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Fans are expressing concern and outrage after Disney Channel actor Joshua Bassett was baptized at the well-known mega-church, Bethel. The church is well known for its anti-gay stance and even goes as far as to encourage conversion therapy for people in the LGBTQ+ community. Bassett came out as a member of that community in an interview in 2021, though he later clarified that he wasn't sure what his sexuality was. 

Joshua Bassett's Career

Bassett first got involved in musical theater at the age of eight and moved to Los Angeles when he was only 16 to pursue his career in acting. At times, funds were so tight he lived in his car. However, his determination paid off, and he earned himself a role in the popular Disney Channel show "Stuck in the Middle." He has now since been in dozens of different productions and was cast in a starring role in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a mockumentary on Disney+.

Bethel Church

Bethel Church is in Redding, California, with over 11,000 members. In addition, they are the origin of the worship bands Bethel Music and Jesus Culture, which is widely popular and performs at sold-out shows nationwide.

The church, which is now non-denominational, was at first affiliated with the Assemblies of God when it began in 1952. However, by 2006, they had officially withdrawn and, from then on, were known as a non-denominational church.

Conversion Therapy

Bethel church is a well-known proponent of conversion therapy, the controversial and often outright dangerous practice in which an LGBT person is put through different methods to convert them into a cis male or female.

While this therapy often involves prayer and therapy, more extreme measures can be used, such as water torture and shock therapy. Not only can it be torture, it can be deadly. As a result, eighteen states have banned it, and multiple worldwide health organizations have spoken out against it.

Bassett's Baptism

On the day Bassett was baptized, he addressed the congregation, explaining his decision. He shared why he was getting baptized, explaining that he grew up in a Christian household but then ran in the other direction looking for truth. Bassett shared his struggles with addiction, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts and that nothing gave him peace like Jesus Christ did. 

It is unknown whether or not Bassett still identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and if he does, what he or the church is planning to do about it, if anything. However, many in the LGBTQ+ community are concerned about the church's stance on conversion therapy and these issues in general.

Bassett Responds to Backlash

When his baptism video went viral, there were many negative reactions from those who knew of the church's stance on LGBTQ+ issues. He took to Twitter to specify that he was unaware of any of these practices when deciding to get baptized and does not endorse them all. He shares that his baptism is only to dedicate his life to Jesus Christ and nothing more. 

A couple of days later, he elaborated further, saying he loved everyone and specified that we are supposed to love God and let God do the rest. Fans have responded, pleading with him to find a new church and even saying he supports the church and its practices by continuing to go there and not condemning them.

It is unclear if Bassett continues attending the church, as he has stopped speaking about it publicly. While it is nice to hear he is happy and in a good place, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future regarding his relationship with this church.

Category: Church

Baptism religion

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