Mia Love brings even more religious diversity to Congressional Black Caucus

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Mia Love

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Mayor Mia Love of Utah speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Mia Love

Mayor Mia Love of Utah speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Mia Love made history this week as the first black female Republican to be elected to Congress. Love is also noteworthy because she is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). This is particularly noteworthy given the church’s legacy on race. According to Pew’s 2011 survey of Mormons, only one percent of the LDS are black.

Love will bring more than partisan diversity to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). She will also add even more religious diversity to the CBC.

The CBC has a surprising variety of religions represented it its membership. The CBC’s ranks include

  • The only two Muslims in Congress, Andre Carson (D-IN) and Keith Ellison (D-MN)
  • The first Buddhist elected to Congress, Hank Johnson (D-GA)
  • One of two Seventh Day Adventists, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
  • Two Catholics, Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-MO)

South Carolina re-elected Tim Scott, who was appointed in 2012. Scott is the first black Senator elected in the South since REconstruction. Scott is not, however, a member of the CBC. Scott is a leader in Seacoast Church, an evangelical mega-church.

The Caucus also includes the only Moravian. Donna Chrisian-Christensen (D) is a delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is leaving the Congress and is being replaced by Stacey Plaskett (D). Their faiths reflect the history of Moravian and Lutheran missionaries in the islands.

Like the rest of Congress, the CBC draws from churches with higher socio-economic status.While most of the CBC is Baptist, the caucus also includes four Episcopalians, another handful of African Methodist Episcopalians, and a couple of Methodists. Yet, there are no Pentecostal or Holiness churches represented, not one member of COGIC.

Final note: Love is also breaking new ground as the only female LDS member of Congress.

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  • rob

    First blacks were not good enough to be Mormon AND NOW THEY ARE !
    what fun it is to be a living profit for the Mormon church and get to make up new rules
    when you find blacks have money to …
    and the rest of society might get angry at you for your old racist rules ..

  • rob

    why not just throw the book of Mormon in the trash instead of trying to re-interpret it statements . .. and make a new book of Mormon .. THE FIRST LINE COULD BE WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE ANY THING IN THIS BOOK THAT HURTS OUR IMAGE OR FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITIES..

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  • To Rob
    Your complaint of Mormons being too concerned about money is out of place. Before I post my response to your misunderstanding about Mormonism let be just give a few other facts about what Mormonism can do for you and others:
    Mormon men live 10 years longer than other U.S. white males.

    Mormon women live more than five years longer than other U.S. white females.

    Those are the among the results of a 25-year study into the health habits and the longevity of the Mormon lifestyle by non-Mormon UCLA professors James E. Enstrom and Lester Breslow, who summarized their research with the conclusion: “Several healthy characteristics of the Mormon lifestyle are associated with substantially reduced death rates and increased life expectancy.”
    The study, conducted from 1980 to 2004, included information from questionnaire responses by more than 9,800 faithful Mormon couples and concluded that practicing Mormons in California had the lowest total death rates and the longest life expectancies ever documented in a well-defined U.S. cohort. The authors concluded the findings suggest a model for substantial disease prevention in the general population.

    The study revealed Mormon males had a life expectancy of 84.1 years — 9.8 years longer than that of U.S. white males. Mormon females had a life expectancy of 86.1 years — 5.6 years longer than U.S. white females.

    Another staggeringly significant fact to emerge from the study: The more strictly and constantly Mormons followed Mormon lifestyle elements, the longer they live.
    Other interesting findings from the study include:
    • Religiously active LDS men, i.e. high priests, have 40 percent less chance, on average over the years, of dying than white American men.
    • Active Mormon women have 27 percent less chance, on average over the years, of dying than white American women.
    • Mormon men who never smoked, attend church at least weekly, obtained at least 12 years of education and are married have a 50 percent less chance, on average over the years, of dying than their national counterparts.
    • Mormon women who do the same things have a 34 percent less chance, on average over the years, of dying than their counterparts. These are called optimal Mormon groups in the study.
    • The probability of death is lowered to 52 percent for Mormon men and 40 percent for Mormon women who consistently live the Word of Wisdom, based on the measurement of moderate body mass index.
    By the way Blacks have always been able to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The priesthood was withheld from Blacks until 1976, since that time missionary work in Africa has brought hundreds of thousands of Blacks into Mormonism. Members there are converted not because of money as you imply. If Mormons were all about money it seems unlikely they would proselyte extensively in Africa. You may recall the priesthood authority was kept from “gentiles” for thousands of years before it was allowed to be given to non Jews. You may also recall it took a revelation to Peter (Acts 10) before the change was make. Did you know Rob that local clergy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are not compensated in any way for their services to the Church? While the Church has money those moneys are used to help the poor, build new buildings, support church schools and seminary programs, etc. No one is sitting around in big houses, driving big cars or having private jets or the like because of service in the Church. You are probably a very nice person and are concerned but you need to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Please visit mormon.org for more information.

  • Your response is spot on Tweedy. I don’t think it will silence any naysayers, but what you wrote is the truth.

  • Barry the Baptist

    Do you have nothing to say about confounding factors associated with higher living standards as a result of higher socioeconomic standing? Or about the effect of the social networks that these people were part of? Even the scientists’ conclusion was taken out of context: “healthy characteristics of the Mormon lifestyle are associated” with longer lifespans. Nothing here shows that practicing Mormonism caused it, only that it was correlated with the results. If you want to prove that the religion is the cause, demonstrate that.

    And, the fact that a group of people were actively discriminated against by a religious group in the old world in no way excuses the questionable practices endorsed by Mormonism prior to 1976.