The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Thursday, December 10, 2020

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

It’s Thursday, December 10, 2020.

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

“Trans-Inclusive Abortion Services”? The Horrifying Collision of the Culture of Death and the Sexual Revolution Wrapped Up in One Manual

Just the other day, I was asked in an interview if I thought there was any barrier now to the continuation and expansion of the revolution in morality we have been witnessing in recent decades. I had the answer, “No.”

I actually do not see any current barrier to the radical expansion and extension of this kind of ideology. You add sexual identity politics, and you add contemporary political cultures, you add the encouragement, indeed the conflagration, flame thrower encouragement of Hollywood, you add the direction of American academia, the institutionalization of this revolution. No, it’s hard to see any barrier, but let’s at least rehearse what hasn’t held in the culture.

First of all, you might say, biblical revelation, the Scripture, the biblical authority that used to be so important in this society. Well, that didn’t hold, because if people don’t believe in God and they don’t believe in the word of God, guess what? Biblical morality goes out the window. Well, after that could a kind of generalized Christian moral consensus, hold the line? Well, history has shown us, no, that doesn’t happen.

If you decouple Christian morality from the existence of God and from the authority of his word, then everything becomes negotiable. What about just a general cultural consensus in the United States? Well, what we’ve seen over the course of just the last several years is that, that consensus won’t hold, because Americans are quite ready, evidently, to change their minds on the most fundamental moral issues.

What about politics? Obviously, politics hasn’t held back the moral revolution. But, if there’s one thing you would think would hold back the moral revolution, it would be, let’s just say, “biology.” Or to speak theologically, it would be, ontology, the very fact of being of the material world.

Let’s put it another way. You would think that at least one break on this revolution in sexual morality would be that you still need a sperm and an egg in order to get a baby. And, you would also think that the very fact that only a female can become pregnant. Let’s just state that again, as if it’s now a controversial statement. And of course, it is. Only a female, only a woman or a female can become pregnant. You would think that, that would be at least a firewall, that will be a break that won’t let the conflagration pass on. But nope, it turns out that there’s a rebellion against that as well. We’ve seen it. That’s the “T” in the entire LGBTQ array. But just in case, you’re wondering where all of this is going.

I want to take us to British Columbia in Canada with a major policy report, entitled, “Trans-Inclusive Abortion Services.” The subhead in the report, A manual for providers on operationalizing trans-inclusive policies and practices in an abortion setting. And once again, this is coming from British Columbia. The author of the report is, A. J. Lowik, identified as PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia with the Institute for gender, race, sexuality and social justice. Now, that’s a lot to say, but it basically tells you almost everything you need to know. You’re talking here about social justice being tied to sexuality, gender and race. It’s hard to imagine a more explosive combination, but let’s just say, this is increasingly what makes sense on the cultural left. A. J. Lowik, by the way, wrote a master’s thesis focused on, quote, “Trans-Inclusive Abortion Services.” And, this is exactly how the text reads in the report, “Their PhD dissertation explores trans people’s reproductive decision making processes. They would like to acknowledge the work of the promoting Trans Literacies Workshop series.”

It goes on and on and on. “They,” and again, here we see the war over pronouns, the destabilization of the entire English language. Here, we’re talking about one person, but that one person’s being referred to in the plural pronoun. And again, this is supposed to make sense, but let’s just imagine we had this report. Again, the headline has to do with, “trans-inclusive abortion services,” that’s the title. Let’s say, we put it in the hands of someone, just a matter of say 10 years ago. Don’t just say a 100 years ago, let’s just go 10 years ago. Okay. Let’s put this report in that person’s hands. What will that person have to say? Well, first of all, what in the world is a trans-inclusive abortion? Or trans-inclusive abortion services? But then come back to just the pronoun.

How in the world, in this paragraph, do we go from A. J. Lowik, PhD candidate, to, “their, them?” It becomes impossible now to even use the English language. The report begins, “This manual has been created for professionals working in the fields of sexual and reproductive health in British Columbia, especially those working in abortion service provision. Perhaps you are new to the discussion of trans-inclusivity,” says the manual. “This manual will introduce you to who trans people are, and the kinds of reproductive health needs that some trans people have, perhaps you are working on operationalizing trans-inclusivity in your workplace.” Again, just think of this postmodern lingo, operationalizing. Operation, previously in the English language, was not something generally made into a verb. But now it is, but hey, if you can supposedly make a man into a woman, you can certainly make a noun into a verb.

The report goes on, “This manual will provide you with some practical suggestions on how to make your space more welcoming and prepare you and staff members to provide competent care to your trans clients, wherever you are in your learning. And, whether you work at abortion services in an administrative or clinical capacity, you will find something in these pages for you,” and indeed you will.

Later we are told, this guide uses the term trans as an umbrella term to include transgender, transsexual, non-binary gender queer, gender neutral/ a gender, and gender nonconforming identities and experiences. Did you get that list? Transgender, transsexual, non-binary gender queer, gender neutral, agender and gender nonconforming as identities and experiences. Don’t leave any of those terms off the list, or you’re leaving someone out. But just to note, like LGBTQ+, you better add a plus at this because this sentence will continue to expand as well.

The report later says, and again, it’s coming from British Columbia, quote, “The ways in which we understand sex, gender, sexuality, and even reproduction are products of the colonization of Canada. This guide further recognizes that some two-spirit”–that is two-spirit again, written differently–“people may or may not also identify as trans to conflate two-spirit with trans as outlined above will contribute to the systematic erasure of indigenous gender variants, understood and defined on its own terms.” So, I told you the sentence is going to expand. It expands in the next sentence. The manual is fascinating, and that it tries to simplify this for people who otherwise don’t get the revolution, there’s a color coding. Green items “are things that you can say with confidence, yellow items are words and expressions to use cautiously and red items are things that are not to be spoken at all, they’re to be avoided.”

So, what’s on that list? Well, on the green list, do, are words like cisgender, and of course that’s supposed to refer to someone who isn’t transgender or is not on the gender non-binary as they claim. Now, one of the things we as Christians need to note and worldview analysis is that, what you see here is the attempt to make sexual identity or identity politics central to everyone. And, that means everyone including those who aren’t on the LGBTQ spectrum, because evidently, you are on a spectrum we’re told, you’re now cisgender. And of course, that’s also a way of extending identity politics to saying, this is just one identity among others. Do use cisnormativity, “To describe the assumption that all people are cisgender, and the ways that this assumption is embedded into our cultures and structures,” end quote. Now, I just want to step back for a moment.

Let’s just attempt for a moment in our imagination to go with this. Let’s just try to get ourselves into the mentality of this manual. Then, how pervasive would be the ways that our society embeds the assumption of what they say is, cisnormativity, which means to say that most people, the overwhelming majority of people and virtually every word ever written, every play ever put on, every piece of music ever composed, every artifact of culture, if you say, draw a line at the year 2000 and go back as many 1000 years as human history includes, it’s all to use their category, which is, as we said, a false category, cisnormative. It is also, let’s just point out another word that the sexual revolutionaries now force on us, which is heteronormative, as if heterosexuality is normative. You know the reason why the vast majority of people on planet earth right now think that heterosexuality is normative, it’s because it is.

But again, we’re talking about where the green light is on, “Do use gender.” We’re told to refer to the social meaning ascribed to sexed differences. This includes gender norms, role, stereotypes, as well as gender identity and gender expression. “Do use intersex,” we’re told, “as an umbrella term for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of male or female. Do use phrase such as misgendering, use the kind of pronouns that the revolution demands.” You could go down the list. “Do use non-binary,” and we are also told, “These folks might identify with the following, gender queer, gender fluid, gender neutral, agender, androgynous, neutrois and others.” The next sentence actually says this, I’m going to read it right out loud: “Do use people of all and no genders.” People of all and no genders.

Again, this is supposed to make sense to us, “do use sex to refer to the classification of people into the categories of male and female. And this means at birth. It’s male assigned at birth and female assigned at birth,” we’re told. “But avoid female bodied or male bodied.” Again, it’s insanity, but go with it for a moment. Yellow. The caution light comes on when we are told that you are only to use language such as gender affirmation or gender confirmation surgery. Again, this is like George Orwell. This is like 1984 and Brave New World. Here we’re being told exactly how language works, because if you talk about someone having sex reassignment surgery, that implies that there is a, let’s just listen, re-assignment. But the claim being made here is that you have to use the language that actually implies explicitly that there has been a change of sex or gender here, gender affirmation, or gender confirmation.

Of course, this is where we’re looking at a surgery that refutes the evidence of the body. Another interesting thing to see here is how a report like this that is trying its best to buy entirely into the language of the moral revolutionary. It uses some language I’m not about to use on this program, but it also uses language that just a matter of months or years ago would have been considered offensive by this very community. But now many are embracing it the same way. The word queer is now openly embraced by many. The word tranny is now embraced at least by some, but of course, this manual says those who like it. You should use it. Those who don’t like it don’t use it. I don’t know how anyone ever gets actually to any kind of medical issue. If you have to spend most of the time trying to figure out what kinds of nouns and verbs and pronouns to use.

It’s also really interesting to know that what you have here is a very clear warning about the DSM, that is The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Now that is actually the handbook. It’s the official legal, even insurance binding manual of the therapeutic world of psychiatry and psychology and all the rest. As we have often discussed on the briefing. And as I document in my book, We Cannot Be Silent. The moral revolutionaries use the DSM in order to further the moral revolution, especially on issues such as transgenderism. And for that matter, homosexuality, the entire array. So why is there a warning here about it? Well, it’s because that document can’t be updated often enough to keep up with the demands of the moral revolution. By the way, right here, we are told that out-of-date terms, remember out-of-date, that’s how fast this revolution is happening. Out-of-date terms include, transgenderism, transsexualism, gender identity disorder, et cetera.

No, all that’s now out. The moral revolutionaries are out with the new manual, but the new manual, second edition, then third edition, then fourth edition. Infinite editions, they’re going to have to come very quickly because the revolution is pressing on. But the most revealing part of this manual is where we are told to avoid. Here’s where the light is red. And I do mean red, stop. We are told to avoid using words like, men and women. No, you can’t use those words anymore. At least you can’t use them, “without qualifying, whether you’re speaking about cis or trans people, unless you are speaking about all men and women, including men and women of trans experience.” Don’t use phrases such as, transgenders or a transgender, don’t use the word transgendered, avoid the word transformation, “to refer to the process that some trans people undertake to change their bodies instead use the term transition”.

So even the word transformations out, it’s now just transition. But again, let’s put this in context. What in the world is this manual about in the first place? It is about abortion services for trans people. It’s about trans inclusive abortion services.

Part II

Are There Any Barriers to the Revolt Against Creation? Apparently Not Because Nothing Is Ever Enough for the Revolutionaries

Now let’s just be clear about this. Let’s just step back for a moment. The natural world cries out something that’s just abundantly clear. If you are a pregnant human, you are a woman. You can only get pregnant if you are a woman. You can only get pregnant if you are female. And if you are a female, you are a woman. And if you are a woman, then you are female. And looking at this, the whole issue is, you can’t even come to the issue of abortion, unless you precede that with issue of conception and pregnancy, but that’s really what’s going on here.

By the time you arrive at a society, in which the category of trans-inclusive abortion services make sense, you are well over the waterfall of a natural disaster. But it also turns out that if you’re going to push this agenda, then you’re going to have to redefine not only male, female, not only sexuality and gender, not only men and women, you’re going to have to redefine, well body parts as well. One paragraph of the manual says straightforwardly quote, “We should avoid the unnecessary and problematic gendering of body parts, for instance, calling ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus as part of the female reproductive system. We might also use language such as, people with breasts, people with penises, pregnant people, rather than women with breasts, male bodied, or pregnant women. For some however, this may not go far enough.” Seriously. We’re told in this manual for some, this might not go far enough.

How much further can you possibly go? Now, as I said, from this point on, there’s a lot of language I simply can’t use because they suggest some invented language to use for genitals and reproductive systems. Language that by the very creation and intention and design is supposed to confuse whether or not you’re talking about a man or a woman. Now, again, it’s simply beyond what I can even discuss on the briefing. But when it comes to say, mothers and fathers were told, quote “Words used to talk about partnership and parenting can also fall short for trans people. It may seem straightforward,” says the manual, “as trans people take on the parenting role associated with their gender identity. When a trans man would be a father, a trans woman, a mother, while this may be true for some trans people, it is not always so simple. Some trans people might identify as both mother and father.”

I just have to stop here for a moment. I don’t care how you identify. Guess what? Biologically you are not mother and father. Let’s just keep that really, really straight. There’s an entire section entitled, “Myth Busters,” trans reproduction edition and included in this on page 14 is one of those arguments, you simply have to hear. It’s an argument that says that those who are trying to be therapists or trying to be medical service providers to trans identified people might make the mistake of thinking that trans identified people don’t want to be associated with the use and function of the bodily structure of the gender they are leaving behind rather than the one they are embracing. But this report says, no, that would be limiting to those who identify as trans, in one way or another. Limiting, that’s amazing.

This is how you end up with crazy magazines, running cover stories such as, a pregnant man. No, that’s not a man. That person has a uterus. That is a female. Only a female human being can become pregnant, period, no matter what you put on your magazine cover. But included in this report is something you might not have anticipated, or maybe you did. And that is the fact that as you look at so many abortion providers, guess what? The abortion providers that’s so dark in and of itself, the abortion providers of the culture of death, they often call themselves “Women’s Health Clinics” or “Women or Female Reproductive Health Clinics.” And after all the abortion rights movement has been pushing the idea that this is about a woman productive health. We’ll wait just a minute. Wait, just a minute. The magazine over here is telling us on the cover that there is a pregnant man, can that pregnant man, get those reproductive health services as they are horrifyingly mislabeled? Can a pregnant man get an abortion?

Well, this entire manual is about pregnant man, or for that matter. The infinite permutation they’re presenting, having equal access to and availability of abortion, but it turns out now. Just get this. It turns out that some of the resistance to this idea of trans-inclusive abortion is coming from abortion providers. Some of the resistance is also coming from women who do not want to share an abortion clinic. This just gets darker the more you look at it. Who don’t want to share an abortion clinic with someone who’s identifying as a man. So you’ve seen all the headlines and of course we’re living with the current controversies over who can use what bathroom. Yes. We’re now down to the argument about who can use which abortion clinic. But it turns out is this manual makes clear even all of this is not enough. Where could it go from here?

Well, listen to this, “An abortion clinic that identifies itself as a women only space may, for example, encourage trans women to apply for work, but still discourage trans men and non-binary folks from doing so.” Obviously,” says the manual, “Some services like abortion services are services for the body and need to serve all people who have certain body parts. A view of trans-inclusivity,” says the manual, “that focuses exclusively on including people based on their gender identity will be inadequate. If trans people or non-binary folks can be clients, abortion services should consider them as potential employees as well. Having staff members that reflect the diversity of your clients is important as it clearly communicates your commitment to trans-inclusive services to potential clients and to the community at large period.” Now, once again, let’s just consider, we have thought that we had seen some kind of barrier to this irrationality and this revolt against creation.

We thought we’ve seen some kind of barrier. One of them, at least we thought might hold was biology. Another firewall we thought might hold would be the definition of female that is important to females or women. That is to say, there was at least the thought that historic American feminism, feminist theory might be some kind of firebreak on the trans revolution. But as we’ve seen that turned out not to be true. Nowadays, a traditional lesbian such as Martina Navratilova is considered to be on the wrong side of history for insisting that only women should be able to compete in women’s sports. So you have people who are now declared to be feminists who won’t get with the program. But of course, if you’re going to get with this program, it’s going to be very hard to stay with this program, which is why this report in so many different ways.

This manual says whatever we’re demanding here might not be enough. And the list of these identities won’t be enough. The list is going to have to be continually expanded. It won’t be long. We can envision as this moral revolution unfolds until the trans movement is going to find itself displaced on the wrong side of history, by whatever is coming after. And if you don’t think there’s anything after you’re not watching carefully.

Part III

The Louisville Bride Magazine Needs a New Name: Sometimes the Revolution Comes Down to Just One Photograph

But finally, as we’re thinking about all this, I want to draw attention to a locally published magazine here in Louisville, Kentucky, it’s entitled Louisville Bride. Well, that’s its title now. That’s the title of the magazine. That’s its masthead, but it’s not going to last. The current edition of Louisville Bride, which is dated, spring summer 2020, includes on the cover, a black and white photograph of two men who are evidently according to the newly declared law of the land.

Thanks to the Supreme court. Two men who are evidently in a wedding getting married, that is legally married. There they are on the picture. The headline of Louisville Bride shows these two smiling at one another in an embrace, but then on the magazine’s cover, it says this publication needs a new name and we want your help. So there’s a clear signal. If you’re going to put two men in a same-sex wedding on the cover of your magazine, then you’re going to have to change your name. Out with bride. You can imagine what’s going to happen to bride magazine, bridal salons and all the rest. Louisville Bride is about to become something else. Now what it becomes, we don’t know. In an editorial statement inside the magazine, it simply says this quote. “We know, we know, Bride is long overdue for a new name, send your suggestions to,” they give the email address. “We’re looking for lots of RSVPs. See you at the rehearsal dinner.”

Now sometimes I just want to point to one particular photograph or one edition of a magazine. One news story. Something just one thing to say, here is where the entire moral revolution comes down to be summarized in one photograph, in one cover story, in one cover of a magazine, a magazine entitled for a long time Louisville Bride, but the bride can’t even be used anymore because after all, if marriage is now a man and a man and a woman and a woman, you might have a magazine that needs to be called Louisville Two Brides or in this case, No Brides, but it’s still a wedding we are told. And furthermore, given the permutations of the trans or LGBTQ plus revolution, there is no end to the adjustments that are going to have to be made not only in magazine titles, but in the entirety of the culture.

And of course, as we’re thinking about all this and you think of the way a moral revolution goes forward by coercion, just think of how the entire wedding industry is now having to redefine itself. Again, you can’t assume a groom and a bride just think about the religious liberty implications. You already have churches and religious institutions being sued because they will not allow or had not allowed their facilities to be used for same-sex weddings. Just think of what’s coming in the lives of Christian institutions that continue to say, Christian churches and congregations, Christians anywhere, who continue to say that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. It’s impossible to calculate fully where all this is going and what all of this will cost.

But one thing we do know it’s already cost this magazine its title, just because it can have its revolution or it can have its title with the word bride. It can’t have both.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

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I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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