Season 25 of The Bachelor.

ABC/Craig Schoden

Matt James talks to his competitors about The Bachelor.

Matt James approached his first speech with a somewhat unique approach: He headlined season 25 of The Bachelor. Instead of addressing the congregation on the journey he had taken with the 32 women, James led the group in prayer.

This moment was the source of a controversy that CBA Director Robert Mills had not anticipated.

I didn’t expect [prayer] to be such a hot topic, Mills said in an appearance on Nick Weil’s podcast, The Weil Files. And I understand some of it where it says: What if it was someone with a different dominance?

I’ve heard some people talk in prayer: Please tilt your head like you usually do, or something. This guy just met 32 women. The fact that he didn’t tell people how: If you disagree. I think he was just trying… He didn’t embarrass anyone.

James, 29, put his faith at the forefront of his search for love, a moment that went well in the room. It even moved one contestant, Rachel Kirkconnell, to tears.

What you learn about me is that when I get nervous, I pray to calm me down, James told the women.

The reactions offans to theprayer have been mixed.

Although the reception of Jacob’s Prayer by the women of The Bachelor was unanimously positive (at least as far as ABC has shown), some viewers were not so impressed. Among them is the actress Nikki Glaser, who offered a prayer in an episode of File Folders.

I think there should be a separation between the church and the date, Mr. Glaser said. I don’t need prayer time. Why does everything have to be Christian! I have no problem with Christians, but I think the CBA is making a gesture here to include this section. I mean, that’s good…

I looked up as if I didn’t know what to do. Shall I say amen? I’m just thinking: You know what? I’m going to, because you’re not going to like me if we have to do this before dinner and stuff. It’s just a little boring.

Other observers found the prayer a bit exclusive.

Matt wants a Christian, religious woman. That’s amazing. Asking someone to bow their head and pray in public is embarrassing. I was in the same situation and I did, and I remember how weird I felt 7 years ago.

– Kiran Fuloria (@KiranPhuloria) 6. January 2021

What if one of them is the most dangerous? What’s to be done? I’m an agnostic. I’m not sure I like it. So I can only imagine the worst.

– We passed (youth only)✌-Chelsea (@ChelseaMoffatt) January 5, 2021

James does not object to dating someone with different beliefs

Even before the premiere of Bachelor’s, James made it clear that praying doesn’t mean he’s just looking for a Christian woman. In an interview with Refinery,29 he said he was very open to the idea of dating someone who doesn’t share his faith.

My brother and I have very different religious views – and I would die for him, James said at the refinery.29 There is nothing I would not do for my brother. It shows that just because I don’t share someone’s religious views doesn’t mean I consider them a less compatible person. But I think it’s important that they know where my world comes from and where my decision-making is rooted.

We try to understand each other. If it’s a deal breaker for them, I’d rather they know so I don’t waste their time.

Among those who enjoyed the feeling was Ivan Hall, one of three finalists on last season’s The Bachelorette. Tayshia Adams said Hall’s religious beliefs were one of the reasons she decided to end the relationship.

Since Matt opened things with a prayer, I think it was a big move for him, Hall told Viall Files. He’s a Christian and it’s a big part of his life, so I think it was good for him to show it to women so they could get a little idea of where he is. And I hope this conversation about religion comes a little earlier with Matt and his wives.

READ NOW: Former scholarship candidate thanking the producers who supported her.

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