Disney star distances himself from controversial megachurch he 'happened to' get baptized at: 'I was unaware of some of their policies and beliefs'

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Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of violence or bias against LGBTQ people. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.

Disney actor Joshua Bassett has fans concerned after he posted what seems to be a baptism video and declared that Jesus Christ is his “lord and savior.”

“My name is Joshua Bassett,” the 22-year-old says into the microphone. “Long story short, I grew up Christian and I ran the other way, as far as I could go, in pursuit of the ‘truth.‘”

The clip, which Bassett shared across his social accounts, is watermarked with the logo for Bethel Church, a nondenominational megachurch in Redding, Calif., that has been reported to support gay conversion therapy.

“That only ended in addiction, depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, et cetera,” he continued. “No other teacher gave me anywhere near the peace that Jesus Christ did.”

Although Bethel does not seem to directly offer conversion therapy to its congregation of over 9,000 members, a 2019 investigation from Out magazine found that the church publicly supported CHANGED on its Instagram account.

“Can a person leave homosexuality behind?” Bethel asked Instagram.

CHANGED, a program under the group Equipped to Love, describes itself as a “safe place” for people who “experience same sex attraction or gender identity issues.” The group denies it promotes conversion therapy and dismisses it as a “broad and ill-defined term.”

Bethel Church, however, maintains a page on its website titled “Beliefs on Biblical Sexuality,” which instructs readers to “look at biology” when it comes to gender identity — an anti-transgender sentiment — and states that marriage was “always intended” to be between “one man and one woman.”

Bassett, who is most well known for his role on Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and his past relationship with singer Olivia Rodrigo, wrote about figuring out his sexuality in a May 2021 Twitter post. A month later, he confirmed that he was a member of the LGBTQ community in an interview with GQ.

“I’m happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community because they embrace all,” he said at the time. “Don’t let anyone tell you love isn’t love. They’re the ones who probably need it the most.”

Fans became worried about Bassett on Dec. 24, 2022, when he tweeted that he was “struggling” and encouraged followers to “reach out to those who support you.” Two weeks later, on Jan. 5, Bassett tweeted, “Jesus Christ is the only way.”

“babe are u hacked??” one fan tweeted in response. “if not i mean slay but like this doesn’t seem like smth you’d say.”

Bassett remained silent on Twitter until Feb. 13, when he tweeted out the Bethel Church video. An hour after posting it, he explained in a follow-up post, “i visited this church and happened to get baptized here- i was unaware of some of their policies and beliefs, and do not endorse all of them.”

If you or someone you know needs queer-affirming support after experiencing violence or bias, call the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or connect with an LGBTQ counselor via online chat. You can also contact the Anti-Violence Project at 212-714-1141, or connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Find a local therapist well versed in queer identity through the Inclusive Therapists directory.

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The post Joshua Bassett tries to distance himself from controversial megachurch that baptized him appeared first on In The Know.

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