The 118th Congress counts 67 Baptists of various denominations, including approximately 20 Southern Baptists, among its members, according to a Pew analysis of the current legislative body.
At least 88% of Congress — 469 of the 534 current members — identified as Christian in a poll gathered by Congressional Quarterly’s Roll Call. More than a fifth of Congressional Protestants are Baptists. The religious makeup of the new Congress bucks the trends seen in American religious life.
Pew notes the current figures mean 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.
88% claim Christian faith
Christians comprise 88% of the voting members of the 118th Congress. Among the 303 Protestants in the body are 67 Baptists of various denominations, including approximately 20 Southern Baptists, according to analyses; 148 legislators are Catholic; nine align with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and the number of Orthodox Christians is now eight.
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida is the sole member of the new Congress who identifies herself as Messianic Jewish. Thirty-three members of Congress are Jewish, three are Muslim and two are Hindus. Three members identify as Unitarian Universalist. About 20 refused to answer or said they didn’t know.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, remains the only member of the new Congress who uses the description of religiously unaffiliated. Nationally, close to 3 in 10 Americans (29%) say they are religiously unaffiliated — atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.”
Of Alabama’s congressional delegation, only Barry Moore, who represents the state’s 2nd congressional district, said he is a Southern Baptist. Moore is a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Enterprise, according to his Wikipedia page.
Battle in House
Pew’s analysis of 534 elected officials includes elected members of Congress as of Jan. 3. Officially, there are currently no members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as members of that body cannot be sworn in until a speaker is elected.
U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a member of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California, is vying for the top seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Six votes held on Jan. 3 and 4 failed to elect McCarthy or anyone else for the position.
Virginia’s 4th District also is not included in the report. Congressman-elect Donald McEachin of the 4th District died Nov. 28 after a long battle with colorectal cancer.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was compiled from reporting by Adelle M. Banks of Religion News Service (click here to read full story), Dianna Chandler of Baptist Press (click here to read full story) and The Alabama Baptist. As of Jan. 6 at 8 a.m Central time, 11 votes have failed to elect a Speaker of the House.