Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Congress 9% Jesuit-educated

As someone who is also Jesuit educated - Boston College, Weston Jesuit School of Theology - I couldn't resist sharing this story from today's Boston Globe:

The 111th Congress, sworn in last week, features 50 members (out of 535) who are Jesuit-educated, according to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Georgetown has by far the most alumni at the Capitol -- 18 -- but local favorites Boston College and the College of the Holy Cross have their share, with six and four graduates in Congress, respectively.

The BC alumni are all Democrats, including, from Massachusetts, Senator John F. Kerry (JD 1976), Representative Michael Capuano (JD 1977), Representative William D. Delahunt (JD 1967) and Representative Edward J. Markey (BA 1968; JD 1972). The others are Representative Paul W. Hodes of New Hampshire (JD 1978) and Representative Robert C. Scott of Virginia (JD 1973). (UPDATE: An alert reader reminds me that Representative Stephen F. Lynch, also a Massachusetts Democrat, received a law degree from BC (in 1991). I have no idea why he's not on the AJCU list, but that increases BC's number to 7, and the overall number of Jesuit college and university grads in Congress to 51.)

The Holy Cross alumni, also all Democrats, are Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania (BA 1982), Representative Timothy H. Bishop of New York (BA 1972), Representative James P. Moran of Virginia (BA 1967) and Representative Peter Welch of Vermont (BA 1969).

In another analysis of the makeup of Congress, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life looked at the religious makeup of the House and Senate. A few highlights from the report:

• "Members of Congress are much more likely than the public overall to say they are affiliated with a particular religion."

• The Congress is mostly Protestant (54.7%), mirroring the nation, but the Protestants are from multiple denominations; Baptists are underrepresented, while Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians are overrepresented when compared to their presence in the national population.

• "Catholics are the single largest religious group in the 111th Congress. Catholics, who account for nearly one-quarter of the U.S. adult population, make up about 30% of Congress."

• "Jews, who account for just 1.7% of the U.S. adult population, make up 8.4% of Congress, including just over 13% of the Senate."

• There are two Muslims and two Buddhists in Congress; both groups are slightly underrepresented, as are Hindus (there are no Hindu members of Congress).

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