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Parimal Tandon | HENB | Washington | Jan 5, 2017:: Hindus, Jews and Buddhists have gained ground in the new US Congress, even as a latest research suggests that the members of the legislative body remain overwhelmingly Christians despite significant change in the religious demographic profile of the country in less than five decades.
This is for the first time in American history that the Congress has three Hindus members — Tulsi Gabbard, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna. There is a practising Hindu face in US congress, Pramila Jayapal who declined to state their religious affiliation in her election nomination papers. Another Hindu Kamala Harris entered as a first Indian origin lady to US Senate from California with Republican affiliation.
So far five Indian-Americans of Hindu roots took oath as members of Congress+, out of which Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, 42, who won the election from Illinois took the oath on Gita.
After Jews, who have 30 members in the new US Congress, Hindus and Buddhism, each having three members jointly share the third sport in terms of religious ranking of US Congress members, according to Pew Research Center analysis.
The experts (not in Pew) opine that the increasing strength of Hindus, Buddhists and Jews will be helpful to Donald Trump to continue his strategic fight against Radical Islam and Global Jihad in many ways.
Among members of the 115th Congress, 91 per cent describe themselves as Christians.
This is nearly the same percentage as in the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962, the earliest years for which comparable data are available), when 95 per cent of members were Christian, the research said.
Pew said among the 293 Republicans elected to serve in the 115th Congress, all but two identify as Christians; there are two Jewish Republicans – Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee – who both serve in the House.
Democrats in Congress also are overwhelmingly Christian (80 per cent), but there is more religious diversity on this side of the aisle, Pew said.
The 242 Democrats in Congress include 28 Jews, three Buddhists, three Hindus, two Muslims and one Unitarian Universalist – as well as the only member of Congress to describe herself as religiously unaffiliated, Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona.
In addition, all 10 members of Congress who decline to state their religious affiliation are Democrats.
Among the lawmakers who declined to state their religious affiliations include Indian-American Pramila Jayapal who has been for the first time been elected to the House of Representatives. Her mother is a Hindu. Washington DC-based Hindu American Foundation (HAF), however, believes that Pramila Jayapal is a Hindu.
Hindus who are about one per cent of the US population are now 0.6 per cent in the US Congress, Pew said. There are two Muslim lawmakers in the Congress.
“Among non-Christian religious groups, Jews and Hindus had the biggest gains (an increase of two seats each),” Pew said comparing the religious configuration of the new Congress with the last one.
“Jews, who make up two per cent of the US adult population, hold 30 seats in the new Congress (six per cent), up from 28 seats in the 114th (five per cent),” it said.
Ultimately, Donald Trump is going to get a strong support of Hindu-Buddhist-Jews-Christian unity inside the US Congress to fight against Radical Islam and Jihad outrightly.