Saturday, January 10, 2009

Religious diversity in Congress

The religious make-up of the new 111th Congress generally reflects the religious diversity of the American electorate. Protestants make up the majority of Congress with 54.7% (compared to 51.3% of the American population) and Catholics make up 30% (compared to almost 24% of the American population). Jews make up 8.4% (1.7%) of Congress while Mormans make up 2.6% (1.7%). There are two elected Muslims and two Buddhists, but only one admitted atheist, Rep. Pete Stark (D - Fremont) - professed atheism or agnosticism is still considered political suicide.

Diversity, to me, is always a good thing, as the exposure to different people and ideas increases dialogue and progress. Keep in mind, however, that the diversity of the overall population is most likely different than the demographic breakdown of each district/state. And when Representatives of districts with overly unrepresentative samples team together to write or vote on religiously-implicated legislation, someone is going to be upset, even marginalized. As the last decades have shown, religious diversity in Congress does not mean tolerance in legislation.


Darren Staley said...

So then why not forbid elected officials from stating their religion?

Kent H said...

Hey good idea, Darren. Then maybe we can forbid unelected Americans from stating their religious views. Then maybe we can stop reporters from stating the issues of abuse. We can stop politicians from blowing the whistle on corruption. Hey, maybe we can get to the point that noone can ever say anything deemed inappropriate by our omnipotent "big brother." We do still have a little thing called a Bill of Rights - Article #1 - check it out.
This isn't Cuba, slick. Get some sleep.