Catholics continue to dominate numerically in the U.S. Congress, followed by Baptists and Methodists, the latest tally by Americans for Religious Liberty shows. Of the 535 members of the 107th Congress, 150 are Roman Catholic, including 91 Democrats and 59 Republicans, the Maryland-based organization reported in Voice of Reason, its quarterly newsletter.

The Baptist total increased by three members to 72, with 37 Republicans, 34 Democrats, and one independent. Methodists saw the largest jump in numbers, adding six for a total of 65. The top religious affiliations have remained the same for decades, with Catholics as the largest religious bloc. "They have been since 1964," said Albert Menendez, associate editor of the newsletter.

Presbyterians in Congress increased by two to a total of 49. Episcopalians dropped by one to 41, with 30 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

Jewish members saw an increase of three members for a total of 37, with 33 Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent.

The number who identified themselves as "nondenominational Protestant" decreased by five to a total of 29, with 19 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Rounding out the top 10 were 20 Lutherans, 15 Mormons, and eight members of the United Church of Christ. Seven members claimed no religious affiliation. There are no Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu members.

Related Elsewhere

Americans for Religious Liberty is dedicated to preserving "a secular democratic state" according to a bare bones Web page that appears to be the closest it has to an official site.

Previous Christianity Today articles about Congressional religious affiliations include:

First Catholic Chaplain Emphasizes House Unity | (May 22, 2000)
House Chaplaincy Stirs Catholic Controversy | (Feb. 7, 2000)
Capitol Hill Embroiled in Controversy After Catholic is Rejected as Chaplain | Priest would have been first non-Protestant in House post (Dec. 13, 1999)
Fewer Mainline Protestants in Congress | (April 7, 1997)
Back to the Future? | President Clinton and Republican-dominated Congress face fresh struggles over family-values agenda. (Jan. 6, 1997)

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