Biden (copy)

Joe Biden, seen departing the St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, is the second president of the Catholic faith. 

President Joe Biden joins John Kennedy as the only U.S. presidents to be Roman Catholic.

So what religions have other presidents practiced?

According to potus.com/presidential-facts/religious-affiliation/, the most common religious affiliation of presidents has been Episcopalian, with 11 presidents claiming that denomination. This includes George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Chester A. Arthur, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush.

Nine have been Presbyterian: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Donald J. Trump.

The four Baptists are Warren G. Harding, Harry S. Truman, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, while the four Unitarians are John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore and William H. Taft.

Counted as Methodists are Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley and George W. Bush. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson had no religious affiliation.

Five groups have had two U.S. presidents. Disciples of Christ members are James A. Garfield and Lyndon B. Johnson; Dutch Reformed members are Martin Van Buren and Theodore Roosevelt; Society of Friends/Quaker are Herbert Hoover and Richard M. Nixon; and Protestant without a denomination are Rutherford B. Hayes and Barack Obama.

Calvin Coolidge was a Congregationalist.

And what about Congress?

The 117th Congress will look similar to previous sessions of Congress but will not look similar to the American public, according to the Pew Research Center.

The center said 26% of U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated — describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, is the only member of the new Congress who identifies as religiously unaffiliated, a percentage of 0.2%.

In the general public, 65% identify as Christian as opposed to 88% of Congress. The percentage remains high against the general public when broken down to Protestant or Catholic. In Congress, 55% are Protestant versus 43% of the public, and 30% are Catholic versus 20% of adults in the U.S.

Jewish members make up 6% of Congress as opposed to 2% of the public.

One change the Pew Research Center noted was more members of Congress are identifying as simply Protestant or Christian instead of a specific denomination. It reports 18% or 96 members of Congress identify this way as opposed to 7% when the center first tracked numbers for the 111th Congress. In the general public, the number of people who identify themselves this way has held steady.

Other religions represented in Congress include, two Buddhist members (0.4% vs. 1% in public), three Muslim members (0.6% versus 1% in the public), two Hindu members (0.4% vs. 1% in the public) and three Unitarian Universalist members (0.6%, versus less than 1% in the public).

Of the non-Christian members of Congress, all but three are Democrats.

To read the report, visit pewforum.org/2021/01/04/faith-on-the-hill-2021. To see the detailed tables, visit pewforum.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2020/12/01.04.20_faith.on_.the_.hill_table.pdf.

Facets of Faith runs every other Saturday in Living. Reach Leila Pitchford at lpitchford@theadvocate.com.