“I’ve never been to Hillsong,” says Chris Pratt of the controversial church in a Men’s Health cover story released today. “I’ve never been to Hillsong. I don’t know anyone from this church.”
They belong to the Jurassic World: Dominion star’s most definitive comments since becoming something of a symbol for Christianity in Hollywood.
Pratt traces people linking him to the city’s fledgling evangelical movement to an acceptance speech at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards in which he said, “God is real. God loves you, God wants the best for you. Believe that; I do.”
Perhaps the use of the word “you” and the command “believe that; I do” were a little too gospel for some. Pratt admits this to Men’s Health.
“Maybe it was hubris on my part to get up on stage and say the things I said. I’m not sure I touched anyone.”
In 2019 after Pratt moved on The Late Show and speaking to Stephen Colbert about his faith, Elliot Page tweeted, “Oh. K. Um. But his church is notoriously anti-LGBTQ, so maybe address that as well?”
That Umbrella Academy The actor added, “If you’re a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone just wonders why they’re not being approached. Being anti-LGBTQ is wrong, there are no two sides. The damage it causes is severe. Point. I send love to everyone.”
While it’s unclear if Page was referring to the scandal-plagued Hillsong Church, which was once home to many prominent young Christians in Hollywood, the Twittersphere certainly got it. Hillsong is said to have practiced gay conversion therapy, which attempts to “pray gays away.” The method “is not based on any medical or scientific evidence,” according to the American Medical Association, which denies its use.
Pratt replied on Instagram at the time: “It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church that ‘hates people’ and ‘is notoriously anti-LGBTQ. Nothing is further from the truth. I’m going to a church that opens its doors to absolutely everyone.” That Guardians of the Galaxy The actor didn’t name Hillsong, and that’s for a good reason: He doesn’t attend services there.
His Guardian Director James Gunn defended Pratt at the time, pointing out to Twitter critics that Pratt was never confirmed as a member of the allegedly anti-LGBTQ church.
“He’s not. I know the church he currently attends. Do you? (The answer is that you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where they go to church, so you decided, “Yeah, okay, I’m going to do this one horrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!”)
It’s not him. I know the church he currently attends. Do you? (The answer is that you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where they go to church, so you decided, “Yeah, okay, I’m going to do this one horrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!”)
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 25, 2022
In fact, Pratt told Men’s Health that he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, which counts former Hillsong devotee Justin Bieber among its fans. Zoe Church founder Chad Veach told the New York Times that he modeled his faith community in part after Hillsong.
Pratt also says that while he attends services at Veach’s church, it’s not exclusively. As an example, the actor says that he and his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, baptized one of their children at the Catholic Church in Santa Monica, where she prayed as a child.
The star also claims he’s not actually a religious person.
“Religion has been damn oppressive for a long time,” Pratt tells Men’s Health. “I didn’t know that I was going to become the face of religion in some way, even though I’m not actually a religious person. I think there’s a difference between being religious – adhering to man-made customs, often appropriating the reverence reserved for what I believe to be a very real God – and using it to control people, money taking from people abusing children stealing land to justify hatred. whatever it is The evil that is in the heart of every human being has crept onto the back of religion and taken a ride.”