Popular culture tells us we should embrace our every whim because it’s the only way to truly accept who we really are. Scripture, though, tells us our hearts are “deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
That palpable friction between secular society and the Bible is no clearer than in the ongoing and increasingly hostile conversation about same-sex marriage and the LGBTQ lifestyle.
The most-frequent statement coming from those who embrace their same-sex attraction is: “I was born this way.” This week, Fr. Mike Schmitz, a chaplain for the students at the University of Minnesota Duluth, explained on “The Matt Fradd Show” the best ways to respond to such an assertion.
Schmitz spoke specifically to believers who might feel the pull to embrace their same-sex attraction. He argued they are dismissing the doctrine of original sin by justifying their actions and arguing they must be right since they feel natural.
“It basically undercuts one of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, which is original sin, and the recognition, while we’re made good, we also have this original wound,” Schmitz said. “There is this tendency that not everything that I want is the right thing. Just because I experience an attraction to something doesn’t mean God wants that for me.”
Just because you feel pulled toward something doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically right. If that were the case, the concept of sin, Schmitz argued, would mean nothing.
The priest encouraged people to discern the difference between experience and identity. Just because you experience something — whether it be temptation or trauma or anything else — doesn’t mean you’re defined by it. He even said later on in the interview he doesn’t dismiss those who say they were “born this way,” because, in a sense, they were: we are all born with a propensity toward things that are oriented away from God’s perfect design.
Host Matt Fradd, playing devil’s advocate, pushed back on Schmitz’s explanation, telling the pastor there will be those who argue his religion is “puritanical” and embracing one’s same-sex attraction is actually a “beautiful” expression of love and authenticity.
“There’s a difference between relief and freedom,” Schmitz replied. “So many people’s stories are, ‘They just can’t find this out about me. If people who claim to love me found this out, they wouldn’t love me anymore.’ And then someone comes out, and they feel welcome, and they find that people do love them: that’s a relief. ‘I’m not living under this shadow — this secret — anymore.’ But relief is not the same thing as freedom. And relief is not the same thing as actual, true peace. It feels like peace, and it can feel like freedom to a certain degree, but I would just ask the question, ‘Is it really now freedom or just you’re no longer living in shame, which was not something the Lord or the Church was asking you to do in the first place?’”
Schmitz also admitted there is a sense of relief — which can be mistaken for liberation — in putting down your arms, giving up the fight, and surrendering to your inclinations. But that is not true freedom; it’s simply a release from battle.