Actor Chris Pratt appeared to defend his church, Hillsong, following criticism of it for being anti-LGBTI.
There have been rumors and criticisms of the church for some time. These sentiments gained steamed last week, however, when Ellen Page publicly called out Pratt for not addressing the church’s LGBTI stances while discussing it with Stephen Colbert.
Pratt posted a lengthy statement on his Instagram story addressing the church’s controversy.
Regarding the claims of him belonging to a church that is ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ,’ he wrote: ‘Nothing could be further from the truth.
‘I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.’
His statement continued
‘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. They helped me tremendously offering love and support.’
Recently, he divorced his wife of nine years, Anna Faris. He is now engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger.
His statement continued: ‘It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race, or gender.
‘My faith is important to me, but no church defines me or my life, and I am not a spokesperson for any chuch 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.
‘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.’
The church has this reputation because of a statement Hillsong’s global pastor Brian Houston released in 2015.
He said he ‘holds to traditional Christian thought on gay lifestyles and gay marriage’ and that ‘God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman’.
The statement continued, about the church: ‘Hillsong 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.
‘I recognise this one statement alone is upsetting to people on both sides of this discussion, which points to the complexity of the issue for churches all over the world.’
Several other celebrities have also attended this church, including Justin Bieber, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Nick Jonas, Vanessa Hudgens, and more.