High School Musical star Joshua Bassett worries fans after baptised by anti-LGBTQ+ megachurch

Joshua Bassett in front of a blue, pink and purple background.

Queer actor and star of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Joshua Bassett has broken his silence after being baptised by the notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ Bethel Church.

In a video posted on social media this week (13 February), Bassett appeared alongside a representative from the evangelical Christian megachurch to proclaim that Jesus Christ is his “lord and saviour”.

Bassett, 22, said that “running away” from Christianity “only ended in addiction, depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders” and that Jesus Christ gave him “peace”.

Fans swiftly voiced their concerns, questioning whether he had been “forced” to attend the baptism.

The Bethel Church is renowned for its anti-LGBTQ+ stance and has previously promoted torturous so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on its social media channels.

In 2019, the church posted several images on Instagram advocating for the ‘CHANGED’ movement, which pushes misinformation about LGBTQ+ people being able to ‘change’ and ‘leave homosexuality behind’.

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Joshua Bassett, who came out as queer in 2021, has responded to fan concerns and criticism regarding his baptism at the church, saying he was “unaware” of its harmful beliefs.

“I visited this church and happened to get baptised here – I was unaware of some of their policies and beliefs, and do not endorse all of them,” he wrote in a post on Twitter. “My heart is for Christ and Christ alone!”

While some fans are arguing that it’s common for “random” baptisms to happen at churches, others are questioning how he managed to be baptised without knowing what he was being baptised into.

Canada’s Drag Race queen Eve 6000 responded to Bassett’s statement, writing: “Drive by baptism? Lol. If you truly believe in the purpose of being baptised why would you not research the people doing it…”

Another person asked: “Nahh wait… You didn’t research the church before getting baptised by them?”

“This is wildly disappointing and honestly worrisome for all of the queer fans who look up to him,” wrote one fan. “I truly hope he understands the gravity of this choice and along those lines, I hope this is HIS choice and not from any outside pressure.”

On its website, the Bethel Church has a section dedicated to its beliefs on the “confusing” topic of sexuality, which all but lays out its support for conversion therapy.

The website reads: “Jesus is looking for you as one looks for a lost son or daughter. Let Him find you. Fall into His arms… Let Him redeem, restore, and define you. We bring our self, our sin, pain, confidence, preferences, and ideals to Him… and He begins the process of transformation.”

In 2018, when California proposed a bill that would ban the practice of conversion therapy, Bethel Church leaders spoke out against it, saying they wouldn’t allow “our message, our hope, and our faith to be silenced”.

The Bethel Church website also rambles about the “fundamental and essential distinctions” between men and women and “chromosomal reality”, effectively denying the existence of trans people.

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