Congress

Seems like everyone’s talking religion on Capitol Hill — here’s the breakdown

Catholics are plentiful, Jewish Republicans — not so much

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about Jews prompted an animated discussion on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Religion has been a contentious topic on Capitol Hill in recent weeks.

Minnesota Democratic freshman Ilhan Omar posted several tweets that critics described as anti-Semitic. House Democrats, in response, passed an anti-hate resolution on Thursday after several days of debate. And on Friday, President Donald Trump controversially declared that the Democratic Party is “anti-Jewish.”

Roll Call dug into CQ’s member database for a look at the top five religious denominations of members in the 116th Congress. (Note: we do not include nonvoting members of Congress.) An overwhelming majority of lawmakers in both chambers identify with a Christian denomination. 

Here’s the breakdown, from the fifth-largest to the largest:

5. Judaism

Thirty-four lawmakers identify as Jewish.

  • House —24 Democrats and two Republicans
  • Senate — Seven Democrats and one independent

4. Methodism

There are 39 members who identify as Methodists. (This total does not include members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Church of the Nazarene.)

  • House — 14 Democrats and 15 Republicans
  • Senate — Three Democrats and seven Republicans

3. No specific Christian denomination

Sixty-six members identify as Christians but don’t specify a denomination. (This total does not include members who identify as Protestant, Evangelical Christian or Evangelical Protestant.)

  • House — 22 Democrats and 36 Republicans
  • Senate — One Democrat and seven Republicans 

2. Baptist denominations

A total of 72 members identify as Baptists or Southern Baptists.

  • House — 25 Democrats and 36 Republicans
  • Senate — Two Democratic and nine Republicans

1. Catholicism

The largest denomination in Congress is Catholicism. There are 161 Catholic voting members. (One lawmaker is a Maronite Catholic, the rest identify as Roman Catholics.)

  • House — 86 Democrats and 53 Republicans
  • Senate — 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans

Watch: Pelosi focuses on HR1 and the anti-Semitism resolution in weekly presser

Correction Monday, 2:28 p.m. | The numbers in an earlier version of this story was based on incomplete denomination data. 

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