Chris Pratt responds to outrage over religious beliefs and alleged links to anti-LGBTQ church

guardians of the galaxy Actor Chris Pratt has opened up about the backlash he’s faced on social media for his alleged religious beliefs in a profile for Men’s Health magazine Tuesday. Public outrage, Pratt speculates, stems from his comments during a speech at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards – the actor, who claims he was instructed to ‘say something inspiring’ while accepting a Generation Award, announced, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you.

The jurassic world The star was surprised by the outrage that followed, but understands why people might have been put off.

“Maybe it was pride. For me to stand up on stage and say things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anyone. Religion was oppressive for a long time.”

Related: Chris Pratt Wants To Be Called Different From Chris

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Pratt continued, expressing his discomfort at being seen as a public face of religion.

“I didn’t know I would become the face of religion when I’m really not a religious person. I think there’s a distinction between being religious– adhering to man-made customs, often appropriating the fear reserved for what I believe to be a very real God – and using it to control people, take money from people, abuse children, steal land, justify hatred. It doesn’t matter what it is. The evil that is in every man’s heart has crept on the back of religion and joined with it.”

Pratt has previously been called out by Elliot Page for his alleged ties to the anti-LGBTQ church

The spiraling social media backlash was only compounded by Pratt’s alleged association with Hillsong Church, a Christian church that has previously come under fire for its anti-LGBTQ policies.

Variety reports this Umbrella Academy Star Elliot Page slammed Pratt on social media in 2019 after Pratt opened up about his religion during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, writing, “If you’re a famous actor and belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone just wonders why it’s not being addressed. Being anti-LGBTQ is a mistake , there are not two sides. The damage it causes is severe. Period.

Pratt posted a response at the time, which read, “It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church that ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is ‘sadly anti-LGBTQ’. Nothing could be further from of the truth. I am a man who believes that everyone has the right to love whoever he wants without the judgment of his neighbor.”

While Pratt refrained from naming names in his initial statement, he left no doubts in his Men’s Health profile. “I’ve never been to Hillsong. I’ve never been to Hillsong. I don’t know anyone from that church.”

When asked why it took him so long to publicly renounce Hillsong, the actor replied, “Am I going to throw a church under the bus? If it’s like Westboro Baptist Church, it’s different.”

Although some of his comments may seem “too little too late” to some, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn does not hesitate to come to Pratt’s defense. “That absolutely infuriates me. Chris is incredibly nice to people, he goes out of his way to help the kids. He’s an especially loving dad. And there’s a lot of things that people have literally made up about him, about his politics, who he is, about what he believes in other people, you know?”

Pratt’s latest project, the Prime Video thriller The list of terminals, premieres July 1.