Wednesday, October 27, 2021
It's Wednesday, October 27th, 2021.
I'm Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.
Obama Says the Ship Has Sailed: This Is How Moral Revolutionaries Talk—And Threaten
We're going to be taking time today to look at how moral change, vast moral change, worldview change, happens in the larger society and in the church. I think you're going to find it very interesting to see how these are tied together.
But first, I want you to hear words from a former president of the United States. These words are incredibly revealing about how cultural change works and how he thinks cultural change works. It's an amazingly candid political statement. It was made by former president Barack Obama last Saturday, speaking in Virginia as he tried to rally voters to elect for a second time Terry McAuliffe as the governor of Virginia. Listen now to the statements by former president Barack Obama last Saturday.
Barack Obama: I mean, I understand why people just feel like, when's this going to end? And sometimes politics in Washington feels that way, right? It's like, oh, are we still arguing about gay marriage? Really? I thought that ship had sailed. I thought that was pretty clearly the right thing to do. We got Republicans across the country who said, "Yeah, of course." And we're going to reopen that can up? What? So, I understand why sometimes folks get tired.
Did you hear that? It was such an amazing statement, such a candid statement. In one sense, such a hypocritical statement. We need to take it all apart.
The former president of the United States raised the issue of same-sex marriage, and he says, "Are we still talking about gay marriage?" By the way, he dated himself with that phrase because gay marriage is a supposedly very outdated way to talk about it. It's same-sex marriage. But wait, just a minute. Back in 2015, when he was president, when the Supreme court handed down the Obergefell decision, it still spoke of same-sex marriage as if we know what male and female means.
But skip that for a moment and just understand the meaning of the president's statement there in Virginia on Saturday. He is saying, look, if you still have some kind of moral hang-up when it comes to the LGBTQ array of issues, you're just so far out of time that it made the former president nearly inarticulate in trying to express his consternation.
But his words were nonetheless incredibly clear. Are we still talking about gay marriage? Notice the statement he said, "I thought that ship had sailed." That's a similar kind of language to saying, "If you're not with it, you're on the wrong side of history. You're going to be left behind." The ship is sailed. And evidently if you are not entirely with and enthusiastically for same-sex marriage, you're not on the boat, you're not on the ship.
But then he went on to say, "I thought that was pretty clearly the right thing to do." Now there's the hypocritical part. This is former president Barack Obama, and we need to look at his own words over time. He says, "Speaking of the past, I thought that was pretty clearly the right thing to do in legalizing same-sex marriage." He said that last Saturday in October in the year 2021, just a matter of a few years since he left office.
But when he was in office, let's think about this for a moment. Was Barack Obama an enthusiastic supporter of same-sex marriage? Well, he was by the time the Supreme Court handed down the decision, but he wasn't what he ran for president and was elected in 2008. Back in 2008, then candidate Barack Obama was against the legalization of same-sex marriage. He had a conversion experience timed for just the announcement to be made as he was running for reelection and as the cultural times had changed.
He spoke of his own change on the issue as an evolution. There's that evolutionary model. That's just a form of the moral progressivism that says that a movement in the liberal direction is going to happen with or without you. It is just a matter of time. And these days, evolution, when it comes to morality, it's evolving fast.
But there's more to the story, and the former president does not want you to think about this part of the story very long. When he was, for a brief time, a member of the state legislature in the state of Illinois, he filled out a candidate questionnaire form by saying that he was for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Just a matter of a very short time later, he ran for the United States Senate. When he ran for the Senate, he was against what he had been for, the legalization of same-sex marriage.
When he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination and when he ran for president in 2008, he was still, as he had been when he ran for the Senate, against the legalization of same-sex marriage even though he had been for it as a member of the Illinois legislature, representing a very liberal district near the University of Chicago. But then when he was running for re-election and renomination in the year 2012, all of a sudden he is now for it.
By the way, there was an elaborate charade played out in the political transformation of Barack Obama from against same-sex marriage, which no one actually believed was the true position, to being for it, and that orchestration involved another character, the then vice president of the United States, Joe Biden. And it came as Joe Biden as vice president gave an interview in which he affirmed same-sex marriage, apparently setting up a situation for his boss, the president of the United States, to have to make a statement.
Whether it was deliberately orchestrated or it just fell out that way, nonetheless, the Democratic party in its top leadership as the president and vice presidential nominees, it just switched 180 degrees on the issue from against the legalization of same-sex marriage to for the legalization of same-sex marriage. And by the time the case that eventually legalized same-sex marriage nationwide came before the Supreme Court, it was Barack Obama's solicitor general who was making the arguments on behalf of same-sex marriage for the administration. That's how all this has come around.
But the point is, last Saturday, the former president was speaking as if all right-minded people had always been in support of same-sex marriage and its legalization. That's just pointing out the fact that the moral progressives believe that in this inevitable progress towards their own view of moral liberation, there is really no before and after. Now when it comes to themselves, when it comes to themselves, they're on the right side of history. They've always been on the right side of history. But the one thing they don't want you to do is look at the history.
But again, the most important thing we need to recognize, and I wanted you to hear the words right from the former president himself as he spoke them on Saturday in Virginia. The point is, this is how a revolution in morality works. This is how it happens. And this is how those who aren't yet with the revolution are going to be publicly shamed in getting with the program.
Get with the program or you miss the ship. The ship's already sailed. Get with the program or you are on the wrong side of history. Get with the program or you're going to be subjective to derisive statements made about you by the former president of the United States. Get with the program or suffer the consequences.
Huge Test For The Future As Campus Pride Releases The ‘Worst List’ Of Schools For LGBTQ Students: What Does it Mean?
But speaking next to the moral revolution and what it means to get with the program or to suffer the consequences, yesterday NBC News released a story with a headline, "'Worst List,'" that's in quotation marks, "'Worst List' names 180 colleges that are 'unsafe' for LGBTQ students." By the way, unsafe is also put in quotation marks because even NBC News recognizes that that's a statement that has a great deal to do with politics. It is about advertising a morality. And the declaration, of course, is that if you aren't with the program, then you are unsafe. You're making people unsafe. Your school is unsafe.
Here's the point. 180 schools are now outed, so to speak, by the group known as Campus Pride. Outed as being not with the LGBTQ agenda, on the wrong side of history, not on the ship that is sailed. In this case, the article's by Jo Yurcaba. And we are told, "A LGBTQ nonprofit on Monday released its annual worst list naming 180 colleges and universities as 'the absolute worst, most unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth.'"
We are told that the group Campus Pride, which "advocates for LGBTQ inclusivity and safety at U.S. colleges and universities added 50 universities to the list since last year, the most extensive update since the list started in 2015, according to the organization."
Now let me state very clearly. Every single Christian college, university, seminary, educational institution has a responsibility to assure insofar as it is possible, and certainly by policy, the physical safety of its students and all who are on the campus. But that's not what this is about.
Let's face it. This is the new idea of harm with comes by refusing or declining to recognize someone's claim about their gender identity, their sexual orientation, and the necessary celebration of it according to the new moral revolutionaries. Failure to celebrate means that you are inflicting harm. That's the idea of safety here.
And when the illustrations come up, it's generally about policies that simply are not acceptable to the LGBTQ movement. We're told the list includes "colleges and universities that either have received or applied for a religious exemption to Title IX, a federal law that protects students from discrimination in federally funded schools," or in the second classification, "have a demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ policies, programs, and practices."
Now, this is another one of those news releases meant to gain attention for an issue and for the organization releasing the press release. It's not really a news story except once it is published like this, it becomes one. We're told that the list of 180 schools is the longest the list has been in its six-year history.
Now here's the thing. The article goes on to cite Shane Windmeyer founder and executive director of Campus Pride, "These aren't just bad campuses or the worst campuses. These campuses fundamentally are unsafe for LGBTQ students. And as a result, they're fundamentally unsafe for all students to go to." Again, this is a political use of the word unsafe.
But you'll notice that the impetus here, the moral thrust here, is that you should not send your young people, even if they aren't LGBTQ, to a school like this, a school that would be named on this list because they are fundamentally for all students if they are unsafe. And remember, this is a term that means resistance to the moral revolution and the celebration of the LGBTQ array, and put a plus sign of course, at the end of that. You should not send your young person to this kind of school, that's the message.
Now the former president was trying to shame any American who hasn't joined the LGBTQ tide by saying, "The ship sailed. You're on the wrong side of history," and actually speaking, as I said, so derisively of Americans that won't get with his program. But now you have a group that is actively trying to bring pressure on Christian colleges and universities. And these are overwhelmingly religious colleges and universities.
And by the way, they cover a big spectrum. Not only a spectrum that would include evangelical Christian, Roman Catholic and Mormon, but a spectrum that would include campuses that have, well, at least compromised on the LGBTQ issue and those who have not.
But the pressure here is really clear, especially on the schools that might change their moral policy in line with the revolution. Well, here is another demand that you do so and do so fast so that you are not on this list next year. But it's also safe to say that there are a good number of schools on this list who will be on the list next year. And The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College is one of the institutions on the list. Again, the list came out on Monday, it was released in the news story from NBC News yesterday.
When it comes to this list, I'm proud to say all six of the Southern Baptist Convention seminaries are on the list, but the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was broken out for special consideration as an illustration of the kind of school that's supposed to be shamed by this list. We are told, "The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has qualified for the worst list because members of its staff signed onto the Nashville statement condemning LGBTQ people and using religion-based bigotry to perpetuate stereotypes and harm towards LGBTQ youth."
So there's the Nashville statement. Back in 2017, a very important statement that affirmed a biblical understanding of sexuality and gender. I not only signed it, I had a hand in drafting it and in organizing the movement, and I'm proud to say so. But this is a huge test, not just a barometer for the present, but a measure for the future. It's going to be very interesting to see, if this list is issued next year as almost assuredly it will, who's on the list and who gets off. And you already know what it's going to cost to get off this worst list.
Once again, we see how the momentum, and indeed the coercion, for the moral revolution moves forward.
Writer Claims to Present ‘A Conservative Faith Argument For LGBTQ Rights’ — But Where Is The Conservatism? Where Is the Christian Faith?
But next we turn to a different issue, and this is an article that ran at The Hill. The Hill is a Washington insider news source, but it gets a lot of attention on an off the Hill. In this case, the article was written by Carlos Curbelo, and he is a former member of Congress.
He served in Congress in 2015 to 2019. The son of Cuban immigrants, he went to a Jesuit school in Miami. He was later elected to Congress. He served those four years in Congress. He was a Republican who was for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The title of his article, "A Conservative's Faith Argument for Supporting LGBTQ Rights."
Now here you have this major establishment Capitol Hill news source with a readership that's pretty significant among elected officials and among others in official capacities there in Washington. The point is this. Here is a signal that even religious conservatives, a conservative's faith argument, now means the acceptance of and celebration of the LGBTQ revolution. In this case, what's declared to be supporting LGBTQ rights.
Here's the point. As you read the article, which is entitled, "A Conservative's Faith Argument," guess what's not present? Anything that's distinctively conservative, anything that acknowledges the historic biblical teachings of the Christian faith. This is a conservative faith argument, which turns out to be neither conservative nor actually theological or biblical in any genuine sense.
In this case, Curbelo actually calls for the endorsement of the Equality Act. Now as you know, that's a radical piece of federal legislation that would basically deny even religious liberty when it comes to the federal enforce of non-discrimination on LGBTQ issues. It would be a direct collision between religious liberty, and that means your religious liberty and the liberty of your school, your church, your seminary, your Christian college, and the sexual revolution.
But in the article, Mr. Curbelo says, "It's also clear that expanding non-discrimination protections would exemplify the Christian values of living in peace with your neighbor and protecting many of the most vulnerable in our society." That's about as theological as the argument ever gets. And then we are told that it is important to go ahead and endorse the Equality Act and move on.
He concludes, "As a conservative, I view our faith, traditions, and values as both central to my purpose and critical to the foundation of a society that is open, welcoming, and just. I encourage Republican policymakers to recognize this fact, and join together with the majority of Americans in publicly supporting legislation that prohibits LGBTQ discrimination in all 50 states."
Again, notice what's going on here. This is an explicit claim to a conservative faith argument, but there is nothing conservative whatsoever in this particular argument. As a matter of fact, separating humanity from the very moral foundations that make human society possible and ensure of the family at the center of that civilization, that's about as unconservative as you can get.
And when it comes to making a faith argument, you actually don't create a faith argument by simply talking about faith. And there's no acknowledgement in this article that the Roman Catholic church, which is at least in Mr. Curbelo's background, is really, really clear in its official teachings in absolute contradiction to what he presents as a faith argument. This is a conservative argument that isn't conservative, and it's supposedly a faith argument that turns out to be faithless. But the point is, this is the argument that now sells in Washington, and Washington wants to make sure that you're getting the message, too.
Study Claims Younger Generation Out Of Touch with Church Over Gender And Sexuality — But Where Is The True Disconnect?
But then yesterday, The Wall Street Journal ran an article by Clare Ansberry with the headline, "For Young People, a Church Disconnect." A church disconnect for young people. What might have caused this disconnect? Well, you for it out by now, largely LGBTQ issues. Ansberry writes, "Several religious denominations have seen memberships fall in recent years, including among young adults and teens. A new survey," she reports, "suggests that many young people perceive a disconnect between themselves and the houses of worship that need believers to sustain their congregations."
Now, do we need young believers to sustain our congregations? The answer's an obvious yes. But that is not the way that faithful Christians should construe the issue. Because if the challenge is merely making sure there are people in the room, then there are ways just to make sure there are people in the room. But of course, that is not the first imperative. The first imperative is to maintain the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
You won't have young Christians in the room if you abandon Christianity and forfeit Christian truth, including the entire body of Christian doctrine and the full force of the morality that is revealed in Scripture. You may, by the way, follow the argument that abandoning those teachings will allow you to fill the room with young people. But I would simply point out that the experiment of liberal theology for more than the last 150 years has put that theory to the lie.
We're told that the research cited here was done by Springtide Research Institute, identified as a nonpartisan non-profit. We're told that the organization "tracks the views of American teens and young adults." We're told that it has worked in conjunction with Princeton Theological Seminary and the Mennonite church. Listen to the next words, "The biggest disconnect involves LGBT rights. About 71% out of use say they care about gay rights, but feel that 44% of religious communities care about the same issue. That's according to the survey of 10,274, not one more, not one less, young people from across the country "representing various faiths."
Bow the numbers here aren't really all that important because it's a perceptival number. It's a number about perception. But the point is that the research is being given to us in order to tell us if you want young people, you're going to have to change your moral teachings because that ship has sailed. Wait a minute. We heard that argument already today.
The article tells us about a 16-year-old young woman, her father is Muslim, her mother is Catholic, but we're told she doesn't identify with either quote. "She thinks sexism and anti-gay attitudes are deeply rooted in both Catholic and Islamic faith traditions despite efforts in some congregations to be more inclusive." She says, "I don't associate myself with any institutional church."
Later in the article, we are introduced to a young man. He says, "I don't accept the teachings when it comes to discrimination. I know a fair number of young people who don't go to church, not because they'll be discriminated against. They just have no reason to go."
He says about his own generation, by the way, 'This generation is paving the way. They don't need to have acceptance, and they are very hesitant to be part of a church that doesn't accept differences." The differences here are clearly in the context of the moral revolution, the celebration and normalization of the entire array LGBTQ.
The article also cites a young person by the name of Amethyst rose, identified as a professional dancer with a modern dance company in Chicago, who doesn't identify as male or female and has stopped going to the Baptist church "though other family members remain very involved." So, in this case, you could say that this young person doesn't identify any longer as male or female or Baptist.
The big point here is that we can't work backwards. That's important for biblically minded, gospel committed Christians to understand. We can't work backwards from what's it going to take to get these young people and keep these young people in the room.
We're going to have to work forwards from what is our biblical and gospel responsibility to maintain the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and to make certain that our own young people are so grounded in the gospel, they're so committed to Christ, they are so grounded in Scripture that they actually understand what Christianity is. And that means not as an accidental byproduct, they're probably going to understand what male and female means. That's a part of our, a responsibility.
But these days, everybody feels the pressure, and you're meant to feel the pressure. And I wanted us to look at these four developments today in order to understand this pressure is concerted. It is being strategically organized. It is being publicly displayed. It is not so much in the form of a moral argument as in just a sense a progressive moral urgency. Get with the program.
Perhaps right now, if you're in a position of leadership in a Christian Church or a Christian institution, or you are in that extremely brave position of being a Christian parent, or perhaps you're a young Christian on a college campus or in another context where you feel like you are being pushed, well, just understand, you're being pushed all right. And the threat is that if you don't respond the right way to the push, you're going to be pushed off the ship, the ship that former president Obama said he thought had sailed.
You put that together with the worst list and the other considerations that we have faced today, and maybe we need to change the metaphor. Maybe the fact is that we will not by all of these pressures find ourselves on one ship together. Maybe we will find ourselves off the ship, pushed off the ship together. If so, we're still going to know this, Jesus Christ is Lord and the word of God is true.
Thanks for listening to The Briefing.
For more information, go to my website at albertmohler.com. You could follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com/albertmohler. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to sbts.edu. For information on Boyce College, just go to boycecollege.com.
Wet or dry, I'll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.