My Take: 113th Congress looks like old America
November 16th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

My Take: 113th Congress looks like old America

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.

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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.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Judaism • Politics • Polls • United States

soundoff (1,540 Responses)
  1. Pokydoke

    Organized religion is pure crap, founded on myth, fantasy and the fabrication of facts. As an Atheist I am not represented in Government because the establishment is run by religiously indoctrinated fools.

    November 17, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  2. mikebName*

    God is real one day all non believers will call out his name

    November 17, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • snowboarder

      mike – are everyone's gods real or just yours?

      November 17, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Mirosal

      Calling out to your "god" is just as effective as calling out to ANY "god".. go ahead and pick one, any one of them. None will hear you. "Nothing unreal exists."

      November 17, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • nope


      November 17, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • and as always

      snowbroad and sally are wrong

      November 17, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • mikebName*

      Jesus Christ has spoken n so have I all you have to do now is listen and let him int you heart its not to late he still loves you

      November 17, 2012 at 7:59 am |

    CNN MANAGEMENT- read Revelations. The data you show - and all the Democrat stream comments you read - point towards something inevitable before the "end of time." The "wild beast" (earthly government) will reject the harlot "Babylon the great" (ancient babylon was the center of anti-God practices) riding its back. Government (the non-believing people) will devour belief in God. This must occur, and perhaps the signs are there that it will occur sooner than most people realize. Surely, a pagan reader of your blogs would never make the point this clear to you. Does knowing what you know scare you?

    November 17, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • snowboarder

      red – no one actually takes revelation seriously. it was written by someone on a bad trip.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • nope


      November 17, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian. .. .

      November 17, 2012 at 8:24 am |

    Over-religiosity has degraded Congress - both Democrat and Republican - to mere "narcissistic sociopath" status - this needs to be seriously rectified by the New America movement before great harm befalls Precious One the "Benghazi Righteous"

    November 17, 2012 at 7:20 am |

    A religious congress watched a silly demonic cartoon -then Petraeus spoke

    November 17, 2012 at 7:17 am |

    CNN MANAGEMENT: Thank you for your candid assessment - nothing that congress does withing the next few months –even weeks should surprise anyone except those blinded by "Democrat Truth" - something that will endure much longer than this particular CNN post (wink) - keep going, you know the "score."

    November 17, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  7. Reality

    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.

    e.g. Taoism

    "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. "

    November 17, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Reality

      Some expansion of the above:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      November 17, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Reality

      Continuing the expansion:

      Only for the new members of this blog:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Reality

      And finally for all new members of this blog:


      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".


      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:


      November 17, 2012 at 7:17 am |

      Nothing you said surprises Congress and CNN - along with those in the "light."

      November 17, 2012 at 7:22 am |

      Satan must really love his "ex-believers" the most - showering them with "tender tax-paid gifts of mercy" - do you hear Michael's trumpet blowing yet? –no but soon (wink)

      November 17, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Chedar

      @reality the only mistake you make is Buddhism. Once you become a Buddha, there is no rebirth or reincarnation. And as long as you posses duality in your mind you will never attain Buddhahood.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Kevin

      This is a great post. It's a shame most people won't accept that their chosen explanation for their existence has holes throughout it.

      As far as Buddhism goes, that was your weakest point.

      Mahayana (Zen, Tibetan) teaches about multiple Buddhas, the Buddha revered like a god, the Dalai Lama, etc.

      Theravada does not. In Theravada, Buddha was a man who taught something that could help people. That's all. The only faith involved is faith in the quality of his own realuzations and in what he taught.

      Just FYI

      November 17, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Reality

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      November 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  8. Keith

    Who represents the "non-religous" in congress? Why Satan does !

    November 17, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 17, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Sane Person

      If that were the case, people would be lining up for prayer school so they can wish thier lives all better and you wouldnt have to spend your days spamming people with nonsense.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • eay

      Religion poisons minds.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:09 am |

      When all the demonic laughter dies in earthly sorrow

      November 17, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • truth be told

      @sane person?
      People "line up" for" prayer school" all over the world on a regular basis. In fact the overwhelming majority of the worlds citizens do . Only losers,fools and the dregs of life do not.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • nope


      November 17, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Nick

      When your house is on fire, do you (1) pray for rain (2) do something to extinguish the fire? Prayer and religion are mostly harmless and marginally useful as educational tools, unless prayer is mistaken for action and religiosity is mistaken for moral behavior.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • snowboarder

      when the toilet overflows i always say a little prayer, but i know to bring the plunger anyway.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Imagine No Religion


      Again I ask, have you ever threatened YOUR children with eternal dam nation? I haven't, but I'll bet you have! Why won't you answer the question?

      Prayer changes nothing.

      I've repeatedly challenged you to take the George Carlin Prayer Test. Pray to your imaginary god friend for a month, then pray to Joe Pesci for a month. You'll find the percentage of prayers answered by god, and those by Mr Pesci, will be about the same (50/50). Have you taken the test? If so, please report your results.

      Are you a real live troll, or nothing more than a xianbot?


      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian. .

      November 17, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • truth be told

      Your prayers would not be heard unless it is a prayer to repent and change the toilet that is your life.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.'.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • truth be told

      Some used to be sometimes funny dead guy has a test and when have you ever suggested it be taken? You seem enamored with the dead, you take it.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @truth be sold, um, I mean told...

      I just love it when delusional xians attack me for using "dead guys" as illustrations of my point. The irony of this is always lost on people like you, followers of a 2000 year old "dead guy" zombie named jesus.

      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  10. The Truth

    " the religiously unaffiliated will continue to be scandalously underrepresented in the 113th Congress."

    For all the religious zealots who have hijacked our political system, your days are through. What Mr. Prothero is pointing out is that the 113 Congress does not represent reality but you better bet the 114 Congress will be closer , and every congress after that will get closer and closer to really representing America. And as the "nones" grow faster every year than any other group, we will be the face of the Congress, Senate and the White house someday.

    November 17, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • GWEdwards

      So the voters elected the wrong people?

      Better tell them that, so they don't vote for the people that THEY want to represent them next time.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • The Truth

      We have a changing electorate, changing to either unaffiliated or rejecting religion all together, which means we will continue to change our congress and senate to reflect more of our ideals. It is that simple.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  11. Bradley

    It seems from the article that democrats and republicans are over represented in congress. Which leads me to suspect congress is more loyal to their machine than their religion.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • NunyaBusiness

      Politics can not change Religion..... And Religion should not be able to change Politics.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • David

      Of course politics affects religion, else we would still have separate sides of the church and divorce would not be legal.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  12. Jt_flyer

    The imaginary friend in the sky allows me to make my own moral choices. I must be the favorite son.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • The FSM

      Pasta is the gateway to heaven, enjoy. You will know you are one of the favored when touched by his noodly appendage.
      RAmen...Peace, try to be tolerant of the Born Agains, their minds are very fragile.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  13. GWEdwards

    I'm about to release a study on the demographics of hair color and length in the Senate.

    It's not looking to good for shoulder length or longer hair (1-R), or for facial hair (0). And there is overrepresentation for grays (19-D; 23-R) and balding (9-D; 11-R). But redheads are spot on with the US average of ~4% (2-D; 2-R).

    So I've reached a similar bottom-line conclusion as the author.....
    "At least when it comes to hair, the U.S. Congress doesn't yet look like the voters who are sending them to Washington."

    November 17, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Sane Person

      Yes, hair color, race, religion and gender are totally equivalent. Sigh. We already know you guys are pretty dim witted, but do you have to showcase it so well?

      November 17, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • GWEdwards

      @Sane Person.....I never mentioned race, religion or gender, let alone any equivalency to hair color.

      And you call me dim-witted??? But go ahead and keep judging people based on those characteristics. That would seem to be the definition of bigotry.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • David

      No sane person makes a character judgement based on 5 lines of text. Just saying.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  14. sid

    People have their beliefs, faith, prayers and so on. Can't we just leave it be. Prayer works. It has for for me and lots of others I know. Lets leave it be and not feed into the Media and raise any more hate and discontent than there already is in this world. To each his own so leave it alone. We'll all answer one day...<

    November 17, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • eay

      Fix a leaking roof or broke down car with prayer.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • David

      eay, the stranger who stops and fixes a car, the neighbor who is a roofer, might they be the answer?

      November 17, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "Prayer works. It has for for me and lots of others I know. "


      Numerous studies have been done that prove you wrong. Prayer is nothing more than speaking to yourself. However if you believe you can prove it works, the James Randi Foundation will be interested in hearing from you...there's a million dollar's awaiting the evidence you claim exists.

      A thousand hands working doe more than a thousand hands clasped in prayer. Stop being lazy, get off your ass and be productive in this world. Stop giving credit where credit is not due.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Mirosal

      m'lady truth... he'll just claim that "god" sent the man to fix the car on the side of the road, or that "god" put him in touch with the right person to fix the roof ... He wouldn't understand that an Atheist is just as likely to see the broken car on the shoulder, whip out a toolbox, and lend a hand, and will be pretty adamant about NOT taking any kind of reward for the work (I know I refuse). No deity is ever required to help those who need it. It's called "being human", and the concept goes back thousands of years BEFORE any modern religion you can think of. But, buy-bull thu'mpers will never seem to accept it.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • captain america

      liar prefails is a canadian pretending to be relevant on an American topic. It is probably useless to its own country so comes here trying to impress the unknowing. It is a vicious God hating fraud. There's your sign.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      CA: Once again you delusional freak I HAVE NEVER PRETENDED TO BE FROM THE USA!!! How the hell are you so sure sid is from the USA?? As for god hating...hard to hate something that doesn't exist!!! You do not own the rights to CNN and thus your opinion does not matter about who speaks here. In case you missed it you dumb fuck, freedom of speech is what this is and my country is important to your country. How about you tell your government to keep its nose out of the business of other countries before telling us to keep our noses out of the business of your country? And in case you are too dumb to realize it, your country does not have the sole rights to religion/prayer. Time to get back to the bridge...Momma Troll will be angry with you!

      November 17, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  15. DEEBEE

    "Religious scholar" - NAH more a hack. To slice and dice people according to one facet, religion, and draw grand conclusions (leave alone the implicit cause and affect) are not the mark of a scholar.
    Could it be that the underrepresented are not skilled enough or too lazy to run?

    November 17, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • Martin

      With your last statement, you're not only slicing and dicing, you're just pulling something out of-let's see, what part of the anatomy won't get me in trouble with CNN...how about-YOUR EAR!

      November 17, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Austin

      93% of the National Academy of Science is nonreligious. Studies show that atheists in America are better educated, have higher IQ's, and are less likely to commit a crime than the religious. Atheists and agnostics in America include Bill Gates, Pat Tillman, and Warren Buffett.

      So much for "not skilled enough or too lazy."

      November 17, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • Sane Person

      More likely, rational pols see the pointlessness of attempting to educate you beyond your divine fable book.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • Gaunt

      Yeah, how DARE he use that obscure non-religious tool called 'statistical representation'?

      November 17, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • rasko41

      Wishful thinking

      November 17, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  16. Korak

    Separation of church and state.Keep your ignorant religion out of politics. Churches need to be taxed anyway.

    November 17, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • Jt_flyer

      I agree completely.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      I second that!!!

      November 17, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  17. Leif

    @Mike Oh, gee. Forgive me I was not aware that he was wishing for proportional representation. How Un-democratic of him. God forbid that our government should represent us, we, the people...the mere people. Can I breathe now...is that ok?

    November 17, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Mike

      Leif -

      spare me the false sarcasm and blatant dishonesty .... democracy is sending elected representatives to the congress. the author is talking about religious and racial proportional representation in Congress which is neither an end goal of democracy nor a virtue in itself that system should aim to attain. author is ascribing false value to a false goal - a sign of a deluded, distracted and destructive mind.

      November 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  18. Leif

    Mike reads his own fears into this article. Take a deep breath, Mike. Relax. The world is not out to get you.

    November 17, 2012 at 5:21 am |
  19. steve

    stupid statement
    like saying is Harlem too black

    November 17, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  20. Leif

    Mike would like to use this article to support his own agenda. He cannot do so because he cannot point to a single argument in this article which backs up his agenda. He cannot point out a single false statement.

    November 17, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Mike

      I am only exposing Prothero's agenda behind his statements. He is wishing for a proportional representation in the Congress along religious, racial and gender lines. That is NOT the end goal of democracy. Only way to attain his goal would be to set a quota in place for free and fair elections.

      November 17, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • Leif

      Why is that the only way? Perhaps the collective intelligence of the human species will arrive at the same goal. You underestimate the strenght of the human intellect.

      November 17, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Mike

      You fail to explain how proportional representation a virtue in itself worthy of attainment? What real problems is that going to solve except solidify religious and race identification. It is a false goal with false value ascribed to it by a deluded and distracted mind.

      November 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
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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.