Beliefnet
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (RNS) Catholics continue to dominate numerically in theU.S. Congress, followed by Baptists and Methodists, the latest tally byAmericans for Religious Liberty shows.

Of the 535 members of the 107th Congress, 150 are Roman Catholic,including 91 Democrats and 59 Republicans, the Maryland-basedorganization reported in Voice of Reason, its quarterly newsletter.

Baptist members increased by three members to 72, with 37Republicans, 34 Democrats and one independent. Methodists saw thelargest jump in numbers, adding six for a total of 65, including 39Republicans and 26 Democrats.

The top religious affiliations have remained the same for decades,with Catholics as the largest religious bloc.

"They have been since 1964," said Albert Menendez, associate editorof the newsletter. "They're going to stay in first place probablyforever."

Presbyterians in Congress increased by two members to a total of 49,including 32 Republicans and 17 Democrats. Episcopalians, dropped by oneto 41, with 30 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Jewish members saw anincrease of three members for a total of 37 -- 33 Democrats, 3Republicans and one independent.

The number who identified themselves as "nondenominationalProtestant" decreased by five to a total of 29, with 19 Republicans and10 Democrats.

Rounding out the top 10, were 20 Lutherans (11 Democrats and nineRepublicans), 15 Mormons (12 Republicans and three Democrats) and eightmembers of the United Church of Christ (five Republicans and threeDemocrats).

Geographically, Catholic members are often from the Northeast, theGreat Lakes region and California. Baptists, Methodists andPresbyterians members are mostly from the South.

Seven members claimed no religious affiliation. There are no Muslim,Buddhist or Hindu members.

Americans for Religious Liberty is a group that monitors trends inreligion and politics and supports church-state separation.
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