Culture Clips: Justin & Hailey Talk Abstinence & Marriage

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Justin Bieber has headlined Culture Clips (and other Plugged In blogs and articles) many times in the last decade. His wildly zigzagging trajectory has often ricocheted between affirmations of faith and reckless behavior.

The 24-year-old singer married model and TV presenter Hailey Baldwin last July. And the couple recently sat down for an interview with Vogue to talk about their marriage and important lessons they’ve learned.

Justin admitted he’s had “a legitimate problem with sex” in the past—so much so that Vogue writer Rob Haskell reports, “When the couple reconnected last June, Justin was more than a year into a self-imposed tenure of celibacy.” In that time, Justin said he’d grown closer to God and grown in his understanding of God’s intent for sex.

He doesn’t ask us not to have sex for him because he wants rules and stuff. … He’s like, I’m trying to protect you from hurt and pain. I think sex can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes people have sex because they don’t feel good enough. Because they lack self-worth. Women do that, and guys do that. I wanted to rededicate myself to God in that way because I really felt it was better for the condition of my soul. And I believe that God blessed me with Hailey as a result.

Later, Hailey talked about the reality of marriage:

I’m not going to sit here and lie and say it’s all a magical fantasy. It’s always going to be hard. It’s a choice. You don’t feel it every single day. You don’t wake up every day saying, “I’m absolutely so in love and you are perfect.” That’s not what being married is. But there’s something beautiful about it anyway—about wanting to fight for something, commit to building with someone.

Another celebrity who’s talked a lot about his faith lately is Chris Pratt. On Feb. 7, he appeared on The Late Show, where Stephen Colbert asked him if fame ever felt like being in the “lion’s den.” Pratt responded with a quote from evangelist and author Christine Caine: “There’s this great quote, that I actually heard in church, which was, ‘If the spotlight that is shining on you is brighter than the light that comes from within you, it’ll kill you.'”

Colbert liked that quote. But not everyone is happy with Pratt’s expressions of faith these days. Actress Ellen Page took him to task on Twitter for attending a congregation (Hillsong Church) that doesn’t affirm homosexuality. Page wrote, “Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?” Pratt responded on Instagram, “It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates people’ and is ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” He also added:

My church is important to me but no church defines me or my life. I am not a spokesperson for any group of people. My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of fellow man.

Commenting on that story, The Federalist’s Nathanael Blake says it’s unclear whether “Pratt agrees with those doctrines (his response suggests he does not or is at least wishy-washy).” But Blake emphasizes the bottom line for believers in the entertainment industry:

Nonetheless, [Pratt’s] attendance at a church that upholds Christian teaching was reason enough for people to condemn him on the grounds that Christianity is bigotry. Welcome to Hollywood today: are you now or have you ever been a member of an orthodox Christian congregation?

Elsewhere this week, there’s been quite a bit of news lately scolding tech companies for snooping on their customer’s data. A Feb. 6 article from techcrunch.com warned, “Many Popular iPhone Apps Secretly Record Your Screen Without Asking” That prompted a sharp response from Apple, which basically told iPhone app developers to knock it off or risk being banned.

But if you think a bit of tsk-tsking from Apple is likely to change how companies aggressively collect and monetize your data, think again. Many seemingly innocuous things users do with their phones—such as using Google Maps, for instance, something that 67% of smartphone users do—give tech companies crucial data they use to predict many things about you, your location, your relationships and your behavior.

Still, even if we’re vaguely uneasy about the prospect of such ongoing digital surveillance, breaking up with tech that’s become so enmeshed in our lives these days is easier said than done.

Finally, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that his company’s popular social media app is, according to CNBC’s Katie Brigham, “implementing changes that it hopes will stop younger users from being exposed to inappropriate content relating to suicide and self harm.”

Specifically, Instagram will begin using “sensitivity screens” that require users to opt in before seeing images of self-harm (such as cutting, for instance) on the social media platform. In an op-ed in The Telegraph, Mosseri said he felt compelled to make the changes after hearing the story of a 14-year-old British girl who took her life after she followed multiple suicide and self-harm accounts on Instagram.