The state of Montana is situated in the North Western region of US. Montana is one of the least populous states in the United States. The state is home to approximately one million residents. Montana accommodates diverse religions within its population. Christianity is the dominant religion in Montana with 65% of the adult religious population professing Christianity, while 30% of the state’s adult population has no religious affiliation. Other minority religious groups are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and others who make up approximately 5% of the adult population.
Largest Religions in Montana
Christians are the majority religious community in the state of Montana. The first missionaries to arrive in Montana came in 1847 and they established the St. Mary’s Mission. The group comprised of Catholic missionaries who introduced Christianity in the area. Other Christian groups immigrated into Montana in the 19th and 20th centuries in search of work along the railroads and in the mines. Currently, Protestants make up the largest Christian group in Montana taking 44% of the adult religious population. Catholics make up 17% of the Christians while other minority Christian groups such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Orthodox only make up 3% of the adult population.
Judaism was once a thriving religion in Montana in the late 19th century. The first Jews to settle in Helena area in Montana arrived from Germany. The Jewish people came to work in the gold mines of Montana during the Gold rush era. The Jewish community largely contributed to the economic growth of Helena town doing business and working in the gold mines. Temple Emanu-El was the first Jewish temple in the region established in 1891. The temple was sold to the state of Montana after the Jews in the area declined. Today, the structure is classified as a National Historic site which is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Helena. The Jewish community in Montana has significantly declined to make up less than 1% of the adult population.
Muslims are a minority community in Montana. They make up less than 1% of the adult population in the state. The first Muslims to settle in Montana came in the 20th century. Most of them relocated from Islamic regions to Montana seeking work and education. The Muslims in Montana have numerous Islamic centers spread throughout the state where they offer support to fellow Muslims as well as non-Muslims.
Buddhists are a minority religious group in Montana making up approximately 1% of the state’s adult population. However, in the past few years, the community of Buddhist worshippers throughout Montana has been steadily growing. The growth has been attributed to increasing popularity of Buddhism in the West. Montana is home to numerous Buddhist centers where people gather to learn about the religion.
Religious Diversity in Montana
Montana is a place of diverse religious beliefs. The state has countless religious centers that are managed by different faith groups. Montana grants the freedom of worship to all its residents. Additionally, Montana has created laws that protect minority religious groups from discrimination. Nonetheless, some religious minorities such as Jews and Muslims still suffer harassment from conservative members of the society.