Interview on February 9, 2023 near the planetarium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa with Rachel studying animal health. .

Do you consider yourself religious?
Rachel: I do. I am a Christian. In my household since I was little my parents have been super religious. I never really branched off to anything else because I felt that that was what I believed in, so I stuck by it. I haven’t recently been going to church, but I used to. I was part of a youth ministry, too, but I would say the past year or so I really haven’t been going.

Why do you believe in God?
Rachel: Not that it was forced onto me, but since I grew up with it, I believed it and even now that I’m older, I still believe it. I don’t think it’s fake because everything I’ve read in the Bible, and testimonies and stuff, it seems real to me and it’s believable. I believe in God because I do believe there is a high power, which is Jesus Christ. I do believe that He did die for our sins and He does help us. We pray to Him, we talk to Him, do devotions, things like that help me personally and spiritually.

Who is Jesus?
Rachel: Jesus, to me, is kind of like the Messiah, the Father, the Trinity, the three in One, Someone I look to, not only as my Father, but as a Friend that you can talk to personally and spiritually.

Do you believe that Jesus really lived?
Rachel: I do.

Do you think there is evidence for the existence of God?
Rachel: I think so. I’ve seen documentaries where they dug up the Dead Sea Scrolls and all that stuff and at first I was like, that’s through TV, it can easily be faked, but me, personally, when I’ve been struggling and I turn to Him, pray to Him, talk to Him, it’s helped me, so I guess that’s what I can give to somebody as evidence. He’s helped my family. I guess the hardcore evidence would be the things they find from the past.

Do you hold traditional Christian morals?
Rachel: Not all of them. There are hardcore Christians and religions that are like “no sex before marriage, no homosexuals,” but I support gay people, I have and always will. I love gay people. I don’t have a problem with them. The whole sex before marriage – I don’t care. There are certain things that older people in the church would frown upon and be like, “Oh, you’re going to hell,” but for me, as a young person of this generation, that doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe you’re going to go to hell if you do that or you do this.

How do you think someone ends up in hell?
Rachel: I do believe there is a heaven and hell. I know in Catholicism there’s a purgatory, a waiting, I don’t believe in that, but I believe someone who is going to hell is someone who really doesn’t live a godly lifestyle, I guess. Of course people who say that they’re atheist, they don’t believe in anything, and that’s what I was taught and what the Bible tells you if you don’t believe in Him and accept Him in your heart, you’re going to hell. But I feel like as I get older, there’s certain things that are like, “Well, it could be different.” There’s a lot that I could say right now and it would be kind of contradictory, so I’m going to stick with: I’m not sure. I can tell you the textbook stuff and what it says in the Bible, but I don’t fully agree with everything so I guess it’s just personally what I think.

Do you think it’s always wrong, for everyone, to kill an innocent person?
Rachel: Yeah. If you commit murder willingly because you want to and you like to, that’s something I feel like was going to lead you into other dark stuff and your life isn’t going to go anywhere. If you like to commit crimes and do things to hurt people intentionally, then coming from a religious standpoint, we’re supposed to love people the way God loved us, we’re supposed to share that love. So if you do these things on purpose, then it’s safe to say that you will go to hell because you’re not living life with good intentions toward other people.

Do you think abortion, which ends the life of a human being, is right or wrong?
Rachel: I know Christians and Republicans and people like that say abortion is wrong and my parents raised me to say “abortion is wrong, you shouldn’t do that, you’re taking the life of a child,” but I’m an advocate for women’s rights and choosing what you want to do with your body. So even though I do say that I consider myself a Christian, I could say that I would get an abortion. I think it’s fair for the woman to choose whatever they want. As I grew up, I had my own personal beliefs within Christianity.

Do you think that abortion kills a child?
Rachel: Yeah. It does. And I know that you can kill it – you can have an abortion up to the day before, which I think is wrong. I think if you have it when you barely find out that you’re pregnant, it’s okay. You are still killing life, but if it’s not going to fit with your life, your situation, or your circumstance, whatever it may be, and your decisions, then that’s on you. But if you decide to kill it while it’s already growing limbs and a heart and a brain then I think that’s wrong and I think you shouldn’t do that. And I sometimes feel like we shouldn’t have the power to do that.

Do you know at what point in the pregnancy the heartbeat starts?
Rachel: I do not.

The baby’s heartbeat starts at about three weeks, which means that almost all abortions occur when there’s a beating heart – do you think that’s wrong?
Rachel: I can say yes, I can say no, but I feel like I can’t give you a definite answer on that.

If someone were shouting racial slurs on campus, would you say something?

Rachel: Absolutely. I would go up to them, like, “Hey, stop that s***.” Especially on campus with a whole bunch of diversity here, why would you want that? I come to school here, this is my school, I don’t want that at my school. Because one of the first things they say is that it’s diverse and it’s a safe community, so if someone’s doing that, like what the hell? I’ll stop it.

So you think there are circumstances where you should impose your morality on others?
Rachel: Yes.

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