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Is Congress Unfairly Dominated by Christians?

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A recent New York Times headline clearly intended to alarm readers. “The New Congress is 91% Christian,” the newspaper declared. “That’s barely budged since 1961.” Since “the percentage of Christians among the United States population is declining” the article suggested it’s inappropriate that the percentage of Christians in Congress remains so high.

Actually, numbers provided by Pew Research Center show that an overwhelming majority of Americans—71 percent—still say they are formally affiliated with a Christian church, with less than 7 percent affiliated with all other faiths combined.

This means that those who participate in organized Christianity outnumber those who take part in all other faith communities combined—and by more than 10-1! With no other faith close to Christianity in popularity and influence, and with a widespread assumption that religious commitment connects to good character, it should surprise no one that 9 of 10 of those we elect to of Congress identify as Christian.

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  1. Debbie Groyer  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    They are ELECTED officials. Should we dispense with fair elections and skew the results toward diversity? Can the idiocy in our society get any worse??
    Let's bring back MLK's exhortation to judge people by the content of their character. Note to liberals: you are the ones who are obsessed with ethnicity, gender and other superficial qualities. We conservatives don't care. Let me repeat, WE DON'T CARE.
    I am a Jewish woman who is grateful that the majority in Congress are identifying Christians. The alternative, as undoubtedly espoused by the complainers, would be frightening.

    • Paul Mond  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you Diane. You are right on. Everything with the left relates to identity politics. MLK, a Republican, did not espouse identity politics. He only wanted to judge people on the content of one's character. And, vice versa.

      • Rick Williamson  •  Jan 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        MLK was not a republican. His father was a republican. MLK was not. Please quit repeating this misinformation.

  2. Show Me in Missouri  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I think you are overstating it just a little. The story in the NY Times is reporting the results of a survey and leaves it up to the reader to draw conclusions. If anything, anyone in favor of government being guided by Christian beliefs and morality should be encouraged by the results of the poll. One thing that is probably true though, is that a reader's impression of a writer's intention is influenced by how they feel. If a reader is proud they will tend to become more proud.

  3. Donald Satterfield  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    NO !

  4. Stan Alexander, M.D.  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    We seem to forget that this, the greatest country ever, was founded by Christians – 100%. The founding docs: Decloration of Independance and the Constitution all are flavored by Christianity. The underpinnings of this country are imprinted on our coinage: In God We Trust; Liberty and E Pluribus Unum. Yeah, the founders were a bunch of old white guys, but has there ever been a stronger,more durable constitution in any coutry? Pres Obama wanted to fundamentally change it, but the people said 8 years is enough. The tenents of this coutry need to be guarded – they are being eroded as we watch.

    • Michael Stewart  •  Jan 7, 2017 at 9:47 am

      "Yeah, the founders were a bunch of old white guys…" Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence when he was 32 years old. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, was 26 at the time of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

  5. Ken  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Wouldn't it be surprising if the majority off the new congress were NOT Christian? We are a country where Christians make up the majority of the population. I would much rather see a congress with a moral compass, than one made up by "affirmative voting" so we have diversity. When will the NY Times stop hate mongering?

  6. Joseph Toth  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I don't see what all the fuss is about, there is about 12 in the whole bunch that even try to live a Christian life .

    • Rick Williamson  •  Jan 24, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      I am not sure that I agree with your number, but I think you are correct when you point out that most "christians" in this country, and most likely most "christian" elected leaders, are at best cultural Christians. And cultural Christians are not Christians at all.

  7. Ron Bowman  •  Jan 6, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    If you examine the First Amendment what is reflected there is the founders' belief that a version of Christianity characteristic of the politico-religious culture in the American colonies should be freely determined by individuals and not by the new government. They had had their fill of Catholic vs Protestant vs Catholic vs Protestant bickering, warfare and persecution prevalent in Britain and Europe and decided that in the United States one could believe some basics of the Christian faith and ought to be free to assemble, speak, write and so on, in peace with others of like faith. And further that there should be no religious test for people to hold public office. I have just as much right to declare, register, raise funds, and be elected as an evangelical Christian as does a Mormon, Catholic, Adventist, or by logical extension as do Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists, etc. Many Christian colonists believed it their duty to do so.

  8. B. Goddard  •  Jan 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    In a recent DNC convention, it seems there was a strong vote to exclude God from any part of the
    party's identity. It was a vocal vote and didn't get enacted. But, how many, if any, there,
    were a part of Congress?

  9. Tru  •  Jan 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Right now religion is the least of our problems..

  10. Robert Rouillard  •  Jan 8, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    You know American history better than any of us and after all we were founded on a Judeo-Christian belief. Well some may not believe that. And they are correct many Christian in congress and it seems many more Catholics. Being Christian that's good is it not? Unfairly, how does one determine that?

  11. Kim Jackson  •  Jan 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    From all accounts I have read, Thomas Jefferson was an indispensible founding father, but he was not a devout Christian. He cut and pasted together a Jefferson's Bible with only parts he felt possible. He was wrote a Religious Freedom Act to protect Muslims, Hindus, and believers in any faith.

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