Rebecca Cardone, 21, who grew up Methodist in Texas, is president of the student body at California Lutheran University.
But don't call her Protestant or even Christian. Cardone is one of the new "Nones" -- atheists, agnostics and folks like her who believe "nothing in particular."
"I like the ambiguity" of going without a label," she says. "I prefer to stress the importance of acting with compassion rather than choosing a predetermined system of beliefs."
The big news about people with no religious identity, the Nones, isn't that they're No. 2 now in the USA, 19.6% and climbing.
It's the diversity among these 46 million people, say experts in a new analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, out Tuesday.
They're everyone. They're everywhere. They're gone and they're not coming back.
Alan Cooperman, associate director of research for the Pew Forum, says, the increase in Nones is "among men and women, among those who don't have a college education as well as those who do. There's as much increase at the lower income level as at the higher. And it is changing all across the country. It's not only in urban areas or on the coasts."
It's the change of a lifetime. When today's Baby Boomers were under 30, about 15% were Nones. They still are today. Among the 32% of Millennials who are Nones now, few will return to the organized religion fold, Pew researchers say.
The Pew analysis drew on multiple Pew Forum surveys of 17,000 adults including a survey in July of 2,973 U.S. adults, and data from other major statistical sources including the biannual General Social Survey and Gallup. More than 950 interviews focused on the unaffiliated were conducted in conjunction with the PBS program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.
Nones are still disproportionately young, white, male, liberal Democrats, but they're not dominated by atheists (2.4%) and agnostics (3.3%).
Instead, most, like Cardone, say they believe "nothing in particular" (13.9%) and they're still open to spirituality.
The study finds:
-- 68% believe at least somewhat in God or a higher power.
-- 41% say they pray.
-- 23% consider religion at least somewhat important in their life.
Claire Noelle Frost, 28, of Brooklyn, who coaches people on how to organizing and unclutter their lives, was once a Christian until she "let go of belief."
"There is so much I cannot prove. I'm not sure truth exists at all. Instead of 'I believe,' I say, 'maybe,' and 'who knows?' Frost says.
As an agnostic, Frost "embraces the sacred in all religions." At her commitment ceremony with her life partner, their interfaith celebrant wore a shawl adorned with symbols of all religions.
Frost may not be so very different from Christians. According to the Pew study, one in four of all surveyed -- Nones and believers alike -- say they believe in astrology and reincarnation. And 58% say they feel "a deep connection" with nature and the Earth.
The significant identity Nones do share is political.
-- One in four (24%) of all registered voters who say they are Democrats or Democratic-leaning are Nones. The percentage of GOP and GOP-leaning voters who are Nones rose from 9% in 2007 to 11% now.
-- Nones are now statistically tied with the white evangelicals (19%), but they are polar opposites on controversial social and political issues such as legal abortion and same-sex marriage.
-- Although Nones are overwhelmingly liberal on social issues, they're the same as everyone else on the 2012 campaign issue of the size of government: 50% of those affiliated with a religion and 52% of the Nones say they favor a smaller government offering fewer services.
Pew senior researcher Greg Smith says that Nones in 2008 voted as heavily Democratic (75% for Obama) as white evangelicals voted Republican (73% for McCain).
The major political impact of the Nones on election results is still to come, says political scientist John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at University of Akron.
The Nones "don't vote as often and they are not as involved in political groups as the religiously committed," he says. Still, Green says, they "won't be inconsequential this year. In a tight election, they could be critical."