The surprising primary loss of Rep. Eric Cantor this week has exposed the lack of religious diversity in the Republican congressional delegation.
The Jewish Virginian, the majority leader on track to eventually be House speaker, was the only Republican in that chamber who did not belong to a Protestant, Catholic or Latter-day Saints (Mormon) church or temple.
In contrast, the Democrats in the House, while largely Christian (including one Mormon), also include 21 Jews, two Buddhists, two Muslims, one Hindu and a Unitarian-Universalist. Eight do not identify with any religion. The party in the Senate also has Jews, two members with no religion and one Buddhist, while again the Republicans across the aisle are strictly Christians.
Cantor lost to David Brat, who attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Va. Brat describes himself as “a man of deep faith” and said God was behind his political “miracle.”
Brat attended Hope College, a Christian liberal arts college, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He then earned his doctorate in economics from American University.
He is currently an economics professor at Randolph-Macon college.