Homosexuality and Christianity don’t have the best track record — no shocker there — but one church in particular, while it’s hardly the most rabidly anti-gay of the bunch, has a reputation for being “trendy and hip” that belies its gross, anti-gay leanings. And perhaps most disappointing of all, there are quite a few big names in Hollywood who are fans of this church, known as Hillsong.
Most recently it was openly gay actress Ellen Page who took Hillsong to task for their anti-LGBT ways. Specifically she called out the church known as Zoe, which is actually led by former Hillsong Church pastor Chad Veach. She referred to Zoe as “infamously anti-LGBTQ” after Chris Pratt was a guest on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show and espoused his recent Bible-based diet.
While the “megachurch” known as Hillsong has outposts all over the world — we’re talking from Kiev to Paris to Buenos Aires — the church began in Australia. And its popularity has largely grown due to the fact that it does attract so many celebrities.
As Hillsong’s Pastor Carl Lentz says, “People say we cater to celebrities, and I say, yes, we do. Celebrities deserve a relationship with God. Celebrities deserve a place to pray.”
But before we take a look at some of the celebrities affiliated with Hillsong, let’s dive into what makes Hillsong such a poor representative for Christianity, namely its anti-gay messaging.
Back in 2015, during an interview with GQ magazine, Lentz admitted to believing homosexuality is a sin, and that gays wouldn’t be able to hold leadership positions at Hillsong. Leaders of the church have also made official statements about the church being opposed to same-sex relationships.
Carl Lentz has said he doesn’t believe homosexuality is “god’s will” for mankind, and that people “make a decision to live as gay men.”
To be clear, the anti-gay views of Hillsong leadership aren’t the only troubling aspect of this church, which has a lurid history of child sexual abuse and gay conversion therapy. Back in August 2017, Hornet published an extensive look at Hillsong Church. Read all about it here.
But it’s the roster of Hollywood names attending Hillsong services that have kept this church in the news, and has solidified its reputation as a progressive, modern church. Let’s take a look at some of those names now.
Here are 12 celebrities who have been spotted at the “trendy” anti-gay church Hillsong:
Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin
This newly married couple made regular appearances at Hillsong while they were dating. They even headed to a church conference in Miami back in June 2018. It’s said that when the pop star canceled part of his world tour in 2017, Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz was part of his “support system.”
In 2014, Lentz supposedly gave Bieber an impromptu baptism in the bathtub of NBA player Tyson Chandler.
When Gomez and Bieber were dating, they attended Hillsong services together, and the pop starlet attended the church without Bieber as well.
During one world tour, Selene Gomez covered the song “Transfiguration,” which is by Hillsong United, the church’s own band of worship leaders that has released five albums.
She also performed at Hillsong’s Young & Free Revival Concert in L.A. in 2016, saying, “First time I ever [led] worship. I got to perform my first worship song I ever wrote. So grateful for His grace and understanding.”
The U2 lead singer has attended Sunday Hillsong services.
Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger
The Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World actor has over the past year become way more open about his Christianity. Just last month we reported the actor was using his social media to tout a Bible-based diet known as the Daniel Fast.
Pratt is now engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger (daughter of Arnold), and the two have attended Hillsong services, though Pratt belongs to Zoe (pronounced like zo-AY), which, as stated above, is a church began by Chad Veach, formerly a Hillsong pastor.
With his girlfriend Abby Champion in tow, Patrick has attended both Hillsong and Zoe services.
“It feels like Arcade Fire — it’s epic like that,” Vanessa Hudgens said about Hillsong services to The New York Times back in March 2015. Hillsong is known for being more like a rock concert than a traditional church service. “They really focus on you having your own personal relationship with Jesus, which is wonderful.”
While we know Nick Jonas attended a Hillsong service back in 2012, it’s not clear whether he’s a “Hillsong regular.”
Kendall and Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian
All three of the reality TV stars have attended Hillsong services, often with some of the other people on this list.