California Catholic reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and ask students about God, good, and evil 

Kylie and Michelle are in their fourth year at UCLA and are both studying sociology.

This interview took place outside James West Alumni Center on January 9.


Do you consider yourself religious?

Kylie: No. My family is Protestant Christian, so I grew up a little bit going to church. I went to a Christian school for a couple years, but personally I don’t consider myself religious.

Michelle: No. Born Buddhist, but never really followed it all the way.


What changed?

Kylie: I think a lot of it had to do with politics, actually. I disagree a lot with Protestant Christianity’s political viewpoints and so it made it hard for me to be a part of that institution.


What specific political viewpoints do you disagree on?

Kylie: Well, of course the stance on LGBTQ rights, transgender rights, even just women. Being a feminist, it’s a little bit hard to be part of such a patriarchal institution. At least – I can only speak for Protestant Christianity – I feel like it is. I think education had a huge part to do with that, especially when I got into feminism and feminist theory and things like that.

How did you come to these political viewpoints?

Michelle: I find myself pretty liberal. I feel like my religion doesn’t have to do with my political standpoint. But also I feel like how I view politics definitely effects how I view certain religions – not like harshly or anything – but just like, ooh, like that. But just growing and just learning more made me have different viewpoints and everything.


Most people say that their religion influences their moral code. Is it correct to say that you’ve developed a moral code that influences how you view religion?

Kylie: Yeah. I guess that’s it. I mean it is an interesting question to think about, where our moral code comes from. That’s a super sociological question. I think for some people it does come from religion, but that even arguably is heavily influenced by whatever social structure you’re in. So yeah, I guess, to put it simply, perhaps I wouldn’t consider religion my moral code, you know.


Do you think that liberal political views are moral and the opposing views are immoral?

Kylie: I think not being pro-LGBTQ rights is immoral. So I guess in a simple way, yeah. My viewpoints – pro-LGBTQ, pro-transgender, all of those things – I do consider moral and to be against those things I do think would be immoral.

Michelle: I totally agree with her.

Kylie: But that exists within the status quo structure of like religion, immoral, morality. I think it can be a lot more complicated than that.


What LGBTQ rights is Protestant Christianity opposed to?

Kylie: I think a huge one was just the right to get married. Just the right to exist. I mean a lot of Protestant Christianity advocates for – for lack of a better word – hate against LGBTQ people and I think that that really goes against their teachings to begin with. I think Christianity should be all about love.


What are your views on abortion?

Kylie: I’m pro-choice.

Michelle: Pro-choice as well. Catholicism and then like Christianity – I feel like that’s one thing that I really don’t agree with them is that they are pro-life while I’m pro-choice and they heavily have that view and put a really bad name to women who do get abortions. I really don’t appreciate how they pretty much criminalize them for doing what they want to do.

Kylie: Yeah, it’s just another way to police women’s bodies and make women ashamed. And I think that the sort of people who say that they’re pro-life, it’s interesting because they’re not really, right? If abortion wasn’t legal, women would still have abortions and women would die from unsafe abortions. So I think that’s also like a critical thing in the language even. Pro-life versus pro-choice. It’s kind of funny. Sad.


What would you say to the argument that biologically, every abortion kills a member of the human species and to be truly pro-equality, you should support equal protection for mother and child and all members of the human species?

Kylie: I think that when we really get down to it, an unborn baby is part of a woman’s body and so to try to police what a woman can do with her body, I don’t think that that’s in the name of equality at all. It’s limiting the equality of women to have agency over their own bodies.


Do you believe in an afterlife?

Kylie: I don’t know.

Michelle: Though my religion says there is an afterlife, I honestly don’t believe in it.


Hannah is in her first year at UCLA, studying business economics. This interview took place outside Pauley Pavilion on January 9.


Do you consider yourself religious?

Hannah: No. Well, I’m Buddhist, my family is too. I think it’s more of a spiritual thing, instead of a religious thing.


How does that affect your life?

Hannah: I don’t think it has a really strict type of rule thing that you have to follow. So I think that’s why I’m more open to it, I guess. Because my parents were both raised really strictly Buddhist which meant they would go to temple a lot and pray. But for me, I kind of just see it as being open to things and kindness to all and that type of stuff.


What’s your moral code based on?

Hannah: I think “moral code” kind of varies depending on each person, but I guess my moral code would be based on how my parents raised me. So just seeing how they treated people and that type of stuff is really influencing how I treat people.


Do you believe in an afterlife?

Hannah: There’s a lot in Buddhism – they talk about reincarnation and that type of stuff. I believe that after you die you don’t really just die, like your soul can go elsewhere and that type of stuff. But I don’t know if I believe in the whole reincarnation, like if you’re good then in the next life you become like a different creature. So I think just your spirit lives on in a way.


Do you believe Buddhism is superior to other religions?

Hannah: I’m pretty open. I went to a Catholic high school – Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas – and I think it was actually pretty cool learning about other religions and that type of stuff. I think I learned a lot from learning about Catholicism. Not necessarily I believe all of the stuff, but just the type of morals that they taught was really cool, I think. So yeah, just staying open.