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Actor Chris Pratt Joins an Anti-LGBT Church: Is He Justified in Doing so?

Maggie Astley ‘21

  Celebrity controversies have entered the public conscience as something that should be relegated to gossip magazines or tabloids, and in most cases, rightfully so. But the question still remains: when a celebrity does something that is legitimately controversial in the eye of the public, does it warrant discussion? And what of the private lives of these celebrities that are being subject to public criticism?

  Chris Pratt, an actor who is perhaps most known for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy, is the most recent provoker of this question. Ellen Page, a well known actress and LGBT rights activist, directly addressed Pratt in a tweet concerning his spiritual side, pointing out that his church is infamously anti-LGBT, and further explaining that by attending and supporting this church, Pratt is harming the LGBT community and giving these oppressive churches a platform. Pratt responded to this tweet by saying that his church, and he himself, welcomed and supported everyone, LGBT or not, and others have backed him up, supporting the idea that even if his church was anti-LGBT, Pratt is not his church, nor does he speak for the views of his church.

  When considering the question of whether or not Pratt should answer for the views of his church, the first step is to take a closer look at the actual facts surrounding the case. Pratt appears to be a component of a movement which many other celebrities, such as Justin Bieber, have been joining, and which comprises a culture of young, hip, megachurches, that, in the words of Huffington Post, are known for their “casual, concert-style worship services and Instagram-influential preachers.” Pratt himself has been publicly seen at two such churches, primarily attending Zoe Church and occasionally attending Hillsong Church. The pastors of both churches have made public statements against LGBT folks, the pastor of Zoe Church, Chad Veach, going so far as to produce a film to “help” LGBT people “heal from personal and sexual brokenness.” And, unfortunately, it’s people like Pratt who give them attention on Twitter and support their books and movies on social media platforms.

Now, over-examining the private lives of anyone is a completely different issue, but, by bringing and promoting his spiritual stances to the public, Pratt himself has removed this issue from his private life and brought it to public attention, and the response is as expected. While he may not support the views of these people, he gives them a platform, which includes loads and loads of money, even though there are, in fact, several churches available to him that don’t strip people of their rights.