Lutherans in Congress, by Mollie

Recently, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released data on the religious makeup of Congress. While some groups were over-represented (Catholics, Jews, Mormons) and other groups were under-represented, (evangelicals, Pentecostals, unaffiliated), Lutherans were pretty well represented. We makeup 4.6 percent of the population and comprise 4.5 percent of the seats.

This may not interest you all as much as it interests me as a reporter, but I actually didn’t know that some of these folks were Lutheran.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America News Service shared the specifics.

Seven new U.S. Congressional members are Lutheran, bringing our total to 24.
Fifteen are Democrats and nine are Republicans.

Four are senators and 20 are representatives.

All four senators are members of the ELCA — newly seated Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.;  Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; and Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Three of the new Lutherans in the House of Representatives are Missouri Synod Lutherans: Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; and Erik Paulsen, R-Minn. The other three new Lutheran House members are members of the ELCA: Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; and Marc Schauer, D-Mich.

Of the remaining Lutherans in the House, 11 are members of the ELCA, two belong to LCMS and two are members of  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). The ELCA members are: Lois Capps, D-Calif.; John R. Carter, R-Texas; Norman D. Dicks, D-Wash.; Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D.; Tom Latham, R-Iowa; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn.; Thomas Petri, R-Wis.; Bill Shuster, R-Pa.; and Tim Walz, D-Minn.

The LCMS members are Dave Reichert, R-Wash., and John M. Shimkus, R-Ill. The WELS members are: Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Ron Kind, D-Wis.

Only one Lutheran, Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., didn’t seek re-election. All others who did were re-elected.


Lutherans in Congress, by Mollie — 9 Comments

  1. Because a Senator and Representative are elected by a state or congressional district, respectively, it might be enlightening to look at the religious demographics and Lutheran representation in each of those specific voting entities.

    Also, how many of these elected officials had Lutheran opponents in the last election, so that no matter who won, a Lutheran would hold the office?

  2. Anybody know if the LCMS and WELS Lutherans are pro-life?

    (I’m not holding out any hope for the ELCA ones.)

  3. Jeff Merkley of Oregon (ELCA) is 100% pro-choice; hence his endorsement by Planned Parenthood. That’s what happens in a largly rural state dominated with densely populated liberal cities such as Eugene, Salem and Portland. Southern and Eastern Oregon rejected him soundly! Yet another arrow in the quiver for the mythical State of Jefferson.
    Medford, OR

  4. Despite the claim that she is a member of an LCMS congregation, Debbie Halvorson (D, IL, 11th) is pro-murder-by-abortion (aka pro-choice). She was endorsed during the election by NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) and Planned Parenthood. Halvorson beat a pro-life Republican, Marty Ozinga.

    If pro-abortion Halvorson is actually an LCMS Lutheran, expect the LCMS leadership to do what it did when pro-abortion and LCMS Lutheran, Paul Simon, was senator from Illinois, and when pro-abortion and LCMS Lutheran, Jesse Ventura, was governor of Minnesota… absolutely nothing!

    After all, the LCMS isn’t called “quietist” for nothing.

  5. both Michelle Bachmann and Ron kind were former WELS members.. They no longer are WELS member’s.

  6. Where do we stand in 2015? Quite a ssstttrrreeetttccchhh to refer to Dems and ELCA as Lutherans. LINOs maybe? Are they pro-life? If you have to ask…well, quite a stretch…

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