In response to a Chris Pratt interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in which the actor discussed his church, Ellen Page called the institution out as openly anti-LGBTQ. Pratt, known for his goofiness and lighthearted roles in Parks and Recreation and the Guardians of The Galaxy franchise, spoke on the topic while promoting The LEGO Movie 2. In an appearance on Colbert just a week prior, Page promoted The Umbrella Academy, after tearfully advocating for appointing leaders that will do more to combat homophobia, racism and misogyny in and outside of the entertainment industry.
In the interview, Pratt discussed taking part in a 21-day fast referenced in the biblical Book of Daniel, that's similar to lent. The actor elaborated on how his faith has helped him balance his fame with living a fulfilling life, quoting from his pastor: "If the spotlight that's shining on you is brighter than the one within you, it'll kill you." Pratt and his fiance regularly attend the Los Angeles-based Zoe Church, which along with neighboring places of worship including Hillsong and Churchome, have become known for celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, and Selena Gomez, taking part in their services.
THR published a story discussing Pratt's appearance on the show, with a headline highlighting the actor's discussion about his spiritual side. Page, an openly gay and outspoken queer activist pointed out that there was no mention of the church's history of anti-LGBTQ sentiments. Check out the tweet below:
Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too? https://t.co/meg8m69FeF— Ellen Page (@EllenPage) February 8, 2019
The Zoe Church website states: "Our church is a place where our doors are open to people of all backgrounds---regardless of where they are at in their journeys." However multiple reports of former attendees alleging that the Church condemns homosexual lifestyles, supports gay conversion therapy, and doesn't allow queer people to be in leadership positions have surfaced online. A blog post from Hillsong's pastor in 2015 seems to at least partially confirm this. Neither Pratt nor Colbert have responded to Page via social media.
Some have speculated that Zoe Church, Hillsong, and similar seminaries have attempted to use more inclusive marketing in order to indoctrinate attendees into evangelical Christian ideologies, and Page appears to be calling out the media coverage of the Church, rather than Pratt himself. For queer people who are no strangers to religious rejection, a church's stance on conversion therapy and queer lifestyles is all-telling about whether the intent is to accept or modify the individual. However for young queer people, as seen in recent films like The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased, the threat of manipulative and painful conditioning is still an insidious reality.
Pratt made it clear that his faith has been a positive influence on finding purpose in his life. But just as that choice may be best for him, it's important for queer people, who still face overwhelming discrimination and mistreatment from religious institutions, to be informed of where they may be at risk for harm.