Yesterday was Memorial Day, a day set aside to commemorate those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in preserving this country’s freedom. If there is one word that sums up America more than any other, it is liberty. We have the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, and ‘liberty’ printed on our money. We enjoy the liberty of ideas, liberty from foreign oppression, and liberty of religion. And yet, despite an overwhelming emphasis upon liberty, it recently occurred to me as I was reading a book by the late Rev. D. James Kennedy, there is one area of our society where liberty is not appreciated. In fact, it is not only ‘not appreciated,’ but the mere suggestion that liberty exists is met with enraged outcry. “Liberty” seems to have very little place within human sexuality.
Of course, those who practice aberrant sexuality claim to want and desire liberty, most often meaning the liberty to live as they wish and do what they want without any type of moral authority attempting to tell them otherwise. But on the other hand, it would seem that the defense most often given by those who are engaged in alternate sexuality is that they were ‘born this way.’ Consider Lady Gaga’s song “Born this Way” where she states No matter gay, straight or bi / Lesbian, transgendered life / I’m on the right track, baby / I was born to survive. / I’m beautiful in my way’ / Cause God makes no mistakes / I’m on the right track, baby / I was born this way. Yet, in the midst of so-called sexual liberation, one has to ask if there is true freedom and liberation if being born a certain way means an inability to change? Lady Gaga states in the same song “Ooh, there ain’t no other way, baby, I was born this way!” It would appear that those championing the thought of ‘born this way’ are actually celebrating a loss of liberty since they apparently are not ‘free’ to change!
On the one hand, I would fully agree. Those who choose immoral sexual practices are spiritually trapped in their sin without the grace of God. On the other hand, it seems almost anti-American to suggest that a group of people do not have the freedom to change. This flies in the face of every rags-to-riches story ever told or the American dream of how if you simply put your mind to it you can do anything. Apparently, change is possible, even demanded, even used as a political slogan we can all believe in, but is not possible when it comes to human sexuality. Instead, those who are in less than popular sexual lifestyles are trapped there without any hope because they were ‘born this way.’
Of course, those within these particular sexual lifestyles in question would certainly deny they are trapped. But to borrow the age old expression “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Either they are indeed trapped or they are free to change. And if they are free to change, then their decision to stay a particular way is just that, a decision. Sadly, there is a growing trend in our country to deny decision and instead blame everything on external forces. Just recently, I passed a sign in Wisconsin which read “Obesity is not a decision, it is a disease.” Again, these poor overweight people seem trapped. They did not decide to be this way, they simple are.
Which leaves the Christian with two possible responses. The first is to point out, as the title above suggests, this idea of being trapped does not have to be true. Instead, freedom is a possibility and can be a reality because people can change through the working of God in their heart. We as Christians continue to uphold the American traditions of liberty and freedom, believing that liberation from these lifestyles is a possibility, not necessarily easy, but possible by the grace of God. And we as Christians are standing by to help.
The second possible response is to point out that while homosexuals and others claim they cannot change, they have painted themselves into a corner. EIther they truly cannot change, in which case we can offer them liberation in Christ, or they can change but simply do not want to give up their lifestyle. The rhetoric which uses “I was born this way” as an explanation or defense is tragically and logically flawed. There are those who may suggest they are ‘being true to themselves’ from an existential perspective, but this would imply that all change is being “untrue to oneself,” such as losing weight, coloring one’s hair, etc. The “I was born this way” excuse has become just that, an excuse. But rather than simply allowing the excuse to stand, Christians have the opportunity to point out the logical inconsistencies of the statement and either offer liberation or at least demonstrate that aberrant lifestyles are a choice.