‘Reacher’ star Alan Ritchson responds to Christian critics of his ‘morally ambiguous’ role

'Reacher' star Alan Ritchson speaks in a Jan. 6, 2024 video.
"Reacher" star Alan Ritchson speaks in a Jan. 6, 2024 video. | Screengrab: Youtube/InstaChurch

"Reacher" star Alan Ritchson is calling out Christians after he received backlash for playing a role that could be seen as "morally ambiguous."

In a video posted to YouTube last Saturday, the Christian actor addressed reported criticism he received from some Christians for playing Jack Reacher in the Amazon Prime Video series.

The series, launched in February 2022, is set around a former military officer who is arrested for a murder he didn't commit and finds himself dealing with dirty businessmen, politicians and cops. 

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"I love playing Reacher. I love telling this story. I love playing a character who creates a kind of moral ambiguity that we should struggle against as we consider whether or not what he's doing is good all the time or morally right," Ritchson said. 

"But it's funny to me how a lot of people criticize me, supposed Christians especially, criticize me for playing Reacher. As if the only TV that should exist is seeing people silently folding their hands in the pew of a church. I mean, what kind of stories are we supposed to tell?"

Ritchson, 41, said the Bible contains "stories of paganism, of war and bloodshed and ghost stories, mysticism," and shows God revealing "who He is through an imperfect people."

"We see miracles and magic," he added. "We see life and resurrection and death, and we see this incredible canvas where God is completely unafraid to tell the story of who He is through less than morally ambiguous characters, through pure evil sometimes."

Ritchson finds it "laughable" when he receives criticism for taking the role, saying stories like "Reacher" can be used to initiate the start of conversations between people "in a way that I think God enjoys."

Through his role in "Reacher," Ritchson said he has been given a platform to "reach people who maybe don't think about these things all the time." 

He said he hopes that his storytelling through the role will help those who might be "lost" or "struggling" to find hope in the same way his faith led him to a place of surrender and hope. 

Ritchson pointed to Genesis 1:1-2, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

According to the actor, the Hebrew words for "formless and empty" mean "wild and waste." He added that God created the Garden of Eden and humankind, beginning "an epic saga of love out of the wild and the waste."

Ritchson said God is a "good Creator and that out of the wild, the waste and the empty of your life He can create a garden if you let Him." 

Ritchson said his critics are "missing that moment, that confrontation that God is waiting for in all of our lives." 

"I hope, if you haven't confronted that question yet, that this conversation helps bring you to it sooner," he said. "Do you want to be the god of emptiness, wild and waste, or do you want to be a servant in a garden?"

In addition to "Reacher," Ritchson has starred in "Fast X" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." He will star alongside Hilary Swank in the upcoming film "Ordinary Angels."

Ritchson is known for being outspoken in his faith. He received attention for responding, in August, to a Satanist on TikTok who claimed God is evil. 

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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