briefing, Albert Mohler

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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

It’s Thursday, October 24, 2019. I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

The Subversion of Parenthood and Human Dignity: How the Case of a 7-Year-Old Demanding Gender Transition Exhibits Our Culture’s Mass Delusion

Horrifying and heartbreaking, those are the first two words I think of when I look at a story that comes to us from Texas. The headline of the article in the Washington Examiner is this, “Texas father blocked from stopping gender transition of son James, 7, to girl named Luna.” Ellie Bufkin reports the story, “A jury in Texas returned a verdict on Monday that will prevent a Texas dad from intervening in the gender transition of his seven-year-old son. Jeffrey Younger had petitioned a court in Texas,” we’re told, “to grant him sole custody of his twin sons, James and Jude, in part to avoid a plan to infuse James with female hormones. James, who would like to be called Luna,” we are told, “has been,” says the Examiner, “a center of controversy in the heated debate among his parents and others.

The background of this story is now altogether too familiar. We have seen cases like this in Canada and elsewhere. But as the Examiner tells us, the mother of the two boys has advocated for this one of her sons to transition into a girl named Luna, and as the Examiner says, “has strongly backed the idea of chemically castrating her son and beginning hormone replacement therapy. The ruling that came on Wednesday,” we are told, “will prevent Jeffrey from having sole custody of his children and paves the way for the mother to proceed with the procedure.”

The legal background to the story is, as we were told, the father had petitioned after divorce to have sole custody of the boys, but the court instead, in Texas, went so far as to rule 11 to 1 that indeed the boy should be put under sole custody but not of the father, but of the mother. As Bufkin reports, “The court ruled that the mother will maintain sole custody of her two children and go forward with plans to give James life-altering medical procedures. Her original court filing had sought to limit her ex-husband’s visits with their children and require that he now refer to James as Luna. She further asked,” says the report, “that Jeffrey not be exposed to any people who would not confirm his female identity.”

Now, there is further complication in the story as you might imagine, and it’s also extremely revealing. For example, the court heard from numerous so-called expert witnesses, and the vast majority of those expert witnesses were entirely pro LGBTQ, in this case in particular, T. Not only that, but the majority were also in favor of encouraging children, even as young as James in this case, as young as age seven, to affirm and to be affirmed in their gender transition.

We are also talking quite honestly and unavoidably candidly about the fact that the hormone treatments that are in question here, scheduled now to begin as soon as they might be needed with the onset of puberty, they do amount to chemical castration. They amount to shutting down the normal process by which a boy would turn into a man. But at least one of the expert witnesses, Dr. Benjamin Albritton, he said in sworn testimony that there was evidence that the seven-year-old boy is still uncertain, “There is still some fluidity in his thinking.”

Now, just remember that not long ago, just a couple of years ago, Dr. Paul McHugh, who, after all, ironically, had been one of the first doctors to champion the transgender revolution there at Johns Hopkins University where he was head of the appropriate surgery department, he later came back full circle to repudiate the entire ideology and to do so based upon his own medical as well as moral concern. He referred to this gender or sex reassignment surgery, for example, as it’s called, it’s just a matter of genital mutilation. And perhaps most significantly for this case today, he pointed to the fact that the vast majority of individuals who ask children and adolescents indicated some kind of non-binary identity or gender confusion, by their early 20s, they had, the vast majority of them, clearly settled on a gender identity that did indeed correspond to what’s now called their sex assigned at birth.

Speaking of this case in Texas, LifeSite News released a story with the headline, “Pro LGBT adults admit seven-year-old in gender transition case isn’t totally convinced he’s a girl.” So let’s just face what we’re looking at here. We are looking at a mass form of cultural delusion that is going to have horrifying impacts on the lives of so many people, in this case, including, we underline, children and adolescents, and in this case, a child as young as seven. Arguments before the court also indicate that the father is to be instructed that he may not address his own child by the child’s given name at birth, nor refer to him as a boy, and at least some reports say that he will be required to keep the child away from anyone who might indicate, in virtually any way, that the child is a boy rather than as claimed now, a girl named Luna.

It is honestly just very hard to imagine how we could have reached this point of mass delusion in the United States of America. We are now unable or are too intimidated to use words like “boy” and “girl” in their only sensical context. This, of course, extends to the entire vocabulary. How can we speak of “husband” and “wife,” or “male” and “female,” “woman” and “man,” “brother” and “sister.” It’s now all subverted, and in this case, the ultimate subversion is the inability of a father to refer to his own son as his son. But this is not only a mass social delusion reinforced by Hollywood and all the cultural creators, reinforced by academic theory, and now even with the authority, we are told, of the medical community, but we are also looking at a court-coerced delusion. Here you have a father told that he may not refer to his son as a son, he may not use that name. He has to refer to this child by the new court-ordered, coerced identity, which is being facilitated by the child’s mother.

To consider just how fast this dilution has taken hold, just imagine that less than a generation ago, the father making the argument in court that a boy is a boy, would have found nothing but blank stares in that he was stating the obvious, and it still is, by the way, the obvious, which leads to the embarrassing situation that this boy’s identity is now being debated in open court even about his pubertal transition. But in this case, again, you have reality substituted by a delusion.

But of course, we are looking at a delusion that is also going to have very significant physical effects upon this child, and the puberty suppression hormones are only the beginning. We are a society, in which we are told, that children and teenagers ought to be able to demand physical surgery. Given what we know about God’s plan for humanity and even given the medical research that comes from someone like Dr. Paul McHugh, we know that the end result of all of this can only be psychiatric and psychological, and in just about every way we can imagine, devastation and despair.

But observe that we are also looking, staring at the face at the direct subversion of parenthood, in this case, of fatherhood. You have a father being told the identity of his child over against what the father knows is the identity of the child, and this father is being given names and language that he can use with his own child, and the effective warning is that he will not have contact with the child if he does not abide by these new rules.

Just keep in mind that back in May of this year we talked about a similarly ominous story coming from Canada, but I made the point at the time, this won’t stay in Canada, and that was just in May. The story in Canada went to a decision by the Supreme Court of British Columbia that ordered that a 14-year-old girl should receive testosterone injections without parental consent. The court, as The Federalist reported, also declared that if either of parents referred to her using female pronouns or addressed her by her birth name, they would be considered guilty of family violence.

The court statement from British Columbia said, and I quote, “Attempting to persuade the child to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria, addressing the child by his birth name, referring to the child as a girl with female pronouns, whether to him directly or to third parties, shall be considered family violence under Section 38 of the Family Law Act.” The parents have been advised, “You must now call this child by the child’s new chosen name, and you must affirm the child in the child’s new chosen gender identity. Even though you welcomed a little girl into the world, you must recognize this child now as a boy. And if you do not, then you can be found in violation of the Family Law Act as guilty of committing family violence.”

Now, remember that decision was handed down by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Canada this past Spring, and I reported it and discussed it extensively on The Briefing on May the 1st of this year. Following press accounts that had been published in the United States, I cited the child’s birth name. I was then contacted by Canadian legal authorities and warned that I could face legal action in Canada if I did not remove that transcript from the website and if I did not comply with Canadian law. That is how draconian this revolution is now turning. Every form of legal, social, moral, political, and economic coercion will be used against anyone who refuses to join the LGBTQ revolution, and to do so with gusto, enthusiasm, and with every evident means to indicate that we have joined the delusion.

But there are other aspects of this news to which we had better give attention. LifeSite News points to a very important issue with the headline, “Despite public outcry, mainstream media ignore dad losing battle over 7-year-old’s ‘transition.'” “Transition” is put in quotation marks. That is one of the big issues I considered as I looked at the data here. We are looking at a major development. We are looking at what should be headline news just about everywhere. But as LifeSite News has pointed out, the mainstream media is studiously, intentionally avoiding any coverage of this story. Why? That turns out, upon reflection, to be very interesting.

I think the only clear lesson to learn from this is that the mainstream media do not want to bring attention to this case because it is likely to be a wake-up call for the average American, not to mention for American parents, about what could be at stake. You also have to wonder if the mainstream media, solidly behind the LGBTQ revolution, if looking at a story like this, they do not actually have second questions about whether or not this decision is right and sane. If they thought it was a great cultural triumph, if they saw it as a crucial tool to instruct Americans about the glories of the LGBTQ revolution, then you can count on the fact that every major network, all the cable systems and all the various forms of new media would be swarming around this story, but they are not. They are avoiding it like the plague. If they were really publicly proud of this decision and development, you can count on the fact that they would not shut up about it. But the fact is, they’re as silent as imaginable.

Over the span of history, there are significant moments that stand out, upon reflection, as indicators of an historical hinge. History who was swinging one way until, all of a sudden, it was swinging another way, sometimes even in the opposite direction. What we’re looking at here is one of those hinges. I can only think that we’ll be considering that decision that came earlier in the Spring in British Columbia, and this decision, which after all, took place in the state of Texas — I can only imagine that we will one day look back and say, “Yes, that was a hinge. This decision, and the fact that we were all called to a massive self-delusion socially about it, that legal force was brought for coercion against a parent, we now understand this redefinition of the family and what will be done to this child as a result of this decision, that that was one of those historical hinges.”

The question is, is that hinge indicative of an irreversible slide into insanity on the part of the entire culture? We have to admit at this point, that is an open question. We’re now told that we are, and we have to be, a society in which we all just consider it normal for drag queens to perform at story hour for children at public libraries, that it makes sense for seven-year-old children to be told that they can indeed transition to a new gender identity or just claim some kind of identity, that is, when it comes to gender, non-binary.

When we look at this very sad story coming from Texas, we understand that it is at the intersection of conviction and conscience and parenthood, and the responsibility of parents to children, and the sacred bond between parents and children, and the very idea of what it means to be human, whether or not we indeed were made by a Creator as male and female, and whether we are the lords of our own destiny to determine our own identity in every respect, whether it makes sense to chemically castrate a child, or for that matter, to move even further towards the mutilation of the body. These are all now unavoidable questions, and they are for Christians in the United States now, an unavoidable challenge.

Part II

Signposts of the Gender Revolution: Can a Society Experience Correction Once a Revolution Has Gone This Far, This Fast?

But we also have to note, and this is what I try to do on The Briefing, we have to note that there are clear signposts along the way. One of those signposts was an article that appeared on October the 20th, that’s this past Sunday, in the New York Times. The article was by Meredith Talusan. She’s the author of a forthcoming memoir, and the title of her article in the New York Times, “I wish my dad had celebrated my transition.” I’m not going to go far into the story. You can pretty much imagine where it is, but she’s writing about the fact that her father has been grieving the fact that he no longer has a firstborn son, because that son now identifies as a daughter as an adult. The writer of the article actually says that the father tried to be supportive and helpful along this gender transition, but nonetheless, it led to an alienation, because in the end, he couldn’t fully go along.

But then my heart was really struck by one particular argument made in this article, it was how the father hurt the child, the adult child now identifying as a daughter, because the father was still clinging to photographs of the child when the child was a child, and of course, that child was a boy. The heartbreaking issue here, it’s extremely poignant when you think about it, is that the demand for support now means that this father, if he is to be considered rightly supportive and loving towards his child as an adult, is basically to make invisible and to forget the child as a child, because after all, the child then was a boy.

The writer then tells us, “The first step toward just consideration of trans people is for our loved ones to deal with their negative feelings about our transition as far away from us as possible. Whether they seek solace from their own friends, or support group, or professional therapist, it’s ultimately their responsibility,” the writer tells us, “and not ours, to deal with the grief.” Continuing, “Expecting us to comfort them promotes the transphobic idea that cisgender people’s feelings must be prioritized over ours, even when we are dealing with so much more, and those expressions of grief are harmful to us.” Listen to the next sentence, “An even better step is for loved ones to reframe their feelings over a trans person’s transition. The person they’re mourning is a projection of someone who didn’t really exist in the first place.”

Just imagine that again. This individual we’re told didn’t exist in the first place. The parent was likely there in the delivery room when this individual arrived on the scene. This parent could very well have been in the delivery room, and his mother may have delivered the baby, and these parents took this child home, and nurtured this child, and raised the child, named the child, fed the child, protected the child, and now we are being told that this child didn’t really even exist as the identity of the child? What in the world is that saying to parents? Furthermore, what is it saying to all of us?

But another signpost came at just about the same time. This one was reported by Newsweek magazine, Tareq Haddad, the reporter, and we are told that a major sanitary towels company is now facing backlash after transgender rights activists convinced the company “to ditch the feminine Venus symbol on the packaging, which is used to denote the female sex in biology, to remove it from its entire product range.”

Procter & Gamble is the company behind it, and according to Newsweek, it “announced it would remove the symbol from its packaging after a number of campaigners said that the image was not inclusive of transgender individuals who were assigned female at birth and use the sanitary products.” I continue, “A number of feminists voiced their displeasure with the decision and said they would boycott the brand from now on,” with some stating the move was part of a concerted effort towards the “elimination of women’s biology.”

So once again, we see the collision not only between religious liberty and the LGBTQ revolution, we see the inevitable collision between the transgender revolution and feminism in the United States. Feminism, after all, only makes sense if feminists know who females are. But the Newsweek account makes really clear that Procter & Gamble announced this decision after transgender activists demanded that the female symbol be removed from female sanitary products because they are no longer female sanitary products. They’re now sanitary products for people who are biologically female, but may identify in any number of different, even non-binary ways.

Now, this is not the kind of story I relish discussing on The Briefing, but the whole point here is that we are now facing irrefutable evidence of a basic war on biology itself. We also have here a classic situation of a corporation capitulating to the revolution and signaling its virtue by doing so, but also finding itself in a rather awkward position now. Activists contacted Procter & Gamble and demanded that the female symbol be removed from the packaging arguing, “There are non-binary and trans folk who still need to use your products too you know.” And then Newsweek tells us, Procter & Gamble released a letter to those who brought up the issue, stating that it was thankful for the activistss helping them to improve the brand.

The letter from Procter & Gamble said, and I quote, “We listened to you and our marketing team worked a solution! We are glad to inform you that as of December we will use a new wrapper design without the feminine symbol.” But then the letter continued, “Please just be aware that you might find products with the old wrapper design in the stores for some weeks after December, as the distribution of the new packages might take some time. The new design should be in store January/February of 2020.”

One obvious question after considering these signposts is whether or not a society that has reached this point is even capable of any form of regaining sanity, of any form of self-correction. Honestly, it’s very hard to imagine that that kind of correction can come without some major shift in the culture that is now not only unforeseen, but almost inconceivable, at least, Christians must point out, in secular terms.

Part III

Emperor Naruhito Formally Ascends Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne: Why the Talk About Divinity in “Secular” Japan?

But now we shift from the United States to Japan where Motoko Rich of the New York Times tells us that just in recent days, the emperor of Japan, the new emperor who officially took the throne six months ago, has now been ceremonially enthroned. As Rich tells us, “Six months ago, Naruhito, the new emperor of Japan, received a sword, a jewel, and official seals in a sacred ceremony that heralded his succession to the throne after his father, Akihito became the first emperor to abdicate in more than 200 years. But,” as Rich tells us, “it turns out that was only a prelude.”

On Tuesday of this week, the new emperor took part in another enthronement ceremony, “one in which he formally declared his ascension to the world’s oldest monarchy, and this time, he actually got to sit on a really big throne.” Also, this time, the emperor’s wife, the new empress was also allowed to be present. Only males were allowed to be present at the official ascension ceremony that took place six months ago.

Emperor Naruhito’s grandfather was Emperor Hirohito, who of course, led Japan during World War II. At the end of World War II, General Douglas MacArthur, who was more or less the viceroy of Japan by Allied decree, he allowed the emperor to keep his throne, but he did require the emperor to concede that he was not a divine figure. More on that in just a moment, but when Emperor Hirohito died, he was followed by his son, Emperor Akihito, who, just earlier this year, abdicated the throne in order to make way for his son, age 59.

Now, there is a further succession crisis in the Japanese throne, which after all, the Chrysanthemum Throne does go back longer than any other registered monarchy on earth. The only real young heir to the throne is a 13-year-old boy who is the new emperor’s nephew. The entire line now rests on one 13-year-old boy. The oldest monarchy on earth could come to an end without that 13-year-old boy, or if that 13-year-old boy, I use again the word boy, does not grow up to become emperor and eventually also have children, but not just children, a son, because only sons can inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Japan has been experiencing a so-called birth dearth, its birth rate so low that it’s far below replacement rate, but evidently, the imperial family in this case has been leading the way with very few offspring, and in the case of the new emperor, no sons. That’s in contrast to most monarchial families that do their best to have multiple children and to have multiple sons, at least the infamous “heir and a spare” in order to hedge their bets about the future of their royal family.

But the story turns even more interesting as the New York Times reports, “On the night of November 14, the emperor will take part in another ceremony, a secret ritual that occurs inside two of a series of temporary wooden buildings erected just for the occasion in the east gardens of the Imperial Palace. Nobody knows for sure,” reports Motoko Rich, “what happens during the rites, which have roots in Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion. The emperor is said to offer rice and other specially prepared foods to Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess from whom all emperors, according to legend, are descended.” Remember, by the way, the rising sun that was, and is, the symbol of Japan on the Japanese national flag.

The report in the New York Times continues, “In part of the ceremony, the emperor enters an inner sanctuary accompanied only by two ladies-in-waiting.” Analysts and Shinto ritualists, according to the Times, have offered different speculation about what exactly Emperor Naruhito will do in their while 1000 guests await outside. “There is a bed inside, so some say the emperor lies down with his ancestors and enters into spiritual communion with the gods. Others say he actually becomes a god,” then in parenthesis we’re told, “though the emperor’s godlike status was annulled by the Americans after World War II.”

Now, let’s just think hard for a moment here. If indeed you are a deity, then the entire authority of the United States of America cannot annul your deity. If your deity can be annulled, guess what? You’re not God.

But the paragraph in the New York Times continues, and I’m going to read it exactly as it has written, “Another theory holds that he has a conjugal visit with the sun goddess.” Now, just think with me for a moment. Japan is often described as a hyper-modern society. Just think about all the technology that Japan has produced and what it represents. We were told that after World War II, the Japanese emperor was no longer to be considered as a deity, but it looks like it’s all back. What would explain that? Well, at least in part, Christians would understand that this is explainable by the fact that we are indeed spiritual beings and we cannot genuinely and consistently live in the sterility of a genuinely secular space.

This rather bizarre story about what is, after all, still a matter of speculation about what exactly takes place when the Japanese emperor is fully and ceremonially enthroned, this story uses repeatedly words like “goddess” and “deity” and “spiritual communion with the gods.” Christians will rightly see this as paganism, but furthermore, any intelligent person has to look at this and say, whatever it is, it isn’t secular.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

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I’m speaking to you from Asheville, North Carolina, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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