We already know there’s no openly atheist representation in Congress. The Secular Caucus on Capitol Hill has a single member — Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — while ten members didn’t bother answering the religion question at all. Meanwhile, 90.7% of Congress is some variety of Christian.
The Pew Research Center, which always does a nice job reporting on that information every two years, just did a more in-depth analysis of each individual state and the results may be even more depressing.
They found that more than half the states in the country (28) have a congressional delegation made up entirely of Christians while six of them are entirely Protestant.
These delegations range in size from three members (as with Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana) to 38 (Texas). In none of these states is the general population more than 86% Christian. (Alabama is 86% Christian.) In several of the states on this list, such as Massachusetts, the share of Christians in the general population is roughly six-in-ten.
[Protestant-only] states are Alabama (nine members of Congress), Delaware (three), Kansas (six), Montana (three), Oklahoma (seven) and Wyoming (three)…
There’s only one state with no Christian representation at all. (Any guesses?)
While 63% of adults in Hawaii are Christian, Hawaii’s delegation is made up of two Buddhists, one Hindu and one Jew.
I suppose if there’s any silver lining to take from this, it’s that some of the states that send only Christians to D.C. have very few representatives at all, while others are the ones you’d expect (hello, Texas). Those states may, paradoxically, be places where open atheists could run for public office and make a name for themselves. It’s not like anyone else had a chance either, you know?
But let this be another reminder that elections matter, and the past decade’s demographic shift away from religion doesn’t matter unless we can translate that into political power. It’s not that Christians shouldn’t be elected — plenty of them are excellent progressive representatives. It’s that non-Christians will have more of a chance of getting elected if non-religious voters got their shit together like the Religious Right has done for so long.