Discovering I’m no longer who I thought I was: A young, Evangelical, Republican woman

Quick note: I am still both young (28 to be exact — I hope that still counts as young!) and a woman. Those haven’t changed. :)

Can we collectively let out a big sigh for where we’ve found ourselves today, Americans? Not where we’re headed — oh no. We’re already there.

I used to be so proud of my identity as a young, Evangelical, Republican woman. That’s a rare combination. I carried this identity through my early and mid-twenties, feeling both unique and empowered in my worldview and choices I made.

I traveled the world, attended a year of Bible School, finished college, and got my first job running a political campaign. I loved it all. It made send to me: the intersection of living out Jesus’ Kingdom calling on earth by pursuing a career improving lives through the political system. Another sigh. I was so naive.

I even tattooed my favorite phrase from the Lord’s Prayer, “Your Kingdom come,” on my foot. [See Luke 11 if you’re rusty on your Lord’s Prayer.]

Friends and family praised my commitment to bring light to the dirty, corrupt world of politics. We all held the hope that redemption was possible. I lost more than a few battles, got battered and bruised, but felt I was uniquely gifted and called to work in politics as a young Christian woman “for such a time as this.”

I think that time has come to an end.

I strongly believe that Donald J. Trump has received far more air time that he deserves. He’s a selfish idiot. (Ok, you’re right, he’s probably quite intelligent — or very, very lucky. But calling him an idiot makes me feel just a tiny bit better.)

While it’s tempting to label Trump as the embodiment of pure evil, I won’t give him that much credit. He is simply a catalyst revealing who we have already become as a society in America.

Here’s where I draw the line: so-called “Evangelical Christians” coming out in droves supporting their candidate of choice, The Donald. I can’t stand it.

Suddenly, I realized something fairly worldview-shattering: if these people were Evangelicals, I certainly wasn’t. If these people are Republicans, I’m certainly not that, either. I will not, cannot, ever be associated with this group of individuals.

So today, I’m taking off my badges of Evangelical and Republican. I’m wrapping them up and tucking them away in my box of keepsakes I hopefully get to share with my future children. I think back on many of my memories as an Evangelical Republican fondly, and I will treasure them the rest of my life. But others, from this past year in particular, will only serve as a warning for future generations: be careful in how you label yourself. You may become someone you don’t want to be.

A few points of clarification: I still love Jesus and will follow Him with all I have the rest of my life. I still believe in grace, hope, and love. I support many of the tenets of traditional Republicanism: empowering people to become the very best version of themselves. Protecting the vulnerable, the weak, the unborn. Allowing people to make their own choices and fully face the consequences.

This is how I live my life. I will not stop.

But I will not do so as a self-proclaimed Evangelical Republican. If we now define those two long-respected terms by the words and actions of Donald J. Trump, I’m done.

I’m not sure what words will replace my identity suddenly cut in half. I am still young, still a woman. And maybe that’s all I need to be. The world needs more brave young men and women willing to strip away the divisive language of identity and start to have real, authentic conversations with their neighbors — especially if their neighbors are different than themselves. Only then will we move beyond this mean, crude, immature, disastrous place we’ve found ourselves in America.

I pray that day comes swiftly.

*Disclaimer: Many of you are familiar for the politically-affiliated organization I work for, and I am proud to do so. I am in no way disassociating myself from them or the good work they do. However, I have not been and will never be affiliated with the organized GOP in America. That’s all — thanks!