Thursday, January 15, 2015

Faith of the Founders and the current Congress

There are 204 unique individuals in the group called our "Founding Fathers." These are the people who did one or more of the following:

- signed the Declaration of Independence
- signed the Articles of Confederation
- attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ...
- signed the Constitution of the United States of America
- served as Senators in the First Federal Congress (1789-1791)
- served as U.S. Representatives in the First Federal Congress

88 or 54.7% were Anglican/Episcopalian, 30 or 18.6% were Presbyterians, and 27 or 16.8% were Congregationalist. 4.3% were Quakers (although not life long) and 3.7% were Dutch Reformed/German Reformed. Others like Lutherans 3.1% and Catholics 1.9% combined to make the founders approximately 100% Christian or Christian influenced. I'm sure there were atheists and agnostics clever enough to keep their views to themselves and were baptized members in name only. The third group's grandbaby is the current United Church of Christ (the Obamas' church) and it describes itself as "Christian, Reformed, Congregational and Evangelical" so the current version rolls some of those together. Protestantism is terribly fluid and confusing, a little like tracing your family tree. Where 2 or 3 are gathered, someone forms a new denomination. The 2nd great awakening came later so there are only 2 Methodists.(Religious affiliations of the founders)

92% of the current 114th Congress is made up of Christians, with Protestants at 57% and Catholics at 31%, so they've made huge strides with only 22% of the population reporting Catholic in faith. As was the case with the signers of our original documents, Congress is much more religious counting Jews (5%) than the general population--with more clergy than the Founders.

Some Christians doubt the high percentage in the current Congress. I don't judge when someone says he/she is a Christian--if we take the word of a Muslim, or an atheist, why not a Christian?. There are too many litmus tests among us Christians. God will judge. The journalists of Charlie Hebdo, hateful, nasty, despiser of all faiths, now know for sure.

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