The Rushmore Report: Actors You Didn’t Know Were Religious

In the glitzy world of Hollywood, it’s easy to get caught up in all things worldly. From competing for the best dressed title on the red carpet to going for plastic surgery every other month, actors tend to be self-serving and self-aware. Many live compromised lives, filled with controversy. Few have time for faith. But there are some exceptions. Here are ten Hollywood actors whose faith is central to their lives.

1. Katherine Heigl

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy know Heigl as Dr. Izzie Stevens. She is an active Mormon who lives according to her faith. As such, Heigl did not live with her future husband, as most stars would. She considers marriage a sacred bond before God.

2. Steven Colbert

A Roman Catholic, despite his active schedule, the late-night comedian remains determined to continue practicing his faith and instilling it in his children. He is a regular church attender and sometimes even teaches Sunday School classes.

3. Steven Seagal

The action star and martial arts expert has always stood out in Hollywood because of his distinctive looks. While his parents are Jewish, he has Mongolian ancestry. Seagal is a practicing Buddhist.

4. Stephen Baldwin

The Baldwin brothers are an integral part of Hollywood, as the band of brothers are composed of four well-known actors. But unlike his brothers, Stephen is an active evangelical Christian.

5. Angela Bassett

Best known for her role as Tina Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It, Bassett received critical acclaim for her performance. Avoiding the limelight, Bassett is a committed Christian.

6. Mario Lopez

A Roman Catholic, Lopez is fairly private about his faith. He attends church every week, often going by himself. He says church provides close communion with God.

7. Natalie Portman

A converted Jew, the famous actress is raising her son according to her faith. As she considers having more children, she is on record as saying they will all be raised Jewish.

8. Angus T. Jones

Playing many diverse roles, the young actor is one of the few actors who is a practicing Seventh Day Adventist. Not much more is known about Jones’ faith.

9. Alice Cooper

Yes, I said Alice Cooper. He is the ultimate example of why we must not judge a person by his looks. Cooper credits his born-again faith with helping him to overcome alcohol addiction.

10. Mark Wahlberg

As a rapper in his younger years, Wahlberg had multiple run-ins with the law. He has battled drug addiction, and once ended up in jail. It was then that he returned to the faith of his childhood. Now a devout Catholic, Wahlberg takes his wife and four kids to church with him every Sunday.

The Rushmore Report: Jim Carrey Preaches Grace of Christ to Former Inmates

Comedian and Hollywood actor Jim Carrey preached the hope of Jesus to former inmates and said that he’s learned that suffering leads to salvation. The Ace Ventura star attended a Homeboy Industries event in Los Angeles, where he addressed former gang members who had been incarcerated. In his remarks, Carrey went spiritual, telling the attendees that real hope is found outside ourselves.

In his emotional speech, Carrey said, “I want to speak to the fact that I believe that this room is filled with God, and that you are heroes to me and I admire you. You’ve made a decision to transcend and to leave darkness behind, and it takes a champion to make that decision.”

Carrey continued, “I really want to speak to the fact that I’ve had some challenges myself and ultimately I believe that suffering leads to salvation. In fact, it’s the only way. We have to somehow accept – and not deny – our suffering, feel our losses, and then we make one of two decisions.”

The actor said we all must choose between what he called “two gates.” He described one of the gates as resentment, which leads to self-harm. The other gate, he said, is forgiveness, which “leads to grace.”

“Your being here indicates that you’ve made that decision already. You’ve made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness, of grace, just as Christ did on the cross. He suffered terribly and he was broken by it to the point of doubt and the feeling of absolute abandonment. That’s all he felt,” Carrey explained.

The comedian explained that in spite of being in such horrible circumstances, Jesus made the decision to look on the people responsible for his suffering with “compassion and forgiveness.”

“That’s what opens the gates of heaven for all of us,” he said.

Carrey added that although he’s suffered many things, he knows those in attendance have suffered greater losses. He then expressed admiration for them all. Before concluding, he went on to say that the concept of omnipresence in the Bible reveals that God is in all, and he encouraged everyone to think about the power behind knowing that.

“When you decide to transcend the negativity and attempt to do something positive for yourself and your family, you are the heart of God, you are the eyes of God. When you speak from that place, you are God’s voice.” He concluded, “Serving the world with your work, that is the Body of Christ.”

In the past, Carrey has expressed his distrust of organized religions. He was raised Catholic, then ventured into Presbyterianism. He has spoken about looking for spiritual answers as a child while being inspired by the Buddha, yet this shows that he is now clinging to Jesus after times of suffering.

It appears suffering turned Jim Carrey’s heart toward God. May it do the same for each of us.

The Rushmore Report: Why Matthew McConaughey Gave His Son a Biblical Name

Actor Matthew McConaughey recently shared how he and his wife chose the name for their son, Levi. McConaughey, who has made no secret of his Christian faith, told the hosts of Good Morning America that he and his wife weren’t sure what they were going to name their now nine-year-old child, but when he was born, they decided on Levi because that name had biblical significance for McConaughey.

“Levi is another name for Matthew in the Bible,” he said. “We had talked about possibly Matthew, Jr. if he was a boy. And my favorite verse in the Bible is Matthew 6:22.”

Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”

McConaughey and his wife didn’t find out the sex of their baby till he was born and they still hadn’t decided on a name, but when the doctor told them the exact time the baby was born, they realized Levi was perfectly fitting.

“We find out he’s a boy when he’s born. You’re not thinking about the name, right?” he continued. “An hour later, the doctor comes up and he hands you that card to fill out: ‘Blank was born at 6:22 p.m.’ So we went, ‘It’s Levi.'”

Christian Today notes that McConaughey also has Matthew 6:22 engraved on his wedding band. The actor has shared that he drifted away from his faith when he first became famous, but he has since returned to that faith, in large part due to his wife’s influence.

About the Author

Veronica Neffinger is editor for

The Rushmore Report: Was Elvis a Christian?

Elvis Presley died 40 years ago this week. As we look back on the King of Rock ‘n Roll, it is a good time to consider his faith. Charles Hughes, a writer on the history of Southern Gospel, has looked closely into Elvis’ past. In his search for answers about his faith, Hughes has made an unexpected discovery. He has found Elvis’ personal Bible – and the notes he wrote in the margins. He has discovered an Elvis many did not know.

“Throughout his career he kept returning to Gospel music,” writes Hughes. “He was always singing Gospel songs, recording Gospel records, and incorporating in his live shows performance techniques that he would have gotten from the church.”

Joe Moscheo, a member of The Imperials, who traveled with Elvis, wrote a book called The Gospel Side of Elvis. He wrote of an Elvis who would often gather other singers into his hotel room and sing Gospel songs for hours at a time. “That’s what he wanted to do. It was like there were two parts. There was Elvis the superstar and he went out onstage in his jumpsuits and then he came offstage and he was Elvis Presley from Tupelo, Mississippi, that was brought up in the church and wanted to sing Gospel music,” he said.

The last time Moscheo saw Elvis, he gave him a Bible. When asked if he thought Elvis was a Christian, Moscheo said, “I believe that he was. He had demons. I mean, he had problems. But, from all indications and just being around him in these intimate settings, I really feel that he was a Christian.”

And here’s where it gets interesting.

Hughes has dug into Presley’s Bible – one given to him by his aunt and uncle on his first Christmas at Graceland in 1957. It was found at the Museum of the Bible. Given the opportunity to review it in private, Hughes thumbed through its pages and discovered several hand-written notes, by which Elvis expressed his true faith

Here are some examples.

Beside Psalm 11:1, he wrote, “In the Lord I place my trust and He will guide me.”

Psalm 43:3 is underlined with a note that reads, “Lord send me light to guide me.”

On page 670, in reference to Psalm 137:5-9, Elvis wrote, “Trust in the Lord, not man.”

Jotted under Psalm 81 are these words: “Sing the Lord’s praises.”

In reference to Psalm 149:3-6, he added, “The highest graces of music flow from the feelings of the heart-soul.”

And under Psalm 149, he wrote, “Sing for the glory of God.”

Was Elvis Presley a Christian? It appear so. Did he struggle with his faith? Certainly. That makes him a lot like most of us.

The Rushmore Report: Remembering Glen Campbell

This week we lost an American icon. Glen Travis Campbell, whose career spanned five decades, stepped into the presence of his God Tuesday morning. He is best known for his 70 albums, 45 million records sold, 12 gold albums, and nine #1 hits, along with his CBS show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour (1969-1972). But this isn’t about Glen Campbell the entertainer. It’s about Glen Campbell the man.

First, let’s get the award stuff out of the way. Campbell’s accolades are nearly unmatched in the music industry: Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Hall of Fame, Male Vocalist of the Year (country and rock), Entertainer of the Year, actor (True Grit), TV star (Goodtime Hour), and record five Grammys in one year (1967). He was named TV Personality of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, and so much more.

But let’s talk about Glen Campbell the man.

He was my first favorite singer. He released my all-time favorite song, Galveston, on February 24, 1969. Being from Houston, somehow this song made me proud. I was just nine at the time, but I knew the song by heart. I still do. What was once a record in my bedroom nearly 50 years ago is now on my phone, where I can listen to it anytime.

I followed his career through the years. Like most people, I cherish the music I grew up with. That made me a huge fan of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, and Glen Campbell. I saw all three in person. Beth and I were on the second row of Campbell’s final concert in Texas, in the Dallas area, ten years ago. Already suffering from Alzheimer’s, Campbell forgot the words to some of the songs, and clearly wasn’t sure where he was. But he could still sing. And he could still play the guitar. Man, could he play the guitar! I felt like a teenager all over again, sitting just feet from my childhood idol.

Glen Campbell was not a perfect human being. Maybe that’s why I identified with him. His three failed marriages, occasional jail time, and struggles with drug and alcohol addiction made him seem real. Like the rest of us, he battled his demons.

But unlike many of us, he won those battles. He found strength through his personal faith –  a strength he lacked earlier in his life.

Kim Campbell, his wife since 1983, said in an interview last year, “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God.”

Kim continued, “That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone, even if I’m not right next to him.”

Today – and for all eternity – Glen Campbell is not alone. There is someone right next to him who will never go away.

For 50 years, the Rhinestone Cowboy blessed millions with what Dolly Parton called “one of the greatest voices of all time.” The man Tim McGraw called “special,” of whom Steve Martin said the music world was “in awe,” and who Peter Frampton called “one of the most down to earth people I have ever known” is now at rest with his Savior.

For Glen Travis Campbell, the seventh son of a seventh son, the temptations of drugs, alcohol, money, and fame have passed. But his memory endures.

The words of his most acclaimed song say it best.

“I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long, singin’ the same old song. I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway. Where hustle’s the name of the game, and nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain. There’s been a load of compromisin’ on the road to my horizon. But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me. Like a rhinestone cowboy.”

Today, Glen Campbell is walking new streets, where hustle’s not the name of the game, where nice guys don’t get washed away. He has finished the road to his horizon. And at the end of that road, he has discovered lights that will never go out.

For 50 years, it was true. Campbell was “singin’ the same old songs” – Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Gentle on My Mind, Dreams of the Everyday Housewife. Today, he is singing new songs.

Glen Campbell blessed millions with his music. But more than that, he taught us to never give up, to value family, and above all, to embrace faith. For now, I’ll keep “singin’ the same old songs.” One day, at the end of my own horizon, I will join Glen Campbell in heaven’s choir.

May we all walk the road to our horizon with the same dignity, grace, and faith as did Glen Travis Campbell.

The music continues . . .


The Rushmore Report: Actress Patricia Heaton Tweets About the Holy Spirit

Patricia Heaton has not shied away from openly sharing her Christian faith in the past, but in a recent social media post, the popular sitcom star took it a step further and shared a recent encounter she had with the Holy Spirit. The professing Catholic plays an overcompensating mother who tries to steer her family right in the ABC series, The Middle. Like her character, Heaton’s Twitter feed is also a place where she shares encouragement with others by sharing her love for God and church.

This past Sunday, Heaton shared that although she initially thought the church sermon was boring, the Holy Spirit swept in and unexpectedly touched her.

“Spent Mass internally grumbling about lame sermon; received Eucharist, knelt down, burst into tears,” she tweeted with the hashtag “No One Expects the Holy Spirit.”

A few hours later, she described feeling guilty about complaining about church after reading an article by Joni Eareckson Tada, who became an author, speaker, and international advocate for people with disabilities after a diving accident in 1967 left Tada a quadriplegic.

“Just read this, now feel really bad about grumbling at Mass. The miracle is that God loves me anyway,” she shared on Twitter, with a link to Tada’s article, titled Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident.

While scrolling through Heaton’s social media post, one can see the 59-year-old often encourage her over 300,000 followers to follow Jesus. She recently retweeted posts by other popular Christian leaders who are pointing people to salvation.

“It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own,” she wrote, quoting a popular C.S. Lewis passage for her followers.

The mother of four also quoted founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Timothy Keller, who tweeted, “If you don’t live for Jesus you will live for something else. Will those things be enough? Will they die for you?”

Judging from the comments on her page, many of her followers are proud of Heaton for her Christian voice in Hollywood. In the past, the Ohio native has stood firm in the public with her anti-abortion stance. Last year, the actress blasted the Supreme Court’s abortion decision by quoting Thomas Jefferson.

About the Author

Jeannie Law is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Steve McQueen – How the ‘King of Cool’ Met the ‘King of Kings’

Nearly 40 years after his death, acting legend Steve McQueen is still referred to as the “King of Cool.” His rags-to-riches story still fascinates fans, new and old. But one chapter of that story has rarely been told. And that is his journey to faith. McQueen overcame many hardships to become the Hollywood “boy wonder” of the 1960s and 1970s. And now Pastor Greg Laurie tells the rest of the story.

Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California – and a lifelong Steve McQueen fan – talked about the actor’s life in a recent interview with CBN.

“He had no father, and his mother really did not raise him,” said Laurie. “She was a raging alcoholic, with a lot of guys, and I tracked with that part of the story because I, too, had an alcoholic mother, married and divorced seven times and I never knew my biological father.”

An American Icon

By today’s Hollywood standards, Steve McQueen’s resume could be considered relatively short. But he is an American icon. “Not everybody from his generation is an icon,” Laurie said. “But James Dean, another contemporary of McQueen, is an icon. Elvis is an icon. The Beatles are iconic. Certain people transcend time and they become iconic characters. I think maybe one of the things that makes a person an icon is when there is sort of a timelessness about them.”

But Laurie discovered more about McQueen than his iconic stature in American culture. He discovered something about his faith. “I started delving into Steve’s life more, and I had heard that he had become a Christian, and I believed it to be true, but I never had checked it out.”

The Pastor Who Led McQueen to Christ

“I had seen a documentary film last year. And it talked about his rise from the worst childhood imaginable to superstardum, where he was the number one star in the world, in films like Bullitt, The Great Escape, The Magnificent 7, etc., and then how he walked away from Hollywood and became a Christian, and I thought, is this true?” Laurie continued.

The megachurch pastor went to work. In his search, he says, “The name Leonard DeWitt popped up. Leonard is the pastor who led Steve to Christ and I wondered if this guy was still alive.”

Laurie tracked him down. He asked the aging pastor, “Are you the Leonard DeWitt that prayed with Steve McQueen?” And he said, “Yes, I am.”

Laurie said, “I was amazed that Leonard didn’t have a website that said, ‘The preacher who led Steve McQueen to Christ.’ That’s quite an accomplishment.”

The Salvation of an American Icon

Laurie has written a soon-to-be published book on Steve McQueen. The book includes details of a special meeting between McQueen and Billy Graham.

Doctors diagnosed McQueen with an aggressive form of cancer only months after he accepted Christ. Before McQueen flew to Mexico for surgery, he met with Graham, who gave him his personal Bible for the trip.

Laurie said, “I asked Billy about this years ago, and he confirmed that’s what happened. Steve went down and had the surgery. After they wheeled him into recovery, he was waiting in this room alone in the clinic in Juarez, Mexico, and he died. And he went into the presence of God. They came in to find Steve and they pulled the sheet back and he was holding onto that Bible.”

He continued, “It was indeed Billy Graham’s Bible that he was holding onto, maybe reading it when the Lord called him home.”

And then Laurie revealed this powerful truth. “One thing Steve said before he died was, ‘My only regret in life is that I was not able to tell people about what Christ did for me.’ So, I wrote this book to tell his story for him.”

In his book, Laurie concludes, “Steve McQueen, the ‘King of Cool,’ realized he needed Christ. So the ‘King of Cool’ met the ‘King of Kings.'”

About the Author

Efrem Graham writes for CBN News.

The Rushmore Report: Dolly Parton’s Brush with Suicide

Dolly Parton, one of country music’s greatest stars, shares in her new memoir how she contemplated suicide, but believes God intervened to stop her. Her new memoir, Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, reveals much about Parton’s life that had not been made public. In the book, she confesses that she went through a horrible period in which she considered taking her own life.

Parton confesses that in the midst of her depression, she began binge-eating and she cheated on her husband. Her life seemed to be falling apart, and one night she was so depressed that she took out the gun she kept for protection, pondering whether to use it to kill herself.

“I looked at it a long time. Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs,” Parton recalled. “The tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality. I suddenly froze. I put the gun down.”

Instead of taking her own life, Parton turned to prayer. “I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God,” said the music icon. “I don’t think I’d have done it, killed myself, but I can’t say for sure. Now that I’ve gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities even for someone solid like me if the pain gets bad enough.”

That dark experience showed Parton that “a belief in God is essential. You have to believe in something bigger than yourself. We grew up believing that through God all things are possible. I think I believed that so much that I made it happen.”

Parton, now 71, has a strong relationship with her husband of 51 years, Carl Dean. She is still touring and playing music.

The Rushmore Report: Selena Gomez Talks about Her Faith

Pop star Selena Gomez is not afraid to share her Christian faith. Recently, she did a radio interview in which she discussed her attendance at Hillsong Church and her relationship with Pastor Carl Lentz. Charisma News reports on Gomez’ interview with “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” in which she said, “I haven’t really been all over the place lately, and that’s kind of intentional.”

Gomez continued, “I think it’s important to balance out where I am, and I’ve been doing this for a really long time, and my sanity has meant everything to me, and a lot of that is my faith. I took 90 days off, I went away, I was very vocal about it because to me, where I get my confidence is my vulnerability. I can’t sit there and pretend that everything is good, because I’ve done that for years, and it doesn’t really work for me.”

Gomez is not only a regular attendee at Hillsong; she has also led worship at the megachurch. On her recent album, she even wrote a worship song called “Nobody,” which she performed at a Los Angeles concert, along with Hillsong Young & Free.

Gomez also said of her time at HIllsong and interacting with Lentz, “I feel very refreshed. He’s the best.”

She ended the interview by inviting Duran and his colleagues to visit Hillsong anytime.