CHICAGO (RNS) With a smooth voice, a signature mop of hair and a string of hits, Justin Bieber has accumulated millions of fans and sold 3.7 million albums in the United States last year.
Now Bieber's handlers are showcasing another side of the 16-year-old pop sensation: Christian icon for the tween set.
Bieber's faith is on display in the new 3-D concert film/documentary "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," which hits theaters Friday (Feb. 11). Paramount Pictures has screened the movie for faith leaders across the country and distributed spiritual discussion guides -- the same tools used to promote "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Blind Side" as family-friendly fare.
"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."
Bieber has never shied away from faith. He was singing Christian songs on YouTube before he became famous. His born-again Christian mother Pattie Mallette has shared her spiritual conversion on a Christian TV show and openly shares her beliefs and Bible verses with 281,000-plus Twitter followers.