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In the just over two months since it was released, Lady Gaga’s latest Album Born This Way has created quite a stir. Specifically, the title track “Born This Way” has ruffled quite a few feathers. It was well-received in the world of music, spending seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and topping several others as well. However, unlike other songs that make reference to God, the response to this song from the Christian community was largely negative.

The chorus to the controversial song is as follows:

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Later the song clarifies:

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
’cause baby you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to be brave

As one might guess, much of the controversy surrounding the song centers on its accepting attitude toward homosexuality. I don’t want to make that the focus of my writing, though, for two reasons. First, I feel like there are already enough people out there blasting homosexuality. A common perception of Christians is that they’re full of hatred toward certain lifestyle choices, namely homosexuality and abortion. Suffice it to say that I don’t want to contribute to that stereotype. Secondly, I think there is a bigger issue driving the mentality behind the song, and that’s what I want the focus of the conversation surrounding this song to be.

This song makes two main points: first, that homosexuality is not a choice but instead is a genetic character trait, and second, that this means homosexuality is necessarily acceptable. Most of the focus of the homosexuality discussion in our culture centers on the first point. Is a gay person “born this way,” as the song suggests, or is the person making a conscious choice to follow a lifestyle? There is a place for such discussion, but because it is already so prominent, I don’t want to join it. Instead, I want to address the second issue, because the implications of it are bigger than just homosexuality. For now, let’s just assume the song is correct and homosexuality is a genetic trait. It’s important to note that I don’t necessarily agree with this – I only suggest it for purposes of discussion. The bigger issue here is this: does the fact that something is genetic mean that its consequences should be excused?

Let’s leave the homosexuality issue alone for a minute and consider other implications. Let’s say you have a child in elementary school who just got beaten up by another child. Both you and the other child’s mother are called to the principal’s office. When asked about the fight, the other child’s mom states matter-of-factly: “He just has anger issues. He gets it from his daddy.” Does the fact that anger runs in this child’s family excuse the fact that he just beat your kid to a pulp?

Or consider infidelity. If you’re in a relationship and you catch the other person cheating on you, does “sorry, I just have wandering eyes; I was just born that way!” work for you as an excuse?

Child molesters and pedophiles serve as additional examples. “I’m just attracted to kids” doesn’t excuse such behavior!

The deeper issue here has more implications than just the nature of our actions. It has more to do with accountability. I believe it’s a result of what is known as antinomianism. Basically, antinomianism is the belief that moral law is obsolete because of the freedom we are given in Christ. It’s essentially saying, “Anything goes because I know Jesus will forgive me.” It takes advantage of grace. Though it has been spoken against since Reformation times, it is still a somewhat commonly used excuse. I believe it is closely related to the argument being made in Lady Gaga’s song, essentially “God made me this way, so why would He want me to change? Just be who God made you to be!” The problem with excuses like this is that our actions often fall short of what God made us to be. Whether our struggle is anger, infidelity, homosexual attraction, or something else, we should not be content with giving in to our desires. Yes, if we ask God for forgiveness, God will grant it, but we should not take advantage of God’s offer of forgiveness. Even if we believe our actions are a reflection of the way we were made, it does not exempt us from a call to be holy. So let the discussion on the nature of homosexuality continue, but meanwhile, pursue holiness – even if it doesn’t come naturally.