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.