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50 years ago ... May/June 1957.

There were not many surprises in the first official survey of the religious affiliations of members of Congress, undertaken by the Library of Congress. The Methodists are first, with 87 Representatives and 18 Senators; the Roman Catholics are second with 84 Representatives and 11 Senators; the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Episcopalians are trailing in that order.

Although there are a few members who decline to list their religious affiliation, there are no outspoken theological rebels--no Robert Ingersolls. It is considered good politics to join a church, and to show perpetual tenderness toward other faiths as well. The back pages of the Congressional Record are replete with sermons and religious panegyrics, all paid for by the taxpayers. Catholic congressmen vie with each other in introducing praise of Israel; Jewish congressmen delight in introducing eulogies of Catholic bishops. The Protestant congressmen are less anxious because they are on top.

--Paul Blanshard, "The Sectarian Battlefront"
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Title Annotation:Classic Humanist
Author:Blanshard, Paul
Publication:The Humanist
Date:May 1, 2007
Previous Article:25 years ago ... May/June 1982.
Next Article:The dark ages of social science.

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