Chris Pratt is defending his church after star Ellen Page called it “infamously anti-LGBTQ.”
“It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is ‘infamously anti –LGBTQ.’ Nothing could be further from the truth,” the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star wrote on his Instagram Story Monday. “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.”
Pratt is reportedly a regular at Los Angeles’ Zoe Church, attending with fiancee Katherine Schwarzenegger. The church’s pastor, Chad Veach, formerly preached at Hillsong, another celeb-friendly evangelical church with two dozen locations that reportedly counts Justin and Hailey Bieber among its flock in addition to Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
After Pratt discussed his faith with “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert last week, Page, who came out as a lesbian in 2014, asked why media outlets who wrote about the interview didn’t mention the church’s views on LGBTQ issues.
“His church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?” the “X-Men” actress tweeted Friday.
Zoe Church’s website does not clearly state its views on homosexuality, describing itself as “a place where our doors are open to people of all backgrounds – regardless of where they are at in their journeys – and we hope all feel welcomed, comfortable and loved.” It also promises “engaging, powerful worship and Biblical truth broken down in practical and relevant ways.”
However, Zoe is associated with Hillsong, which does make its views on gay issues clear.
In a 2015 essay, Brian Houston, a senior pastor at Hillsong, wrote that his church “welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles. Put clearly, we do not affirm a gay lifestyle and because of this we do not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid.”
He continued, “The western world is seemingly moving quickly toward gay marriage being universally legalized, so how does that affect us as a church, and how does it affect the various individual members of Hillsong Church? I believe we can quite comfortably continue to function within that environment, presuming we are not forced through legislation to compromise our own convictions.”
Page addressed Pratt’s affiliation with the church in a subsequent tweet, writing, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed. Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides. The damage it causes is severe. Full stop.”
The following day, she wrote, “If lgbtq+ people are expressing their pain, their trauma, their experiences…maybe just try and listen? Open your heart, stop being defensive and have compassion. It’s a beautiful and life changing feeling, empathy.”
On Monday Pratt said his church was not judgmental, citing their support over his divorce from ex Anna Faris.
“Despite what the Bible says about divorce my church community was there for me every step of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk,” he wrote. “They helped me tremendously offering love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender.”
Additionally, Pratt said, “My faith is important to me but no church defines me or my life and I am not spokesman for any church or any group of people. My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man.”
In large type, the “Guardians” star added: “Jesus said, ‘I give you a new command, love one another.’ This is what guides me in my life. He is a God of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Hate has no place in my or this world.”
Contributing: Andrea Mandell
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2019/02/10/ellen-page-calls-out-chris-pratt-over-anti-lgbtq-church-affiliation/2831293002/