Pew study: New Congress is religiously diverse

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Protestants still constitute a majority of the Congress of the United States, but in terms of religious beliefs, the House and Senate, just like the constituencies they represent, are more diverse than they were nearly a half-century ago, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Today's Pew study, called "Faith on the Hill" among members of the incoming 111th Congress, found that Catholics, Jews, and Mormons are among religious groups better represented in Congress than in the nation as a whole. The most glaring difference between the makeup of the new Congress, which will be sworn in Jan. 6, and the population is among those who are not affiliated with any religious tradition.

Only five members of the new Congress -- less than one percent -- "did not specify a religious affiliation, according to information gathered by Congressional Quarterly and the Pew Forum, and no members specifically said they were unaffiliated." By contrast, a recent Pew survey of more than 35,000 Americans, found that about one in six -- 16.1 percent -- said they are not affiliated with any faith.

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