The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Monday, September 27, 2021

It’s Monday, September 27, 2021.

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

Part I

The Culture of Death’s Big Win in the House of Representatives — It’s Unconscionable

This is going to be a very big week in worldview analysis. For one thing, we are told that the House of Representatives will vote on one or another of the big budget bills that are a part of the Biden administration’s agenda. Huge issues there. We will be watching that closely. We also have the reality that the nation faces a migrant crisis on our southern border, and we have to understand that the global scene isn’t sitting still. Yesterday, Germans went to the polls in an election that will shape the future for that country for years to come with huge implications not only for Germany.

But far beyond, but first, we have to go back to the life issue. The reason for that is quite simple, it is the central, most important, most urgent moral issue facing our nation given the fact that, for example, and most importantly, on Friday of last week, the United States House of Representatives pushed through its Democratic majority, pushed through legislation known as the Women’s Health Protection Act, that’s a euphemism, of course, that represents one of the most radical pro-abortion pieces of legislation to be considered, much less adopted anywhere on planet earth. Last week on The Briefing, I discussed the fact that this is politically a form of virtue signaling since even as the Democrats did get this bill through on a party line vote in the house, it is not going to get through the Senate because of the filibuster rule.

In the Senate, the Democrats only have 50 votes. They would need 60 votes to advance this legislation. They are not going to get it. In the House, this legislation, again, euphemistically known as the Women’s Health Protection Act, got not one Republican vote, not one. There was only one Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives who had the courage to vote against this bill.

The final vote was 218 to 211, and that tells you just how close it is. A swing of just four votes would’ve completely swung the entire result, but this is not only we now know a form of virtue signaling, it is a very clear signal of the intentions of the democratic party and the intentions of the political left in this country, the intentions of the entire enterprise, the entire industrial complex of the media and the others who are pressing so much in a liberal direction in our culture. We now see the tangible evidence of exactly where they would take the nation. Now, as you’re looking at this, again, the vote 218 to 211. Now, that tells you that this is about sending a signal, but it’s also about sending an extremely radical signal.

When we talked about this issue on The Briefing last week, it was legislation headed for a scheduled vote. Well, now it’s been voted upon. We now know every member of the House who voted has put his or her name on one side or the other of this specific bill, and that specific bill demands our attention.

Henry Olsen, writing for The Washington Post, refers to the abortion bill as radical, and indeed it is, but you know, that’s a word you can use carelessly. We want to use it carefully, so let’s define what we mean. We mean that as “radical,” in this political sense, it is far outside the norm of any kind of legislation that had previously even been envisioned by the United States Congress on the issue of abortion. Henry Olsen writes for The Washington Post, “House Democrats on Friday passed an abortion rights bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, that would effectively do away with all state level restrictions on abortions.” He concludes, “That goes far beyond what most of the world permits and what most Americans want.” He acknowledges the danger in using the word radical without justifying it. He writes, “Radical is a loaded word,” but that’s exactly what this measure is.

He goes on to define why: “It bans any regulation of abortion services before fetal viability, that is more burdensome than restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures.” He goes on, “This would strike down commonly adopted measures in states, such as the requirement that women wait for 24 hours to have an abortion after an initial consultation or that physicians who perform abortions must be admitted to practice medicine at a local hospital. It would also eliminate bans on sex-specific abortions….” I’ll just insert here so-called gender-selection abortions. He goes on to say, “Such as when a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy solely because of the fetus’ gender. Abortion,” he writes, “would essentially become legal for any reason and at any time before fetal viability, which comes at roughly between the 22nd and 24th weeks of pregnancy.” Now, as we shall see, and as Olsen actually concedes later, the bill is far more radical than that because in effect, it would legalize abortion all the way up until the time a baby is delivered.

Lest you wonder if that’s true, just consider that written into this abortion bill is the fact that a woman needs only one medical authority to say that there is some kind of threat to her life or health, and by the way, that can include emotional and mental health, and the abortion can go on. Now, what we have known through decades of experience in this country is that if you define a woman’s health in terms of emotional health, then you can say that a woman who will be troubled if she didn’t get an abortion must now have an abortion because of that health imperative.

That tells you what is being done right now in this country and what would become routine if this bill were ever to pass, but one of the major points we need to consider is that this bill, we called it radical, is far outside the norm not only for the United States, not only in terms of say opinion in the United States, moral conscience in the United States, is far outside what you would find almost anywhere around the world. This bill would make the United States, if it’s adopted, it would make the United States one of these say, five to seven most liberal nations on planet earth, most pro-abortion nations on planet earth.

Now, when you think about moral liberalism, and even you think about the sexual revolution, you think about abortion, you probably think of Europe in general and Western Europe in particular as more liberal than the United States, and of course, on most issues, it is more liberal than the United States. Much of the sexual revolution, much of the progressivist ideas, much of everything from say existentialism and Marxism to critical theory began in Europe and made their way, transported westward across the Atlantic ocean, but as you’re thinking about Western Europe, you need to understand something. In most of those countries, abortion is practically impossible to get after something like the 12th or 14th week of pregnancy, and you need to understand that many of those European nations would consider abortion later than that to be fundamentally uncivilized.

Remember, that is liberal Western Europe. You look across the world, most nations simply don’t allow abortion after about the 12th or 14th week of pregnancy. Now, you’ll notice this bill effectively goes all the way up to birth, much like state legislation that has already passed in Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, other states, where frankly, the agenda was transparent, abortion is a woman’s right all the way up until the moment she delivers that baby, but you’ll notice something else. Even in the language that’s used here, you see how that other moral revolution is sneaking in, in the terminology all over the place. You will notice that there are some backwards people, according to the modern progressive thinking, who simply can’t get over saying a woman’s right to an abortion. That language is going to have to change if the transgender revolutionaries have their way to the right of pregnant people to have an abortion, but that then complicates the leftist agenda.

It really does, and here, you see where intersectionality, all those intersecting points of oppression, how that ideology of intersectionality really does politically complicate the left, and that is because they want to make the argument that refusing to allow abortion means you are anti-women, but if you can’t use the word women anymore, it becomes merely anti-pregnant people, but everybody knows you’re talking about women, which points to the Christian fundamental assumption that reality is always going to win. By the way, Henry Olsen is absolutely right, the bill that has now been passed by the Democrats in the House…. Yes, that’s the way to put it because there wasn’t a single Republican vote for it and there was only one Democratic vote against it. Only one House member as a Democrat voted against this legislation. It was as clear a party line vote as you’re going to find virtually anywhere in American history, and that shows you the fundamental divide in this country on the issue of something like abortion, it isn’t most importantly partisan, but eventually when it comes to public policy, it shows up as partisan, and when you actually count the votes, the votes are counted D and R.

There’s no way around it. This bill would allow sex-selection abortions. It would state that abortion, solely for the reason of wanting a boy or a girl is totally legitimate. It is simply outside any kind of civilizational questioning, even to raise the issue as to whether a woman should have a right to abort an unborn child solely for that basis. Also, the same would apply to a baby in the womb who may be diagnosed as marked by the genetic pattern for down syndrome.

This bill would mean no one, no government, no state would have the right to say, “It is wrong to select for abortion merely on the basis of that genetic diagnosis,” but this bill passed in just this way with this candor on Friday makes very clear that this is where we are. This is where we are. This isn’t a hypothetical piece of legislation. This isn’t some kind of abortion debate on a college campus. This is actual legislation that in space and time in history passed the United States House of Representatives just last Friday, Friday, September 24, 2021, a date that must live in infamy.

Part II

Issues of Life Loom in Upcoming Gubernatorial Election in Virginia — And Could Be a Sign of Things to Come

But next, I want to shift to another very important issue out of this, and that has to do with the fact that the New York Times ran a front page article in recent days with the headline, “Democrats Look to Abortion Fight to Motivate Suburban Women.”

Now, one of the things we need to recognize is that this is true for the right and the left. It’s true, in some sense, for Republicans and Democrats. You only stay in power if you win elections, and you only win elections candidate by candidate. That means in Congress, you have to win elections congressional district by congressional district, and the numbers are really close. Just look at that vote, 218 to 211.

The likelihood is that Nancy Pelosi will not be Speaker in the next Congress because the likelihood is that there will be a Republican majority in the House. Republicans better not just count on that, but nonetheless, it is the statistical likelihood, but as you’re looking at this particular kind of argument, you recognize that in many swing districts, there is the possibility that abortion just might be a winning issue with some suburban women, and the Democrats are counting on it, so much so that even a paper as straightforward as The New York Times would say, if you want to look at why the Democrats press that vote through last Friday in the Congress, it’s because they want to be able to tell voters in these swing districts that they did so. They want to be able to tell women, “We are with you,” but here’s where we face a fundamental issue in this country. That fundamental issue is the nature of abortion and the nature of this kind of legislation.

The fact is that the pro-life movement in this country, those who stand for the dignity of every single human life, the sanctity of all human life, including unborn human life, the necessary protection of all human life from the moment to fertilization to the moment of natural death, we bear the responsibility to speak loudly about these issues and to speak rather constantly about these issues to make certain that as many people as can hear us will understand what is at stake in this kind of legislation.

Trip Gabriel, writing for The New York Times rightly points to what could be a really fascinating test of how this is going to work, perhaps even in the 2022 midterm elections. He’s pointing to the fact that in a matter of weeks, voters in Virginia will elect a governor. The context of the Virginia gubernatorial election is always interesting. For one thing, it happens in odd years, which often, given the stature of Virginia, is something of an indication of future voting patterns in future elections, such as the 2022 midterm elections in the United States, but it’s also interesting for another reason, which is that according to the Virginia constitution, governors may not serve consecutive terms, so a former governor, such as the current Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, he may come back after being out of office to run for a second term, but the Virginia Governor cannot serve two consecutive terms, so in this case, there’s no incumbent in the race, and that means that the issues are often more important than they would be with an incumbent running for reelection. The issue of abortion is front and center.

Terry McAuliffe, again, former governor in the state, formerly closely allied with the Clinton administration as a senior member of the administration, Terry McAuliffe is running as the opponent of all pro-life legislation, period. He has said that if reelected to office, he will serve as a brick wall against all efforts to legislate any kind of pro-life conviction. He will be opposed to any restriction upon abortion whatsoever. He has clearly understood the direction of his own party and he has switched his own position into an even more radically pro-abortion position to try to keep up with his party. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin is running on a very ambiguous position on abortion.

At one point, he was even caught by an opponent, a political opponent surreptitiously taping a conversation. He had said that he’s more pro-life than he appears as he’s running because if he were to articulate clearly pro-life positions, he would lose necessary political support. When as straightforwardly, for example, if he would sign a bill such as the Texas bill, he said he would not. “I would not sign the Texas bill today,” he said, but as The New York Times said, “He dodged when asked if he would sign a six-week abortion ban with exemptions for rape and incest.” He went on to say something that can best be described as confused and ambiguous.

This is going to put pro-life voters in Virginia in a rather difficult position because they are going to be facing a choice between a Democrat who is incredibly radically pro-abortion and a Republican who is not exactly a clear alternative, but at least he is some alternative. Pro-lifers in Virginia must be intellectually honest about the limitations of the Republican nominee on the issue of life, and that means that those who are animated as voters, those who are activated as voters on the pro-life issue may well be more or less deactivated because of the very mixed signals sent by the Republican nominee, but considering what we are facing in that radical legislation that was passed by Democrats in the House Friday, and considering what Terry McAuliffe stands for, it would not be a good decision to set up this election. The election of Terry McAuliffe to a new term as governor on these conditions, given his new ambitions would mean that there is a more clear and present threat to every unborn life in that state.

Part III

Thinking Christianly: Genesis and Creation Are Essential to a Christian Worldview

Next, as we’re thinking through this issue, this New York Times article includes a couple of quotations, a couple of citations from people who are simply quoted in the article. Here, you see a picture of why some people think that abortion must be legal because it must be available.

Why would they think that way? Well, clearly, they don’t think that unborn human life is deserving a protection, but there has to be more to it than that. We’ve often discussed the fact that the push for abortion came primarily by the energies of second-wave feminism and the sexual revolutionary. Second-wave feminists said, “Women must be equally able to be unpregnant as a man is able if they’re going to be equal in the workplace.” You see that argument again and again, and you had, of course, the sexual revolutionaries who see abortion basically as what you might call a later form of birth control, nothing more, nothing less.

That’s just how they see it, but as you think about the issue of abortion, and remember, we’re talking about the intentional destruction of unborn human life, just consider these sections of this news article. Consider these comments. One set of comments was made by a woman who was speaking about her sons. She said, speaking of her own boy, she said, “I have boys who will be dating women. I have nieces.”

This goes back to the whole white men get to make all the decisions about everything. Now, as we were looking at her comments, she went on to say that she supports this House legislation, she supports the Democratic Party, she is opposed to the Texas law. She said, “We are in a really dangerous situation, obviously for abortion. We don’t want to become Texas, but on a lot of issues, we could lose what is now a blue state,” so she’s concerned even if she favors Democrats that this bill may be a little too extreme, but nonetheless, she’s absolutely confident that abortion just has to be available, and the reason she gives really ought to strike us at the level of conscience. It ought to shock us.

She says she has boys. Presumably, they’re, at this point, too young to date because, “speaking of the future,” she says, “they will be dating women.” The implication there is those women might get pregnant. If they do get pregnant, of course, they will need an abortion. All she thinks she has to say in justification for the fact that she thinks abortion is an urgent issue is that she has boys who one day will date women, so obviously, all right-thinking people will support abortion rights.

My point in isolating that particular comment by this particular mom in Virginia is to say just consider how many fundamental truths you have to suppress or deny or ignore in order to get to making that kind of statement as if it makes sense, but what should chasten, what should humble us all is to recognize that there are millions of voters in the United States who evidently think the same way. The article ends with a really fascinating paragraph, “One voter, Carly White, said abortion was a touchy subject in her household. ‘I’m for planned parenthood, but my husband is not,’ she said, stepping outside a home with a small precisely trimmed lawn. ‘I think the issue is he’s a man. He’s never grown a baby.'”

“‘I just can’t. I don’t like somebody telling me what I can do with my own body.'” Again, notice who is entirely absent. Her husband’s not absent from her conversation. She mentions him. The unborn baby is who is absent here. There is simply no acknowledgement that when you’re talking about abortion, you’re talking about pregnancy, you’re talking about an unborn human being. This woman reduces it all to her body. That means her personal autonomy, her own body as if that is all that matters. Now, this is an imbalance. It’s an imbalance that occurs naturally.

That is to say only women, only females, only women can get pregnant, and here’s where Christians have to understand at the deepest possible level. If you think that is wrong, if you think that is a fault in the universe, if you think that is a form of discrimination, then you really oppose God’s act of creation. Now, just understand, that’s as straightforwardly as I can put it. If you think that it is unfair that only women can get pregnant, then you are saying that creation as God made it and said it is good is wrong. If your moral principles are incompatible with God’s creation of the world, then it is your principles that are in error, not creation.

I was asked the other day why on so many issues I tend to bring the conversation back to God’s creation of the universe, back to Genesis 1, and Genesis 2, and Genesis 3, and the reason I do so is because we are seeking to think Christianly. If our thinking is authentically Christian, then it will be authentically Christian from the start.

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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