'Dominated by Christians': Analysis highlights the religious shift among new Congressional lawmakers
The conclusion of the 2022 primary elections appears to have ushered in a new era of politics and religion, based on the findings of a new analysis.
According to Religious News, "the religious makeup of the new Congress bucks the trends seen in American religious life." The analysis, written by Adelle M. Banks, highlights findings from Pew Research Center.
"The Pew Research Center says the Senate and House members are 'largely untouched' by the continuing decrease in the portion of Americans who identify as Christian and the comparable increase in the share of those who say they do not have a religious affiliation," Banks wrote in her analysis.
She shared details about the shift in the timeline over the last several decades.
"The number of Christians — 469 — within the new Congress does mark the lowest number since Pew began its analysis of religious affiliation of the 111th Congress at the beginning of the 2009-10 session," she wrote, also emphasizing that the shift is "just by a hair." Banks added, "The number of Christians in Congress was above 470 in the eight most recent sessions and exceeded 500 as of 1970."
"Of the 534 total congressional members, 303 Protestants are being sworn in for the 2023-24 session, compared to 297 in the one that just ended. The number of Baptists remained the same — at 67 — while the number of Methodists and Episcopalians dropped by four each; Presbyterians had one fewer member. Catholics saw a drop of 10, with a new total of 148, but still comprise a greater share of Congress (28%) than they do the overall U.S. population (21%)."
In another section of her analysis, Banks also highlighted a staggering statistic about the newly elected politicians that will be sworn in this week in comparison to the religious demographic of American voters.
"Christians comprise 88% of the voting members of the 118th Congress who are expected to be sworn in this week (week of Jan. 3), a number that has not changed much since the 1970s, when 91% of members said they were affiliated with that faith," she wrote.
The report concludes with a number of other notable findings including the fact that "both chambers are dominated by Christians numerically" and "almost all Republicans — 268 out of 271 — and three-quarters of Democrats — 201 of 263 — identify themselves as Christians."