The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Friday, December 10, 2021

It’s Friday, December 10th, 2021.

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

Part I

Chile Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage — A Sign of Vast Social and Moral Change in Latin America

The sexual revolution is taking place not only in the United States, but in most places around the world to one or another.

This week was a big week with a milestone coming from the nation of Chile. In Chile, lawmakers on Tuesday of this week, legalized same-sex marriage. Now, this is taking place in a context in which much of Latin America, much of South America, Central America has been going through a moral transformation. We’ve seen on issues related not only to sexuality, but also to liberalizing laws on abortion. We have seen stories come from nations, including Argentina. In this case, the nation is Chile. And it’s being trumpeted, especially by the proponents of the moral revolution as a huge gain.

There’s something the interesting to recognize here. And that is the question, why would so many of these countries have say, no legal, same sex marriage through at least Monday of this week, talking about Chile. Why would that be the case? Well, those who are trying to push the moral revolution, trying to push LGBTQ activism, trying to push worldwide this kind of moral revolution on a global scale, their answer is culture and religion, but mostly religion. And in this case, you’re looking at Latin America as basically overwhelmingly Roman Catholic by tradition. If not by current religious identity, then at least by tradition, and there has been a massive catholic influence throughout much of Central and South America in a form of moral conservatism, at least on issues of marriage and abortion and sexuality.

Worldwide, those who are trying to push the LGBTQ issues and agendas understand that the great obstacle is not so much cultural, because culture can change very quickly, it is rather theological. And that would include Orthodox Judaism. It would include Islam. It would include historic biblical Christianity. It includes, of course, the historic teaching held by all Christians everywhere until the modern abdication of theological liberalism. And you’re looking at the Roman Catholic church where it has dominated on these issues being very clear about the definition of marriage, very clear about sexual morality, but now same sex marriage is to be legalized in Chile.

The New York Times and other liberal media are looking at this and saying, look, this is a big, very good development because you are looking at a great opportunity to drive this revolution throughout, well, the world in general, the entire global culture, but most, especially throughout other Latin American countries. What you can do is now push this saying, Chile has done it, you should do it. The New York Times made its messaging clear with the headline, “Chile legalizes same sex marriage amid broad demands for social change.” The most important words there are broad demands for social change. That’s another way of saying this is just one step. It’s an important step. It’s a step that made the print edition of The New York Times, it made international headlines, but this is not where the moral revolution ends. That’s exactly what’s being trumpeted in that headline.

There are demands for social change, broad social change, moral change, big moral change. We are reminded of the way moral revolutions proceed with the fact that it was Argentina, that in the region became the very first nation to legalize same sex marriage back in July of 2010. 2010, that’s presented here as being a long time ago. That’s just one year over 10 years ago. That’s how fast this is happening, 11 years ago. But now it is as if, and here’s the hope represented in this article in the part of the moral revolutionaries, it is as if this is one of those final obstacles to overcome before the moral revolution just moves ahead like a flood, flooding the entire terrain.

Chile itself adopted what was called a Civil Union Law back in 2015. That by the way, is the year that the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage here, but LGBTQ activists argued that those civil unions were not morally equivalent to marriage. And thus, the same-sex marriage issue was legislated just this week in Chile. Speaking as an outside observer, this is a big deal. This is a major milestone. This is one of those moments, in this case, in the nation of Chile, but in the entire region where it’s becoming increasingly clear that the residual commitment to a Christian understanding of morality, marriage, life, it is all eroding before our eyes. The timetable is now very rapid.

One other issue to note here when it comes to what arguments were and were not made in the case of Chile, Christian should understand that tradition has only so much binding authority. Tradition is very much a part of the existence of very single human being. We all have some tradition. We all come from some tradition, and tradition has some influence on us. But if the morality is merely the morality of tradition, it can be overthrown pretty quickly. The question is, what’s the morality of truth? There is no real evidence here that there is much of a debate about what marriage is and is not, that dealt with issues of moral truth, rather it is now just a part of cultural conflict and politics. And in the mainstream of a moral revolution, tradition just doesn’t get you very far.

The binding authority of tradition turns out not to have much bite at all. It’s a warning to Christians that if we or our children consider the Christian faith more tradition than truth, the tradition won’t last long. And that’s the truth.

Part II

Scott Peterson Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole for Killing His Pregnant Wife Confirmed — Rightly Convicted of Two Killings, Not One

The next big headline news comes out of California. some who are old enough will remember this name in infamy, Scott Peterson.

The Scott Peterson murder trial took place more than 15 years ago and he was found guilty of the death of his young wife and the unborn child within her. He was convicted on criminal charges of two murders, and he was given the death penalty. Well, in recent year, there was an appeal against the death penalty because of some of the composition of the jury and instructions to the jury. But the bottom line is this, in just recent days, he has been resentenced by the state of California to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

As seen in reports, “Scott Peterson has been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the deaths of his wife and unborn child.” The big moral issue here is the fact that he was found guilty, not of one murder, but of two. He had killed not one human being, but two, but one of them was just dating within the other. The unborn child was within his wife, Laci Peterson, when he killed Laci Peterson and then took her body offshore there in California in his fishing boat and cast her into the water. He had killed not one but two. It is very revealing to look back at the murder trial that took place there in the center of the first decade of this century, that’s just about 15 years ago and understand that there was an overwhelming consensus that Scott Peterson, this notorious murderer of his wife should be convicted, not merely of murdering her, but of the unborn child within her.

There was a moral sense, and we should be thankful for this. There was a moral sense and the moral outrage age that he must be accused of trying for, and once convicted of, he must be sentenced for two murders, not one. It’s really interesting that this story should reemerge in 2021. It does so because of the reaffirmation of what is now his life sentence without the possibility of parole. And as you’re looking at this, you realize that it arose because of that, but the world’s changed now. That was 2004, 2005, now we are looking at 2021.

In just recent years, between that trial and that sentence and when we’re speaking now, a state like New York state would actually liberalize its abortion laws so much that it would change the law to allow no recognition of the fetus as an individual, as a person, even as a victim in a murder. One of the consequences of New York’s very liberal, radical abortion law is that if Scott Peterson had killed Laci Peterson there now and killed her unborn child with her, he could not even be accused of a single crime when it came to the assault on the unborn child. That’s how much there has been a change in morality and in law, at least as you compare California then and New York now in the past 15 years.

Christians understand there’s no basic confusion about the math here. We must not be confused when Scott Peterson murdered his young wife, his young pregnant wife, he murdered not one person, but two. And by the way, that would’ve been true, regardless in theological terms, of when the pregnancy began or how far along in the gestational process it was. The reality is that he killed two people. The state of California convicted him of murdering, killing two people. He was sentenced to death originally for the murder of his wife and he has now been given a life sentence reaffirmed without the possibility of parole for both crimes put together.

Hauntingly, we just have to ask the question, given where this culture has gone on the abortion question and given its surrender on the sanctity of human life in so many fronts, would the citizens of the United States be as clear minded now, as they were back in 2004 and in 2005? Would the state of California be equally determined now to prosecute Scott Peterson for two deaths, not one as was true back in 2005? One final poignant and morally meaningful point, this baby had a name. The baby would’ve been just as much a baby deserving of the defensive human life, whether we knew the baby’s name or not. But in this case, we do know the baby’s name. It was Connor. And those who would’ve been the grandparents of that young man spoke to Scott Peterson in the reaffirmation of his sentencing in recent days, and simply said, “You’re a coward.” And the grandmother in this case pointed out that Connor Peterson would now be 18 years old.

Most Americans are likely to give very little attention to this story. After all the murders took place almost 20 years ago, but we know that it matters. The morality matters. Murder matters. The sanctity of life matters, and it matters for all to time. And we understand why.

Part III

Author Constance Ahrons Dies at 84 — But Her Idea of the “Good Divorce” Has Gained Ground

But finally, today, before we turn to questions, an obituary appeared in The New York Times this week for Constance Ahrons identified as, “An advocate of good divorce,” who died at age 84.

Indeed, Constance Ahrons wrote a book entitled, The Good Divorce, that was published back in 1994 and became something of a bestseller. She sought to redefine divorce in terms that would make it far more morally attractive. She wanted to define divorce, not as being always a failure, but as sometimes being an achievement. A good divorce, she said, was a divorce in which the two parties were able to part on some kind of amicable terms. And if they were children, they were cared for. A good divorce basically added to someone’s sense of wellbeing, rather than subtracting from it. This led to what sociologists had defined as the movement of expressive divorce. People actually saying I need to divorce in order to be the person I am, in order to self-actualize. By the way, Constance Ahrons, who did die recently at age 84, by the time she wrote the book, The Good Divorce, she had had two of them.

In the book, Dr. Ahrons wrote, “The good divorce is not an oxymoron, a good divorce is one in which both the adults and children emerge at least as emotionally well as they were before the divorce.” Now just think about that. You talk about a moral rationalization. You talk about turning morality on its head. If you can call divorce good, remember the Bible says, God hates divorce. If you can call divorce good, then you can redefine anything. You can repackage any moral claim. You can turn the entire moral world upside down. And yet that’s exactly what our culture has sought to do.

Now, there are many people out there who are very honest about divorce, but what you have here is a basic cultural dishonesty about divorce, and Christians or no one else have to understand how repugnant this dishonesty is. By the end of her life, she claimed, “A good divorce has become a popularized concept.” Indeed it has, and that’s the problem.

Part IV

What are the Possible Outcomes of the Mississippi Abortion Case? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters From Listeners Of The Briefing

But next, we turn to your questions, always a highlight of the week.

Thank you for the questions you send. I appreciate having such intelligent listeners to The Briefing and your thinking about a lot of things. I appreciate you sharing that thinking with me. We’ll get to as many as we can.

Luke from Texas A&M wrote asking about the recent abortion case before the Supreme Court, the Dobbs case asking, well, what are the likely outcomes?

Luke, you can look at three likely outcomes, and I’ll kind of rank them. The least likely outcome is that somehow a majority of the justices just uphold Roe. They uphold Casey. They deny the right of the state of Mississippi to limit abortions at 15 weeks, and the world just moves on according to the majority of the court. I think that’s least likely that was made very clear by the fact that the court took the case. It didn’t have to take the case. And the only reason why the court would take the case is if it wants to make a point about the Mississippi law and that’s about Roe and Casey. So that’s the good news, but that’s a possible alternative.

The other two alternatives are far more likely, and here’s where we are really going to have to be watching what happens. The next most likely option is that there is a 6-3 ruling. If there is a 6-3 vote upholding the Mississippi law restricting abortion, that is outlawing abortion after 15 weeks, that would mean a major redefinition of Roe. It would mean a redefinition of Casey, but it would not mean that Roe has fallen. It would not mean that Roe’s declaration of a woman’s constitutional right to abortion that was affirmed in Casey, that that has been reversed.

How do we get to that math 6-3? That means the five very clear conservative justices plus the chief justice. That means that the three liberal justices are the other side, that’s 6-3. The third alternative is that there is a ruling most likely to be something like 5-4, possible 6-3, but more likely it would be 5-4, in which that five justice majority strikes down Roe v. Wade, strikes down Casey and says, the constitution is as Justice Kavanaugh said, neutral on the issue of abortion. It doesn’t address the issue of abortion, neither should this court. That would mean a reversal of Roe v. Wade, which would return the abortion question to all the 50 states for legislation. It’s a good question Luke and is going to come down in all likelihood to the chief justice as that sixth vote if there is a 6-3 decision, or as one of the four against a more sweeping conservative judgment striking down Roe.

Here’s how the court works though, and here’s what we have to watch. There are many who believe that it is the 6-3 option upholding the Mississippi statute, but not striking down Roe v. Wade. That is most likely because if the chief justice joins the majority on that question, he gets to decide who writes the opinion and he may construct it narrowly. What I’m hoping for is the reversal of Roe. What I’m praying for is the reversal of Casey. What I am hoping and praying for is a 5-4 decision if necessary, that just sets the issue of abortion clearly as not being addressed in the constitution, a decision that strikes down the infamous imbecility of the Roe v. Wade and Casey logic. But look, we’re going to have to see how this comes down.

And by the way, even as we’re having this conversation on this Friday in 2021, the court may know because it’s already held at least one preliminary conference on this question, how the math adds up, but we are in the dark, but even as we’re waiting, I’m praying, I bet you are as well.

Part V

Does Investing in China Lead to Westernization? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters From Listeners Of The Briefing

Interesting question comes from John about investing in China and about the clash of worldviews, asking candidly, does investing in China help to westernize them in any sense or reform their system?

Well, this is what’s really interesting, John, the arguments have been made for about 40 years, especially in the last 20 to 25 years that the Western investments in China would westernize, perhaps even democratize China. It appeared at some point that there was a logic that was working there, but that logic is clearly not working now under Xi Jinping. It is extremely clear that China and the Chinese Communist Party are now using Western capital to its own ends, even coercing Western businesses into surrendering to Chinese claims over territory like Taiwan, or even just to claims that Chinese pride conflict with the National Basketball Association.

It turns out that a lot of those arguments about investment leading to liberty in China are now replaced by the recognition that those investments have led to riches in China, primarily riches for the Chinese Communist Party.

Part VI

Why Should We Not Just ‘Flush and Forget’? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters From Listeners Of The Briefing

I really appreciated the letter that came from Michael. I had mentioned fatbergs on The Briefing, and the fact that we have 875,000 miles of sewage systems in the United States and much of that vulnerable to trouble.

Michael wrote a very interesting point. He said it would just be helpful to underline the fact that infrastructure matters. Even as many people, simply in his words, “flush and forget.” He cites his wife as the one who coined that phrase. And there’s a good point to be made there, Michael. We limit many things that are true of and characteristic of the modern age, including so many moral transformations. But I have to tell you, I’m really glad for electricity. I’m really glad for CAT scans. I’m really glad for modern dentistry. I’m glad for antibiotics and anesthetics. And yes, I am glad for flushing sewers.

And by the way, on The Briefing some years ago, I pointed out that there are those very serious historians and those who look at the history of human invention, who have pointed out that the singular technology that may have saved more lives than any other might be the flushing toilet. We just don’t think about it very often, but as you’re looking at human beings and the waste produced by human beings, you are at a source of some of the most dangerous bacteria, the most deadly vectors of disease in all of human history. Just think of the cholera outbreaks in much of the world. It turns out that flushing toilets are not only an aesthetic improvement over any alternative, but a massive increase in human health. And because we, as Christians are looking at this in a biblical frame, yes, I’m going to say something I’ve never said out loud before. I believe that flushing toilets are a marvelous demonstration of the dominion mandate given to human beings in Genesis 1.

Thanks for raising the issue, Michael and I will simply transform a Luther quote in order to make a point here, “Christians must flush boldly.”

Part VII

Is It Wrong for Christians to Think About A Trimester Understanding of Pregnancy? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters From Listeners Of The Briefing

Interesting letter came from Paige asking about the trimester structure of the Roe v. Wade decision.

And I made the point talking about Roe, that that’s where this trimester system got brought into the law. And it was even claimed by the Supreme Court into constitutional law. I mentioned the fact that Justice Blackmun, who wrote that infamous decision had been legal counsel for the Mayo Clinic. He called the Mayo Clinic or doctors at the Mayo Clinic for advice. By the way, he’s supposed to be adjudicating the constitution, not doing medicine as a layman, but nonetheless, Paige is asking, is it wrong for Christians to use the trimester understanding of pregnancy?

No Paige, it’s not wrong when it’s used as a medical term and it’s used by medical professionals in order just to track the process of a baby’s healthy development, but it’s dangerous to have that trimester structure too much in mind if it keeps us from understanding that there have been, and we should celebrate this, be thankful for this, such great advances in prenatal care, even in care for the baby in utero, but just consider the fact how viability, fetal viability, the viability the baby outside the womb has been impressed to over earlier ages, and we hope it will continue to be pressed with modern medical advances.

So there’s nothing wrong with talking about the trimester as people are thinking about the gestational process, but it has no place in American constitutional law. It was a medical import into what was supposed to be a constitutional decision. Justice Blackman should have limited himself to the constitution, which would’ve produced a very different result in Roe v. Wade, but no Paige, God bless you and your husband and that unborn life within you, may the Lord preserve that life and show His glory in you and in that baby. There’s nothing wrong with your doctor or with you thinking in terms of trimesters, especially as you’re thinking about the healthy progress of a baby to glorious birth.

It was Justice Blackmun who made the mistake, not you.


Will You Discuss Why 5 of 6 Justices Who Voted in Favor of Roe Were Appointed by Republican Presidents? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters From Listeners Of The Briefing

By the way, Dan wrote, and is going back to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

I mentioned it was a 7-2 decision, and he raises the issue that the court had a 6-3 majority of justices who’d been appointed by Republican presidents, and five of those six were in the pro-abortion majority of Roe. Now that’s true. That’s very true. That’s why the modern Republican Party and the modern pro-life movement had to learn how to press this issue and how even in Senate confirmation processes, senators had to learn how to ask questions with adequate specificity, but going back further, going back to when the majority of those justices serving in 1973 were appointed Dan, the sadder thing is that most presidents, and that included Republican presidents, didn’t give much thought, the constitutional interpretation didn’t give adequate thought to their own presidential responsibility until it was too late.

You had president Dwight Eisenhower who apparently later regretted appointing too. President Nixon had his own disappointments. Even president Reagan was disappointed in Anthony Kennedy, whom he appointed to the court and Sandra Day O’Connor. It has taken a long time for the pro-life movement and our political allies to learn how to ask the questions. Roe v. Wade was a catastrophic failure of the court, but that means it was also a catastrophic failure of all the presidents who made all those nominations to the court included in that majority in 1973.

Part IX

In the Case of Stare Decisis, When Is It Appropriate for the Supreme Court to Supersede and Overrule the Will of the People? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters From Listeners Of The Briefing

But finally, a question from Steven who listens to The Briefing with his children as they go to school.

And that encourages me greatly asking about stare decisis, asking about the power of precedent and the constitutional role of the Supreme Court, he does raises the issue, when is it right for the court to strike down legislation that was democratically adopted? And the answer to that, Steven is when it is indicated according to the constitution itself. That’s the issue. If we are indeed a government of laws and not a government of men, if we are indeed a Republic governed by a constitutional system of government, then the judges who are charged with adjudicating the constitution have to limit themselves to the constitution, to its text, to its words, to its grammar. They have to adjudicate according to the constitution.

Where find in the course of their considerations that a duly adopted law is unconstitutional, then according to the precedent of Marbury v. Madison, they have the right and responsibility to strike it down, or conversely to affirm it as constitutional. But what they are not to do is to rule according to their own personal political philosophies. What they are not to do is to practice medicine or morality from the bench. They are instead to uphold the constitution of the United States of America, which is not only their charge, it is their oath.

Again, thank you for such good questions.

Today, by the way, is commencement day, December commencement at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

It is such a moving occasion, such a grand ceremony. I’ll be preaching at the event. I want to invite you to join us. If you can’t be with us in the chapel, then join us online at That’s 10:00 AM Eastern Time, commencement at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by go to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’ll meet you again on Monday for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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