The Briefing 08-14-14

The Briefing 08-14-14

The Briefing


August 14, 2014

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


It’s Wednesday, August 14, 2014.  I’m Albert Mohler and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

1) Tennessee judge breaks trend by upholding state’s same sex marriage ban

A judge in Tennessee has become the first, since the Windsor decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court in May 2013, to buck the trend and support his state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In this case state circuit court Judge Russell Simmons Junior found that Tennessee’s ban on recognizing gay marriages does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. His decision since it was handed down in a state circuit court in Tennessee did not gain national attention until the middle of this week. But as the new source, The Hill, based in Washington DC stated:

The judge’s decision stands in contrast to the dozens of state federal appeals court decisions that have struck down bans on gay marriage since the Windsor Supreme Court case in 2013. That ruling struck down a portion of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

But Judge Simmons said it did not apply to the Tennessee case. Looking at the judge’s decision in Tennessee he stated that the Windsor decision had to do with the Defense of Marriage Act, but he correctly noted that nowhere in the majority opinion in that case does it state that every state in the union must recognize a right to same-sex marriage. In his decision the judge wrote:

The Windsor case is concerned with the definition of marriage only as it applies to federal laws and does not give an opinion concerning whether one state must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another state.

That was the key issue at stake in the suit before him. He added:

The Supreme Court does not go the final step and find that a state that defines marriages as a union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional.

That is exactly the case. The majority opinion in the Windsor decision written by Judge Anthony Kennedy did no such thing. It did not find that there was a coast-to-coast federal right to same-sex marriage and that all 50 states must accept it. But as Justice Scalia said in his dissent, he did everything but make that declaration. And that’s why, according to at least some counts, there have been 30 cases against same-sex marriage bans in the states since the Windsor Decision. This is the first that is at least known of the national level to have run the other way.


There is more important material in the decision handed down by Judge Simmons. For example, he applied what is known in the law as a rational basis test to the same-sex marriage ban in Tennessee, asking the question as to whether the government had the right and was acting on a  rational basis to enact this legislation. In his ruling the judge declared that the state of Tennessee did have a reasonable and rational basis for adopting legislation. In his words:

There is nothing irrational about limiting the institution of marriage for the purpose for which it was created, by embracing its traditional definition. To conclude otherwise is to impose one’s own view of what a state ought to do on the subject to same-sex marriage.

He also said:

Marriage simply cannot be divorced from its traditional procreative purposes. The promotion of family continuity and stability is certainly a legitimate state interest.

Christians looking at this judge’s reasoning would recognize the very logical case that the judges made. A case based upon a rational objective understanding of what marriage is. Tying marriage not only to its historical structure but also to its recognized functions: procreation and the raising of children. And also the fact that as that stable, unifying institution of society, marriage rationally deserves the kind of protection that the state of Tennessee offered through this ban on same-sex marriage. Now to be sure, even as this judge stands upon millennia of human wisdom and a long tradition of American jurisprudence, not to mention common sense, it places him in direct conflict with the majority opinion of the federal courts especially since the Windsor decision. And there is every reason to believe, given the way the court to been ruling, that this judge’s opinion may well be reversed perhaps even in short order.

But this much is true —  this judge has acted in a way that honors his calling and his convictions. And he has also ruled in a way that is consistent with the long trajectory of jurisprudence in the United States. By the way, writing in response to this judge’s decision is, a proponent of same-sex marriage, Mark Joseph Stern, writes:

Perhaps it’s best then that a split on the gay marriage question is finally emerging within the judiciary. The more judges buck the courts clear command in Windsor, the sooner the justices can settle this issue once and for all.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of Windsor Lawrence Romer: Three Crucial Gay-rights Decisions,  once famously wrote:

Liberty finds no refuge in the jurisprudence of doubt.

Stern then wrote:

As Simmons’ ruling illustrates,  it’s high time for the court to clear away the doubt concerning gay marriage and secure liberty for gay people across the country.

Stearns’ logic is wrong on the big picture but it’s right on at least one count, and that’s this: Judge Simmons’ ruling and a ruling that is expected from the sixth US circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, shortly, may set the stage for the Supreme Court of the United States to settle this issue. As the court may think once for all.

2) Arizona court recognizes transgender marriage, implicitly recognizes same sex marriage

While we’re dealing with the issue of court decisions as USA Today reports that yesterday, the Arizona Court of Appeals recognized transgender marriage. Recognizing that an individual well-known in the popular media as “the pregnant man” going by the name Thomas Beatie could get his marriage performed in Hawaii dissolved in an Arizona court. As Michael Kiefer of the Arizona Republic reported:

Beatie, age 40, was born female. But in 1997 he, according to this article, began testing to determine his psychological gender and in 2002 underwent the first of his gender reassignment surgeries. Under Hawaiian law he was able to have his birth certificate amended and legally be recognized as male. Subsequently, he married.

Follow the next sentence very closely. Because his wife was unable to conceive children and because Beatie still had female reproductive organs, he was artificially inseminated and became pregnant. Then as the Arizona Republic recognizes, he hit the talk show and tabloid circuit as the so-called “pregnant man.” Posing for photographs and for television cameras showing a prominent beard and a very pregnant torso.

Even before we get to the court case that was ruled upon in Arizona yesterday, we need to understand that this particular case demonstrates the insanity of the transgender argument and contemporary sexual theories. Here is an individual who was born as a woman and underwent some kind of sexual reassignment surgery or surgeries in the plural as reported here but still has a woman’s reproductive organs. Married to another woman, this woman became pregnant and had a child, later two other children, a total of three. In keeping with the insanity of the sexual liberationists and current legal theory, this individual is able to be legally recognized as a man demanding to go by man’s name and at the same time also to become pregnant three times and bear children. We need to recognize that even as the media labeled this individual “the pregnant man,” by any rational understanding, this individual is not a man at all. To put the matter plainly, men do not have female reproductive organs and cannot bear children.

As the Arizona Republic picks up the story the so-called “pregnant man” with his wife moved to Arizona. When their marriage fell apart, Beatie wanted to marry another woman. They petition for an uncontested divorce. In March of 2013, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that Beatie’s marriage was between two females because Beatie had given birth. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Arizona, thus this judge ruled Arizona could not grant the couple a divorce. Pointing to the insanity of the current situation, this judge in Arizona ruled that the situation in the current marriage was “between a female and a person capable of giving birth who later did so.” Or you might say between a female and another female. But because the judge couldn’t say the marriage was between two females he had to write that it was between a female and a “person capable of giving birth who later did so.”

Yesterday, the appellate court reversed Judge Gerlach’s decision, ruling that Arizona law permits people who have had gender reassignment to alter their birth certificates and legally change gender. In fact according to the appellate court’s decision, Arizona’s law on the matter is more liberal than Hawaii’s in what evidence must be presented to amend the birth certificate. Thus the appellate court ruled that Beatie and the person known as the wife in that relationship can now obtain a divorce.

3) Acceptance of transgenderism total rejection of pattern of humanity – now in DC public school

While we’re on this issue pointing to the insanity of our moral revolutionaries, Mary Hasson writing for The Federalist, has contributed an article entitled “Back-to-school When Mr. Reuter becomes Ms. Reuter.” As she explains:

Queer Theory has arrived in public schools for the ten and under set.

In the academic world the leading edge of sexual insanity is indeed known as Queer Theory. And is Mary Hasson writes:

In the Washington DC area, back-to-school sales are underway and summer is about done. Parents inboxes and mailboxes filled with newsy, get ready for another great year letters and long shopping lists of supplies and the PTA and the school principal.

But she goes on to write:

The families of Janney elementary school, a highly rated DC elementary school in the affluent northwest quadrant of the city, recently received a different sort of back-to-school notice.

Provided for her by a confidential source, Janney’s principal, Nora Lycknell, announced in a July 17 email to the Janney community that the school’s writing inclusion teacher the former Mr. Robert Reuter had declared himself transgender and would now be known as Ms. Rebecca Reuter. “Ms. Reuter to our students,” she wrote. Principle Lycknell described end of year meetings in which Mr. Reuter, as he was known then, bravely to use her word “shared his powerful and personal story and his plan to transition to a new gender identity.” Hasson then writes:

The principle’s email informs parents that teacher Reuter’s announcement gave rise to wise wanderings and months of thought and planning in consultation with a wide scope of educators, experts, and partners about how the school community should put its values of equity, inclusion, and carrying in the practice.

Principal Lycknell wrote:

All children and adults in Janney’s community need to know that they will be embraced regardless of their subtle and explicit identities.

Remember, we’re talking about elementary school students here. As Hasson correctly notes, this principal’s email is a case study in how activists are foisting ideological conformity on America’s schoolchildren, reeducating them in gender and sexuality according to Queer Theory. As she writes, current LGBT campaigns advocate relentlessly and aggressively on behalf of transgender individuals portraying them is perfectly normal people whose gender identities just don’t happen to match their “assigned sex” at birth.

I also have a copy of the email the Principal Lycknell sent to the entire so-called Janney community, and it is almost unbelievable. As a matter of fact, if you had looked at a memo like this just a matter of a couple of years ago, you would be certain that it was made up, but this is not fiction. It is fact and an all too tragic fact that. As I hold in my hand a copy of the email sent by the principal to the school’s so-called community, she writes about the language of gender transition and she acknowledges that the key terms she defines were “sourced from the human rights campaign’s welcoming schools project.” That by the way, is a recipe for radical disaster.

Gender is defined as this “refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.” Gender, according to this definition, “varies between cultures and over time there is a broad variation and how individuals experience and express gender.” Notice that gender here is described as being “merely, indeed totally, socially constructed” nothing is here about biology; nothing is here about an objective reality. Gender identity is defined as “how one feels inside. One’s internal deeply felt sense of being girl, woman, boy, man, somewhere between, or outside those categories.” So here we are talking about the acknowledgment that this could go even outside the categories of male/female, boy/girl, male/woman.

In another section of her email she writes to parents about how they should educate their children. She writes:

You’re the experts on your children and you have every reason to trust this expertise as you introduce this conversation.

Now notice that she says that they are “experts on their children,” not experts on the issue of gender. As a matter fact, she presumes to inform the parents about what they are to say to their children about gender. She suggests that the parents must educate themselves. Take time, she writes, to grow your own understanding and to explore the resources provided. “Everyone will enter this conversation,” she writes, “at a different place.”

She suggests that the parents rehearse what they’re going to say to their children:

Just as we practice in front of a mirror before a big speech or prepare for a marathon with a series of long runs, so it is important to rehearse this conversation before engaging in the real thing.

Remember again, the real thing here is a conversation with children between the ages of approximately five and eleven. This teacher covered matters in the curriculum that involved two successive years, which means that at least some of the returning students will now have an individual known as Ms. Reuter who last year was Mr. Reuter. Explaining how this is going to be handled, the principal writes:

In the first weeks of school, we will host formal conversations with our fifth and third graders to reintroduce Ms. Reuter. The former representing her students from the previous school year and the latter representing her students for the coming school year. In addition our rising sixth-graders will be the invited to the Janney campus, should they and their families wish to participate in a similar discussion.

In her article “The Federalist,” Mary Hasson writes that the ever helpful principle tells parents she is more than happy to connect families to the gender identity experts that the schools brought on board. These experts she told parents “are ready to address any question without judgment.”

But that’s absolutely ludicrous. The principal has already made the judgments clear in her email. Hasson also writes:

But the deck is stacked against Janney’s parents or staff who might be looking for unbiased, sensible advice or for guidance that respects Judeo-Christian moral traditions.

Licknall omits from her email some particularly salient information. She and the recommended experts are personally and professionally invested in LBGT causes. The principal is a lesbian who married her partner in a Canadian ceremony in 2008. Her designated experts include Hadiah Tribble, a lesbian activist, Diana Bruce a “Shirov of the Movement” award winner given to a DC lesbian, bisexual and transgender woman who advances the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cause, and another so-called expert recommended by the principal in this official communication is a social worker known as Michael Giordano, who self identifies as a “cis gender, kink, and poly aware therapist with an interest in leather. I’ll simply leave it at that.

Hasson, on the other hand, has done some background investigation  on Michael Giordano and she reveals that he is to use her words “a gender identity specialist who deserve special attention.” Parents ought to know,” she writes, “that he thinks that ‘queer is indeed the new cool.’ He also believes morality is subjective and that folks who are transgender, bisexual, lesbian, or gay, or others,” in his words, “trying to accept their interest in polyamory,” and I am not even mention the next part, are in his words, “good moral people.” In fact, she writes:

He states ‘their gender identity sexual orientation patterns of love or sexual desires have nothing to do with morality they just are.

Mary Husson goes on to write:

Giordano is indeed a recognized expert. He is scheduled to speak at next week’s Sexual Freedom Summit, a national event that promotes sexual freedom as “one of the highest human aspirations and the foundation of all human rights, the cornerstone for all our civil liberties, source and prerequisite for much if not all that motivates human beings.”

That conference, you should know, is supported by organizations including the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The transgender challenge, Christians must recognize, is the ultimate realization of the totality of the sexual revolution, not only destroying previous codes of sexual morality that have been central not only to Western civilization but to the long trajectory of the Judeo-Christian tradition. But what we are looking at now is the total rejection of the entire pattern of human beings. The pattern of male and female. The rejection of any objective reality of sex and gender as man and woman. This will require not only a long and very subversive email from principals to parents, it will also require turning the entire civilization upside down.

Mary Hasson points to a very fundamental reality, in conclusion, and that is this:

It is unlikely that children are going to immediately buy into this. It’s going to take some very sophisticated brain tampering to get them to accept what they’re going to be told. Some kid, perhaps even the majority of children, when told that the individual for them who used to be Mr. Reuter is now Ms. Reuter is simply going to think, and perhaps even to say, “no he is not.”

Perhaps the real story watch now is what happens to that child and any set of parents who will not go along with the revolution.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by going to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

Podcast Transcript

1) Tennessee judge breaks trend by upholding state’s same sex marriage ban

Tennessee judge breaks gay marriage’s streak, The Hill (Mario Trujillo)

Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban as Constitutional in Startling Reversal of Pro-Gay Trend, Slate (Mark Joseph Stern)

2) Arizona court recognizes transgender marriage, implicitly recognizes same sex marriage

Court: ‘Pregnant Man’ can get a divorce, USA Today (Michael Kiefer)

Arizona Appeals Court: ‘Pregnant Man’ can get a divorce, Arizona Republic (Michael Kiefer)

3) Acceptance of transgenderism total rejection of pattern of humanity – now in DC public school

Back to School: When Mr. Reuter Becomes ‘Ms. Reuter’, The Federalist (Mary Hasson)


R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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