The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Friday, March 4, 2022

It’s Friday, March 4th, 2022.

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

Part I

Reordering the Justice System in the Name of Social Justice by Redefining the Role of the District Attorney — And Attempts to Recall Leftist Prosecutors

You recall the opening words to the long running television drama, Law & Order, the narrator stated, “In a criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.” Now, the very title of that dramatic series indicates that law enforcement has at least two parts in American society. And by the way, there are deep roots as you consider this going back to the English common law and even previous antecedent in history, including classical culture, the very early ideas of institutional justice, meaning that there needed to be, in the modern age, a separation of those who have the power to arrest and the power to prosecute.

It’s just another level of constitutional protection for those who may be accused of crimes. It requires a far more comprehensive series of investigations and arrests and prosecutions in order for the criminal justice system to move forward. This is considered a great advance in Western legal tradition. But you’ll recall that this does underline that there are two parts, law and order. And as you’re thinking about the police, you also have to face the district attorneys who have the power and the responsibility to prosecute offenders. But you’ll notice that there has been a change, or at least perhaps you should know that there has been a change in the mentality of many prosecutors in the United States, and particularly many district attorneys. Now, even as we are speaking, there are at least two major district attorneys of major metropolitan areas in the United States who are facing recall elections in which the voters will have the opportunity, if they so choose, to remove these particular district attorneys from office.

Now, in most communities, the district attorneys, the prosecutors are elected. We’re going to talk more in a moment about a fluke in American history whereby that happened. But the point is that if the people have the opportunity to elect, there ought to be a democratic opportunity for the very same voters to remove someone who is judged to have performed in a way that is either incompetent or morally wrong, violating the very purpose of the office that is held. But what we’re noticing is a far larger pattern. We’ll look at two. Indeed, we’ll look at more than two of those district attorneys that are very much centers of controversy now. But what we need to consider is the fact that this is actually a part of an intentional movement.

And as major media have reported now, going back a number of years, there is an effort in the name of social justice and the political transformation of America to try to reorder the prosecution system so that fewer people are prosecuted for crimes, fewer are prosecuted for serious crimes, fewer then go to jail, and the jail term would actually also be recalibrated, because the assumption is that the criminal justice system and the prosecutorial system are inherently oppressive and that people are actually now being caught in what’s called a carceral system that is in a jail and prison system, and that it is oppression that needs to be alleviated in the name of social justice whereby fewer people are prosecuted.

These very progressive prosecutors or district attorneys are now at least in part being elected on a platform of sending fewer people to prison, sending fewer people for that matter to trial for serious offenses and recalibrating many things from the perspective of the neighborhood or the community rather than the specific crime, which has a victim and a perpetrator. So it’s a transformation of America’s understanding of the criminal justice system. Now, one of the things I mentioned is that it’s a bit of a historical fluke in the United States that prosecutors are generally elected. The Wall Street Journal recently reminded us that that goes back to the presidency of Andrew Jackson and what was then a progressivist movement in terms of politics. The suggestion that in order to avoid graft and corruption, just about every person with a public responsibility ought to be elected by the people.

Now, there’s a certain logic to that, but when it comes to prosecutors, you do end up now with professional prosecutors, sometimes being supervised by elected officials who are actually far more political than legal in terms of their agenda. They don’t see themselves necessarily as prosecutors. Now, I want to be clear. This is not a phenomenon that is affecting the prosecution of criminals and the role of district attorneys all across the United States all at the same time, that’s not happening. But what we need to note is that there is now an intentional effort undertaken by people with very deep pockets who have a very specific liberal agenda to transform the criminal justice system by electing district attorneys who are going to be, well, let’s just put it this way, soft on crime.

They’re going to see criminals as more likely to be victimized by the criminal justice system, but something important here has been lost. Let’s look at the problem. For example, you have two district attorneys in California. One of them is George Gascón, who is the district attorney in Los Angeles. He’s facing a recall election. The other is Chesa Boudin, who is the district attorney in San Francisco, also facing a very interesting recall challenge. Now, let’s just recall ourselves, something that has taken place in California politics, a rather remarkable development in just the last few weeks. On The Briefing, we discussed the fact that San Francisco voters actually recalled three very liberal members of the San Francisco school board. This was after among other things, the school board had taken down merit tests for admission to selective schools.

And you also heard the school board renaming, schools taking the names of people off for historical reasons, they claimed. At the very same time, the school board was obviously failing in its task, especially in the context of COVID-19, actually to educate students. What you would think would be the purpose of a school system and thus the primary responsibility of a school board. The point is, San Francisco is one of the bluest of blue communities in the United States. It is one of the economically most elite. It is one of the politically most liberal, but voters in San Francisco set a very clear signal, and that is, that they were fed up, at least to the point of recalling three of the most liberal activist members of the San Francisco school board.

What will happen with these two district attorneys? Now, as you’re looking at George Gascon, you need to recognize something. He was primarily known earlier in his career as being a police officer and a police chief, including in some very important jurisdictions in the United States. But he was later appointed to the role of being the district attorney in San Francisco. He then later moved to Los Angeles and was elected district attorney there. But it’s the Los Angeles voters that have now forced a recall election. And in both cases, both in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, George Gascon became a symbol of the kind of progressivist district attorney who was transforming the understanding of the law, promising that he was not going to prosecute many criminals accused of what he considered to be non-threatening non-violent crimes.

But he went far beyond that. He said that he wasn’t going to seek, even in the cases of the most extreme and heinous murder, he wasn’t going to seek a life sentence. And he also spoke openly of his disgust at the carceral system, and the reality is that the voters of Los Angeles are now going to have to decide if George Gascon is going to continue as district attorney. In the city of San Francisco, it is Chesa Boudin. Now, before turning to Mr. Boudin, I just want to say that there’s something behind this when it comes to big money seeking to recalibrate the justice system in the United States, by redefining the role of these attorneys. So let’s just take a report from the mainstream media. This isn’t something coming from the right wing web. This is coming from the Los Angeles Times.

The headline, Here’s why George Soros, liberal groups are spending big to help decide who’s your next D.A. Now, that was back in 2018. That was even before the last election of a district attorney in Los Angeles. George Soros is very well known for funding very liberal, political, moral, and cultural causes. But I think many people will be surprised to know that George Soros, as a billionaire, now based in New York is seeking to fund efforts to redefine how prosecutions take place or for that matter, don’t take place in the United States, and to bring about an agenda by his definition of social justice, that would transform the understanding of American law and order. It’s not just taking place here, by the way, you have cities such as Boston, where you have very similar developments.

Another very interesting case has to do with the district attorney for Manhattan. And he is running into conflict with the newly elected democratic mayor of New York City, who is a former police officer himself. And the idea of being soft on crime is particularly difficult in a time when crime rates themselves are rising and in particular, more threatening to society. The rates of violent crime are also climbing. This has led to a political crisis and to headline news in many cities across the United States. But I mentioned George Gascon in Los Angeles. I want to look a little bit closer at Chesa Boudin, who is the district attorney in San Francisco. Because in the case of Chesa Boudin, you have some of the most interesting developments of the 20th century coming together.

Now as Chesa Boudin, a rather young man, obviously very intelligent, a Rhode scholar, as he rose to prominence, he came from a very famous family. The Boudin family itself was one of the most liberal families in the United States. For example, he had a grandfather who was very well known as an attorney on behalf of communist causes. At one point, even the attorney for Fidel Castro. His great-grandfather was a Marxist theorist. His mother was convicted for murder as a terrorist in the United States, and a member of Weather Underground. That organization known as the Weather Underground was basically a terrorist organization that carried out dozens and dozens of bombings against both government and civilian targets. And it was a split off of the organization on the left known as Students for a Democratic Society or SDS.

The SDS was not at least officially committed to violence, but the Weather Underground was. And in the case of Chesa Boudin, both his mother and his father. His father was David Gilbert just recently released from prison. His mother was Kathy Boudin. And I mentioned the long pedigree of life on the left in the Boudin family. They were both convicted of several counts of murder against police officers and the guard of a Brink’s armored car in a 1981 armed robbery. And the situation is actually far more complicated than that. Because the Weather Underground as a terrorist organization, striking the United States was involved in an even unnumbered account of bombings across the United States that created all kinds of danger.

It was part of a general attempt to try to redefine American society by force of violence coming from the left. It was a movement that began largely in the 60s and the 70s, but Americans need to be reminded it continued into the 1980s. When it comes to the prosecutor there in San Francisco, both of his parents were convicted of these crimes. And once you begin to look at the crime itself, it is a far more horrible picture even than just the words might describe. It appears that his mother had lured the police out of their car, and that left them vulnerable to being shot. Two police officers were shot dead, and the parents of Chesa Boudin were found guilty of these multiple counts of murder, but both of them were eventually released.

Now, this tells you something about the left in American society. Kathy Boudin, once released from prison largely by political pressure, an awful lot of Hollywood celebrities and others kept going after the government to offer some kind of release from prison. When she was released, she eventually earned a doctoral degree and joined as a member of the faculty staff at Columbia University in his department of social work. David Gilbert was released far later, as a matter of fact, only in recent months. But nonetheless, the point is that the Weather Underground had attempted to subvert, to redefine, to overthrow American society by force and even by terrorist attack. And here’s the thing, many on the left, and that includes so many in Hollywood, and so many on the political left in the United States, to them, the Weather Underground was misunderstood.

And even as it is well recognized and documented with clear criminal convictions as a terrorist organization, there are those who have tried to justify the actions or the Weather Underground and other groups. And there are those who have tried including many in Hollywood to make these convicted murderers, the heroes and heroines of the story. Something that we need to understand, a vital importance here is that when Chesa Boudin was elected district attorney in San Francisco, he was not elected in order to be tough on crime. He was elected as a part of a movement to try to redefine the entire legal process in the United States, and in the name of social justice to transform the criminal prosecution arm of the government into, as I’ve described before, basically a social work project with at least some rare criminal exceptions.

But in the case of this district attorneys and the recall efforts in Los Angeles and San Fransisco, once again, you have San Francisco just as a community becoming in many ways, a symbol of lawlessness in the United States with many crimes, absolutely unpunished, a raft of robberies from stores, which are now reaching the point where many retailers are simply not going to be able to operate in a city such as San Francisco. And you’re looking at rates of violent crime rising. Now, at the very same time, you’ll recall there were those who were calling for defunding the police. And you can see where that has led politically. The reality is that the American people have enough common sense. Let’s be thankful for that, to recognize that taking the police off the streets is not going to make the streets or our communities safer, but exactly the opposite.

Now, let’s be clear. There are huge issues of justice that are at stake in the formation and in the performance of any criminal justice system. And you find out what people actually believe about right and wrong and about justice by how we prosecute criminals. But that means that a society that prosecutes the innocent and finds them guilty, and basically uses the justice system to steamroll or over individual rights and has no presumption of innocence, that comes with a devastating cost to a society. But on the other hand, so does a failure to prosecute people who actually have committed crimes, crimes against the community. And it’s really interesting, the way that law in order narrator began, it was the community that was served by the police and the district attorneys.

But in order to do that, the district attorneys have to see their function as to uphold the law and to prosecute law breakers. One of the biggest issues here is that you have so many district attorneys claiming the right of prosecutorial discretion whereby they say, “I will decide based upon this circumstance or the other to prosecute or not to prosecute or to prosecute for a lesser charge.” But here you see where that can be misused in such a way that someone who wants to undo the justice system can do it from the role of district attorney. We’re about to find out if voters in Los Angeles and San Francisco are going to put up with this for long. We’re also going to find out eventually what kind of big money and big movement is behind this very self-evident attempt to redefine the very understanding in the United States of law in order, where Christians need to invest our thinking is an understanding that this is theological territory.

That much of what we find revealed in scripture about law and order is that in a sinful world, the structure of law is actually one of God’s gifts. And we should be thankful for any system of human law that corresponds to the divine law in such a way that righteousness is upheld, that human dignity and the sanctity of life is affirmed and wrongdoing is punished. That is not an idea that comes out of sociology. That is a deeply moral and thus deeply theological principle. And a society that neglects or rejects that wisdom is a society that basically abdicates its most important responsibility and misserves its own citizens. It’s going to be interesting to see if the citizens of Los Angeles and San Francisco have figured that out. It’s also going to be interesting to see if idea of a progressive redefinition of the role of district attorneys spreads elsewhere in the United States.

And we’ve already been told there is big money behind this movement. And where there’s big money, there’s a big moral purpose. It’s our task to understand what it is and to consider it from a Christian biblical point of view.

Part II

Does Peter’s Command to Honor Authority Include Evil Leaders? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

But next we’re going to turn to the Mailbox. I appreciate so many good and thoughtful questions coming in from listeners to The Briefing.

Cheryl wrote in talking about a Bible study in which she is involved in which many are joining from China. She says, “What about 1 Peter, where Peter writes about honoring your leaders, including the emperor. The question they have is, what if the emperor is evil?” Well, let’s just understand that the emperor, when those words were written to the church was evil. And as you’re looking at Caesar, he was not only evil, he claimed to be God.

So there’s a sense in which Peter led by the Holy Spirit said, “It is the Christian responsibility to honor the emperor,” but even within Scripture, there are limitations upon just how that might function. Consider in the Old Testament, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego considered Daniel who is honored for not bending the knee to the idol in the form of the king. So there you see a very important limitation. And that is, that we are to obey the emperor. And we are to understand that the worst situation envisioned in Scripture is anarchy. And we’re to recognize that the structures of government, even that of an emperor or a king, or for that matter, a city councilman, again, you look at this, you recognize that one of God’s gifts to us is a functioning government with rightful authority.

The government misuses that authority, then Christians are faced with all kinds of predicaments. And throughout the last 2000 plus years, Christians have had to think through this again and again. But one of the points to make is that this is not unconditional, but it is not limited by tyranny, which is to say that if you’re looking at a tyrant, it is hard to come up with more extreme and example than the emperors of Rome at the very time that Christians were receiving this letter from Peter.

Part III

Is Sexual Orientation or Sexual Behavior Outside of God’s Design Sin? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Next, a question that came from Jeffrey, and it’s about the Christian understanding of the challenge represented by the LGBTQ+ movement. He then raised a question about a statement coming from one denomination in the United States. And he summarizes it by saying the group considers sexual orientation not to be sinful, but sexual behavior outside the biblical model, which is only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship as sinful.

Now, here’s the problem, and I’m not going to read the rest of the question, but Jeffrey, it comes down to this. When you’re looking at the construct of sexual orientation, clearly there is something that is real there, which is to say there is a pattern of temptation when it comes to sexuality and you can put a label on those patterns of temptation. But nowhere in the Scripture is temptation validated or valorized. Nowhere in the Scripture does temptation become something like an identity marker. There is huge, huge danger in identifying, and here you see the problem of identity politics. The point is that Scripture and Jesus in particular, for example, in the Sermon on the Mount says, “It’s not just about what we do, but it’s about how we think and how we feel.”

All of this can be sinful. And as a matter of fact, the Scripture says that it is often fallen feelings and fallen thoughts that lead to sinful actions. So we need to understand that drawing the kind of distinction that you see in this policy is pretty dangerous in the first place. I also want to state that one of the biggest problems that is the product of this kind of thinking is that you end up with people who identify with a certain kind of sexual sin, even if just as a sexual temptation, and it becomes an identifying mark. I think that is very, very dangerous for Christianity. I think it’s very, very dangerous for Christian discipleship and Christian holiness. And furthermore, it then creates all kinds of question marks in the church as to how persons who might identify as such are to be understood along with other Christians, struggling with sin and seeking to grow in grace, in Christ-likeness and in holiness.

What would that mean? And how would continuing to use this kind of identifying marker actually affect the church’s understanding of holiness, sanctification, and ultimately the gospel?

Part IV

When God Commanded Israel to Invade the Canaanites, Was That a Precedent for Other Nations? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Another interesting question came from Lauren, asking how we can state that it’s always morally wrong to attack another sovereign nation if God himself directed the Hebrews in the Old Testament to attack and even wipe out other nations.

Well, that’s a very good question, Lauren. And it comes back to a basic issue and biblical interpretation that we need to remember. And that is that Israel was God’s chosen nation. It was a theocracy. It was the nation out of all the nations with which God had made covenant. Israel is given instructions that just to put the matter bluntly, the United States of America is not given, no contemporary nation, no nation other than Israel is given.

There was a particular reason why Israel was given those responsibilities as it was entering the land of promise and as it was given particular orders to carry out the conquest of Canaan exactly according to God’s plan. So that was a singular nation with a singular purpose in the history of all humanity. And we do not judge or predicate the foreign policy of other nations nor the appropriate undertaking of war with the specific instructions that God gave Israel. And by the way, that is made clear in the New Testament as Jesus speaks to his own disciples, not as a nation with borders made up with territory, but rather as the new people of God drawn from every tongue and tribe and people and nation. Liberal theologians and liberal Bible scholars try to deny that God actually gave Israel the instructions we find so clearly in the Old Testament, but we know that God’s word is true, that every word is true.

And that’s what we read in those instructions is exactly what the Lord gave to Israel. And because God is wholly and perfect, his instructions are also holy and perfect. But as the scripture says, “His ways are above our ways. His thoughts are above our thoughts.” And so our issue is obedience. And we must affirm that everything that is revealed in the Old Testament tells us truthfully what God said to Israel. And we follow through the core of Israel’s obedience and disobedience as again, faithfully, honestly, and accurately revealed in scripture. But the New Testament, which is, remember, the new covenant, it includes very different instructions given to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are ordered not to a battle plan of conquest by arms and territory, but a conquest of souls by the gospel of Jesus Christ. A very, very different order, but one that is of even surpassing importance.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can find 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 before a live audience in Santa Clarita, California, and I’ll meet you again on Monday for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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