- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chris Pratt on Monday responded to criticism by fellow actor Ellen Page after she attacked his church as being anti-LGBTQ, saying Ms. Page’s claims couldn’t be “further from the truth.”

Ms. Page tweeted last week that Mr. Pratt’s church “hates” gay people and is “infamously anti-LGBTQ.”

“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,” she wrote. “Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides. The damage it causes is severe. Full stop. Sending love to all.”

“If lgbtq+ people are expressing their pain, their trauma, their experiences … maybe just try and listen?” she added. “Open your heart, stop being defensive and have compassion. It’s a beautiful and life changing feeling, empathy. Much love truly to all.”

Mr. Pratt reportedly attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, which is led by pastor Chad Veach, despite initial reports that the actor attended Hillsong Church. In a March 2018 profile with The New York Times, Mr. Veach said he modeled his church after Hillsong, a worldwide Christian megachurch founded in Australia. Hillsong pastor Brian Houston came under fire in 2015 for his views on homosexuality and gay marriage, later explaining that the church “welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles.”

In a now-deleted Instagram post, Mr. Pratt defended his church as being accepting of all people.

“It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is ‘infamously anti–LGBTQ.’ Nothing could be further from the truth,” Mr. Pratt wrote. “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.”

“Despite what the Bible says about divorce my church community was there for me every step of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk,” he continued. “They helped me tremendously offering love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender.”

“My faith is important to me but no church defines me or my life and I am not a spokesman for any church or any group of people,” he wrote. “My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man.”

“Jesus said, ‘I give you a new command, love one another,’” he concluded. “This is what guides me in my life. He is a God of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Hate has no place in my or this world.”

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