Special Reports

Spring 2011 Life Decisions International vol. xiv • no. 2

Teen Phenom Faces Challenges And Ridicule
by Douglas R. Scott, Jr.
In just a few short years, Justin Bieber has gone from a YouTube sensation to a worldwide phenomenon. While Bieber has generally been seen as a positive role model to tweens (defined as “a youngster between 10 and 12 years of age; considered too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager”), his sudden rise to fame has not been trouble-free—especially since giving his opinion on abortion and several other controversial issues. With more than 20 million tweens in the United States alone, Bieber is finding that fame can have a high price.


hat would you think of a “journalist” who asked a widely admired teenage pop star for an interview to discuss his work? No problem; it happens all the time. But what if, during the interview, the “journalist” blindsided the teenager by throwing in completely unrelated questions about controversial issues? Such questions were recently put to the talented Justin Bieber who, at the time of the interview, was just 16. Like most people his age, Bieber has surely spent little time thinking about issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and health care. In fact, the likelihood that he has developed a reasoned opinion on virtually any subject of consequence is pretty low. But one pro-abortion reporter apparently does not care. The Beginning Justin Drew Bieber was born on March 1, 1994, in the Canadian city of London, Ont. His mother, Patricia Lynn “Pattie” Mallette, was an unmarried 18 year old when he was conceived. Mallette, who has said she was sexually abused as a child, sought comfort from alcohol and drugs. She left home at the age of 15 and entered several unhealthy relationships with men. Following a suicide attempt, Mallette was sent to a mental hospital. One frequent visitor at the facility was a man from a Christian youth group who shared the Gospel with her. While initially slow to respond, she eventually accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. “I came to the Lord when I was 17, but shortly after accepting Christ, I went back to making my own decisions and got pregnant,” she told Baptist Press. “Realizing what I had done, I came back to God wholeheartedly, begging Him to forgive me. It’s really an incredible testimony of God’s mercy and grace. And the genuine love of people at the church who encouraged me.”

Mallette and her son moved to Stratford, Ont., where she took several low-paying office jobs. While Bieber was raised by his single mother in low-income housing, he maintained contact with his father, Jeremy Bieber, who is married and has two other children. The Rise Like most Canadians, young Bieber was interested in hockey and soccer. He also liked music and taught himself to play the piano, drums, guitar and trumpet. Bieber placed second in a local talent compeThis early Bieber video has tition when he was 12 years been viewed more than 33 million times. old. Mallette put a video of the performance on YouTube so family and friends could view it. She eventually posted more videos of her son singing and playing instruments. By the time 2007 came to a close dozens of videos showing the multitalented Bieber putting his spin on songs by artists such as Usher Terry Raymond IV (performs under the mononym “Usher”), Shaffer Chimere Smith, Jr. (stage name “Ne-Yo”), and Stevie Wonder had been posted on YouTube. The videos quickly racked up over 10 million views—purely from word of mouth. While the posted videos were intended for family and friends, “it turned out that other people liked them and they started subscribing to them,” Bieber told an online music site. “That’s how my manager found me. He saw me on YouTube and contacted my family and now I’m signed!” (Bieber signed with Usher’s record company, US Records, a subsidiary of J Records, which is owned by Sony Corporation.) Bieber’s first single, “One Time,” was released to radio stations while he was still recording his first album. The

song peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Platinum. Bieber’s album, “My World,” was released in November 2009. The album’s second single, “One Less Lonely Girl,” and two promotional songs, “Love Me,” and “Favorite Girl,” were released exclusively through the online store iTunes (owned by Apple Inc.). “One Less Lonely Girl,” which was eventually released to radio stations, was later certified Gold. The album was certified Platinum in the United States and Double Platinum in both Canada and the United Kingdom. The Bieber hit song “Baby,” which features Christopher Brian Bridges (stage name “Ludacris”), was released in January 2010, just ahead of Bieber’s first full studio album which included the new song. (The music video for “Baby” quickly became the most viewed video on YouTube of all time.) “My World 2.0” had similar success following its release in March 2010, debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Bieber followed up the release of “My World 2.0” with his first headlining tour, which began in June 2010. A 3-D biographical/concert film “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” was released in February 2011. Greatly exceeding industry expectations, it topped the box office with an estimated gross of $12.4 million on its opening day and more than $30.3 million over the first weekend. Bieber ranks second on the Forbes list of best-paid celebrities under age 30. He is the youngest person on the list to earn over $53 million in just 12 months. Bieber has already won many awards. Last year he won Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Breakthrough Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Album (“My World 2.0”) at the American Music Awards. In the same year he won Favorite International Artist at the Meus Prêmios Nick Awards (Brazil), International Artist at the MTV Brazil Music Awards, Best Male artist, and Best Push Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, UR FAVE New Artist, UR FAVE Canadian Video (“Baby”), and International Video of the Year by a Canadian at the Much Music Awards, Favorite International Video at the Myx Music Awards (Philippines), best Male Artist, Male Breakout Artist, Summer Music Star, and Pop Album at the Teen Choice Awards, Best International Act at the TRL (Total Request Live) Awards (Italy), and best Newcomer of the Year at the Young Hollywood Awards. So far this year Bieber has won the Fan Choice Award, and Pop Album of the Year at the Juno Awards (Canada), International Breakthrough Artist at the Brit Awards
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(Great Britain), Favorite Male Singer, and Favorite Song (“Baby”) at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, Collaborative Video of the Year at the CMT (Country Music Television) Music Awards, Best Jaw Dropping Moment (“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”) at the MTV Movie Awards, and at the Billboard Music Awards he won for Top New Artist, Top Social Artist, Top Streaming Artist, Top Digital Media Artist, Top Pop Album, and Top Streaming Song (“Baby” video). The list of awards is impressive to say the least. And Bieber was nominated for 21 more that he did not win, including Best New Artist, and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2010 Grammy Awards. In October 2010 Bieber released a collection of fingernail polishes through OPI Products Inc., which is owned by industry giant Coty Inc. Just three months later it was announced that five more shades would be added to the Bieber “One More Lonely Girl” collection. Bieber has also launched a perfume. The fruity scent, “Someday,” has just been released and is aimed at his core fan base of females between the ages of 14 and 18. Proceeds will go to GiveBack, which funds several charities, including Pencils of Promise and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Now just who would buy fingernail polish or perfume simply because it is associated with Justin Bieber? In a New York City publicity campaign marking the release of Someday, Bieber appeared on NBC’s “Today,” during which he sprayed fans with the fragrance and signed autographs. Bieber later headed to Macy’s Herald Square where many fans had lined up days in advance in the hope of seeing Bieber in person. “These are pretty extreme fans,” Macy’s spokesman Robin Reibel said about the mass of teenage girls gathered at the department store. “A lot of these girls camped out in tents…”

The ultimate result has been the creation of a (not quite overnight, but close) superstar. Bieber can go nowhere without an entourage, including plenty of security. One way to measure the popularity of any young person is to count the number of times he or she is featured in magazines published for young teenagers, such as Tiger Beat, Teen and Seventeen. It is impossible to pick up any such magazine without finding Bieber inside. In fact, he is usually featured on the cover. (Several examples have been placed throughout this publication.) The teen star had hoped to open a Justin Bieber store in Los Angeles, where his own brand of merchandise would be sold. What kinds of merchandise? Everything from
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candy to apparel. Bieber representatives were in discussions with corporate officials, hoping to work out the details, but they were unsuccessful. “I was working with them last year with the possibility of this happening,” Bieber’s spokesman Jennifer Gordon told the Los Angeles Times. “Toward the end of November, everything had fallen through. It’s not happening.” The fashion industry has grabbed a piece of “The Biebs.” Dolce & Gabbana, which is named after the Italian designers (Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana) who founded the company, offers collections of apparel and leather goods. It also licenses its brand names for fragrances, eyewear, and footwear. The brand is not for just anybody; it is donned by the rich and famous. Justin Bieber qualifies; most of his fans will not. “Justin represents the epitome of the new generation of music talents,” Gabbana told Vogue. “We are fascinated by his capability of communicating with his music to a wide variety of audiences, from the teenagers to a more adult public.” The company dressed Bieber for several important occasions, including the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Dolce said Bieber “belongs to the new generation, he cares about fashion. We are very happy to dress him and we admire him a lot.” Bieber’s popularity has had even greater influence in the fashion world. It is not just about the clothes he wears; it is also about the hair on his head. Bieber became known for a “bowl” haircut and its popularity with The Bieber ’do. teenage girls is a cultural phenomenon, becoming one of the most imitated hairstyles among teenage boys. Bieber changed his hairstyle in February 2011 and a lock from the former style was sold at auction for $40,668. The hair toured the United States with a bodyguard and Bieber fans could have their pictures taken with it in return for a charitable donation, which was given to an animal rescue and rehabilitation organization. Not convinced that Bieber is the biggest thing since The Beatles? Even the family of soccer star David Beckham has caught “Bieber Fever.” Victoria Beckham, of “Spice Girls” fame, posted on her Twitter page a photograph of her husband sunbathing next to a cardboard cutout of Bieber. What’s more, one of their children had a suggestion when his parents were trying to pick a name for his soon-to-be-born brother. “When we got told it was a boy, my…[8-year-old son] said, ‘How about Justin Bieber as a name? Justin Bieber Beckham?’” David Beckham revealed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” But the soon-to-beborn brother turned out to be a sister. “Well, how about Justine Bieber Beckham?” the boy said. Interestingly, both David and Victoria Beckham have their own fragrances on the market.
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Here’s the clincher. Bieber sculptures have been unveiled at Madame Tussauds wax museums in Amsterdam, New York, and London. “I’m honored to be getting my own wax figures,” Bieber said. “To be immortalized in wax alongside some of my [music] idols…is incredibly exciting and very cool.” The Faith Bieber went on tour in late 2010 to promote his memoir, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story. (Yes, this teenager has a “memoir”—surely to be one of several.) “Like, I’m a Christian, I believe in God, I believe that Jesus died on a cross for my sins,” he told the Associated Press during the tour. “I believe that I have a relationship and I’m able to talk to him [sic] and really, he’s [sic] the reason I’m here, so I definitely have to remember that. As soon as I start forgetting, I’ve got to click back and be like, you know, this is why I’m here.” Bieber made a similar statement in an interview with Billboard. In March 2011 Bieber told Rolling Stone that he has “an obligation to plant little seeds” with his fans. “I’m not going to tell them, ‘You need Jesus,’ but I will say at the end of my show, ‘God loves you.’” And his mother openly shares her faith and quotes Scripture on Twitter. In an article titled, “Tween evangelist? Justin Bieber film [“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”] packed with prayer,” Piet Levy of the Religion News Service claims Bieber’s management team is “showcasing another side of the 16year-old pop sensation: Christian icon for the tween set.” In his movie, Bieber speaks openly about his faith. He is shown praying before concerts and his mother discusses how God brought her through the trials and tribulations faced by single teenage mothers. Praying before a concert and thanking a “higher power” is not necessarily laudable. Even Madonna and her crew pray before a concert. And many of the vilest “artists” imaginable thank “god” when accepting industry awards. Prayer itself is not nearly as important as to whom it is directed. Nevertheless, some Christians are quick to applaud such expressions of “faith.” Thankfully, Bieber has made it clear that he is a Christian so we know where his prayers are directed. Paramount Pictures, which is owned by boycott target National Amusements Inc. (the same corporation responsible for bringing sex- and profanity-riddled “Skins” to its MTV Network) invited religious leaders to preview the movie and distributed “spiritual discussion guides.” According to the guide, the film “provides an opportunity to teach our children about the power of hope, prayer, faith and family.” It lists discussion points and Scripture
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related to the movie, such as “the power of prayer” and “the importance of Godly friendships.”

I pray. Can you give ’em one today I just can’t sleep tonight Can someone tell how to make a change I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and pray I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and I pray I pray I close my eyes and pray

A sign of popularity. Bieber has been featured in thousands of teenagers. magazines aimed at teenagers.

The video for “Pray,” which has been viewed nearly 25 million times on YouTube, ends with a written message:

“People will walk away (from the movie) knowing faith is very important to him,” said Scooter Braun, Bieber’s manager and one of the film’s producers. “As a Christian, he’s someone to look up to…When (fans) are getting the real person is when they can connect to that person.” Braun, who is Jewish, says he encourages Bieber in his faith and that they “regularly pray the Shema, Judaism’s most central prayer, before the start of each concert.” Bieber’s faith should surprise virtually no one. Several of the videos that had been posted on YouTube featured songs with overtly Christian messages. Departing from his usual studio genre, Bieber co-wrote and sang a song titled “Pray,” which was released in December 2010:
Ohh Ohh Ohh—and I pray I just can’t sleep tonight Knowing that things aint right It’s in the papers, it’s on the TV It’s everywhere that I go Children are crying Soldiers are dying Some people don’t have a home But I know there’s sunshine behind that rain I know there’s good times behind that pain, hey Can you tell me how I can make a change I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and pray I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and pray I lose my appetite knowing kids starve tonight And when I sit up ’cuz my dinner is still on my plate Ooo I got a vision to make a difference And it’s starting today ’Cuz I know there’s sunshine behind that rain I know there’s good times behind that pain, hey Haven`t tell me how I can make a change I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and pray I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and pray For the broken-hearted I pray for the life not started I pray for all the ones not breathing I pray for all the souls in need.

All one can do is pray that Bieber’s faith is sincere and becomes stronger every day, that he not fall into the traps stardom can bring, and that he become more educated about his faith. This will make dealing with topics such as those raised by Rolling Stone easier because it can be done with confidence. Bieber has a remarkable opportunity to influence millions of young people. At least, for now, he seems to have a good start, particularly when compared to other young celebrities. Not surprisingly, Bieber’s openness about his faith has led some detractors to ridicule him in ungodly ways. There was a successful effort to push “Justin Bieber Syphilis” to the top of the Google Trends Hot Searches list, which tracks how many times a certain name or subject is sought. After someone hacked into Bieber’s YouTube videos everyone wanting to watch one was automatically redirected to a pornographic website. A photograph of Bieber, which was posted on a music website, was doctored to make it look as though he had posed for a pornographic magazine. Someone even started a rumor that Bieber’s mother was considering an offer of $50,000 to pose for Playboy. One can be sure that if Bieber had never said anything about his faith the cyber-bandits would not have turned to such raunchiness. Why be open about your faith if it can lead to some very bad reactions? It is good to note that Bieber is not the first. The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus are recent examples. “It’s…not unusual for teen pop stars to use ‘the language of faith to widen their audience and project a clean pop image,’” said Diane Winston of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. “For young stars, particularly in those murky young teenage years, it’s a quick, reliable way to show parents you are not going to be offering a sexually explicit message.” The Interview Justin Bieber did several interviews to promote “Never Say Never.” But when Bieber sat down with Vanessa

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Maia Grigoriadis, who was writing for Rolling Stone, she surprised him with questions unrelated to the film or any of his other work. For example, Bieber, whose photograph is on the cover of the March 3, 2011 edition of the magazine, was asked about premarital sex. “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them… I think you should just wait for the person you’re in love with,” he said. What does Bieber think about abortion? “I really don’t believe in abortion. I think [a preborn baby] is a human. It’s like killing a baby,” he said. When asked about abortion in the case of rape, the pop star responded, “Um, well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.” Bieber was asked about homosexuality. “It’s everyone’s own decision to do that. It doesn’t affect me and shouldn’t affect anyone else.” Bieber’s comments led to a bit of a hullabaloo. Many prolife activists lauded them and abortion apologists denounced them. But it seems that Bieber’s words deserve neither praise nor condemnation. They are the views of a teenage boy who has been rather busy over the past few years. Consider these points: • “I really don’t believe in abortion. I think [a preborn baby] is a human. It’s like killing a baby (emphasis added).” A preborn baby is human and abortion does kill a baby. Bieber also said that because no one he knows has been raped, he is in no position to have an opinion on abortion under such situations. Yet the circumstance in which a human being comes into the world says nothing about his or her humanity or worth. • “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them…” Bieber said nothing about waiting until marriage. Most teenagers think they are “in love” about a dozen times a week—with different people. Being “in love,” even if heartfelt, says nothing about commitment or, just as important, the way such feelings should be expressed. • “It’s everyone’s own decision to do that [homosexuality]. It doesn’t affect me and shouldn’t affect anyone else.” This constitutes open acceptance. Thankfully Bieber was not asked about homosexual marriage. None of this is Bieber’s fault as he did not realize that every word he utters may be twisted by the media. If he had been trained Bieber would have declined to answer the questions. After all, he had agreed to the interview to promote the release of his movie.
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The Fallout Pundits and other adults were quick to respond to Bieber’s comments as though they had come from the President of the United States. CNN covered the matter on “Showbiz Tonight.” “If you thought there was a national uproar when Justin Bieber lost the best new artist Grammy…,” began co-host A.J. Hammer who narrated the report, “that’s nothin’ compared to the firestorm…set off today with his new heated political comments.” Hammer said that “from this morning on ‘The View’ to the political page of The Washington Post everyone is talking today about Justin Bieber’s explosive comments in the just revealed new issue of Rolling Stone. Sixteen-year-old Bieber expresses the health care reform views of President Obama and the anti-abortion views of Sarah Palin.” On “The View,” pro-abortion Joy Behar said, “Usually if I want to hear about abortion from an adolescent—or health issues—I’ll turn on Glen Beck.” But pro-life Elisabeth Hasselbeck responded by saying she does not think Bieber’s opinion should be discounted just because of his age. Bieber’s “everything happens for a reason” response to the question about abortion in the case of rape brought the harshest criticism. “This idea that everything has a reason is really insulting to people who have been raped or victims of incest,” Behar said. “There is no reason for that.” Barbara Walters tried to offer an excuse for Bieber. “You can look at it as something coming out of a young mind that is still growing,” she said. In other words, any mature person who really thought about the issue would be proabortion. Anything short of a fully pro-abortion position would be dismissed as the opinion of an ignoramus.

Not all magazines featuring Justin Bieber are intended for young people. Some are meant for their parents.

The women of “The View” were not the only people to express the opinion that a truly reasoned position is proabortion. Ryan O’Connell, the chief writer/editor for the blog “Thought Catalog,” authored a piece titled, “Justin Bieber’s Pro-Life Stance in Rolling Stone Isn’t Entirely His Fault.” O’Connell quoted Bieber’s statement to the magazine article and added a comment. “The teen tart even condemns abortions in special cases of rape, alPage 5

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though he will concede that rape is ‘really sad’ (emphasis added).” He continued:
Ha. Ha. Ha. It’s funny when Christian teen superstars say things, isn’t it? And by funny, I mean very very scary. Having read these quotes online, I decided to buy the issue and read the whole profile to find out the complete truth. Perhaps the quotes were somehow taken out of context, or the article would reveal Bieber to be a poor misguided soul. Thankfully, the latter turned out to be pretty true. Justin Bieber may be ignorant, but he’s also very impressionable.

that pro-life people are creepy. [How many pro-life people does he know?]

In a piece titled, “Justin Bieber—just another religious freak?” blogger “Furious Purpose” wrote that he hopes Bieber’s first girlfriend is a Rolling Stones fan. “Maybe he can be saved yet. But I have doubts. The Christian Mafia seems to think he’s a great tool to spread the word.”

O’Connell, who hails from the East Village in New York City, went on to refer to Bieber’s comments as “idiotic.” He then addressed the teenager’s opinion on sex outside of marriage:
His ideas on sex are also very illuminating. Since Bieber is essentially a pro-life Evangelical Christian nightmare, one might think he would believe in abstinence. Well, he does! Sort of. I mean maybe. I mean what was the question? Bieber on Love: “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them…I think you should just wait for the person you’re…in love with.” Considering Bieber is a horny teenager, I’m sure he falls in love all the time with electronics, music, and girls. I wonder how many girls he’s fallen in love with before. If we get that number, then we’ll surely know how many girls he has slept with (emphasis added).

Like O’Connell, “Furious Purpose,” who by day is an emergency room doctor, faulted Mallette for her son’s views. “Oh, I see. His mother was a crazy Christian and indoctrinated the lad, and now they are using him to sell the baby Jesus to teens and tweens,” he wrote. “How convenient. And how disgusting.” Rolling Stone’s Vanessa Maia Grigoriadis tried to clarify Bieber’s statement in an interview with PopEater:
I think he meant that God has a plan. Even for the most diehard Christian, it’s hard to justify rape as part of God’s plan, and harder to justify rape that leads to pregnancy and abortion. I think he was wrestling with that in his answer, which I found to be solid and logical. I think it is being widely misunderstood. He did not say that rape was part of God’s plan.

According to O’Connell’s reasoning, Bieber has had sex with every girl with whom he thought he was in love— even if that “love” lasted for just 15 minutes or so. Yet despite O’Connell’s distasteful nature he is right in one respect. If Bieber’s standard is simply that he feels he is in love, it is conceivable that he had sex with every one of those girls. After all, Bieber offered no other standard. However, according to Bieber’s mother he has “expressed his desire to stay pure, and honor women, and treat women with respect.” O’Connell blamed Bieber’s mother for the entertainer’s “ridiculous” opinions:
If I learned anything from reading the Rolling Stone article, it’s that Justin Bieber’s mother—ex-druggie and current born-again Christian Pattie Lynn Malllette—is largely responsible for her son’s questionable belief system. She claims Justin was a gift from God and that before her pregnancy, she was considering suicide. Once she learned she was with child, she believed it to be a sign from the heavens that she get [sic] her life together (by becoming a bigoted religious zealot intent on judging the lives of others…and so she did just that.

Several prominent pro-lifers expressed joy after hearing Bieber’s comments. “Showbiz Tonight” quoted from the website of Rock for Life, on which the group’s executive director had written, “Great news, as Justin Bieber has huge influence on young people.” This was all CNN reported, but there was more. Erik Whittington, the group’s executive director, included a big “BUT” after welcoming Bieber’s comments. Whittington rightly spent the rest of the space condemning the apparent acceptance of abortion in the case of rape. Steve Ertelt of LifeNews tried to excuse Bieber’s weakest comments. Ertelt referred to the singer’s “pro-life views” despite the fact that they are anything but strongly held and not the least bit thought through. Ertelt’s dismissal of this critical point is even more pronounced with regard to Bieber’s opinion on sex before marriage:
In addition to his pro-life views, Bieber doesn’t push for abstinence until marriage but urges his legion of pre-teen and teen fans to wait to have sex. “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them…I think you should just wait for the person you’re…in love with,” he said.

Mallette says some wacky [expletive omitted] in the Rolling Stone piece…It also makes you realize that Bieber is still an uninformed child. When you’re a 16-year-old, your beliefs are still very much a reflection of your parents because you haven’t experienced or lived enough to have formed your own. When you criticize Bieber for saying these stupid things about abortion, you should really pinpoint the blame on his psycho Evangelical mother. He’s clearly been spoon-fed this crap since he was little. We can only hope he grows out of it soon and forms his own ideas, one of which being

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While Bieber faced some criticism most was aimed at Grigoriadis. “Showbiz Tonight” noted that “some are questioning whether it was appropriate to ask a 16-year-old boy like Justin Bieber about a topic as controversial Grigoriadis as abortion.” On “The View,” even proabortion Barbara Walters said Grigoriadis had asked “inappropriate questions.” In an article titled, “Justin Bieber: Still Weighing the Gay Option?” homosexual writer Dennis Ayers argued that “whoever thought it would be a good idea to have him [Bieber] expound in print on such hot potato topics as homosexuality, abortion, religion and politics did the boy a serious disservice…” Ayers continued:
Rolling Stone has a cover story and an online photo flipbook called “The Tao of Justin Bieber: Bieber’s meditations on fame, drugs, sex and swag” that should make his parents and handlers want to cringe. It’s unfortunate really—and shouldn’t reflect poorly on the 16-yearold Justin Bieber himself. I’m sure at that age most of us would flub the big moral questions as badly, or worse. But thank goodness for most of us, no one ever stuck a microphone in front of our teenage selves and asked us to expound.

tions,” Grigoriadis wrote on Twitter. What? Bieber has “control over a large population” (emphasis added)? Nonsense. While surely not intentional, Bieber influences how his fervent fans dress, their hairstyles, and so forth. But his influence pretty much ends there. Bieber has virtually no influence when it comes to emotionallycharged and morality-based issues. So Grigoriadis thinks a guy who is not old enough to buy cigarettes should publicly express an opinion on the hottest issues of the day—just because he is a celebrity. It is not as though Bieber has used his fame to push an agenda and, given the star’s openness about his faith, the writer surely had a good idea how he would feel about such issues. Grigoriadis set out to create controversy. “Showbiz Tonight” said Bieber seems to be “saying byebye to the kiddy bowl cut and hello to the very adult world of explosive politics…In fact Bieber talked about so many hot button issues in Rolling Stone you’d think he was running for office.” But the people at “Showbiz Tonight” seem to have forgotten who raised the “hot button issues” in the first place. It was not Bieber. Hyla put everything in perspective when it comes to the long-term fallout of Bieber’s comments. They will soon be forgotten. “The most shocking part…has to be the [magazine] cover and his hair being spiky. That’s crazy!” The Pressure Justin Bieber has not always made good choices, despite his faith. He was photographed flipping the internationally recognized sign of ill will at the paparazzi when they got under his skin. Bieber apologized the next day. Bieber posed for a photograph published in Love, the cover of which featured supermodel Kate Moss appearing to kiss transgender model Lea T. The theme of this issue of the magazine was “androgyny” (having an ambiguous sexual identity). So what does this have to do with Justin Bieber? Some people have said he looks like a lesbian and many lesbians have adopted the “Bieber look.” Unfortunately, in December 2009 Bieber performed for President Barack Obama and his wife at the Christmas in Washington program. In April 2010 Bieber was a guest on the incomparably dirty “Saturday Night Live.” Some of Bieber’s artistic collaborations have been rather disappointing. For example, he has worked with hip hop artist Ludacris who in 2008 attacked (in song) then-presidential candidate U.S. Senator John S. McCain, R-Ariz. (“McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed”). He also had harsh words for then-President George W. Bush (“Bush is mentally handicapped, ball up all of
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Ayers noted that Bieber’s views “don’t yet appear fully formed…” He observed that while Bieber does not believe in abortion his response was not exactly that of a “hard line pro-lifer…” Predictably, to pro-abortion activists Bieber’s comments were stupid and clearly those of an immature boy. Yet no one said the same about his views on homosexuality. In other words, if Bieber agrees with me, he is an enlightened young man with wisdom beyond his years. If Bieber disagrees with me, he is an idiotic bigot who has been brainwashed by his fanatical mother. Some people defended Grigoriadis. “What 16-year-old is not talking about sex; is not talking about abortion?” said syndicated radio host Jonathan Hyla. “His fan base— they’re talkin’ about this stuff.” Hyla noted that Bieber’s popularity makes people interested in his opinions on controversial subjects. “Anytime you talk about sex or abortion that’s obviously going to be a hot button topic, but ya throw…in a little ‘Bieber fever’ of course it’s gonna just make it ten times bigger.” Grigoriadis defended her decision to raise the issues with Bieber. “I think that anyone who has as much sway in popular culture as Justin should be asked all questions,” she said. “I agree that he does not bring up these issues in his work at the moment, but it’s possible that he will in the future.” “A 16-year-old kid, to be 17 in a couple weeks, who has control over a large population should be asked all quesSpring 2011

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his speeches and throw ’em just like candy wraps, ’cuz what you talkin’ I hear nothin’ even relevant, you the worst of all 43 presidents”). In August 2002 political pundit Bill O’Reilly urged people to boycott Pepsi products after the company hired Ludacris to promote its brand. O’Reilly said Ludacris’ lyrics glamorize a “life of guns, violence, drugs and disrespect of women.” disappointing Another collaboration was with Christopher Brown, who has a history of violence against women. But worst of all was Bieber’s decision to work with Kanye West, who has been critiWest takes the microphone from cized for his strong antiSwift to express the opinion that her win was illegitimate. President Bush rants at inappropriate times, chalking up everything that does not go his way (losing awards to other artists, etc.) to racism, and taking the microphone from singer Taylor Swift after she won the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video and declared that Beyoncé should have won. Thankfully, Bieber will not be working with actor/singer Justin Timberlake, who had tried to sign the teenager but lost the bidding war to Usher. Timberlake has become increasingly—and horribly—raunchy over the past several years. We must remember that mistakes are inevitable. Diane Wilson said a potential setback to Bieber discussing his Christianity is that he may be held to a higher moral standard. She pointed to the beating the wholesome image of Miley Cyrus took after the pole dancing incident at a 2009 awards ceremony. Mallette discussed the fall from grace experienced by Cyrus, who had also been open about her faith:
I absolutely love Miley Cyrus. And I think that, unfortunately, as Christians, we sometimes kick our brothers and sisters when they are down. We need, in this time more than ever, to lift them up in prayer. They are a mouthpiece for a generation. Let’s pray for them, let’s encourage them. Let’s spur them on to the Lord. Let’s stop judging them and casting them out. You know, God has a plan, but so does Satan and he wants to take us out. It says that he comes to kill and destroy. So it’s important for us to be protective of our own. We need to pray for Christians and non-Christians in the spotlight.

The Competition Soon after 26-year-old Katheryn Hudson (stage name “Katy Perry”) signed with Capitol Music Group in 2007 she released her first internet single, “Ur So Gay.” But she rose to fame with the 2008 release of “I Kissed a Girl.” Perry commented on the success of the song:
“I Kissed A Girl” is just a way for me to seem edgy and cool, I think it worked. Everyone takes the song and relates it to their situation, they can see it however they want to see it. Love it, hate it, for me it was about us girls. When we’re young, we’re very touchy-feely. We have slumber party sing-alongs; we make up dance routines in our pajamas. We’re a lot more intimate in a friendship than guys can be. It’s not perverse but just sweet, that’s what the song is about…

Perry said the song was inspired by her “friendship” with another girl when she was 15 years old. “I did kiss her,” she admitted. “I was totally obsessed with her. She was beautiful—porcelain skin, perfect lips—and I still talk to her, but I’ve never told her the song is about her.” Perry released “Peacock” last year. “I wanna see your peacock…” are the opening lyrics to a song that is so depraved we choose not to print more. (Even Perry’s explanation of what the song means is riddled with filth!) Let’s just say that she wanted the song to become a “gay pride anthem.” Another song Perry released in 2010 is titled, “Teenage Dream.” The lyrics are relatively tame, but there are a few exceptions: “Let’s go all the way tonight; no regrets…; the way you turn me on…We drove to Cali“Katy Perry” [fornia] and got drunk on the beach; got a motel…I might get your heart racing; in my skintight jeans…Let you put your hands on me; in my skintight jeans. Be your teenage dream tonight.” The song was a hit and became even more popular after it was featured on the hit television show “Glee.” Why is this so shocking, especially in today’s world? Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson is the daughter of Christian pastors. She grew up listening to gospel music and sang in the church choir. She even released a gospel album under the name Katy Hudson in 2001. Almost makes Justin Bieber look like a saint, doesn’t it?
– Douglas R. Scott, Jr. is president of Life Decisions International and he holds a degree in secondary education. Special Reports, an official periodical of Life Decisions International (LDI), is published four times per year. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of every LDI Partner or members of its Board of Directors/Advisors or staff. This publication may be copied so long as the appropriate citation(s) are included. It may be quoted so long as proper acknowledgment(s) are provided. Write: P.O. Box 439, Front Royal, VA 22630-0009 (USA). Phone: (540) 631-0380. Several past editions of Special Reports are available at the LDI website (www.fightpp.org).
© 2011 Life Decisions International

Mallette wants to keep her son from making the mistakes made by so many people who become famous at an early age. “Justin is under a tremendous amount of pressure as a role model to an entire generation. So many kids are looking to him,” Bieber’s mother said in an interview with Baptist Press. “As teenagers, we all make mistakes. Fortunately and unfortunately, he’s in the public eye.”
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