Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The 2012 election has been widely hailed as a diversity moment — a coming out party for an American electorate no longer dominated by white men. And it was a triumph as well for religious diversity, thanks especially to Hawaii, which is sending the first Hindu to the House and the first Buddhist to the Senate.
But is this religious change more symbolic than real? In “Faith on the Hill,” a study on religion in the 113th Congress released Friday by the Pew Forum, the story seems to be static rather than change.
For all the talk of the election of 2012 inaugurating a new era in American politics, Protestants will continue to be overrepresented on Capitol Hill, where they will account for 56% of our representatives versus only 48% of American adults.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
Moreover, the religiously unaffiliated will continue to be scandalously underrepresented in the 113th Congress. Though 20% of American adults are “nones,” there is only one “none” (Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema) in the new congressional delegation.
That said, there are striking differences between Democrats and Republicans in the incoming 113th Congress.
The GOP delegation will be 69% Protestant, while Protestants will account for only 43% of the Democrats. Mormons also lean heavily Republican, with three Democrats versus 12 members of the GOP.
Catholics, by contrast, lean Democratic, accounting for 36% congressional Democrats and 25% of congressional Republicans. Moreover, all the Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in the incoming Congress are Democrats. And all but one of the 32 Jewish members (Virginia Republican Eric Cantor) are, too.
The bottom line? I see two takeaways.
First, this data provides evidence for the now common wisdom that Republicans represent old-fashioned America while Democrats reflect new demographic realities. In the 113th Congress, Republicans will be disproportionately male and disproportionately Protestant. Democrats, by contrast, have a higher portion of women and minority religions.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Second, this data shows that the much heralded “new America” is still years away. Yes, the Senate will be 20% female, but women are more than 50% of the population. And the U.S. Congress will still be far more Christian (87%) than U.S. adults as a whole (70%).
At least when it comes to religion, the U.S. Congress doesn't yet look like the voters who are sending them to Washington.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
As a follower of The Church Of The Divine Error, it is my belief that Earth is a failed science project designed by a student deity who was flunked out of the University of Galaxy Building And Other Big Projects. As such, everything on Earth is fallible, including every religion except, of course, The Church Of The Divine Error. Among the most fallible are politicians who claim to know what's going on. They don't - not a clue. But, they have to pretend so they can get elected. Same goes for religious leaders, who need to pretend they know so they can get paid.
"they have to pretend so they can get elected. Same goes for religious leaders, who need to pretend they know so they can get paid." It's because the morons who vote for them want answers to questions we have no evidence to support, so they force their candidates to spout knowing lies about themselves and the world around them which tickles the moronic electorates ears enough to get them to vote for them... Its a very silly way to run a country, but then again, they are very silly people.
to pretend to know so they can get paid...what is your problem, of course we need to get paid, what good is a scam if it doesn't bring in adequate cash flow, grow up!!!
What about the eternal C conjecture?
There is no doubt that the universe is not a failed experiment, but in actuality received a C.
Pray to the Exalted Guidance Counselor to reveal the Truth to you.
Say what you say, I would rate Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Wicca, and what not, even Scientology wayyyyy above islam.. these people poison little girls schools and feel good about it
I have no problem with any religion other than islam. Muslims are mean and cruel. And they do not respect education.
"Muslims are mean and cruel. And they do not respect education."
But Christians who challenge basic science are lovers of education? I have no love for Islam, but they belong in the same exact boat with Christians. Both are a threat to our secular nation and must be kept at arms length.
But Evangelicals do?
Dude, Christians have killed some of the greatest minds in all of time.
They have crushed rational thought and scientific progress for several CENTURIES.
Their time in the sun is done.
Just as long as you're not bigoted or prejudicial.... oh, right. never mind.
This is not being bigoted...We respect muslims here, do they respect us in their countries? No, they are animals
'"We respect muslims here, ...? No, they are animals"
I cleared out your extraneous words for you. You're welcome.
Fundie Xians are as dangerous an fundie muslims or fundie any-kind-of-religion.
What is this article about? You want more of a specific religion in Congress?
I think it is short of Albanian organ grinders as well. Let's raise a stink!
Lesbian Eskimos need your support!
NoNookie's of the North Want You!
short of the dancing monkeys?
Its a rejection of the premise that many other writers have latched onto in discussing this election. Many other writers have said that this election is a watershed moment in breaking the traditional white, male, protestant power structure. However, while that does seem to be a trend, especially among Democrats, our government is still disproportionately white, male, and protestant. The point of the article is to say that, while we are at a high point of representation reflecting American demographics, history may point to one of the next few elections as the true watershed election in that regard
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is 0% Protestant and (as far as I can tell) nobody's clamoring to bring greater diversity there. A person's religion really shouldn't matter to their public service.
We clamor all the time
To many followers of Abraham, and not enough thinkers.
Your sub division of the cult into Jew, Catholic, Christian and Mormon hasn't fooled anyone.
You are all just different sides of the same pathetic coin.
Most religious followers freely admit their gods law is above mans law. That may not seem like an issue to you…until it’s not your god.
It shouldn't matter, no, but the fact of the matter is that only the Atheist (or perhaps the Agnostic) has the emotional and philosophical training and maturity not to allow her religious predications to affect her political actions and her voting proceedures. The religious person, regardless of affiliation, is not trained or taught to suppress her religious convictions when representing another person, so her religious beliefs color her voting record, even though she may (will) be voting on behalf of people who do not agree with her religious beliefs.
Considering it's not my God – it still doesn't matter to me. And I would say that lawyers, of whatever religion or none, are certainly trained to suppress their religious convictions when representing someone else. (I can say that with direct experience, having been through Catholic schools and seen the debate teams there win tournaments where they were required to argue things directly counter to Church teachings).
666, goon, stilling my thunder.
And so, Hindu Troll, I ask again how it is that you label a polytheistic religion "atheism".
You meant he stinkers who bomb us are real americans? buck off
@Doc vestibule: salahfi means muslim...this guy is a muslim troll
religion is a hobby for the bored and ignorant
god is imaginary dot com
You are an ignorant man. Go back to your short sighted life.
"religion is a hobby for the bored and ignorant" and arrogant...
That’s amusing. Seeing has how there is no proof ANY god is real and in the case of Xtians they know less about their bible than agnostics and Atheists. That is not an opinion but a empirical fact! Granted facts are a foreign concept to theists.
I guess you'll find out after you die if He is a dot com or not, for your sake (and only yours) I hope your eternally right.
Seems to me that the extremist views brought against Christians on this blog would indicate that it is the CNN Belief Blog that is dominated by the ignorant. I still find it so odd that athiests and agnostics fight so hard to disprove the existence of a God that they don't believe in anyway. I don't believe in several things, but I don't waste my energy making sure everybody knows what I don't believe in. Sad.
So, it is an empirically proven fact that atheists know more about the bible than every Christian? Really? What is your source?
BTW...usually people use "Xtian" to designate an "X-Christian", not a practicing one. Just sayin....:) Some Xtians would agree with your point of view.
and easily fooled.
i don't care what religion is practiced in congress so long as they realize that they represent all citizens and don't attempt to use their position as a pulpit.
Oh no, Congress is 8% different from the American public!
I had to chuckle at the skewed take of this whole blog. Did you write with a similar read about the disproportionate number of Catholic and Jewish members on the Supreme Court where not a single Protestant is to be found? Do they adequately represent the population? Seems this wringing of the hands only happens when it concerns Christians and in particular Protestants.
Wrong, we dislike all the cults equally.
Yours is just more obnoxious and ignorant, so we relish your demisr just a little bit more.
They cancelled Hee Haw, and the Dukes of Hazard.
Now it's time to cancell the Red Neck religion (and bring the damn Baptists with you to hell)
Wiccans on the Supreme Court!! Atheist First Husbands and a Muslim government in Tel Aviv!
Goanna be a rough decade or two for you in the future, but buck up old boy, you can always become a Mormon, for a price!
Too bad we can't cancel ignorant buffoons like you...
Rest assured, you have tried!!!
I was bashing your imaginary God half a century ago, and you guys have gunned for me ever since.
Seems like you are losing badly!!!
Perhaps an upgarde on your cults dogma might keep ypu around for a few more years, but let's face it.
The writing is on the wall.
We’ve been over this. Theists are in no position to mock others for ignorance you pathetic primitive.
The Supreme Court isn't elected and has very low turnover. Demographics in the Supreme Court are less informative as a measure of representative democracy. The author of the article isn't advocating anything. He's giving a more measured analysis of the election as a watershed election. While the trend, especially among democrats, is that Congress is beginning to reflect the demographics of our country, there is still much work to be done for Congress to truly represent the people
Who said the SCOTUS was supposed to be representative? They are appointed positions for the purpose of interpreting the law, not elected to represent their consti.tuents, Merit should be the primary, if not only, criteria for getting appointed.
Believing in Space Fairies should NOT be considered a qualification.
Crazy is a liability, and embracing imaginary Palestinian Super Hero's from the Bronze Age does not qualify you for anything other than Cult Membership
As I said, "Merit [i.e. ability] should be the primary, if not only, criteria for getting appointed."
What's your point?
The slippery slope
One mans merit is another mans vice. It's like marriage counseling from RCC priests.
SCOTUS is a vestige from the 17th century. Lifetime appointments with no recall?
Why not just have a King?
"SCOTUS is a vestige from the 17th century. Lifetime appointments with no recall?
Why not just have a King?"
They are not kings because they don't have Executive or Legislative powers.
My understanding of the lifetime term was to remove them from political concerns.
If you want to avoid belief in "Space Fairies" being considered, I'm not sure elections are the answer, as the just completed election revealed.
i'm just going to insert some words here to allow a space between the gibberish above and whoever decides to comment next.
goons, first time in my filthy life, I am so proud of male goat, truth absolute Thin Allah.
Shut up CNN... There is nothing wrong with a Protestant congress, this nation was settled by Protestant Europeans escaping persecution, and we are a majority white nation, there is nothing wrong with a congress reflecting the composition of the nation. Not rascist,
I feel for you James. Understanding that you are on the way to becoming the minority when you have enjoyed majority status for so long is tough. Keep the chin up chap, and don't let the door hit you on the way out...
Nor is a Supreme Court where they all worship the God of Abraham?
Keep telling yourself that when you go to sleep. but remember.
We are taking our country out of your cults hands and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.
America is a SECULAR nation, forst last and always.
We non believers (or most of us) would prefer not to have to kill or die for that basic reality, but we will if we must.
And some of us are looking forward to moving our agenda, our culture, our country and this whole planet forward by ANY means available
James, folks continue to escape to the north, while the country is being invaded from the south.
GOP – party of dinosaurs
extinction is next on the menu.
The tea party supporters had a dinosaur round up, in them there hills!
After the election, teapublicans did a lot of soul searching...so far, without finding one.
Article summary: Rome wasn't built in a day.
Rome ny wasn't built in a day. It took seven years of running for President to get the current model that still lost...
But this 'rock' that Rome was built upon took an eon of time to be produced! Back atcha good fuddy dudduy buddy! :-)
For posting in the Congressional Record:
Only for new members of this blog ("prof" P can also look and learn that his job is in jeopardy unless he is willing to switch to the Department of Myths )
Putting the kibosh on religion in less than ten seconds- Priceless:
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
Limited time only, Reality Wrappers! Turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato wrapped in a warm flour tortilla with creamy sauce. $3.99 each. Ok not really, they are $4.99 each and they don't really have bacon. That is reality!
Silly Willy! Don't you know that Congressionalism is but a wasted venture of deleterious vernacularisms? Fuddy duddies are my best buddies!
Congress Crab Cakes
Try our authentic Maryland classic crab cakes! Made with Blue Crab and spicy seasoning. Topped with our signature Horseradish Mayo and sitting on top of fresh mixed greens. Comes with French Fries and Cole Slaw. $8.99
MmmM that sure sounds good! Hate clams! Hate Oysters too!
is the creamy sauce you mentioned, the same as the stinky one you have to rub on your crotch?
Just asking, do not disturb the chef or the customers. You go sit in the table by the men's room.
Ok Bistro Chef, but the only reason I took all my clothes off last time was because I was so hot, sorry.
Mr Stephen, how long it will be before we see complete wipe out of do-nothing Re'pooblicans from congress?
If the republicans use the same stall tactics they used for the last two years on the next two years, you will see a sea change in the congress in 2014 with massive losses on the republican and teaparty sides. If they work with the Senate and the President they might have a chance to save their majority, but it's unlikely they will be willing to be reasonable.
Vive La Différence!
My Words Upon Truth's Doors
Mathew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God
Luke 17:21, "the kingdom of God is inside you."
1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."
Godless and the ungodly, for these are the choices from which commonwealth atheists do make felt upon their habitual senses denying the goodly of Godly intent. Many young-bucks of godlessness and the ungodly tender to avail themselves with the nailed doldrums' sciatica and do abound with much societal unpleasantries toward the abaters of wanton deniabilities against them, those ungodly and godless beings of smirked vials of randomized intention-abilities. Their deniabilities are not without compromising or so they do entail and also do weave upon the where-with-alls laments.
The mockeries of these godless and ungodly against the goodly who do themselves believe upon Godly importance may well live on past all and onto every garden's Aged endings. How else could Life Truly End and Real Living thusly Begin? To believe or not believe for these are Life's choices. Still yet are found mercies, for the mercifilled are one of Life's greatest treasures and livings' sweetest unending rewards.
What was first made can never again become that which was made first for only in varying differential constructs can another thing be made to be outdone against that which was firstly made. The pillars of one's DNA, the spirals of all celestial life forms and formations is where God's Sons and their given wives are taken in as residents there abouts.
The Kingdoms of God lay where the inner structures of celestial Life do share in the abundancies of Living Fractals in Cosmological Paradigms. As mankinds' hunting for the Codifying of Life's laws in Cellularized Confinements continues onwards, many will ever become non-complacent in our societal grandeurs for wanting sakes trying never to be outdone by those who tend to be in simplifications' adjuring. May we be merciful upon those who deservidely aspire to be merciful toward others.
A scattering is upon us in these trying days and Age. Leave your wantings behind and never take wind of one's longings for the weightiness of one's longings will smite even the most influential. Carry away nothing and leave. Head to the places inside one's being and do not keep ajar your door for many will want to enter in and should not. Your loving this Life is for the world to have needs of and you should not heed the rumors from others as to just what is truly right. It is therefore best for mankind to simmer in their yet unfinished juvenile pottages never rationalizingly 'assaying' one's diffuse detriments, the very smallest of life's grains. As smitten breeds, our splendors reveal one's characters to be traitorous to one's analogous fold. Where then does True Life end and Real Living begin?
Who before this day's Age is found worthy of Goodly praises? Who after us will find peace set before them? Who in today;s timeline is this "son of man" that many should fear him for his worthiness stance? Who above can see the below? Who that is below can see what be above? From the very smallest crevice to the most high chasms, the Sea of Nothingness is the Holy Spirit. May the elemental Gods find favor in this found son of man that he may not be afflicted with this world's power but rather he should carry upon him the angst from his manhood till his natural death.
What I spiritually believe in is that the Families of God including God Himself lives upon the very first created Cosmos which is the inner Cosmos. Our being but upon this celestial cosmos is due our being cast out of the Inner Cosmos for many reasons. Some were cast out of this Inner Cosmos for faultering and some for continuing to do the Lord's Will here upon this celestial realm of gigantic life forms whereupon their insides are living many families of God's members. We live upon this realm doing what we want while many of us unify ourselves in the communal. My way is not your way and yet when we cross paths we receive each other and after a spell do walk on and are parted.Therefore, walk placidly amid the noise and waste ever being mindful of the peace one finds in finding peace there about.
Is God to be made a mockery by those who tend to instill anti-leveraged pragmatisms? Are we to believe in the godless and the ungodly who care little about the piecemeal subjectives' ordinates?
Jesus, was the very first of many immeasurable 'elemental beings' and was in the Beginning an elemental king of all the elemental Gods. Jesus, in His cunning, did thru Chaos' manueverings, established the gravimetrical waves for the elementals to gather in broods thusly was formed the beginnings of celestial nebulas.
As time did force the nebulas to progressively surround the gravimetric oscillations where from did come about galactic formations of the elementals' soundness. As systems of photonic elementals, the infinitesimal finite elemental Gods did shower the solarized systems with their embodied beings. And in the Now, we are but made from the photonic elementals' stillnesses, the stardusts of the Ages.
My "Physicist" knows very well the quantum physicalities of natured atomic stimulations. I call this "Physicist" God. He has strewn His Sea of Nothingness with 'photogenitisms' or the stillness of the photons creating all manner of the first materials needed to become thru timeliness all the elementals' members of our declared Periodic Table of Materialized Photogenitis.
Sciences are but the dreams dreamt and are atheists' treasure troves of good books they hardly ever do read, for many atheists aren't too bright yet they stand by these scientists without one iota of deniability to question science books that even the commoner seldom reads nor truly understands. Who among us knows about the 'Self-Similar Cosmological Paradigm'? Who among us truly understands that energy equals mass times light squared and its' true potential? What is the point in adoring scientific reasoning when one's IQ level can be counted on ten fingers?
What I believe is; "The Cosmos is immeasurably full of ever unkowable to us universes." The 'analogous' variabilities of moving universes is so slow in their plights that trillions upon trillions times triliions of our years will pass by before any other universe will gain entrances onto any other universe. As our Ages of tenureships figuratively coalesce in the extemities ponderances, the forlorn and the 'un-abled' will ever need others to carry them along and alongside the tapestries of Life and its garnered adaptabilities. Love therefore and do never 'not' love for one would be wasting away their love for living and the need for loving is tantamount and above reproach.
I feel a compelling want to tell you about some verses in Gospel scripture. Is it not written to above all things to seek firstly the "Kingdom of God". This said, have you ascribed to doing so? Where does one look to or towards in order to find that which we are told to seek as scripture does declare one to do?
Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God."
I've searched the Gospel writings and have found a single verse telling all who have found it as to the true and literal location of God's Kingdomly Domains!
Luk 17:21 "The kingdom of God is inside you."
I take Luke 17:21 quite literally and so should all who believe in One God and His One Son of perhaps oodles upon oodles of otherly Sons and Daughters too numerous to really expound upon! Christ is special because he was born to take upon his being the sins of those who were and then were also and of times yet to come! God's Kingdoms being inside us and within our ownliness bodies can also be associated with another verse of scripture ,,,,
1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
The just above verse does tell much more than just glimpsing over it could proclude! Our being labourers with God may well seem to give us all an equal footing with God and his aspirations for our betterment's sakes! His being our husbandry may well regard God as having a firm footing in our conceptions of childbirthing beyond mere genetic understandings!
But in the aboveness verse, the very understanding that we or our bodies are God's buildings may well inspire one to disavow such a claim due one's foresightedness sakes and lacking of rationalisms' of credible resources. Yet, as I see things, we, our bodies are not only God established and God created buildings for the benefits of the Godly who reside inside of us, but are for our benefits for learning and understanding the precepts of "Fractal Cosmologies"!
We have seen that which our bodies are made up of and they are of cellularized structures not "unlike" nebula structures in outer space places! These celestial nebula structures are yet a work-in-progress and our body-like buildings are a progress in the works!
These words are revelations of my Faith as to my Godly understandings regarding the Kingdom Domains of God, his Sons and his Daughters-in-law and all forms and mannerisms of Life-ever-lasting principles and principalities of ever living progressives!
Written by God's Oldest Dreamer
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.