Thursday, March 24, 2022
It's Thursday, March 24th, 2022.
I'm Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.
‘Can You Provide A Definition for the Word Woman?’: Such A Simple Question, but Why Won’t Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Answer It?
Sometimes reality is clarified simply by asking a question, sometimes that reality clarified when the question isn't answered. That's what took place yesterday before the judiciary committee of the United States Senate. The question was asked by Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn. She asked Ketanji Brown Jackson, the federal judge now nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court, this question, "Can you provide a definition for the word woman?" The question is simple, and these days it is a fair and necessary question, "Can you define a woman?"
Now, that is particularly important when the person who is being asked the question is primarily identified by the fact that she would be, as President Biden indicated, the first Black woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court. It would seem to be a fair question as to who is and is not a woman.
Judge Jackson does not want to answer that question. It's actually in a series of questions she doesn't want to be asked and she doesn't want to answer. She doesn't want to talk about her religious background, and that's very interesting in and of itself. Because looking at the fact that she had served on the boards of two different schools, those two schools represent two very different worldviews.
One of them, the worldview, historic Christianity, the other one that represents the abandonment of historic Christianity. So, which one indicates who she is, or does neither represent who she is? And that raises the question, why would she serve on those boards? Of course, we're looking at lot of questions that nominees want to dodge rather than to answer. That is now the way the game is played in these nomination or confirmation hearings. But when you think about the question, "Can you provide a definition for the word woman?" A lack of an answer should be understood to be not only evasive, but absolutely devastating.
And furthermore, it is contradictory since in the course of the same hearing, Judge Jackson herself repeatedly used the word woman. One writer at The Federalist, Elle Reynolds, pointed out that judge Jackson had referenced women 14 times in the first two days of hearings. Well, if she's using the word, it's fair to ask her to define the word.
So, what are we really looking at here? We're looking at the fact that we really knew all along, that the agenda behind the nomination of Judge Jackson represented a far more radical and far more liberal understanding than either the administration or the friends of this nomination had indicated, and we're looking at an extremely winsome nominee. We're looking at someone who is answering questions with ease insofar as she wants to answer the questions.
She doesn't want to answer the question who is a woman, and we know why. It is because in the age of the transgender revolution, and make no mistake, that is an issue that is sure to come back again and again to the Supreme Court. She was nominated by a president who has indicated that he is all. Insofar as it is even understandable as to what all in means, President Joe Biden indicated that he is an enthusiastic supporter of LGBTQ, wherever that leads.
It's important to look at the actual transcript of the exchange between Senator Blackburn and Judge Jackson. Again, Senator Blackburn asked, "Can you provide a definition for the word woman?" Judge Jackson responded, "Can I provide a definition? No, I can't." Senator Blackburn responded, "You can't?" Judge Jackson said, "Not in this context." She started to chuckle the media report, as if the question was absurd even in its asking.
She said, "I'm not a biologist." And then Senator Blackburn responded, "You mean the meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial you can't give me a definition?" And then the Judge responded, "Senator, in my work as a judge, what I do is address disputes. If there's a dispute about a definition, people make arguments, and I look at the law and I decide. So, I'm not."
Well, she basically broke off there. Senator Blackburn responded, "Well, the fact you can't give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the kind of progressive education that we're hearing about. Just last week, "she said, "an entire generation of young girls watched as our taxpayer funded institutions permitted a biological man to compete and beat a biological woman in the NCAA Swimming Championships. What message do you think this sends to girls who aspire to win in sports at the highest levels?"
Judge Jackson had to respond, and she responded with these words, "Senator, I'm not sure what message that sends. If you're asking me about the legal issues related to it, those are topics that are being hotly discussed, as you say, and could come to the court, so." Well, she won't answer the question. That's the bottom line. But she really answered the question. Indeed in one sense, she almost over answered the question. Because refusing to answer to the question, "Can you provide a definition of woman?" is indeed giving away the whole store. We now know, let's just be honest, everything we needed to know as if we needed to know anything more about the worldview behind Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Now, let's be clear. We're looking at a partisan equation. There are enough votes in the Senate to confirm Judge Jackson, unless something happens. And the question is, did something happen yesterday in this very exchange? Will Senators, maybe even just one Senator such as Senator Joe Manchin, recognize this failure to answer the question is not going to work in the state of West Virginia.
Senator Manchin had better know that the voters of West Virginia overwhelmingly are real clear about how to answer the question, who is a woman? Can you define a woman? And they're going to have very little respect for a judge who says, "You have to look at the prudential questions." No. By the time you are there, you have already given away the store. The transgender revolution wins.
Make no mistake, we now have all the evidence we need to know exactly how Judge Jackson would adjudicate issues related to questions of gender, including the transgender revolution. She, like the president who nominated her, must be assumed now to be all for it.
The Death of Truth Realized in a Swimming Pool: Lia Thomas, A Biological Male, Wins the NCAA Women’s National Swimming Championship — And the Entire Society Is to Celebrate?
But we are going to be on this issue for a while today because it is right now so front and center, so urgent, that it demands further consideration. Yesterday at World Opinions, I published an editorial that I had written entitled "The transgender revolution and the death of truth." The urgency behind this article is reflected in the subhead: "Resist the call to mass delusion."
My argument is that one day in the future, Americans are finally going to wake up and recognize that a great denial of truth had taken place in our time, and that great denial of truth was actually revealed in a swimming pool. Now, what happened in the swimming pool? What happened is that a biological man won an NCAA Swimming Championship on a woman's team presented as a woman. And this is something that had never happened, so far as we know, in the history of humanity before, and you're going to look at the fact that the response to this news is actually going to tell you a great deal about someone's entire worldview.
If someone argues this is to be celebrated, well, you are looking at someone who is all for the revolution. And if someone says it's not to be celebrated, you're going to understand there are still some pockets of sanity somewhere to be found in the world.
But this revelation came after a season of controversy in which swimmer, who goes by the name of Lia Thomas, was competing on the women's swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania. This after the fact that the very same swimmer, as a man, and he is a biological male, had competed on the men's swimming team. All you need to know is that presented as a woman, the swimmer identified as Lia Thomas dominated the swimming competition among women. And this of course means that you have a transgender NCAA Women's Swimming champion, and that means something else. It means that a male won the women's NCAA Swimming Championship on this event, and did so in a way that so many in society tell us is not only to be accepted and acknowledged, but celebrated.
Now, the issue here is that Lia Thomas beat the other swimmers mostly because the other swimmers are actually women. The participation of Thomas, formally known as Will Thomas on the men's team now swimming on the women's swim team, was only possible because of an exercise in mass delusion and what can only be defined as ideological corruption.
So this mass delusion is the fact that millions and millions of Americans are told, "Do not trust your eyes, do not look closely at that photograph. This is a woman because we tell you it's a woman, because the transgender revolutionaries define this individual as a woman, and because a denial of the fact that Lia Thomas is a woman means that you're not only on the wrong side of history, but that you just don't get the entire question of sex and gender."
Now, going back to the photograph, all it takes is a single, honest photograph in order for the moral point to be driven home very clearly. This is a biological reality. There is no question that Lia Thomas is biologically a male. Regardless of hormone treatments, this is a boy who became a man in a man's body, competed on the men's swimming team, went through male puberty. And all you need, again, is just to look at the photograph, even the height of the individual and you know we are not looking at a fair competition here.
We also need to understand something at a deeper level. Lia Thomas, I'm using that name, the name of the swimmer is a constructed identity. It's now affirmed by the University of Pennsylvania, it's affirmed by the NCAA, and it's affirmed by the cultural powers that be. But Lia Thomas is a man. All it takes, again, is a quick look. He's a confused man to be sure, but he's a man.
The case of this collegiate swimmer reveals nothing less than a deep insanity that is now gripping our culture. That's what it is. It is a communal act of mass delusion, the culture of elites. And that includes the faculty of universities, the administrators of those universities, the leaders of organized sports, the media, Hollywood, the therapeutic industry, the political class. By and large, all of these elites are now basically in the lockstep agreement that when you see a man identified as a woman swimming among women in a Women's NCAA Swimming event, you're supposed to say, "Oh yeah, that's a woman," and, "Oh yeah, this is fair."
Now, the real harm here is not only to truth, we're being told to accept a lie, it is also an injury to girls and women who are involved in competitive women's athletics. They have prepared their lives for this. They've dedicated hours and months and years of training for this. And yet, they can do all of that and they can reach the highest elite levels of performance and competition as girls and as women; only to find themselves defeated at the finish line by someone who's a biological male.
The Distinction of Boys and Girls, Men and Women, is Just “A Claim of Biological Difference?” Insanity Looms Over Our Age
But something else we need to watch is that the elites don't merely demand that this is so, they demand that the entire society has to join in this collective exercise and mass delusion. Everyone has to celebrate Thomas's wins as a great civilizational achievement. And one professor named Cheryl Cooky of Purdue University, identified as teaching American studies and women's gender and sexuality studies, wrote in an article published at NBC that Lia Thomas must be "embraced in the history of progress that sports represent, and recognized as the trailblazer that she is."
Now again, let's just go back to the simple candid question asked of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Let's also understand that same question is being asked of the NCAA. It's being asked of the University of Pennsylvania. It is being asked of the cultural elites. And make no mistake, it's being asked of you. Are you ready to say that biology really doesn't matter? Are you ready to say, "I will just accept the LGBTQ revolution in its entirety as if I really don't know what biology tells us?" That the XX and XY chromosomes, and that's where it starts by the way, not where it ends, that chromosomal difference doesn't make any difference whatsoever, that gender identity and actually what's even now defined as gender is so plastic, so malleable, so artificial in our society that you can basically, as an autonomous individual, declare your gender identity to be whatever you want it to be at any given time in history? The rest of society supposedly has to deal with it.
Now, a great deal of it. Tension has been given to the pushback when it comes to society saying, "We're not going along with this." About half the team, the women's team there at the University of Pennsylvania complained officially about Lia Thomas competing among them and against them as supposedly a woman. Parents of many of those swimmers also filed protests. And you see all across society, some who are saying this just isn't fair.
For example, you have former women's tennis champion, Billy Jean King, and another tennis heroine, Martina Navratilova, both of them basically identified as lesbian; saying that it just isn't fair to have those who aren't women competing as women against women in elite sports.
But here's something I want to point out. There are many people who are saying this just isn't right, but I want you to notice something. You have so many people who have so accepted, they have so far compromised with the sexual revolution that all they're actually asking for is a carve out. They're not saying, "This is insane. It is absolutely an exercise in harmful mass delusion to say that teenagers should undergo, by their own demand and with the community's compliance, hormone therapy or even surgery in order to supposedly align the body with a perceived gender identity."
Of course, this just reverses the way God intended, from creation, the entire process to work. He intended creation, our own creation, our own creation as an individual made in God's image, an embodied human being to learn from our body, indeed, who we are.
That's something very interesting, by the way. It just reminds us that according to the biblical war worldview, our body tells us who we are, we do not tell our bodies who we are. Now when I speak of this as just an attempted carve out, I want to speak to someone like repeated international tennis champion, Martina Navratilova. Again, she identifies as LGBTQ herself, but she says, "When it comes to the level of elite sport, given the money, the prestige, the cultural commodity that is at stake. It just isn't fair for biological males to compete against women."
But notice the artificiality of that carve out. Why should sanity just be reserved for those in elite women's sports? And you could say, "Well, let's just work backwards. What about collegiate sports?" Well, let's stop the insanity there too. But what you have here on the part of so many, and Christians need to be very alert to this, what you have are people saying, "I'm actually unwilling to confront this insanity writ large across the culture, but I want to maintain this little island in which sanity can still exist."
But here's a moral wake up call for Christians. Sanity doesn't exist for long on an island, especially an island that's a carve out. And you say, "I'm willing to allow the revolution to proceed everywhere but here," guess what? It's going to swamp your boat before you even realize it.
How are Christians to think of about this? Well, for one thing, we understand that the Bible reveals that any attempt to subvert creation ends not in human liberation, not in human happiness, but in absolute disaster. Sporting authorities who for decades have demanded both respect and support for even legal protection for women's athletic teams had already caved to the sexual revolution in so many of these issues. They had already surrendered to the gender theorist. Having surrendered so many times in the past, you could ask the question, how could they resist surrender now?
I point out the fact that by the way, and by irony, the University of Pennsylvania, and by the way, if you think of that university going back even to pre-revolutionary America, and you ask which two individuals, what two men are most closely associated with the founding of the University of Pennsylvania? Well, let me just give you two names. Number one, Benjamin Franklin. And about Benjamin Franklin, many things can be said, but he was not confused about gender. The other name is George Whitfield. One of the greatest evangelists in the history of the Christian Church, one of the most influential men in the formation of evangelical Christianity in the English speaking world. It was actually a partnership between the evangelist George Whitfield and the politician Benjamin Franklin that led to the formation of what would become the University of Pennsylvania.
Just imagine the ideological slide at the University of Pennsylvania from that day until this. The long time motto of the University of Pennsylvania should be translated this way, "Laws without morals are useless." How ironic is that? But that motto assumes a rational world in which, just to take an example, the distinction between male and female is clear and honored. But the athletic world has already abdicated right reason, and you now have the cultural authorities manufacturing mass delusion. And in this mass delusion, you have the leaders of America's corporations, by and large they've surrendered. Except for a few conservative governors and courageous voices, most politicians want to avoid taking any stand on the issue. More on that importantly in just a moment.
The other thing to notice is how many people express absolute shock at the picture of a transgender person, now declared to be the winner of an NCAA Women's Swimming Championship, but here's the fact; they have bought into the entire LGBTQ revolution, and now the revolution is what they've got. If you buy the revolution, guess what? You get the whole revolution, and the revolt is eventually going to run right over your cherished world of women's athletics.
I also need to point out, and the juxtaposition of this is just rich. It's not just Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who's unwilling to define who a woman is. Professor Cooky, I mentioned, cited in the article that was published by NBC describing this as a great win for the liberation of humanity. She went on to say that the idea of restricting sporting teams to women and girls has undergirded by "claims of biological difference."
Claims a biological difference? In other words, there isn't any real biological difference, it's just an illusion? That tells you how far the insanity has now gone. Just understand the mass illusion that you are now being invited to join. No, you're being demanded to join. It's also just very ironic, and that's putting it mildly, that so many people who are pushing this revolution; they're the same people who keep coming back and exhorting the entire country. Trust the science. Except, they clearly don't trust the science. They are at war with reality.
Christians understand that we see the swimmer identified as Lia Thomas as a human being made in God's image, a being who deserves our respect, that that respect is the respect of truth. We understand that this is an individual who is deeply troubled, and for that, we respond with sympathy. But at the same time, we can't reorder civilization. We can't cooperate with unraveling creation simply because someone declares that he doesn't want to be a man anymore, or for that matter, it could go the other way. In any event, the transgender revolution is an attempt to unravel creation. That is not going to end well.
We're now standing on the brink of cultural and societal disaster. That's exactly what we're facing. And just to understand where we are right now as a civil, where is the sufficient, moral, political, cultural outrage to say; this simply can't go, this can't work, this can't stand? You'll notice instead all around us is a merely negotiated surrender. It's all just a matter of timing. So far as the revolutionaries are concerned, they've got victory in hand.
Moral Surrender and Political Spinelessness: GOP Governors of Indiana and Utah Veto Bills to Restrict Girls‘ Sports to Girls
Again, I published the article entitled, “The transgender revolution and the death of truth” at World Opinion yesterday. But I wrote in that article that with the exception of some Republican governors, many politicians simply don't want to be pinned down on this issue.
But the problem is actually bigger than that, as The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Yes, just yesterday. The headline is this: "Two GOP governors veto sports bans for transgender girls."
So, I want us to look at this. Both of these are Republican governors. Now remember that. They are Republican governors, the governors of Indiana and Utah. They have vetoed legislation that would say that girls sports ought to be limited to biological females.
Now, I want to call out these two governors for their absolute irrationality and spinelessness. Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Governor Spencer Cox of Utah. They both vetoed these bills, and they did so basically on an observational ground that isn't legitimate, and then on emotional grounds.
Now, you'll notice that if you're going to make these decisions on emotional grounds, then you better elect a governor with the right emotions. Both of these governors in their own words said that the legislation was unnecessary because there wasn't such a current problem in their states. But here's the point, these governors have now invited the problem. They have not fulfilled their responsibility to prevent the problem. These two governors in their own way have just been as politically evasive at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Asked to define a woman, she says, "I can't." Asked to define a female where it would really count in terms of high school athletics in their states, these two Republican governors simply punted.
By the way, as you consider how all this works, financial pressure, political pressure; they all come together for the cause of a cultural revolution. Eduardo Medina, a reporter for the New York Times, explained the action by these two Republican governors this way, "Those factors included a fear that anti-transgender legislation is bad for slurring and retaining businesses." There you have a hint of the comprehensiveness of our problem. This exercise in mass delusion, saying that someone's a woman when we know that individual is not a woman. That exercise in mass delusion is now being driven by some of the most powerful corporations in this country, the culture elites at virtually every level.
The question is, are you ready to join this delusion? At the very least, understand that the revolution is coming, for you for your denomination for your congregation, for your church, perhaps even for your family. Whatever it takes, summon the courage to resist the dive into that pool.
Thanks for listening to The Briefing.
For more information, go to my website at AlbertMohler.com. You can call me on Twitter by go into 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.
I'll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.