Chris Pratt has denied ever being part of Hillsong Church, three years after Elliot Page called him out.
In 2019, Elliott Page said that Chris Pratt should address his “infamously anti-LGBTQ+ church”, widely understood to be a reference to megachurch Hillsong, founded by anti-gay marriage pastor Brian Houston.
Three years on, Page has addressed the claim and said that he “never went to Hillsong”.
“I’ve never actually been to Hillsong,” he told Men’s Health. “I don’t know anyone from that church.”
The claim dates back to an interview Chris Pratt gave in 2019, discussing his “spiritual side” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?” Page tweeted at the time.
Elliot Page. (Getty/David Livingston)
He told Men’s Health that he didn’t want to “throw a church under the bus”, adding: “If it’s like the Westboro Baptist Church, that’s different.”
He did tell the magazine, however, that he attends Zoe Church. Founded by American evangelical pastor Chad Veach in 2015, it has famously been attended by several celebrities, such as Justin Bieber and comes with its own set of controversies.
Veach and his wife, Julia Veach, were both executive producers of a 2017 docudrama which compared “sexual brokenness” to same-sex attraction, porn addiction and infidelity.
Though the church has no formal ties to Hillsong, Veach told The New York Times he modelled his church after Hillsong for its popularity with young people.
Pratt stressed he does not attend Zoe exclusively – he and his wife, author Katherine Schwarzenegger, went to a Catholic church in Santa Monica to have their daughter, Lyla, baptized.
Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy. (IMDb)
Pratt said as much as his religious beliefs have been in the news, he’s not even that religious.
“I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person,” he said.
“I think there’s a distinction between being religious – adhering to the customs created by man, oftentimes appropriating the awe reserved for who I believe is a very real God – and using it to control people, to take money from people, to abuse children, to steal land, to justify hatred.”
Pratt added: “The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride.”
Hillsong, LGBTQ+ people and conversion therapy
Hillsong, a Pentecostal congregation founded by pastor Brian Houston, has locations in more than 20 countries across the world, including the UK and the US.
The church has faced many controversies. Hillsong has been accused of referring LGBTQ+ members to undergo conversion therapy for years – a practice Hillsong finally disavowed in 2011.
But did that mean that LGBTQ+ believers were welcomed and affirmed by the church? Not quite, Houston stressed in 2015.
“Hillsong Church welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles,” he wrote in a blog post titled: ‘Do I Love Gay Pople?’
“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.”
Former Hillsong leader Brian Houston. (Getty/ Marcus Ingram)
Houston has also faced much personal scandal. He was charged with covering up child sex abuse committed by his father, Frank Houston, in 2021. He says he is innocent and intends to plead not guilty when the case reaches trial.
By March, he resigned from Hillsong altogether following two complaints of inappropriate conduct against him.