Justin Bieber and Jesus, by Cathleen Falsani

The teen sensation’s message at the Teen Choice Awards?  “Jesus loves every one of you!”

by Cathleen Falsani in the Huffington Post.

Justin Bieber: 2011 Teen Choice Award Winner

When Justin Bieber strode onto the stage of the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles on Sunday night to accept a Teen Choice Award, he thanked his fans profusely, then quickly turned his attention to something more eternal.

“I wanna say that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” the Canadian superstar said, grasping the award’s blue-and-yellow surfboard that towered over him by several inches. “You gotta keep God first and always remember to keep family first.”

Then, pointing toward the crowd with a sweeping gesture, Bieber added, “Jesus loves every one of you!”

It’s hardly unusual for celebrities to give God a shout-out at award shows. In fact the phenomenon has become so ubiquitous that one critic wondered whether throwing out “God props” had jumped the shark.

But what young Bieber said is different…

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Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion columnist and author of the forthcoming Belieber!: Fame, Faith & the Heart of Justin BieberThe Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, the critically acclaimed memoir, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace and The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People. She is a columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing editor and columnist for Sojourners Magazine.