The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Monday, November 1, 2021

It’s Monday, November 1st, 2021.

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

Part I

Clash Of Worldviews In Headlines This Week: US Supreme Court Holds Hearing Today Over Texas Heartbeat Law — The Court Is Set for a Big Ruling

It is hard to exaggerate just how filled with news and consequence this coming week is destined to be. We’re talking about so many developments coming one after the other. First of all, today, the most important issue is that before the Supreme Court of the United States today, a hearing is going to be held, which amounts to a Supreme Court consideration of the Texas abortion law. Now, this has been fast tracked. The court just announced a matter of days ago, that it would take up the case and that it would schedule a hearing. But it has scheduled a hearing on November the first, and keep in mind it had already scheduled a major case in constitutional terms, almost assuredly a more consequential case, challenging abortion.

That’s the case from Mississippi that is going to be heard in oral arguments on December the first. So now the Supreme court has slotted the Texas case even ahead of the Mississippi case. That tells us something of the court’s sense of urgency. But what does it tell us about how the court is likely to make some decision in this case? Well, right now, the most important thing to understand is that the hearing will be today before the court. And by the end of the day today, we may something, not just in terms of a potential action by the court, but even in terms of what is filed to the court, and what is said to the court. It’s just really important that we understand this is an incredibly consequential week and we’re starting with a very consequential day.

And not just in Washington though we start in Washington, because we start with the issue of the defense of human life, the clash of worldviews, that will be coming not just on December the first, but even today, before the nation’s highest court, when you will have the pro-abortion argument that demands abortion as a legal right, and the pro-life argument that begins with the dignity and sanctity of all human life, including unborn human life. There will be rival constitutional arguments and rival legal arguments made today, but what we’re really looking at are two incompatible, absolutely contradictory worldviews also in collision.

Part II

Issues This Week: Gubernatorial Elections in Virginia and New Jersey; Will Minnesota Defund the Police? So Much at Stake in Tuesday's Off-Year Elections

But secondly, we need to understand that this week is pointing us towards Tuesday, and on Tuesday, even as there will be several different elections nationwide looking at various states and municipalities, we’re going to be giving primary attention to two.

Number one, the conflict of worldviews and the conflict and competition between former Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, running for a second term and his Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin. As we start the week, it becomes very clear that pollsters really have no idea how this race is going to turn out. Energy had been shifting towards Glenn Youngkin, and the interesting thing there is that just in absolute political terms, Terry McAuliffe should have been a shoo-in. Virginia is an overwhelmingly blue state, and especially in terms of recent statewide elections, but Terry McAuliffe turns out to have made a massive mistake in which he has basically denied the authority and influence of parents in the public schools. When it comes to the education of own children, he has drilled down on it. He’s not backed down off of that position. And what we are looking at is, again, a massive collision of worldviews.

But as we shall see, that race may not be called on Tuesday, but we’ll be following it virtually hour by hour, along with the rest of the nation, trying to figure out what this means, not only for Virginia but for the future shape of our own American society. The ramifications of the Virginia race will certainly not be limited to Virginia, but the other big race we’re going to be looking at, or at least the other big electoral question is actually not between rival candidates, but between rival ideas. When you’re looking at this city of Minneapolis, voters going to the polls there to decide whether or not they will basically eliminate their police department and put a public safety department in its place. And again, a great clash of worldviews there. And by the way, a lot of momentum in that race has been shifting at least partly due, as we shall see, to the fact that there has been such a spike in violent crimes. And that means in many cities across the nation.

We’re going to be watching those electoral results very closely. And not only in Virginia, in the governor’s race there, but also in the same governor’s race in the state of New Jersey. That state also elects its governor in off-years. And in this case, you have a very liberal democratic governor, Phil Murphy, considered by many to be the most liberal governor in the United States. When you consider someone like Gavin Newsom in California, if Phil Murphy is more liberal, that tells you a very great deal. Murphy, by the way, is the democratic incumbent. As governor there in New Jersey, he’s expected to coast to reelection, but that’s been expected before. We’ll be watching those races and that very crucial vote about the future of policing in the city of Minneapolis.

Part III

International Issues This Week: Government Leaders Meet For Climate Summit And G20 Countries Commit To Corporate Tax Policy — Raising Big Questions (And Big Bills)

But then we shift to another huge issue. Right now, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, along with many other heads of government and heads of state are gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for the climate summit.

And the setup, there is not just for a collision of worldviews, but frankly, a collision of reality and language. Because many of these political leaders have been using incredibly expansive language about what they are going to accomplish in addressing human-induced climate change. But the reality is even as the gathering is taking place there in Glasgow, Europe is looking at a significant fuel shortage. The same thing is taking place in China. One of the things we see is that the shift to so-called clean energy isn’t happening the way that so many in the global community claimed it was happening. But we are going to be looking at the conversation, and whether or not there is any kind of new agreement coming out of Glasgow. But there’s something else to watch here; we’ll be talking about this extensively. There is no global government. For that, we should be very, very thankful. There is no global police state. And that means that as you’re thinking of this climate summit, all of these countries are basically making pledges to themselves in public.

And one of the very clear open questions is the extent to which any of these countries actually mean what they say. Right up front as we are watching the unfolding of events there in Glasgow, keep an eye on three countries. Not just the obvious candidates for your attention, including the United States and say China, but be also looking at countries in Europe because they’ve been making all kinds of pledges, but they’re now looking at a fuel shortage, which means they may have to actually back off of some of the pledges they made. There have been so many in the climate change community that had been hoping for even greater pledges of faster action, but it looks like the reality is just not matching that expectation, and we’ll be talking about why. But something else to watch would be nations such as Brazil and India, because the big issue there, and you could put China in that same picture to some extent. You’re looking at the fact that there are many, many people in India who do not have a car and do not have air conditioning and do not have a refrigerator, but want one.

And many of these, you could even say billions, without exaggeration, of people around the world who don’t have these things, are not particularly impressed with the arguments about why they should not have them. And just as you’re thinking about global justice, we come to understand that turns out to be a fairly legitimate moral urgency. We’ll be tracking that meeting day by day. And it comes on the heels of the G-20 meeting. That’s the meeting of the 20 largest economies, the meeting of their political leaders and governmental leaders that took place in Rome. The most significant action announced out of that meeting, which by the way was in anticipation of the Glasgow climate summit. The most important announcement they made was this global minimum tax, especially when it comes to corporate taxes. We’ll be talking more about that. We’ve mentioned it before on The Briefing. But once again, it is likely to be an exercise in international frustration, because even as you had reluctant nations, such as Ireland and Hungary, brought into the agreement with special deals, the reality is that every government makes the tax deals that it sees in its own interest at the very time that interest is perceived.

International agreements always take the backseat to local politics. And when it comes to taxation, governments, even friendly governments, even governments that pledge they will not do this, actually turn around and act in a way that they believe will attract business in order to bolster their own economies. And by the way, one of the things you need to keep in mind when any kind of tax reform or tax system, new taxation law is announced, new legislation is proposed, understand that every single government on earth loads its tax policies with all kinds of individual and very national or local urgencies, or just even opportunities. You’re going to see, for example, the fact that when the United States is talking about a 15% minimum corporate tax, which after all it’s been pressing for, well, you’ll turn out to see that the United States, when it comes to its corporate taxation, is going to grant some exemptions to preferred interests.

The same way that when it comes to personal income tax, the deductions and the exemptions are an indication of who had political power when as the legislation comes into effect. Something else to watch, by the way, when it comes to claims by governments of vast income, that will likely be coming from the taxation of corporations, just keep in mind that corporations are actually owned by people. Those people have their own economic interests, and furthermore, those corporations are unlikely simply to absorb any such tax. By the way, given the complexity of the economy, the shareholders in these corporations are likely to demand an increase in corporate value, even dividends and increase in business. And some are likely to say, “Well, those battle shareholders, those selfish shareholders, why do they expect to have that kind of income?” Well, the answer is that’s how the economy works. That’s why they bought the shares. But if you’re thinking those terms, you probably actually need to look in the mirror because you may well be one way or another, whether it’s known to you or not, one of those shareholders, one of those stockholders.

Look in the mirror, your own retirement account, your IRA, your 401(k), your teachers pension, may very well be invested in those same companies. And every time you’re looking at taxation like this, and much of it is simply a shell game, eventually when you see a rise in taxation like this, if it means anything, it’s likely to show up as a higher price on that bicycle at Walmart. That’s just the way the economy works. Politicians want you to think they’re getting the money elsewhere, but dear taxpayer, in the end, you’re the only place the government can actually come for money.

Part IV

Issues This Week: President Joe Biden Leaves For Rome Without Clear Agreement On Huge Spending Bill or Final Vote

But then another huge development in coming days, perhaps as early as today or tomorrow, perhaps as recently as last Thursday, who knows? Have the Democrats come up with a common approach to a spending bill, a massive spending bill that President Biden says will transform the economy? Have they, or have they not? There is no doubt that President Biden had staked the future of his presidency on this legislation. There’s also no doubt that he’s in huge risk of it failing.

He left the country without a deal sealed. He put his presidency on the line, actually meeting with Democratic congressional leaders. But at the end of the day, even as he said there was an agreement, it was clear that progressives in his party and more moderate members of his party were not in agreement. And as the president left the country for Rome, the reality is that he left a fight in his own party behind. We’re told that a framework has been agreed upon for about 1.75 trillion dollars. That’s a massive amount of money that eventually will have to be paid by our grandchildren and their grandchildren. 1.75 trillion dollars. Now that’s less than the 3.5 trillion that the president had asked for, which is less than the six trillion that Senator Bernie Sanders had demanded, and it’s also less than the five trillion that many economists estimated the actual 3.5 trillion package would’ve cost. So 1.75 isn’t going to cost 1.75, it’s assuredly going to be a lot more.

And furthermore, the costs are going to continue to escalate every year going forward. But there’s even more to it than that, because that’s on top of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill often referred to as a bipartisan bill. But the left wing of the Democratic party basically shot down the president’s proposal to have that legislation voted on weeks ago. And you’re looking at the fact that the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has failed to meet any of her own established deadlines to move forward with a vote on this legislation. As of Friday of last week, she said that the vote on both of these bills, the infrastructure bill and the spending bill, might come tomorrow, but that that’s an awful lot of might. And it might be that the “might not” is bigger than the “might happen.” But as we think in worldview analysis, and a difference of opinion on policy and principle, we need to note that it’s not just a left, right; not just a liberal, conservative; not just a Democratic, Republican divide, there’re divides within the two parties.

Now the divides in the Republican party don’t matter a whole lot when it comes to this legislation, because the Democrats are intending to push this spending bill through without a single Republican vote. But that means they’re going to need every single Democratic vote, especially in the Senate where they have a 50-50 share of the senate and thus going to need all 50 senators. And they’re going to need the Vice President of the United States to break a tie if they can get all 50 senators on board. But the situation turns more complex when as he was leaving for Rome, the President made the statement that it’s a $1.75 trillion agreed upon framework that he hopes will actually be $1.85 trillion. Well, so much for agreed upon. It has also become clear that the President gave assurances to the increasingly powerful left wing of his party, that they will have another opportunity.

“Another bite,” he said, at trying to get legislation for their more radical aims. Well, we shall see. This is going to be a very interesting week. And once there actually is an agreed upon published bill that will be proposed, we’ll be looking at that in order to discern its worldview significance. I’ll give you some worded events. It’s going to have a lot to do with climate, and a lot to do with children. Both of those issues deserving a very close look.

Part V

‘He Said I’m A Good Catholic’: President Biden Visits The Vatican And Reports That He Should Continue Receiving Communion — While We Receive More Moral Confusion From Pope Francis

But making a turn today on The Briefing, there are two issues I want to discuss today in a bit of substance. And we’ll have to do this quickly. They have to do with two huge stories. One of them has to do with the president of the United States, visiting on Friday with the Pope in Rome. And the second has to do with culture war and Halloween, things we didn’t know, even when we discussed Halloween on last Friday’s edition of The Briefing, new developments.

First of all, let’s go to Rome, because the President went. The second Roman Catholic president of the United States went to Rome to meet with the Pope in a highly public visit that was laden with all kinds of anticipation, because this is taking place at the same time that a clear majority of Roman Catholic bishops in the United States are calling for some kind of action against the President because of his public support for abortion, and increasingly radical support for abortion in direct contradiction of Roman Catholic teaching. But then again, just about anyone these days, looking for moral clarity from the current Roman pontiff, Pope Francis, is likely to be frustrated. And President Biden didn’t go to the Vatican, let’s note, as an elected Roman Catholic president of the United States. He didn’t go to the Vatican in order to gain doctrinal teaching or to accept doctrinal correction, or to affirm the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic church on abortion.

He went basically to get a dispensation from a generally liberal pontiff, a generally liberal pope. Liberal in spirit, liberal in attitude and liberal in handing out confusion, even as according to the Catholic Church’s official teaching, his main role is to be the guardian of Roman Catholic doctrine. That particular role didn’t seem to show up much when the President and the Pope met on Friday. The headline that comes to us on the Wall Street Journal, the reporters here, Francis X. Rocca and Catherine Lucey. The headline is this, “Biden says Pope told him he’s a good Catholic.” Now just looking at headlines, looking at, say, those kinds of stories that would appear about the religious life of an American president. One of the issues you probably wouldn’t expect. One of the headlines that would be somewhat surprising is a president having to say out loud that the leader of his church said, he’s a good boy. In this case, a good Catholic.

President Biden has used his Catholic identity often claiming Catholicism as his moral guide, except of course, when he willingly repeatedly and increasingly radically contradicts that very same teaching, especially when it comes to the unconditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and its official doctrine, an essential, fundamental doctrine that affirms the sanctity of unborn human life and requires Catholics to oppose abortion. Something the president of the United States doesn’t do, even as he was running for election. As he was running for the Democratic nomination, he reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment, basically caving to the Democratic pro-abortion left, stating that he now believes American taxpayers should not only recognize the legality and constitutionality of abortion, but should pay for it when it comes to women demanding an abortion.

Even more recently, in a statement that pushed himself further in a radical position than he had ever gone before, on September the third of this year, the President stated, “I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception. I respect that, don’t agree, but I respect that.” Well, what he is rejecting there is the unconditional official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. He went to see the guardian of that doctrine last Friday in Rome. And according to his own report, that guardian told him that he’s a good Catholic and should continue to receive communion. What the President said after the meeting was this, “We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic, and I should keep receiving communion.” The story in the Wall Street Journal says, “The Vatican didn’t reply to a request to comment.” But when it comes to the Pope, he’s responsible for the confusion he continually sows, even if he is not as liberal as his comments often seem to indicate that he is.

You have to believe that’s actually his conviction because he doesn’t clean up the confusion he sows. He leaves that liberal impression. He comes out with statements such as his very clear statement that abortion is murder, but how do you square that with the Vatican allowing the President to say that the Pope told him he’s a good Catholic. A good Catholic living and operating, serving his president in direct contradiction to Roman Catholic teaching on an issue as fundamental as the sanctity of life. The Wall Street Journal article, by the way, states, “Mr. Biden, the second Catholic president in U.S. history, has come under fire from some U.S. bishops who say that Catholic politicians who support legal access to abortion should be barred from communion. But then we also come to the fact that when the President made these comments after meeting with the Pope on Friday, he “declined to say whether he and the Pope had discussed the U.S. bishops’ debate, saying, ‘That’s a private conversation.'”

Well, Mr. President, if it was a private conversation, why did you come out saying that in that conversation, the Pope said you’re a good Catholic and should keep receiving communion. Evidently, it was to the President’s advantage to state that much in public. When it comes to whether or not the Pope raised the issue of abortion or the Bishop’s conversation, well, then the President says, “Wait, it was a private conversation. Public, when it’s convenient; private, when it’s convenient.” In all cases, both the President and the Pope deserve the blame for both the position and the confusion they have sown. By the way, before leaving Rome, the President went and took the Catholic mass at St. Patrick’s Church there in Rome. An amazing statement came from the Reverend Joe Ciccone, identified as the vice rector of the church, who said that Biden’s pro-abortion stance, according to The Hill, was not an issue at the church, and he was happy to have the President attend.

He said this, “Communion is what brings us together in the Lord. None of us are pure and perfect. We struggle through life. We’re all saints and sinners.” Then he went on to say, “And when you’re a public figure, you have to make certain decisions, especially in a democracy on behalf of more than just your own personal feelings.” So there you have a pope, and a president, and a priest who evidently don’t understand the official teaching of their own church about a politician’s responsibility when it comes to the fundamental issue of the sin of abortion.

Part VI

Halloween, The Gender Revolution, And Twix: Shaming Your Children Into Identifying With Trans Ideology, One Candy Commercial At A Time

But finally, we need to get to at least one issue about Halloween that emerged just in the last few days. This has to do with a commercial, a television advertisement also streaming that was sponsored by Twix. That is the candy made by Mars Incorporated. It was a part in a series identified as standalone horror shorts advertised by Hulu as, “Ranging from the terrifying to the ridiculous.”

This one is called either, depending upon the source, “The Little Princess And The Witch,” or “The New Nanny.” The bottom line is that here you see the moral revolution and the moral revolutionaries at work. The Twix short, which appeared as a commercial, that by the way never mentioned candy, shows a little boy in a princess dress. All of a sudden a new nanny shows up, and the nanny is basically a witch dressed as a goth character, and the witch is rather chillingly pleased that the little boy is dressing as a princess. When they go outside, the little boy is told by another boy wearing a superhero costume that his outfit is weird. The goth witch nanny doesn’t approve of that. A great wind comes up, the little boy is swept away. We’re never to hear from him again, his superhero costume or parts of it are left behind. Then the little boy in the princess costume gets in a car. The goth witch is driving it. She affirms the fact that he is simply living himself out, wearing this dress. Anyone that would believe otherwise is…

Well, the moral message is very clear, to be swept away and never heard from again. If anything, I assure you, the actual advertisement or short, this Halloween short, that was released, it’s more troubling than I can describe because the visuals and the total storyline are more troubling than can be summarized here. But the point is simply profoundly urgent, and that is the moral revolutionaries are coming for everything. They have to come for advertising, they have to come for costumes, they have to come for Halloween. They will come for Christmas, they will come for everything. They have to come for the public school curriculum, they have to them for the ethnic studies program, they have to come for the toy department. They have to come for the bathroom and the locker room. They’re going to have to come for your church. They’re going to come for your school. They’re going to come for your Halloween commercial. They’re going to come for the attention of your children, shaming your children into identifying with the boy in the princess costume and not with the boy in the superhero costume, who after all thought that the picture was weird, which it is, and ought to be, and must be recognized to be.

These days, we’re not just being told, “Watch with your eyes, listen with your ears, deal with this new reality.” It’s you, if you don’t get it, who is weird. No, we’re being told, “You have to basically join the great lie. And if you don’t join the great lie, you’re going to be swept away, or at least, left behind.”

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by going to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to I’m speaking to you from the amazingly beautiful, spectacular autumn-colored mountains of North Carolina, where I’m in Asheville, North Carolina, speaking at the Billy Graham Center at the Cove.

I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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