Religion and Congress


A new study from the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life reveals that the last election "had little effect on the religious composition of Congress," even though "[m]any analysts described the November 2010 midterm elections as a sea change." Should this be disappointing news for conservative Christians?

Shortly before I became a Christian in the mid-1980s, I was attending a Presbyterian church in Pittsburgh when I heard the term "pro-choice" for the first time. The PC(USA) pastor, a friend of mine, was advocating this peculiar viewpoint from the pulpit. Not familiar with the abortion debate at the time, my friend's Christian logic struck me as odd. It was my awakening to liberal Christianity. I voted with my feet and left the church shortly thereafter.

Last November, Americans voted to jettison the liberal views of the 111th Congress in favor of a more conservative 112th edition. Or did we? The 111th and 112th are nearly identical in religious makeup according to the Pew study. How does this portend for social issues like abortion?

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Good, actually.

"[T]his will undoubtedly be the most pro-life House since the Roe v. Wade decision," said Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Center. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List noted that 52 congressional seats, or 12 percent of Congress, have "strengthened" toward the pro-life position. But Paul Kengor, the director of The Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, points out that Congress is now even more polarized on the life issue.

What changed? Worldview, of course.

In his classic work, Ideas Have Consequence, Richard Weaver wrote, "Those who have not discovered that world view is the most important thing about a man, as about the men composing a culture, should consider the train of circumstances which have with perfect logic proceeded from this." Like millions of unborn babies killed with the assent of the liberal church.

Just as I rejected my friend's preaching and worldview, Americans woke up to the importance of worldview and the liberal Democrats' platform last year. Although the religious composition of the 111th and 112th Congresses may be nearly identical, there has been a sea change in religious worldview. That's good news.

Lee Wishing
Lee Wishing

Lee is the administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.


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