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Faiths of Minorities in 113th Congress Reflect Diversity Faiths of Minorities in 113th Congress Reflect Diversity

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The Next America - Demographics 2012 / Demographics

Faiths of Minorities in 113th Congress Reflect Diversity

Members of the 112th Congress, seen here taking the oath of office in January 2011, were affiliated with nine religions. The new Congress will be even more spiritually diverse.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

December 3, 2012

oath

The incoming Congress may be the nation’s most diverse ever, according to a Pew Research Center report that details the represented in the graphic at right. Among the freshmen are the first Hindu member of the House and the Senate’s first Buddhist.

(RELATED: A Colorful 113th Congress: Freshmen Minorities)

 

Protestants (56 percent of the 530 seats) and Catholics (30 percent) still dominate the legislative chambers.

Below is a breakdown of the religions declared by the 22 freshmen members of Congress who are minorities:

8 Catholics
5 Baptists
3 Christians
1 Methodist
1 Seventh Day Adventist
1 Buddhist
1 Deist
1 Hindu
1 Unitarian

If all Protestants are grouped to include unspecified Christians, the percentage breakdown of the two largest denominations would be 50 percent Protestants and 36 percent Catholic, closely reflecting the larger body.

Here is the breakdown of all 84 minority members of Congress, newcomers and incumbents alike, as they self-identify:

28 Catholics
24 Baptists
9 Christians
5 Methodists
3 African Methodist Episcopal 
3 Buddhists
2 Episcopalians
2 Muslims
2 Seventh Day Adventist
1 Deist
1 Hindu
1 Mormon
1 Protestant
1 Unitarian
1 none indicated

If all Protestants are grouped to include unspecified Christians, the percentage breakdown of the two largest denominations would be 56 percent Protestants — equaling the larger body — and at 33 percent Catholic, exceeding the total in Congress by 3 percentage points.

The three Buddhists, two Muslims and one Hindi are all people of color.

A Congressional Research Service profile of the 112th Congress indicated that the lawmakers categorized themselves as followers of one of nine faiths (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Mormon, Buddhism, and Islam).

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