The Briefing 06-03-15

The Briefing 06-03-15

The Briefing

June 3, 2015

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


It’s Wednesday, June 3, 2015. I’m Albert Mohler and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

1) OSHA regulations on transgender restroom use keep up with moral insanity of sexual revolution

We are dealing with one of the most deeply confused epics of human history and the evidence of that is that the confusion has reached beyond even issues of sexual morality, right to the issue of sexual identity, gender identity, and the confusion of male and female. This is being raised, of course, in terms of a very much headline story all across the United States and the world and without going back to that story, I simply have to point out that what we’re watching is the head on collision between irreconcilable absolutes in terms of this new sexual and gender confusion.

For instance, when you look at something like the Olympics, and when we’re looking at the Olympics, we recognize that in virtually all the sports there’s a distinction between men and women. How will the Olympics deal with the transgender revolution? Which is to raise a question that is obvious  – at least obvious to me – as I asked on Twitter on Tuesday night: will the Wheaties box follow the example and the lead of Vanity Fair magazine, in terms of its cover story? How exactly will the Olympics deal with this? The very idea of the Olympics designation of certain sports and competitions of events, as male and female, is rooted in what is believed to be a biological distinction between the two genders, the two sexes. And as I will point out all of human history and human experience has been predicated upon that fundamental issue in reality of the human condition.

How in the world do you have the Olympics once you have the transgender revolution that is now being trumpeted and celebrated all around us?  Of course we’re facing the same issue when it comes to sports at other levels including, as we discussed on The Briefing, high school sports now also in middle schools as well. How do you have a distinction between boys and girls teams if you have lost the distinction between boys and girls? That’s a question that sooner rather than later is going to have to be addressed by those who organize and supervise for at every level all the way from T-ball to the Olympics. It’s going to be unavoidable, but it’s also pointing to the fact that if you lose the distinction between male and female, you lose the ability to make distinctions we count on in everyday life. Even those who seem to be joining and celebrating this revolution are likely to face some of the rather implausible if not impossible situations the revolution brings about.

This raises a set of regulations or best practices handed down by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration that is OSHA of the federal government. On Monday, OSHA handed down guidelines that include the statement,

“In many workplaces, separate restroom and other facilities are provided for men and women. In some cases, questions can arise in the workplace about which facilities certain employees should use.”

The headline on the document from the federal government by the way, is entitled,

“A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers.”

But those affected by the policy are not merely those who identify as transgender. As the policy statement makes clear it will affect every single employee. It is clear however, that the federal government is doing its dead level best to join the transgender revolution at its fullest. The statement reads,

“Gender identity is an intrinsic part of each person’s identity and everyday life. Accordingly, authorities on gender issues counsel that it is essential for employees to be able to work in a manner consistent with how they live the rest of their daily lives based on their gender identity. Restricting employees to using only restrooms that are not consistent with their gender identity or segregating them from other workers by requiring them to use gender neutral or other specific restrooms, singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety. Bathroom restrictions can result in employees avoiding using restrooms entirely while at work, which can lead to potentially serious physical injury or illness.”

In language that can only be loved by a bureaucrat, the statement goes on to say,

“Under OSHA’s Sanitation standard (1910.141), employers are required to provide their employees with toilet facilities. This standard is intended to protect employees from the health effects created when toilets are not available.”

We needed government to tell us we need toilets, but at least in that respect, the government’s right. I will not read from our federal government statement all the health dangers that could come by avoiding the use of the toilet. I’ll simply state that we will stipulate, we will acknowledge that toilets are important. But getting to the point of our federal government, and it does have a point in these best practices,

“The core belief underlying these policies is that all employees should be permitted to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identity.”

And then, in case we didn’t understand they give examples,

“For example, a person who identifies as a man should be permitted to use men’s restrooms, and a person who identifies as a woman should be permitted to use women’s restrooms. The employee should determine the most appropriate and safest option for him- or herself.”

The federal government, we should note, still uses the terms ‘himself’ and ‘herself’ as if those are meaningful categories. But we can be assured that if the federal government is going to join the transgender revolution at its fullest. Pretty soon it’s going to have to abandon even terms like himself or herself. Even as those are applied by any individual to himself or herself at will. The statement then says,

“The best policies also provide additional options, which employees may choose, but are not required, to use. These include: Single-occupancy gender-neutral (unisex) facilities; and use of multiple-occupant, gender-neutral restroom facilities with lockable single occupant stalls.”

But from a Christian worldview perspective, the most important thing for us to recognize is the absolute insanity of this kind of policy in the first place. It is not going to accomplish what the federal government wants in terms of the situation. Because when it comes to the transgender revolution, no one’s going to be able to fulfill on the promises that the revolution claims. And when you look at the best policies that are suggested here, one of them explicitly is that the bathroom situation be changed in the workplace, so that there are unisex bathrooms with lockable individual stalls. Just to state the obvious, I don’t think most employees are going to be too comfortable with this, whether they are male or female, speaking for himself or herself. But where else does the federal government go once it is signed on to this kind of revolution? And when the culture at large is beginning to absorb this kind of insanity into the very center of the culture, how in the world is there any option other than eventually giving up on the fact that there is any meaningful distinction between male and female, men and women, boys and girls, and eventually saying in effect, that every single human being is now simply an it, deserving of its own private stall in a unisex or non-gender identified bathroom.

We’re watching right before our eyes a meltdown of sanity on this issue and we’re also watching the federal government try to accommodate itself by setting out regulations and best practices in order to meet that revolution with all its insanity. But as we discussed on The Briefing, this isn’t limited to the approach taken by the federal government in terms of employment. This is reaching right down to public schools very close to us and to your local college and university as well. This brings in mind the fact that when a very liberal Protestant denomination came and held its meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the notable aspects of that meeting is that they re-identified the bathrooms in the hotel where they were meeting in order to have non-gender specific restrooms. Pretty soon that’s all that will be left. But if only this confusion were limited to the government, to the workplace and to the restroom – that isn’t the case.

2) Church of England group calls for right to name God ‘She’

Yesterday, we discussed the fact that the transgender revolution has reached the point that at least one priest in the Church of England is moving towards an official act, whereby the Church of England could come up with a religious ceremony, if not a sacrament, in order to identify a new individual with a new gender identity by means of introducing that individual to God, complete with a new name and a new identity – there’s nowhere else for this revolution to go. But the main point for us is it will not stop there. And it isn’t even stopping there to skip a beat.

As a matter fact, The Guardian, the major newspaper in Britain issued a new story in recent days by Nadia Khomami, in which it says

“A group within the Church of England is calling for God to be referred to as female following the selection of the first female Bishops.”

Now one of the things we need to note is that the arguments for the election of female bishops follow the arguments for the calling of female priests, which called for reinterpreting the Scripture in order to avoid very clear statements of Scripture that would’ve commanded otherwise. But as is so often the case, as is almost necessarily the case, that process of reinterpreting Scripture, which means abandoning the clear teachings of Scripture, won’t stop at this point. In fact it just won’t stop. It has to go onward. The logic has to work its way out. And that logic has to get, and as we now see very quickly got to, calls to change how we refer to God, after almost immediately after the Church of England received its first female Bishop.

According to The Guardian story, the group wants the church to recognize the equal status of women by overhauling official liturgy, which is made up almost exclusively of male language and imagery to describe God. The Reverend Jody Stowell, a member of Women and the Church, the pressure group, according to The Guardian that led the campaign for female Bishops said,

“Orthodox theology says all human beings are made in the image of God, that God does not have a gender. He encompasses gender — he is both male and female and beyond male and female. So when we only speak of God in the male form, that’s actually giving us a deficient understanding of who God is.”

Well just because you say something is Orthodox theology doesn’t mean that it actually is Orthodox theology. In this case, the member of this group is right in saying that Orthodox theology points to the fact that both men and women are made in God’s image, so good so far. But when she goes on to say that God does not have a gender by encompassing gender he is both male and female and beyond male and female. Well she’s going far beyond either Scripture or the Orthodox Christian tradition. Biblical theology does not say that God encompasses both male and female. It states that God has made both male and female human beings in his image, equally in his image and the Bible makes very clear that God is a spirit without a body and thus does not possess gender in that sense. But the Bible is also clear in referring to God as father and his Scripture is very clear, this is a God who chooses to name himself and who has the right to name himself.

The logic of the revolution that brought about female bishops in the Church of England is a logic that now says if women are to be fully included they must not only be fully included as priests and then fully included as bishops, they must also be fully included by the fact that we will now speak of God as a she as well as he. This isn’t actually a new argument. This has been around for the better part of the last 20 years, rather infamously in terms of debates and some liberal Protestant denominations in the United States. Some of those denominations years ago went forward with very radical liturgies that do refer to God as both he and she or beyond gender whatsoever or they use no personal pronouns about God or they are very careful now to include virtually anything they can imagine is a reference to God.

One major Protestant denomination a few years ago actually approved a form of the liturgy that abandons the traditional language for the Trinity moving to any number of rather creative triads. As I pointed out at the time, this is an act of creaturely rebellion against the creator who has the sovereign right to name himself and has revealed himself in Scripture. Coverage of this issue at the Huffington Post includes a statement made by Reverend Emma Percy, who is the chaplain of Trinity College at Oxford, who told the Times of London,

“This means that women can see themselves as less holy and less able to represent Christ in the world. If we take seriously the idea that men and women are made in the image of God, both male and female language should be used.”

But here she’s talking about language for God and you see just how that logic is now extended. Some in the group complain about the fact that the church’s traditional language of worship is heavily laden with masculine imagery for God and masculine titles. What isn’t even acknowledged in several of these articles is that it isn’t just rooted in the church’s historic worship; it is rooted in Holy Scripture. It is rooted in the Bible itself. This is such an important issue that it deserves some intense consideration. It is also an issue that requires some very careful thinking.

In the English language we use analogies, we simply have to, we say this is like that. But when we use that kind of analogy, it’s actually a metaphor. A metaphor in this would include a simile, uses one thing to explain another thing. It doesn’t claim that the one thing actually is the other thing; it says this is how you understand it. An analogy on the other hand is a stronger kind of expression. For instance, we use metaphorical language when we say that God is like this or that. We use purely analogical language when we say that God is something. And so for instance, the Scripture doesn’t say that God is merely like a father, the scripture says that God is a father. There are rare occasions in the Scripture where God is described as acting like a mother, like a mother hen gathering chicks. That’s understandable and we should appreciate that kind of language, but the Bible never says that God is a mother. To the contrary, however, the Bible does say God is a father. As a matter of fact, when Jesus upon the request of his disciples teaches them how to pray, he told his own disciples we are to pray to our father who art in heaven. God identifies himself consistently throughout Scripture as father. The understanding of God as our heavenly father is something that is deeply rooted in the entirety of the Scripture and we cannot understand the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of Rachel and Rebecca and Sarah, the God who is the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can’t understand the God of the Bible without that masculine pronoun and without the understanding that he is not only like a father. He is referred to indeed, as our father, he is our heavenly father.

The late New Testament scholar, Elizabeth Achtemeier, was a stalwart defender of the Bible’s language concerning God, and she said,

“It is not that the prophets were slaves to their patriarchal culture, as some feminists hold. And it is not that the prophets could not imagine God as female: they were surrounded by people who so imagined their deities. It is rather that the prophets . . . would not use such language, because they knew and had ample evidence from the religions surrounding them that female language for the deity results in a basic distortion of the nature of God and of his relation to his creation.”

Similarly, when this controversy emerged in mainline liberal Protestantism, Roland M. Frye, leading scholar of literature said,

“According to biblical religion, on the other hand, only God can name God. Distinctive Christian experiences and beliefs are expressed through distinctive language about God and the changes in that language proposed by feminist theologians do not merely add a few unfamiliar words for God, as some would like to think, but in fact introduce beliefs about God that differ radically from those inherent in Christian faith, understanding, and Scripture.”

Furthermore, this controversy really isn’t new, going all the way back to the early church. One of the early church fathers, Basil the Great, said this,

“We are bound to be baptized in the terms we have received and to profess belief in the terms in which we are baptized, and as we have professed faith in, so to give glory to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Basil, centuries ago in the early centuries of the church said,

“It is enough for us to confess those names which we have received from Holy Scripture and to shun all innovations about them.”

It’s really interesting that the secular media, especially in Great Britain have noted just how quickly calls to change the language about God follow the change in electing female bishops within that church. So far as the secular media are concerned, they can draw a point-to-point progression understanding that the one has to lead to the other and in that sense, they’re absolutely right. What we are seeing we have to note is a gender confusion that will never be limited to human beings. It will never be limited to the world of sports; it will never be limited to policies about restrooms; it will never be limited once it’s set loose to the question, who and who cannot be a minister? It will eventually inescapably reach the question, how do we refer to God and how do we name him? And to that those who are committed to a scriptural understanding simply have to respond, God gets to name himself. He is the sovereign who has named himself. He has named himself in Scripture, and he is given us Scripture as his gift and may we remind ourselves this is the God who told us we must not take his name in vain.

3) Sepp Blatter resigns as FIFA corruption spreads, inability to clean up own sin made evident

Finally, in terms of really interesting headlines in the news; just four days after he was elected to a record fifth term as the head of FIFA, the international organization supervising soccer. Sepp Blatter announced that he was going to step down. What a difference just four days could make. Rewinding history four days, before yesterday, Sepp Blatter was elected even as the United States Department of Justice had handed down stunning indictments announced by the Attorney General of the United States herself against the international soccer organization. It was also announced that at least one other nation, Switzerland was also considering felony charges against some of the highest-ranking executives in the FIFA organization.

Sepp Blatter had been at the head of that organization for years, he was first elected president in the year 1998. He has been with FIFA as an executive since 1975. In a defiant statement released just a few days ago, Sepp Blatter had defied all of his critics. He also denied any personal responsibility for corruption in the organization and he accepted that fix term stating that now even though he had been in charge of the organization since 1998, he was going to work towards cleaning up the organization that he had been running. The illogic of that was apparent to most of the world. And yet somehow the corruption within that organization was demonstrated in the fact that even as those criminal indictments were handed down, Sepp Blatter was actually re-elected to that record fifth term as head of the organization. So just a few days ago, much of the world is collectively scratching its head wondering how in the world, a man who had run an organization since 1998 could run on a platform of correcting and cleaning up what he had himself allowed or caused to be made. But the morality tale that involves FIFA just got more interesting yesterday, when Sepp Blatter announced he was stepping down and this happened after United States federal authorities indicated that as a part of their indictment they identified Blatter’s right-hand man as the crucial individual and a transfer of $10 million cash as a part of the corruption charges. In a really interesting portion of his statement released yesterday, in stepping down Sepp Blatter said this,

“Although the members of FIFA have re-elected me president, this mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football. This is why I will call an extraordinary congress and step down.”

Now those sentences came in the context of the statement in which Mr. Blatter, rather illogically said that even after he steps down after having run the organization, he will lead the campaign to clean it up. But the most amazing thing is found in that sentence where he said, even as he was re-elected president of FIFA,

“This mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football.”

As we said, when this scandal first began to break one of the signs of the fall is that sin affects every dimension of life, even play, in this case demonstrated by professional sports. But one of the other things we need to recognize is that by God’s grace this kind of thing tends to show itself for what it is and even as God has made us moral creatures, there is at some point a limitation to how much moral illogic most human beings can take. Evidence of this comes in this very strange statement, very revealing in its own way, that Sepp Blatter made as he handed down,

“This mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football.”

Indeed, Mr. Blatter, it does not seem to be. The Christian worldview means that we shouldn’t be surprised when someone caught in this kind of corruption says, “Look, trust me. I’ll clean myself up.” The Christian worldview also explains why we’re not surprised when that project doesn’t work. And when it loses all credibility and eventually people say it’s not happening.


Thanks for listening to The Briefing. For more information, go to my website 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 Remember we’re taking questions for Ask Anything Weekend Edition. Call with your question in your voice to 877-505-2058. That’s 877-505-2058.

I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.


Podcast Transcript

1) OSHA regulations on transgender restroom use keep up with moral insanity of sexual revolution

A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers, OSHA

2) Church of England group calls for right to name God ‘She’

Is God a woman? To ask the question is to miss the point, The Guardian (Kate Bottley)

Church Of England Group Wants To Call God A ‘She’, Huffington Post (Lydia O’Conner)

The God Who Likes His Name, (R. Albert Mohler, Jr)

The God Who Names Himself, (R. Albert Mohler, Jr)

3) Sepp Blatter resigns as FIFA corruption spreads, inability to clean up own sin made evident

Sepp Blatter, Under Investigation, to Resign as FIFA President, New York Times (Sam Borden, Michael S. Schmidt, and Matt Apuzzo)

Bribery Inquiry Drawing Closer to FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter, New York Times (William K. Rashbaum and Matt Apuzzo)

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me using the contact form. Follow regular updates on Twitter at @albertmohler.

Subscribe via email for daily Briefings and more (unsubscribe at any time).