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The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Millions cut down," Jan. 17, 2009

Faith on the Hill

Faith on the Hill

The House and Senate continue trend toward diversity

By Kristin Chapman

When senators and representatives convene Jan. 6 for the 111th Congress, the religious makeup of the U.S. legislature will reflect a nation that is much more religiously diverse than it was a half century ago. According to a recent report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the total percentage of Protestants in Congress has decreased from 74.1 percent in 1961 to 54.7 percent today. Catholic representation grew from 18.8 percent in 1961 to about 30 percent today. Meanwhile, Buddhists and Muslims gained representation for the first time during the 110th Congress. The survey also found that some religious groups-including Catholics, Jews and Mormons-are overrepresented in Congress as compared to the U.S. population, while other groups-such as Hindus and unaffiliated individuals-are underrepresented.

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