Musings from a Former Evangelical

Heidi Hutton Rigoli
5 min readNov 1, 2020


As a former evangelical Christian, I sometimes find my conscience bothered when hearing other evangelicals talk about the progressive platforms currently pronounced in the Democratic party.

I remember a Christian friend once told me, “You can’t be a Democrat if you’re a Christian.”

When I asked him why he spoke of the “Christian values” that I should have if I call myself a Christian.

There’s a long list, the most espoused are anti-abortion, men and women-only marriage, anti-Transgender, and on it goes.

The belief system doesn’t seem to include the millions of deaths that could occur if we don’t take care of our environment or the suicides that are prevalent among teens who identify within in the LGBTQIA+ category, but have been told they’re going to hell because of it.

As a former psychiatric nurse, I worked with several young people, and older too, who wanted to kill themselves after being rejected for their gender and/or sexual preferences. That tears at my heart.

I also believe in the science that says climate change is at least partly due to human abuse of the planet. I can’t understand the deniers of this fact. I can’t understand the division between religion and science that seems to be so much a part of Evangelical Christianity.

Don’t even get me started on talking about those who think the earth is only 6,000 years old, because “the Bible tells me so!”

Guess I have to work on my own bias.

Abortion is a touchy subject for me. I have a definite problem with late-term abortion unless the mother’s life is at risk. I wouldn’t want to be the one to choose at that point. However, now that abortion is legal, I certainly can’t see going back. What would women do? Go back to using hangers or being cut up by a back-street doctor?

I must admit, with the ease of birth control these days, there might not be the need for so many abortions. Christians get in the way here, though, with their rhetoric about “no sex before marriage,” which I see as ignorant when it comes to talking with teenagers. I knew some teens that were raised that way, had sex, weren’t wise to birth control, and wound up with one to three out-of-wedlock children.

Some of them wore “I am wed to Jesus” rings while humping away with their partners.

I don’t like the idea of abortion, but who does? In the end, I’ve decided it’s between the mother, the unborn, and whatever deity that mother may or may not belief in. If there’s an interested father involved, then he should have a say too perhaps. But I shouldn’t.

I understand that the baby may be a life. I can’t deny that when I see the pictures of a fetus inside a womb. But it’s still not for me or the state to control a woman’s decision about what to do about it. That’s very debatable, I know, but it’s the conclusion I’ve come to for me.

Change happened about 30 years ago when I was standing at a busy roadside with dozens of other Christians in Ventura, California. The churches had an annual demonstration against abortion, and I joined them. My sign said, “Jesus Loves You,” but other signs said, “Jesus (or God) Hates Abortion.”

As I watched the cars drive by, some beeping in agreement, others in the cars shaking their heads in disagreement, I realized that if a woman drove by who had had an abortion, she might see the signs as saying, “God hates you if you’ve had an abortion.”

Not wanting to ever be a part of such a message, I put down my sign and never went back.

The gay issue is even more pronounced for me. I remember, around the same time as I left that demonstration, I saw the movie, “Philadelphia.” I went alone because none of my Christian friends were interested. We were supposed to be opposed to the “gay life” (though I discovered later, some of them were hidden there in church).

By the way, the “love the sinner but hate the sin” is nothing but self-righteous banter. Most of the time, the so-called sinner is also despised for threatening the sanctity of marriage.

As I sat in the dark theater watching Philadelphia, sobbing at an HIV victim’s fate, I heard a voice deep inside me. I then attributed it to Christ, “You are not to judge them. You are to love them.”

I stopped going to the church I’d attended for years, and pretty much let go of many friends who could not see beyond the Christian mindset.

I later studied Christian history ferociously, which resulted in a dramatic change in my beliefs. But that’s fodder for another article.

Anyway, at a time when not agreeing 100% with either side is anathema, I find myself sometimes not belonging to any party. Though I voted Democrat this time, it doesn’t mean I can listen to a news program that leans only that way. Nor am I fond of conservative talk shows.

But I’d like to be free to not be set into one dogma or another and continue to see where my experience, my studies, and my heart brings me. I refuse to be in a box and am sickened by the way both sides are carrying on right now.

I was sickened by the 2016 election result, but even more, by the reaction and vileness spewed by some liberals. I am sickened also by the hate spewed today by both liberals and conservatives.

I consider myself mostly liberal, but I do not want to hate or join the war that currently exists, and could lead to violence from either side when election results are announced.

Now, I’m more interested in Eckhart Tolle, Buddhism progressive Christianity. Unity. Oneness. Compromise. Compassion.

The only place I can start is in my own heart and life. That in itself is a struggle sometimes. I have opinions! I want to be heard rather than hear!

Guess I’ve got a little work to do, huh?