For the primary time within the historical past of Pew Analysis Middle’s Religion on the Hill report, you’re extra more likely to discover a Baptist contained in the halls of Congress than outdoors it.
As main denominations proceed to say no, there’s a widening hole between Individuals’ non secular affiliations and people of their representatives.
Within the 118th Congress, 88 % of legislators determine as Christians, in comparison with 62 % of US adults. Simply one among Congress’s 534 members is unaffiliated (0.2%), in comparison with 29 % of the nation.
In 2023, the variety of Baptists in Congress—the preferred denominational identification—held comparatively regular at 13 %, whereas Baptist affiliation declined nationally, all the way down to 11 % from 15 % two years earlier than.
There are at present 57 Baptists within the Home and one other 10 within the Senate, together with Southern Baptists Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and James Lankford. Different Baptists, reminiscent of Raphael Warnock, come from predominantly African American Baptist denominations just like the Progressive Nationwide Baptist Conference.
Going again to 2008, the proportion of Individuals who recognized as Baptist had at all times exceeded Baptist illustration on the Hill. For years, mainline traditions had been overrepresented within the Home and Senate, and members of Congress had been much less doubtless than the US general to determine with affiliations like Pentecostal and nondenominational.
Not too long ago, although, extra Christian lawmakers are choosing generic labels slightly than figuring out with a selected denomination. Within the 118th Congress, representatives had been almost twice as more likely to name themselves “unspecified/different” Protestants (20%) or nondenominational (2.8%) than the preferred denomination (Baptist, with 12.5%).
The development is even stronger with newcomers to Congress. Among the many 52 freshman legislators who’re Protestant, half are “unspecified” or nondenominational Protestants, lots of them evangelical.
Eli Crane, an incoming congressman from Arizona who falls in that class, has shared his testimony in a sequence on Pray.com and referenced a formative interval below the management of Miles MacPherson at The Rock Church, an evangelical congregation in San Diego.
One other new unspecified Protestant in Congress, Missouri Rep. Mark Alford, who attends Evangel Church in Kansas Metropolis, posted Proverbs 3:5-6 forward of Monday’s swearing-in.
“Give me discernment and knowledge and braveness within the selections I make right here in Washington and provides me compassion and understanding for … our constituents again dwelling,” he prayed.
Whereas unspecified Protestants gained 11 seats in Congress and nondenominational Protestants added three, denominational teams both stored the identical numbers—like Baptists and Lutherans—or declined—like Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians.
These three mainline teams every have fewer members on this Congress than they did the session earlier than, with Methodists dropping 4 members and happening to 31; Presbyterians dropping one member and happening to 25; and Episcopalians dropping 4 and happening to 22. There are additionally ten fewer Catholic lawmakers this session.
Whereas the non secular make-up of Congress is starting to replicate the decline of denominations and the rise of nondenominational evangelicalism, it’s lacking the opposite main element of America’s shifting non secular panorama: the “nones.”
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona stays the one member of Congress who’s religiously unaffiliated, a class that now contains almost a 3rd (29%) of US adults and is the nation’s fastest-growing religion affiliation. One other 15 Democrats and one Republican didn’t specify a non secular affiliation.
Some smaller Christian traditions received a lift from newly elected leaders. There’s yet another Orthodox Christian, Rep. Mary Peltola, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church who’s a Democrat from Alaska, bringing the Orthodox whole to eight.
Simply two members of Congress determine as Reformed, and each are from Michigan. Freshman lawmaker and Democrat Hillary Scholten (whose 2020 marketing campaign CT lined) attends LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, whereas Republican incumbent Invoice Huizenga is a Calvin College alumnus.
One new member, Florida Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, identifies as a Christian and says she was “raised as Messianic Jew.” She is the one Messianic Jew in Congress.