Those are among the Jurassic World: Dominion star’s most definitive comments since he became a sort-of symbol for Christianity in Hollywood.
Pratt traces people associating him with the town’s young 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 evangelical for some. Pratt admits as much to Men’s Health.
“Maybe it was hubris for me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said. I’m not sure I touched anybody.”
In 2019, after Pratt went on The Late Show and spoke with Stephen Colbert about his faith, Elliot Page tweeted, “Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?”
The Umbrella Academy actor then added, “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. Sending love to all.”
While it’s unclear if Page was referencing the scandal-plagued Hillsong Church, to which many prominent young Christians in Hollywood once belonged, the Twittersphere certainly took it that way. Hillsong was alleged to practice gay conversion therapy, which attempts to “pray the gay away.” The method “is not based on medical or scientific evidence,” according to the American Medical Association, which opposes its use.
Pratt responded on Instagram at the time, “It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates people’ and is ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ. Nothing could be further from the truth. I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” The Guardians of the Galaxy actor did not name Hillsong, and there’s a good reason for that: He doesn’t attend services there.
His Guardians director, James Gunn, came to Pratt’s defense at the time and pointed out to Twitter critics that Pratt had never been confirmed to be a member of said reportedly anti-LGBTQ church.
“He isn’t. I know the church he currently goes to. Do you? (The answer is you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where he goes to church, so decided, “yeah, okay, I’ll believe this terrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!”)
He isn’t. I know the church he currently goes to. Do you? (The answer is you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where he goes to church, so decided, “yeah, okay, I’ll believe this terrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!”)
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 25, 2022
Pratt, in fact, tells Men’s Health that he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, which counts former Hillsong adherent Justin Bieber among its fans. Zoe Church founder Chad Veach did tell 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, he does not do so exclusively. As an example, the actor says he and wife Katherine Schwarzenegger baptized one of their children at Catholic church in Santa Monica where she worshipped as a child.
Besides, the star contends he’s not actually a religious person.
“Religion has been oppressive as f*ck for a long time,” Pratt tells Men’s Health. “I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person. 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. Whatever it is. The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed onto the back of religion and come along for the ride.”