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    New Congress Has

Diversity Of Religious Groups


   Hank Johnson


By Amanda Smith


Since our most recent election, Congress now sports a very diverse religious showing, including a Muslim and two Buddhists.  For these two religious groups, the 110th Congress represents a first for representation.


Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is African American.  Raised as a Catholic, he converted to Islam at age 19 while attending Wayne State University.


The two Buddhists – Reps. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Hank Johnson of Georgia - are both Democrats and both have declined to talk about their religious affiliations, stating that it is a private matter. 


Johnson’s Buddism was barely mentioned so apparently had no affect during his successful bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Cynthia McKinney.  Both are black, but McKinney is Catholic.


A spokesman for Johnson confirmed that he became a Buddhist about 30 years ago and is affiliated with Soka Gakkai International, the American Buddhist association that has the most success attracting blacks.



You are Visitor #  Hit Counter   Updated Wednesday April 05, 2006 12:40:42



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