Denzel Washington spoke out about his Christian faith knowing this isn’t something that is readily accepted by some of his peers in Hollywood. Explaining an intense spiritual awakening, the Oscar winner declared: “I was being filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Denzel Washington is one of those rare actors who’s not afraid to talk about politics or religion. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Washington unabashedly shared his faith journey and revealed one personal moment when he was touched by God.
“I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word,” Washington told GQ when asked if there’s a code he currently lives by. He also revealed the memorable spiritual experience he had over 30 years ago at the church he still attends: “The minister was preaching, ‘Just let it go.’ I said, ‘I’m going to go with it.’ And I had this tremendous physical and spiritual experience.”
Washington further detailed what happened next. “It did frighten me,” he added about the spiritual moment. “I was slobbering, crying, sweating. My cheeks blew up. I was purging. It was too intense. It almost drove me away. I called my mother, and she said I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was like, ‘Does that mean I can never have wine again?'”
The veteran actor’s father was a Pentecostal preacher, but their relationship was troubled after his parents divorced. That turned Washington away from his Christian faith, but he found his way back and thanked God for that spiritual awakening. Ever since that day, Washington has been a proud Christian, even going so far as to consider becoming a preacher.
“A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising,’” he said during a 1999 interview. In the end, Washington decided to stick to playing preachers in the movies. He did, however, offer some creative advice for staying close to God every day. “Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them,” he said. “And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding. Don’t aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.”
He also wasn’t afraid to speak about politics when asked if he would ever run for office himself. “No. I’m an independent,” he declared. “In some ways I’m liberal, and other ways I’m conservative. We get so locked in on ‘you have to be this or that.’ It’s ridiculous. I’m not a liberal or a conservative completely. Who is? Or why do you have to be? You assess the pros, the cons, of both sides and you make an intelligent decision.”
The Training Day star was also greatly affected by the death of superstar Whitney Houston. “That was a monster drug that got ahold of her, it was a mean one,” Washington said. “You can’t go back to that one. Nobody beats that. I look at people — and I don’t think I’m speaking out of line — Sam Jackson, I’ve known for thirty-some-odd years, he was down at the bottom. And he came all the way back. And when he cleaned up, he never looked back. But he can’t have that beer, because it might lead to the tough thing.”
“You know, they made her this thing,” Washington added. “She had a voice, obviously, but they packaged her into this whole whatever, but she was really just this humble, sweet girl … and then the next thing you know, her body was betraying her. She didn’t know that her body was aging quickly. She couldn’t take it. Your body can only take so much. Some people survive [Hollywood and fame], and some people don’t.”