In one of the most shocking rebrands of 2022—maybe second after "inclusive" M&M's — Jurassic World Dominion actor and famous follower of Christ Chris Pratt walked back claims that he's a "religious person" in a new cover story for Men's Health after years of telling the public otherwise.
Much of the magazine profile, published on Wednesday, focuses on Pratt's maligned presence on Twitter, including his frequent title as "the worst Chris" out of all the Hollywood Chrises and accusations that his politics are, at the very least, Republican-adjacent .
The Guardians of the Galaxy star points to a speech he made at the MTV Movie & TV Awards in 2018 as his Annoying, Evangelical White Man internet reputation began to take hold. "God is real," he said, accepting the Generation Award. "God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do." In the four years since, Pratt has seemingly managed to grasp why certain viewers were put off by this televangelist stunt (and religion in general).
"Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time," the actor stated in the profile. "I didn't know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I'm not a religious person. I think there's a distinction between being religious —adhering to the customs created by man, oftentimes appropriating the awe reserved for who I believe is a very real God—and using it to control people, to take money from people, to abuse children, to steal land, to justify hatred. Whatever it is. The evil that's in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride."
Pratt's ostensibly rehearsed statement is surprisingly introspective coming from the mouth of a famous person and an avowed Christian—two demographics that are rarely willing to interrogate why some people have an aversion to them. It's certainly one of the better celebrity responses to online backlash as opposed to, say, Dakota Johnson recently spewing nonsense about "cancel culture" in a recent Vanity Fair profile. (Yes, Pratt coming off as more socially aware than Johnson is a reason to be scared.)
If Pratt spent quarantine reading Sven Lindqvist, good for him. If he's gradually unpacking how Christianity has led to the current assault on human rights in U.S. politics, including the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade , even better. However, the movie star's claim that he's not a "religious person"—or the lack of acknowledgement that he ever was one—is absolute bullshit, given his long public record of Jesus-dedicated soundbites and social media posts.
The distinction Pratt makes between being a "religious person" and someone who just happens to love God is common amongst younger, modern Christians who don't want to be held responsible for bigoted, fundamentalist interpretations of the faith, which is presumably why he references Westboro Baptist Church in the article. However, the line between "good" and "bad" Christians is hardly ever that clearly defined, given how conservative Christian leaders and institutions have learned to disguise themselves as "progressive" and how often liberals, including Pratt, fall for it.
For example, later in the profile, he denies ever attending the famous Hillsong Church—known for its youth-oriented culture and a slew of scandals —and claims he "do[esn't] know anyone" from the organization, which can easily be fact-checked as false. In 2019, the actor's place of worship became the subject of scrutiny when Umbrella Academy actor Elliott Page called him out on Twitter for attending an "infamously anti-LGBTQ church" after he discussed his faith on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert . At the time, the Marvel star was repping the Los Angeles-based Zoe Church (pronounced "Zo-AY"), another celeb magnet. But he had also been previously photographed attending a service at Hillsong's L.A. branch back in 2017.
Regardless, his disavowal of Hillsong doesn't hold much weight considering that he still claims to attend Zoe Church, whose pastor Chad Veach executive produced a film in 2017 that equated "sexual brokenness" and infidelity to same-sex attraction. (Although the actor refuted Page's allegations of homophobia based on, well, nothing). Veach, who is not only Pratt's pastor but his golfing buddy, is listed as a Hillsong contributor on their website and told The New York Times that he modeled Zoe Church on Hillsong.
Aside from that, the 43-year-old star has given spectators plenty of reason to believe he's the second coming of Kirk Cameron, from posting photos of hand-carved crosses on Instagram to a photo series of him and his friends erecting a giant cross commemorating Easter.
That was far from all when it comes to posting religious imagery on his IG, or even sharing his coming-to-Jesus story in repeatedly public forums (and, again, in this most recent profile), not to mention his previous gig helping convert Jews to Christianity as part of Jews for Jesus, a controversial Messianic Jewish organization . It's also safe to say that if you're constantly receiving positive coverage from CBN, the Christian Broadcast Network, you are unambiguously a religious figure.
Even when Pratt isn't preaching on main, he's always giving off Big Evangelical Vibes. For instance, we all remember where we were when that infamous appreciation post Pratt shared of his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger on Instagram last year hit our Twitter feeds—and the subsequent video of Pratt giving users the middle finger by declaring that he was listening to his Christian music playlist.
The photo shows the 32-year-old daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger aggressively grinning at Pratt while he smiles into the camera. In the caption, he reveals that the two met in church but also added the cringe-y sentence, "her heart is pure and it belongs to me." Not belongs with me, which could at least be interpreted as a cute callback to Taylor Swift, but belongs to me, the sort of purity-culture language that says that a woman's heart, soul, body, etc., belongs to a man and not herself once she weds. One would hope Pratt is just bad with prepositions (both can be true), but he had seemingly given the internet enough evidence to call him out for being that type of man.
Likewise, it's laughable that Pratt thought he could pivot his brand given how much he's committed to the "proud Christian working in Hollywood" bit over the years while also revealing that he doesn’t even have the willpower to cut ties with his homophobic church. In maybe the most entertaining performance of his milquetoast film career, one has to appreciate the utter amnesia and self-delusion.
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