These Evangelical Women Are Abandoning Trump and Their Churches
The #MeToo movement, pandemic, and protests for racial justice have divided the evangelical community from their strongman
Katie Loveland, 37 and a mother of two, was raised evangelical in Wyoming in the 1980s and ’90s. Her parents weren’t political, but they steeped her in Christian pop culture, like kids’ music by the Donut Man and Psalty the singing hymnal, as well as media from the fundamentalist organization Focus on the Family. When she was 25, Loveland moved to Helena, Montana, to raise her own family and began attending the small congregation at the Christian Missionary and Alliance Church. In 2016, one morning after she taught adult Sunday School, an usher in his sixties followed her into the church kitchen. He was tall and blocked the exit, looking Loveland up and down. “Do you have a twin?” he said. “Because I’d sure like to have that.”
Loveland wrote the man a letter — he’d been bothering other women, too — and reported the incident to her pastor, but the man continued serving communion. “It wasn’t this big, horrible thing,” she told me late last year, but it made Loveland begin to reevaluate the treatment of women within her church.
Around the same time, her church’s all-male board “decided what was needed in our church was someone to walk around on Sundays and carry a gun.” Loveland, who works in public health, was helping out in the church nursery, where older kids would wander in and out to play with the babies. The board’s decision made Loveland contemplate the risk of harm posed by an unlicensed, armed person in the church, primed to shoot.
The churches they once loved continue to support an administration they see as immoral.
On November 2, 2016, Loveland was among the minority of evangelical voters who did not vote for Donald Trump. That election result was cataclysmic for her. It “ground me into dust spiritually,” she says. Loveland saw clearly an underlying assumption among her congregation that men should be in charge, that they would protect the women. She realized evangelicalism was no longer the place for her.