Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Chris Pratt’s Religious Controversies After He Compared Himself To Jesus

    The actor’s faith has come under scrutiny over the years because of his association with an anti-LGBTQ church and his controversial stance on hunting.

    Chris Pratt’s religious beliefs initially came to the forefront in 2018 when he rounded off an acceptance speech at the MTV Movie & TV Awards with, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that; I do.”

    Chris at a podium

    Shortly afterward, it was reported that the actor is a member of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, something that Chris himself confirmed during an interview with Men’s Health last year.

    Close-up of Chris in a suit and tie

    This was troubling news for fans, given that Zoe Church is affiliated with the controversial Hillsong Church, which has a reputation for being anti-LGBTQ. Hillsong has faced allegations of endorsing so-called gay conversion therapy over the years and refuses leadership roles to LGBTQ people.

    Close-up of an open Bible and a cross

    In 2014, Josh Canfield revealed that he was forced to leave his position as Hillsong’s New York City choir director after they found out that he was engaged to a man. At the time, the church’s founder, Brian Houston, stated, "Hillsong's position on homosexuality and gay marriage has not changed and is consistent with Scripture."

    Hillsong later added, “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."

    Close-up of Brian Houston with a microphone

    Houston also spoke out against marriage for same-sex couples in 2017, writing, “I believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

    Brian Houston sitting in an auditorium at Hillsong Church

    Zoe Church has not officially spoken out against the LGBTQ community, but it is thought to implicitly hold similar values to Hillsong. Its founder, Chad Veach, previously told the New York Times that he modeled Zoe on Hillsong, where he used to preach.

    Close-up of Chad Veach in a denim jacket and shirt

    Veach also produced a film that referred to “same-sex attraction” as a form of “sexual brokenness." While his personal views may not be church policy, many have argued that it is unlikely the church he founded would hold values different from his.

    As a result, Pratt’s association with Zoe has come under scrutiny, and in 2019, actor Elliot Page called him out on Twitter for it. Retweeting a video of Pratt talking about his “spiritual side” on a talk show, Page wrote, “but his church is infamously anti-LGBTQ so maybe address that too?"

    Close-up of Elliot in a suit and bow tie

    He later 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.”

    @TheElliotPage / Via Twitter: @TheElliotPage

    This prompted a response from Pratt, who took to Instagram to insist that his church “opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” As an example of this, he detailed still being welcomed into the church after his divorce.

    Chris's statement on his IG story, saying that God is a "God of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness; hate has no place in my or this world"

    "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 wrote. “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."

    Close-up of Chris in a plaid shirt

    This comparison rubbed people the wrong way, with some arguing that being divorced is not equivalent to being a member of the LGBTQ community.

    @aretheyafraid / Via Twitter: @aretheyafraid

    Pratt went on to insist at the time, "I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man."

    But the growing backlash prompted some to look into Pratt’s past comments about religion, and he courted more controversy when a 2015 interview about hunting resurfaced.

    Chris in a cap, US flag hoodie, and jeans

    In a conversation with the Guardian, Pratt said that killing animals made him feel closer to God. Discussing his love of hunting, Pratt told the publication, “I have a great deal of respect for the animals that I kill, and I feel remorse and all of the emotions that come with it.”

    He explained, “The thing inside me that drives me to go out and hunt is very animal. But the remorse, emotion and respect I feel, and the closeness to God that I feel when I’m out there, is my humanity. It’s an opportunity for me to explore what parts of me are animal and what parts of me are human.”

    Close-up of Chris in a suit and tie

    “The more I read about Chris Pratt the more weirded out I am,” one person tweeted in response to the quotes. “I eat animals so I’m not gonna be self righteous about people who hunt to eat, but I find the idea of hunting to feel closer to god super strange and creepy. Hunt to eat, ok. Don’t hunt to have a religious experience.”

    @moniza_hossain / Via Twitter: @moniza_hossain

    “He feels ‘closeness to God’ as he kills defenseless animals for pleasure? If quote is true, I'm (sadly) no longer a Chris Pratt fan,” one more added.

    Following the scrutiny, Pratt seemingly tried to distance himself from his faith in an interview with Men’s Health last June, where he shared his apparent confusion over the public’s perception of him.

    Close-up of Chris in a suit and tie

    “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time,” he said at the time. “I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really, I’m not a religious person.”

    Close-up of Chris smiling

    But Pratt has now done a U-turn in a new interview with Page Six, in which he likened himself to Jesus Christ as he reflected on the backlash that his faith has caused.

    Close-up of Chris

    Brushing off the discourse when quizzed on whether he gets criticized, Pratt said, “I sure do, but that’s nothing new, that’s nothing new, you know?”

    Close-up of Chris smiling

    He went on to quote the Bible as he added, “If I was of this world, they would love me just like that, but as it is, I’ve chosen out of this world. That’s John 15:18 through 20.”

    And then he said, “That’s the way it is, nothing new — 2,000 years ago they hated him, too,” referring to Jesus.

    Close-up of Chris

    Needless to say, this last comment raised eyebrows, and it wasn’t long before readers took to social media to discuss it.

    Close-up of Chris

    In the Reddit thread titled “Chris Pratt Compares himself to Jesus” that linked to the Page Six interview, one person wrote, “I was thinking maybe the title was an exaggeration and he just dropped a bible verse or something but damn he did that and more. How Chris Pratt of him.”

    Screenshot of the Reddit comment

    “Sure Chris, Jesus was crucified as a reminder to ignore the haters,” another sarcastically added. One more joked, “I bet Jesus knew how to stop talking sometimes.”

    Reddit comment screenshot
    "I bet Jesus knew how to stop talking sometimes"

    “Comparing yourself to Jesus seems very unchristian in my opinion,” one more wrote.

    Screenshot of comment

    Others argued that Pratt is completely missing the point of the criticism that he receives.

    “[T]his is why it’s a bad idea for a religion to decide persecution is a sign of virtue,” one person tweeted. “no, Chris, people dislike you because you’re a bigoted asshole, not because you’re Jesus.”

    Screenshot of comment

    “That’s soooooo many Christian’s default response. ‘They don’t like me because I’m Christian’ no I don’t like you because you’re an asshole,” another wrote on Reddit.

    Screenshot of comment

    “I don't think you're hated for being a Christian buddy,” someone else echoed.

    Screenshot of comment

    Pratt has not publicly acknowledged the response to his latest comment.