Religious count of new Congress: Catholics rank first, Methodists gain

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2001

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) -- A survey of the religious affiliations listed by members of the new U.S. Congress shows Roman Catholics in first place as usual with 150 representatives and senators, a drop of one from the outgoing Congress. Sixty-one percent are Democrats.

Baptists ranked second with 72 members (a gain of three), closely split between Republicans and Democrats.

The third-ranking Methodists posted the biggest gain, from 59 to 65. Democrats have a majority among Senate Methodists, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and four other new members, while two-thirds of House Methodists are Republicans.

Other large groupings: 49 Presbyterians (up two), 41 Episcopalians (down one) and 37 Jews (up three). Seven members specified no religious affiliation. There are no Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims.

The biennial compilation is conducted by Albert Menendez of Americans for Religious Liberty, which advocates church-state separation.

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