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Denzel Washington on religion, Romney, and remembering Whitney

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Denzel Washington on the cover of the October issue. (Nathaniel Goldberg/GQ)

Who says you should never discuss religion and politics? They're two big topics Denzel Washington, who grew up surrounded by religion as the son of a Pentacostal preacher, touches on in a new interview with GQ. He also talks about his troubled relationship with his father, his thoughts on Whitney Houston's death, and why Mitt Romney seems so uncomfortable all the time.

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"I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word," the actor says in magazine's October issue, when asked if there's a code he currently lives by. He also reveals the memorable spiritual experience he had 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. It did frighten me. 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?'"

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Nathaniel Goldberg/GQ

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Nathaniel Goldberg/GQ

After Washington's parents separated when he was 14, his relationship with his father crumbled. "It was a different time. Once they were separated, I was in school. So 70 percent of the year, I was away. In the summer, I wasn't looking to track him down. I was ready to hit the streets. So you just kind of fade.... Not to say that I didn't love him like a dad. But we didn't play ball, those types of things," Washington shares. When he was 18 he tried living with his dad, but the elder Washington kicked him out, explaining, "You're just bad." He died when Washington began shooting "Malcolm X" in 1991. "I never shed a tear for my father. That sounds like a book or a song. I never did all through the funeral and all that. There was no connection," the dad of four tells GQ.

Another death he recently had to come to terms with was that of Whitney Houston, whom he calls "his girl" but "not talk every month friends."

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"That was a monster drug that got ahold of her, it was a mean one. 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." Washington continues: "You know, they made her this thing. 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."

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Nathaniel Goldberg/GQ

In the interview, the 57-year-old also shares his thoughts on the two presidential candidates, including President Obama: "He's in the beginning of the third quarter. I don't know what his legacy is yet. He's the first — that's a part of it. Like Jackie Robinson. But it just wasn't the first game; it was lasting the whole thing." And Republican Mitt Romney: "He hasn't even brought it up," Washington says of Romney's lack of discussion about his faith. If elected, he would become America's first Mormon president. "When I see him, he's always uncomfortable. You can see that uncomfortableness. Forget about his being Mormon. He hasn't said anything about his faith."

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And in case you thought the "Training Day" star might get into politics himself, think again. "No. I'm an independent. 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."

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