There has been some news lately surrounding Chris Pratt and his Christian beliefs. Ellen Page went on the offensive and called him out via tweet. “Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti-LGBTQ so maybe address that too?” Page tweeted along with a Hollywood Reporter tweet about an interview with Pratt where he talks about his spirituality.
She tweeted again, “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”
“My values define who I am,” he responded. “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. 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.”
Pratt has been repeatedly attacked on social media for his response. No one is quite satisfied with what he said, and here is why: when non-Christians attack Christian beliefs, they want Christ Himself to be disavowed, not just the specific church you attend.
At the end of the day, Page is attacking a stance that most Christians hold true. A gay lifestyle is not consistent with God’s design. That does not make Christ followers hateful. Disagreement does not equal hate. That does not make Christ followers homophobic. It means that we hold God’s Truth over our own truth, and we believe Him when He tells us that it wouldn’t go well for people to disobey Him.
Page is insistent, as are a large number of twitter users, that being anti-LGBTQ is wrong. If you hold firm stances on anything in this culture, you better get some thicker skin. The Christian lifestyle and its values are frequently under attack. Just scroll through the twitter thread that Page started for evidence. But I believe my choice to follow Jesus is right, so I will deal with the erroneous and inaccurate assumptions Page and a great number of people make against my beliefs.
I will agree with Page, the hate spewed toward homosexuals causes damage. I would go a bit further and say, hate is the ultimate enemy here. Hate spewed toward Christians is hurtful, too. Let’s not act as if Christians don’t attempt or commit suicide. They do, just like the rest of the world. When they no longer feel hope, when they are attacked, they are human beings, too. And words cut deep, even when we don’t want them to.
Is the ultimate goal total and complete tolerance and acceptance? Do you want every person in the world to affirm your beliefs and actions? I hate to say it, but I don’t think that is going to happen. Sometimes people don’t have a reason to disagree, they just simply do.
Ironically, the tolerance and acceptance Page is asking for is something she is unwilling to give out, herself. She won’t tolerate Pratt’s so-called intolerance. She wants him to fully affirm her truth while tearing down his own.
Life is tough and some amount of apathy must be developed if you want to have a firm stance on anything, especially in this age of information overload and social media outlets. We take in so much information and we regurgitate our thoughts on blogs, tweets, status updates, etc. (The irony is not lost on me; that is exactly what I’m doing right now.) If complete tolerance is what we are striving for, we will come up empty-handed and defeated. Even as Christians, we must accept that people are not going to want to hear what we have to say.
Jesus makes this easy for us; He tells us that we will be persecuted because of Him. In Matthew, chapter 10, He tells us, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” So when we receive hate, we are not surprised. We don’t expect anyone to fully tolerate our ideas because of this passage.
In the end, Pratt is right. Jesus did give us a new command, to love one another. He said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John. 13). As He has loved us. That’s the new standard. And what did His love do? His love took him to persecution, to ridicule, to hate, to mocking, to the cross. He didn’t sacrifice what He knew was truth. He didn’t affirm their sin in a misguided attempt to love them. He went to the cross to affirm His love and to kill our sin.
I don’t believe Ellen Page is wrong for wanting love to be the standard. But, love does not mean total tolerance. As Christians who know we will be attacked because of Jesus’ name, we also know that we are to love others as He loved us. Therefore, we should not be malicious to those who oppose our worldview. We are to love them, speak Truth in love, and let God handle the outcome.
So, I don’t think we should be surprised at Chris Pratt’s religious beliefs, or his church’s beliefs. They are holding what they believe to be true as the standard. Page is doing the exact same thing for the LGBTQ community. So, maybe have a little more patience, a little more compassion. But the idea of total tolerance, if you’re not giving total tolerance, it is hypocrisy.
Photo by Con Karampelas