Okay, so as usual I’m about three months behind on the pop-culture scene. My brother always gives me a hard time about this. However, just the other day I learned that Weird Al has a new song being released. It’s called “Perform This Way.” I heard a snippet and wanted to find out more about the original it is based on. After all, those songs are always funnier when you actually know who he’s lampooning. So I asked my daughter about Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Then she sang some of the lyrics to me and I said, “Wait! What?” “Oh, Dad, it’s not about that.” “Really, what’s it about then?” “It’s just about her tough childhood and her mom telling her she’s born to be a superstar.” “Oh, okay,” I said, somewhat relieved. Then, last night on the way home from Bible class the song came on the radio. I was stunned to say the least. Tessa said I was missing the point. So we looked up the lyrics when we got home. The disappointment simply continued.
That’s right, disappointment. Why? Because I really liked the song. For the most part, it sounded like a great 80s pop song. And you just gotta love 80s pop songs. Additionally, parts of it had a great message. As creations of God, we are all valuable no matter what we’ve done or who we are. We are works of the Master’s hand and have intrinsic value because of His creation and His love for us. Therefore, as I’ve taught before, no matter who we are or what we have done we can love ourselves.
I especially appreciate the message about racial diversity and disabilities. Whether you are Lebanese, Oriental, White, Black, or Hispanic, love yourself. It’s okay. Whatever disabilities you have, no matter what anyone else thinks of your abilities, love yourself. I think that is a wonderful message.
But I have a major problem with this song that is now being touted as an anthem for a new generation.
In the middle of this song, Stefani Germanotta (Gaga’s real name), switches from talking about issues of birth to issues of behavior. In the midst of celebrating differences of race, culture, and ability Germanotta sings:
NO MATTER GAY, STRAIGHT, OR BI,
LESBIAN, TRANSGENDERED LIFE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO SURVIVE
Before we even discuss whether homosexual sex or cross-dressing is right, I want to consider a deeper problem. Does any generation really want their anthem to be that the reason they behave the way they do is because they were born that way? Really? “I hope you all will understand why I do everything I do. It isn’t my fault. I was born that way.”
How many behaviors can we justify with that anthem? Why not write:
YOU LIKE TO RAPE OR BEAT YOUR WIFE
OR LEAD A PEDOPHILE’S LIFE
YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
YOU WERE BORN TO SURVIVE
I know that edit is going to take a lot of heat. But why can’t I sing that? If one behavior is automatically right because I was “born this way,” why aren’t all behaviors right for the same reason? Where does the line of justification stop?
I’m actually surprised at this song and it’s swell of support by the homosexual community. Do those who practice homosexuality really want their behavior justified because it is just like being born with a disability such as Down’s Syndrome or Muscular Dystrophy? Are we to view homosexuality and cross-dressing as an abnormality that needs to be overlooked because it is on par with Tourette’s Syndrome? Are we supposed to walk away from this song saying, “Yeah, cross-dressers are wrong, but they can’t help it. We just need to pat them on the head and love them anyway”? Are we supposed to say, “I know homosexuality is abnormal; they have a brain malfunction and a chemically based disability. Therefore we should overlook this behavior”?
I know I don’t want to think that about my behaviors, whether they’re behaviors I think are wrong or right. I personally would rather think that people who practice these things are normal people making choices. We may disagree about the rightness of the choices and we can discuss that. But what I’m really getting from this song is that I’m not supposed to even question or discuss whether the behavior choice is right. I’m supposed to overlook it because it is a genetic abnormality. The video suggests I’m evil if I question whether the behavior is right or wrong instead of just overlooking it like a birth defect.
I don’t want do to do anything because I was born that way. I want to do what is right because it is right. I honestly don’t know what the answer is regarding the influence of nature and nurture regarding sexual behavior. I don’t fully know what the influence of nature versus nurture is on pretty much any behavior. However, I am 100% convinced that nothing is right based on the influence of either nature or nurture. Further, I am 100% convinced that nothing is good for me based on the influence of either nature or nurture.
While I tend to discount the “born that way” arguments, what if I’m wrong? What if people are “born this way” when it comes to their behavior choices? I may be genetically predisposed to be an alcoholic. That isn’t going to keep me from getting cirrhosis of the liver. I may be genetically predisposed to eat fatty foods and scarf 5000 calories per day. The genetic predisposition isn’t going to keep me from getting Diabetes or having an early heart attack. Further, I may be genetically predisposed to want to have sex with as many women as possible. That doesn’t make it right. I may be genetically predisposed to think might makes right and so I bully my way around all the people I disagree with or don’t like. I may even bully my wife and kids. That doesn’t make it right.
Perhaps this is why Jesus and the Bible talks so much about rebirth, renewal, and recreation.
“Jesus answered and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'”–John 3:5
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”–2 Corinthians 5:17
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”–Ephesians 2:10
“…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”–Ephesians 4:22-24
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”–Colossians 3:9-10
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”–Titus 3:4-7
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…”–1 Peter 1:22-23
Behaviors aren’t right or wrong based on birth or genetics. For that matter, they aren’t right or wrong based on parental upbringing or cultural socialization. They are right or wrong based on God’s Word. If we are doing what we were born to do, we are probably doing the wrong thing. What we need is rebirth. Then we need to behave in the way we were reborn to behave.
In a YouTube video, I witnessed Stefani Germanotta break down in tears because she still feels like a loser sometimes. I get that. I do too sometimes. In the same video, she says a prayer and makes the sign of the cross. I know from that that Lady Gaga believes she is somehow connected to Jesus on the cross. So, I’d like to share with her and with everyone else in this new generation that the answer to our loss is not to celebrate acting the way we were born (if that is the reason we have acted the way we do). Rather, it is to celebrate a rebirth in Jesus Christ and His death. And the great thing about that is real issues of birth do not keep us from Jesus. As Romans 2:11 says, God shows no partiality. No matter our race or birth, we can be reborn in Jesus Christ and overcome any behaviors we have that are wrong.
Instead of this misplaced anthem that has so rocked the world, may we learn to sing:
NO MATTER WHAT I HAVE DONE,
OR HOW I ONCE LIVED MY LIFE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK NOW
I WAS REBORN; I’LL SURVIVE
NO MATTER BLACK, WHITE OR BEIGE
CHOLA OR ORIENT MADE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK NOW
I WAS REBORN HIS WAY
What do you think? Should Germanotta’s song be our new anthem or should we consider our behaviors based on another standard? Click the following link to add your input: Post a comment.