Christians At The Capitol: Members Of The New Congress Are Overwhelmingly Followers Of Jesus

US Capitol dome pictured here on the first day of the 115th session of Congress in Washington today, January 3, 2017.Reuters

More than nine in 10 of the members of the new US Congress that will be the legislative government of incoming President Donald Trump are Christian.

A new analysis by Pew Research shows the number of Christians at the top of the US Government has remained steady since the 1960s.

This is in spite of an overall fall in the number of adults in the US who describe themselves as Christian.

In the new, 115th Congress which began its first session in Washington today, 91 per cent describe themselves as Christian. More than half are Protestant and more than a third, Catholic.

All but two of the 293 Republicans are Christian. The two Jewish Republicans are Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee.

By contrast, 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 a "none" or with no religon at all – Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The "nones" make up 23 per cent of the population but just 0.2 per cent of Congress.

All 10 members of Congress who declined to state their religious affiliation for the Pew analysis are Democrat.

Congress remains overwhelmingly Christian

Baptists are down seven seats on the 114th Congress, and Episcopalians are down by six seats. Mormons lost three seats and Catholics gained six.

The number of Muslims remains the same as before, while numbers of Hindus and Buddhists increased.

Both the House and Senate have Protestant majorities – 58 per cent in the Senate and 55 per cent in the House.

Baptists, for instance, are more numerous in the House in percentage terms than in the Senate, while Presbyterians and Lutherans are more numerous in the Senate than the House.

Nearly seven in 10 Republicans in Congress are Protestant and nearly half are Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Lutheran. 

Of the 62 new members who will join the 473 incumbents, half are Protestant and roughly a third are Catholic.

Although the number of Christians has barely changed over decades, within Christianity there have been significant denominational shifts.

The share of Protestants has declined from three in four of the 87th Congress to just 56 per cent of the new body.

Catholics, who made up one in five of the 87th Congress, now make up nearly a third.

The data was compiled by CQ Roll Call through questionnaires and follow-up phone calls to members' and candidates' offices.

The religious makeup of the 115th Congress

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