five U.S. adults describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – a group sometimes collectively called the “nones.” This is a rapidly growing group.

This country was never a “Christian” theocracy, but it was founded by Christians on biblical principles. We are now a far cry from our origins. I believe this trend is set, and we will see a continuing secularization of our society and our institutions to the point of religious persecution against Christians.

Please see the table below for details on the religious breakdown in the current US Congress. Among neo-Protestants there are a 73 Baptists and… one Pentecostal… (one for oneness?)

13 comments on “The 113th US Congress and Religion

  1. I think the persecution of Christians due to a secular nation is a bit paranoid. Secularization is less about persecuting those who are religion, and more so of separating the two. And besides, Jesus Christ encourages secularism.

    • Thank you for the visit. I think history has a interesting way of repeating itself. I grew up in a communist nation until age 13. Their constitution was committed to freedom of speech and religion, but the state endorsed atheism to its fullest, and persecuted Christians in the worst possible way: torture, prison and death. All very well documented.

      It all started with secularization. If history repeats itself, and it does, we may see ourselves going down the same path at some point given the extreme views of some anti-religion organizations in this country.

        • By saying “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God” he encourages the idea that state belongs to man but church belongs to God. Secularism doesn’t blur the spiritual aspects, nor does it have anything to do with the two quotes you just stated.

        • I see your point. He is saying to follow the tax code and the law but at the same time to be faithful to God.

          But at the same time Secularism is opposed to faith, especially public expression of such. For that reason Jesus would have opposed secularism.

      • A very good example, I’m surprised I ignored it, and I’m sure I’ll visit your site again soon. However, I feel that comparing a secular nation to your communist nation is the equivalent of comparing a Christian nation to the Dark Ages, the Crusades, the enslavement of Africans, and the cultural genocide of Native Americans.

        I feel that a secular nation is more capable of a freedom of speech and religion, than a nation that holds a favoritism towards a specific ideology.
        I’m sorry you had to face religious persecution, I am completely against such acts. And of out curiosity, if you don’t mind answering, did your communist state have a leader than was godlike to the state (a Stalin type figure?)

        • Ceausescu was not worshiped in Romania like Kim Jung Il and his father were in North Korea, but the system perceived Protestant Christians as a threat even though they just wanted freedom of religion.

          I think the animosity that we increasingly see in our country against godly Christians who wish to adhere to biblical principles revolves around Jesus. Everything comes back to Jesus.

          His message cuts deep into our modern notion of moral relativism.

          He says there is no salvation without Him.

          That infuriates certain (obviously not all) people who reject his message and these are the ones who I believe will eventually pursue religious persecution against “rigid” Christians.

  2. Also… On Jesus and secularism… Lets not forget the context in which Jesus said give Cesar what belongs to Cesar.

    The Jewish leaders were trying to catch Him on the record as a rebel against Rome by asking Him a trick question.

    You can argue that Jesus endorsed separation of Church and State with that statement if that is how you define secularism. But the focus of the discussion comes back to God. Jesus’s entire ministry was about how to submit to God and make God the center of your life… I believe our society’s notion of “secular” would not fit that model.

    • I think making God the center of your life while still remaining unbiased in your politics is kind of the point of Jesus said. I define it as secularism to show the even Jesus knew that there would always be people who do not agree with God’s teachings. And he knew for those who didn’t want to obey the law of God, they would disobey the law.
      I think teachings and education is the only way to teach Christianity and for some, such as myself (who was born in a Christian home, with positive influences, in a positive Christian private school) that won’t be enough.
      I think by Jesus speaking of secularism he was practicing the same idea of free will from God, which God practiced.
      Christianity is a choice and implementing it in government is the opposite of what both God and Jesus wanted.

  3. I do see within the atheist community there are people who do in fact feel that way. But I think the animosity is less about the not finding salvation without Jesus, I feel that non-Christians already accept that, otherwise they would be Christians.

    The animosity stems from some (not all) people of the Church, who have a large voice and influence, who speak against gays, Muslims, Jews, and other groups.

    I think a secular state wouldn’t direct anger at Christians, or any religious group, because ideal secularism is the ability to see acts and laws without thinking of religious aspects.

    In fact I think if the country didn’t have a strong Christian background, there wouldn’t be Muslim persecution as it is. Secularism encourages education of all religions, something that wouldn’t necessarily be done in a state where the church is in control.

    • Hackxsack,

      I should have defined secularism from the very beginning. I was not anticipating this discussion to go down this path 🙂

      You clearly view it as absolute separation of Church and State.

      My view is a little more refined… I view secularism as the push to rid society of religion and religious influence. So I disagree that secularism encourages education of all religions. That is antithetic to what secularism stands for…

      It’s very interesting as I learn more about your Christian background. I really appreciate your tone and respectful conversation on this topic which can get heated and disrespectful sometimes.

      Having said that, please allow me to encourage you to not look to people, so-called-Christians, who have performed Crusades, crimes, persecutions, inquisitions, etc… I encourage you to look to Jesus and His radical teaching.

      Jesus told us to love not only those who have a different religion, but to love our enemies. How radical is that!

      The fallen nature of the human soul cannot find rest in intellectuality, or in other self-made human activities… It can only find rest in forgiveness of sin and depravity, and that is what Jesus offers.

      I wish you would reach in your background, and again very respectfully I encourage you to see how Jesus supernaturally fulfilled dozens of specific prophecies in the Old Testament. These were written hundreds of years before he lived on Earth. He fulfilled them as a testimony of Who He was and what He came to do. Save us from the bondage of the Fall and sin.

      I wish you God’s blessings.

      • I see we have to separate definitions of secularism and I do not see the Crusaders and slave owners as true Christians, those are merely people who twisted the words of the Bible to justify their actions.

        And I’m aware of the teachings of Jesus and though I am no longer a Christian, I think anyone can learn from his teachings.

        And thank you for also being respectful in this discussion. I’m glad people with contrary ideas about religion can discuss it in a cordial manner.

        And by your definition, I think forcing religion out of a society is wrong, I believe that forcibly converting someone from their beliefs is dangerous and unwise.

        Secularism makes religion irrelevant when dealing with the law, not with social interactions, which I think would benefit everyone. I feel that some religious texts are used to justify things such as sexism or not allowing gay marriage. That is why I feel like a shift in politicians religious backgrounds may encourage a wider variety of positions that are better at capturing our diverse country.

        Thank you again for the conversation, I’m sure we will have another discussion in the future, Mr. Truth.

        • You might want to read up on the real history of the crusades…. and not repeat only what you hear on CNN or your local public school

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