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The Christian family of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers were reportedly hurt and “dismayed” over the athlete’s recent anti-religion comments, which were made on former professional race care driver Danika Patrick’s podcast, “Pretty Intense.” Rodgers and Patrick are publicly dating.
“I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery hell,” Rodgers told Patrick on “Pretty Intense,” as reported by PEOPLE magazine. “What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn his beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?”
“Religion can be a crutch, it can be something that people have to have to make themselves feel better,” the Green Bay Packers QB continued. “Because it’s set up binary, it’s us and them, saved and unsaved, heaven and hell, it’s enlightened and heathen, it’s holy and righteous … that makes a lot of people feel better about themselves.”
Rodgers claimed he and “most people” he knew growing up went to church because “you just had to go.”
The 36-year-old now sees himself embracing a “‘different type of spirituality’ that is more meaningful to him than what he experienced as a child,” the magazine reported.
The Rodgers family, who’ve reportedly been estranged from the NFL star for over five years, were displeased with harsh commentary on religion, sources told PEOPLE.
“They were dismayed,” a source close to the family told the outlet. “The family is very dedicated to their Christian faith.”
“To them, his comments are basically a slap in the face to the fundamentals of who they are. It’s basically him turning his back on everything they have taught him,” the source continued, adding, “The feeling is that Aaron has really turned his back on them. There’s clearly a lot more to it, but that’s how he is perceived by his family.”
Rodgers’ comments “are very hurtful to the family,” the insider said, noting that the family “still loves Aaron very much.”
“They have these times where things start to thaw out, but then something like this happens, and then it’s back to square one. It’s sad,” the source said.
Rodgers has reportedly been estranged from his family since 2014, shortly after he dated actress Olivia Munn, according to a New York Times report.
“A rift in the Rodgers family became public fodder when Aaron’s younger brother, Jordan, appeared as a contestant on the reality TV show ‘The Bachelorette.’ While romancing the show’s star, JoJo Fletcher, Jordan told her that she probably would not meet Aaron on a coming visit to Chico, because the quarterback had distanced himself from his kin,” the Times reported in 2017.
The Times added that Ed Rodgers, the QB’s father, confirmed a post from Bleacher Reporter which revealed that the athlete “had not spoken to his family since the end of 2014, a few months after he began dating Munn, who has appeared on ‘The Daily Show’ on Comedy Central, in ‘The Newsroom’ on HBO and in the film ‘X-Men: Apocalypse.'”
“Fame can change things,” Mr. Rodgers is quoted in the Times interview, in reference to his sons.
The QB has shied away from speaking publicly about the apparent family riff. “I just don’t think it’s appropriate talking about family stuff publicly,” Rodgers told a reporter in 2017 at the Packers’ practice facility, the Times reported.