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More Catholics, more diversity in next Congress

[caption id="attachment_21931" align="alignleft" width="248"] Click to enlarge. Source: Pew Research Ctr.[/caption]Thought you might be interested in this Pew survey of the religious composition of the next Congress, which has its first Hindu member, the first Buddhist in the Senate, the first "none" and more Catholics.The 161 Catholics in Congress (up by five) make up 30.4 percent of the members, well over the 22 percent share Catholics have in the general population. With the vice president and six justices of the Supreme Court also Catholic, it certainly makes for a large proportion of Catholics running the three branches of the United States government.I wonder how many of these officials went to Catholic schools.

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).



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I suspect that this won't make a hill of beans difference. Political ambitions trump all.

Billy Graham's son Franklin just said that US economic collapse will rid us of Obama. he attributes this welcome collapse as a God induced event. See we Catholics don't have the real wackos.. just a few over the top complainers who lost an election..

I see that in the WaPo article about possible new GOP leadership the first five considered (Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner) all except McConnell are Roman Catholic. Rubio and Jindal have been speaking out loudly against Romney the last couple of days, insisting that the GOP has to start representing all of the people. Well, that's start. We'll see whether this new leadership really cares -- or even knows -- about CST.Yes, WaPo includes Santorum among possible GOP leaders, but says he's more of an activist than a politician. Hmm.It has always amazed me that Bobby Jindal managed to get himself elected governor in Louisiana -- he's almost as dark as the darkest African-American and from a Hindu family. I assume his Faith is sincerely held -- he converted in college. Everyone says he's very smart and not a crook. Yes, he's an extreme economic conservative, but not as bad as Ryan, I'd say. He doesn't seem to be extremely fundamentalist on social issues, at least he doesn't make a lot of noise about them, and he does have some ecological instincts. Who knows. Maybe he'll grow if the party let's him. He's quite young. And Catholicism does have a lot to offer the GOP.

"...all except McConnell are Roman Catholic."Ann, don't give up on the man yet. In these here parts, it wouldn't surprise anybody to see McConnell becoming Catholic if he thought he could obtain (or retain) political advantage in such a scheme :-)

Catholics can serve as a moderating influence in both parties. Perhaps that's what will happen in the GOP.

I find it quite amazing that the Democratic party has 85 protestants and 73 catholics while the Republicans split is 161 protestants and only 63 catholics. I wonder how much is due to the different geographic dispersion of political parties and religions. That said, it even more confounding that the Democratic convention was described as an Abortionpalooza.

Maybe the Catholic community simply contains more extroverted egotists - the group from which political politicians spring - than average. Or, maybe more likely, more folk with a strong persecution complex - one of the hallmarks of minorities.

Observations here help explain why Catholics are 30% of Congress but only 22% of the population. Pew has previously said that Catholics are the largest Christian group, and ex Catholics 2nd or 3rd. People who are "extroverted egotists" are probably less likely to become ex Catholics because of the social implications of extroversion and possibly the emotional needs of egotists. Similarly, "political advantage" would probably motivate stronger community ties, ie not drifting away to the unaffiliated.Of course these motives are probably working on a weaker, more unconscious level than Joe or David suggested, but I think they point to an underlying dynamic. Politicians are by nature affiliated with others, and they probably break ties less easily than most.

This diversity is a wonderful thing.Catholics may be over-represented in government because we have a strong tradition of service? When I was in the Peace Corps, we noticed that a disproportionate number of volunteers in my country were RC. And I recently read somewhere that a disproportionate number of US marines were Catholic. Maybe it's all part of the same thing.

Irene: The Marine Corps attracts and molds young women and men who are already attuned to doing what they are told to do.

I'd like to know how many of these Catholic politicians have ever had an adult course on the faith.

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