At the beginning of 2019, Chris Pratt took to his Instagram Story to document his progress on the Daniel Fast, a 21-day program of diet and prayer inspired by the life of Old Testament prophet Daniel. This week, while promoting his new film The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part with an appearance on The Late Show, Pratt discussed the fast, which he’d recently completed, and his spiritual beliefs; Pratt and his fiancée Katherine Schwarzenegger are regular attendees of celebrity-loved Christian megachurch Hillsong.
While many on the Internet were impressed by his commitment, plenty more, including Ellen Page, were not. In response to an article covering Pratt’s discussion of his “spiritual side,” Page tweeted, “Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?”
Hillsong and its leaders have been repeatedly accused of homophobia and of encouraging LGBTQ members to attend gay conversion therapy. In a statement published in 2015, Hillsong founder and senior pastor Brian Houston wrote, “I do believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.” He continued, “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.” (In the same statement, Houston also made a passing reference to Islamophobia, writing, “Bobbie and I were in an elevator today with a Saudi Arabian woman dressed in Muslim attire…. As she left we said to each other, ‘What a lovely lady.’ Does that mean I now endorse her religion? No it doesn’t.”)
Since the Australia-founded Hillsong first expanded to the U.S. with the establishment of a New York City outpost in 2010, it has amassed an especially starry following, including members like Pratt, Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin, and Selena Gomez. While many of these members are outspoken about their faith, none have commented on the accusations of their church’s homophobia.
During her own recent visit to The Late Show, while promoting her new Netflix series The Umbrella Academy last week, Page delivered an impassioned speech about other notoriously anti-LGBTQ leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence. “We have a media that’s saying it’s a debate whether what just happened to Jussie Smollett is a hate crime. It’s absurd. This shit isn’t a debate,” she said. “Sorry, I’m really fired up tonight. But it feels impossible to not feel this way right now, with the president and the vice president, Mike Pence, who wishes I couldn’t be married. Let’s just be clear. The vice president of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana; he believes in conversion therapy; he has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana.”
Page, holding back tears, continued, “Connect the dots. This is what happens. If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you wanna cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is gonna happen? Kids are gonna be abused, and they’re gonna kill themselves, and people are gonna be beaten on the street. I have traveled the world and I have met the most marginalized people you can meet. I am lucky to have this time and I am privileged to say this. This needs to fucking stop.”