Lady Gaga's latest single, "Born This Way," has been heralded as the anthem for homosexuals struggling to be at peace with their sexuality. Its "just be who you are" message is seemingly one of validation and liberation from self-doubt.
But Focus on the Family's gender and homosexuality analyst Jeff Johnston believes the song takes away any hope of meaningful transformation and betterment.
"'Born This Way' makes you seem stuck," said Johnston.
The gender expert focused on a line where Lady Gaga proclaims, "There's nothin' wrong with lovin' who you are 'cause He made you perfect, babe. So hold your head up, girl and you you'll go far, listen to me when I say 'I'm beautiful in my way, 'cause God makes no mistakes. I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way."
Johnston said the line is "bad theology."
The Bible teaches that since Adam's fall from grace, all humanity is born in sin. To believe that there are no mistakes, means there is no chance to reform a fallen nature. Johnston said this is hard news for a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction.
"When I was a young adult, this message would have taken away any sense of hope," said Johnston.
As a youth struggling with his sexuality, Johnston said he found relief in church, where congregants loved him and God gave him the grace to overcome same-sex attraction.
People were made in the image of God and created without sin, Johnston said. But because of the Fall, humans are affected by sin in every area of life, including emotionally, physically, and sexually.
"Thankfully, Christianity allows for transformation and freedom from sin," said Johnston.
Lady Gaga and her single have drawn a lot of attention among the Christian community. Helen Lee, a former intern for Catholic blog Busted Halo, wrote, "Gaga is spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, whether intentionally or not."
Lee related Lady Gaga's pet name for fans (little monsters) to humanity's sinful nature; her focus on gay rights and HIV to Jesus' recognition of human suffering; and her latest single to Christ's love.
But some Christian leaders say the pop singer's lyrics are grossly misguided.
Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson, who noted that Lady Gaga wrote the song in 10 minutes, commented, "We shouldn't expect too much nuance and thoughtfulness from someone best-known for wearing meat as a dress and making an obscene gesture at a Mets game."
And FOTF President Jim Daly observed of her background, "Lady Gaga was clearly not born this way" but built her persona and celebrity in a very calculated way.
Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She grew up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, N.Y., as a child to two executive-level professionals. She was raised Catholic and attended an exclusive, private Catholic school. According to the biography on her official Facebook page, Lady Gaga began performing in clubs during open mic night at age 14. At that age she was also being teased for her eccentric style.
Daly reported in his blog that Gaga was counseled by a friend to maintain a constant public persona. Now even long-time friends refer to her as Lady Gaga and she dons over-the-top outfits at award shows as well as on the streets.
"She's built her entire persona and celebrity on a platform that's anything but typical," Daly said of Gaga's "I was born this way" claim. "She is playing a part, a role, and not living as she would outside the bright lights"
Unlike Gaga's "you are who you are, accept it" message, Daly said that God can free us from our faults.
"Each of us can be set free – from homosexuality, or heterosexual sex outside of marriage, or pornography, or greed, or gossip, or any other human shortcoming – to be the men and women God intended us to be," he stated.