The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

It’s Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

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

Part I

The Chief Justice Speaks: He Knows the Credibility and Integrity of the Supreme Court Are at Stake

Well, the explosive story that broke on Monday night concerning the Supreme Court and a potential reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision continues to explode. As a matter of fact, it is as if mine after mine is being detonated. And we as Christians, trying to understand what is going on, we need to look at some of the comments made in the aftermath of this story, because they tell us a great deal about the collision of worldviews that we face in this culture and the battle for the sanctity of human life, the battle for the integrity of the courts, all of this is a big part of the picture that becomes very clear in some of the detonations that have happened just in the course of the last 24 to 36 hours.

Now, for one thing, yesterday, the chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., released an official statement through a spokesman for the Supreme Court, indicating that the document that had been leaked is indeed an authentic draft of what is expected to be the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in the Dobbs abortion case coming from Mississippi. This is astounding, because even as the story broke on Monday night, even as the document appeared to be real, the fact is that we had to talk about it as if it might be real or might not be real, but now we know it is indeed a draft document that comes from within the Supreme Court itself. Now the chief justice went on to underline something else we knew, and that is that this is a draft. This is not an official ruling of the court. This is at this point a document that was never intended to see the light of day and was supposed to be a part of the confidential work of the Supreme Court, particularly the nine justices of the Supreme Court.

But getting to the leak and the nefarious character of the leak, the chief justice of the United States said this quote, “To the extent this portrayal of the confidences of the court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the court said the Chief Justice will not be affected in any way.” Now that’s a statement of moral clarity coming from the chief justice when he says the work of the court will not be affected in any way, but that might actually be more a statement of aspiration or principle than a fact, because the very reality of the truth that this opinion was leaked, this document was leaked and released to the public, that has itself changed the operation of the court, even though we have to hope and pray it does not change the eventual outcome of this case. We have to hope and pray that the majority opinion that we now know was represented in this draft ends up in the final ruling of the Supreme Court.

And as we discussed yesterday on The Briefing, that would be a complete and unquestionable reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision and the Planned Parenthood versus Casey decisions upholding what is called a woman’s right to abortion. The nefarious character of the leak has also made clear in the statement from the chief justice. He said, quote, “We at the court are blessed to have a workforce, permanent employees and law clerks alike, intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the court and the community of public servants who work here.” The Chief Justice has concluded, “I have directed the marshal of the court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”

It’s going to be very interesting to see where that investigation leads. In the meantime, what we have to deal with is the reality that the chief justice said that actually is a draft opinion that is being passed around among the justices of the Supreme Court. It was never meant to see the light of day, but now it has, and that’s why we find ourselves talking about it.

Part II

‘The Judgement to Choose to Abort a Child’: President Biden Accidentally Speaks the Truth about the Pro-Choice Movement

But it’s not just we, it’s not just the Chief Justice of the United States who is talking about it, it is also, and this comes of incredible importance, the president of the United States. Now in this case, of course, that means president Joe Biden, and that also means a candidate, who even though he identifies as Roman Catholic and is very visible in terms of what he calls his faithfulness as a Roman Catholic, the fact is that his position is in direct opposition to the official teaching and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church on the question of the sanctity of human life and the issue of abortion.

But the president first made a statement before the Chief Justice had affirmed that this document is real. After that, yesterday, the president of the United States, standing on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews made extended comments and they deserve a very close attention. For one thing, when the president was asked about the ruling or about the draft, the president says, well, this is why he tried to keep Robert Bork off the court. This goes back to the 1980s, Robert Bork having been nominated by president Ronald Reagan, and at that point, Joe Biden was chairman of the Senate judiciary committee. And nefariously enough, he did block Robert Bork in what can only be described as a form of character assassination. But president Biden went on to say that the reason he opposed Robert Bork and his service on the court is the fact that he had refused to answer the question as to whether the decision from the sixties known as Griswold versus Connecticut had rightly found a so-called right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution, the president brought that up.

The president made extended and sometimes rambling comments. But it’s also clear that the president, representing his party, does not trust the American people to make this decision. He went on to say that the problem is quote, “The idea we’re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions, would be a fundamental shift in what we’ve done.” Well, it would be a fundamental shift, it would be a shift back to our constitutional order. Later, speaking of reverberations, should this decision be handed down in this form, the president said, “And so there’s a whole… It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence if it were to hold.” Speaking again against the public, having its say, the president said, “I mean, there’s so many fundamental rights that are affected by that. And I’m not prepared to leave that to the whims and the… Of the public at the moment in local areas.”

In other words, the president, in rather garbled speech there, said that he and his administration do not trust the public in various areas to have the right to determine whether or not abortion should be legal in that area or not. Presumably, he is speaking specifically of the states, but he did not say that very clearly. There are two other issues in what the president had to say there on the tarmac that do demand closer attention. One of them has to do with the fact that, as I mentioned, Joe Biden, president Joe Biden, is very clear in identifying as a Roman Catholic, but here’s what he said in his comment. He says, quote, “And think what Roe says. Roe says what all basic mainstream religions have historically concluded. That the right that the existence of a human life and being is a question, is it at the moment of conception, is it six months, is it six weeks, is it quickening like Aquinas argued?”

And just consider what the president said there. He basically said that all basic mainstream religions, that’s his exact terminology, all basic mainstream religions have historically concluded that there is no rightful answer to the question of when human life begins. But the very church of which he claims allegiance is extremely fundamentally, dogmatically, visibly clear on that issue. The official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church says that life does begin at conception. And the official doctrine in teaching the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church makes very clear that abortion is the termination of unborn human life and that it is a heinous sin. Now, one can say that the president was confused there, but the unconfused reality is that the president identified all basic mainstream religions as holding a position other than the religion he claims himself to hold.

That’s been a problem of decades for president Biden, that is not just a problem of the last few years, even though it has been exaggerated by the fact that in his race to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, he actually reversed himself even on the question of the Hyde Amendment, which is federal taxpayers support coercion of federal taxpayer support to pay for abortions. President Biden now holds an extremely liberal position on abortion, even though when he ran for the Senate decades ago, he ran as someone who was identified as a centrist on many issues. And during decades in the Senate, he tried to present himself as a centrist on this issue as well. He’s also, at various points, tried to hold to that very awkward and intellectually indefensible position of saying that his personal convictions are in alignment with the Roman Catholic Church, but that when it comes to public policy, he has to rule or to govern instead in a way that is independent of his religious convictions.

Now, we understand that’s nonsense, but nonetheless, it has been a prevailing nonsense among many, not just president Biden, but also figures such as the late Democratic Senator, Edward Kennedy, often known as Teddy Kennedy, of Massachusetts. And it is now known, as a matter of fact, and I published an article about this some years ago, it is now known exactly how the Kennedy family brought in liberal Catholic theologians over a weekend at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts to try to come up with a way to change the argument. And the argument was this distinction between private conviction and public government responsibility. But the biggest issue of our concern and what the president had to say in these extended comments there at Joint Base Andrews, it comes down to the sentence. He said, “I mean, so the idea that we’re going to make a judgment that is going to say no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based upon a decision by the Supreme Court, I think goes way overboard.”

The key words to which we need to pay very close attention, and indeed shocking words, are where he describes the decision to have an abortion is “the judgment to choose to abort a child.” Now, what we see here is the case of a major American politician accidentally speaking the truth. That is exactly what abortion is. It is the abortion of a child, but that’s exactly what the president tried to say, it was not just a matter of seconds prior. That is exactly what the Democratic Party and the pro-choice, pro-abortion movement tries to say the issue abortion is not. They try in every way possible to say it is not the abortion of a child. It is not the abortion of a baby. It is instead, as we’re going to see in just a moment, a statement about a woman’s own body. But you’ll notice the president let the cat out of the bag. He accidentally spoke the truth.

I want to point out the president’s sentence, or at least a part of the sentence, where he said that the reality is that this decision, “Is going to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based on a decision by the Supreme Court.” Here’s the issue, I want to dare you to take out the word abort and put in any other verb. Just consider any other verb you might put into this in order to say that the court is doing the wrong thing by saying “that no one can make the judgment to choose to blank a child.” Just understand how horrific the logic of abortion is, because in this case, whether they use the word abort or terminate or kill, we are talking about what is undeniable. And that is the destruction of unborn human life in the womb, or to quote the president himself, “to choose to abort a child.”

Part III

We Will Know Where Every Senator Stands on This Issue? Democratic Senate Majority Leader Promises Legislation Codifying Roe v. Wade

But shifting from comments made by the president and the Chief Justice, it’s really important to look at comments made by the Democratic majority leader in the United States Senate, that would be Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, responding to the release of this draft document.

The majority leader made very clear that he intends to bring legislation to the floor of the Senate that would codify Roe v. Wade, and let’s understand something. There is the possibility that Congress could legislate this issue or attempt to. There is a chance that Congress could pass legislation in both chambers and that eventually a Democratic president would sign something like a pro-abortion bill that would do something like codify Roe v. Wade. Now, I say it is possible that this could happen, there are huge constitutional questions, there are huge political questions, but the biggest political reality is that at present, there are 50 Democratic senators, or at least 50 senators who caucus as Democrats. And there are 50 Republicans. And that means that given the filibuster, there is no way that such a bill could make its way through the Senate. Even as the president stood on the tarmac yesterday, he was asked whether he would then support eliminating the filibuster. The president basically filibustered that question, but it’s also clear that at this point, it would be extremely difficult for Democrats to eliminate the filibuster.

You did have someone like Senator Bernie Sanders immediately calling, even Monday night, for the filibuster to be eliminated so the Senate could steamroller through some kind of pro-abortion legislation, but you’ll notice that you really are looking at a split Senate. Does Senator Sanders, or for that matter, majority leader Schumer, do they actually believe there would be any legislative or moral credibility to forcing through that legislation at the very same time that the Democrats themselves expect to lose the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, and at the very same time that it would take a tie breaking vote, at least in theory, by the vice president of the United States if this issue were to be decided on simple party line issues. By the way, that’s not likely either.

It is not likely, even that someone like Senator Joe Manchin, Democratic Senator of West Virginia, would be able to return with political credibility to his state if he voted first, to end the filibuster, or secondly, to legislatively codify something like Roe V. Wade. Without his background, the majority leader made comments on the floor of the Senate yesterday. He said, “A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise, this is as urgent and real as it get.” He also said, “We will vote to protect a woman’s right to choose, and every American is going to see which side every Senator stands.” Well, that’s interesting, because it is an admission of the fact that this is more a political move than a legislative move. But regardless of which side any American is on on this question, it would be very interesting to see how every single United States Senator did vote, would vote on this issue.

And there’s very good reason to believe that until there is some change in the legislative context, senators themselves might be quite reluctant to want to have to vote up or down on some of these questions, particularly some members of the Democratic caucus, especially in swing states, but you could also say at least some Republican senators, including Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, it might put them in a very difficult position as well. I’m just saying that in one sense, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to find out, in the end, how every single Senator would vote on this issue.

Part IV

The Washington Post Reports Some World Leaders Alarmed at Possible Overturn of Roe and Casey Decisions — This Deserves a Closer Look

But next, we’re going to stay on this issue because it is of such singular moral importance and urgency, but we’re going to shift from the national scene to the international scene. Just consider an article that ran at the Washington Post yesterday with a headline, “World Leaders Call Possible Overturn of Roe v. Wade Alarming.”

The article’s by Ellen Francis and Amanda Coletta. Let’s just back up for a moment. Does it really matter to the citizens of the United States that the Washington Post was able to assemble, at least, some international leaders who went on to say that it would be a very bad idea if the Supreme Court of the United States were to reverse the Roe and Casey decisions? Well, that makes sense to the Washington Post, but it’s really interesting to look at the comments. For example, they went to Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, by the way, the leader of the more liberal party there in Canada. And when it comes to issues of sexual morality, LGBTQ issues, abortion, decidedly liberal, the Canadian prime minister said, “The right to choose is a woman’s right, and a woman’s right alone.” He went on to say, “Every woman in Canada has a right to a safe and legal abortion. We’ll never back down from protecting and promoting women’s rights in Canada and around the world.”

Okay. Just a couple of questions. Number one, what is the abortion law in Canada? The answer to that question is perhaps the most liberal right now on planet earth. Canadian federal law at present recognizes a woman’s right to an abortion at any point during the pregnancy for any reason, and furthermore, in most cases, paid for by the national health policy there in Canada. But when you look at the Canadian prime minister’s statement, and Canada in social terms is much more liberal than the United States, and it has been for a matter of decades. It’s interesting to note that the Canadian prime minister said again, “We’ll never back down from protecting and promoting women’s rights in Canada and around the world.” Well, never is an interesting question. Did never mean say just a few decades ago or was Canada then a repressive regime that was completely opposed to women’s rights?

Well, the right to abortion in Canada can be dated only at the national level back to 1969. And in its current form, only back to 1988. That is not exactly ancient history. The next section of the article says, “A Spanish official described the possibility as ‘an alarming step backward with dire consequences for American women.'” But what’s really interesting is just think about Spain. This is of crucial importance. Here we are told that a Spanish official was talking about international alarm if, for example, the United States Supreme Court were to uphold this Mississippi law that limits abortion after 15 weeks. But wait just a minute, where exactly is Spanish law on this issue? Spanish law is more conservative than the law that’s being challenged from Mississippi. In Spain at present, a woman has a right to abortion up to 14 weeks. In other words, the position that is held by the Spanish government is more conservative than the position currently held by the state of Mississippi that is being challenged by the federal government.

Part V

New Documentary Would Have Viewers See Modern Gender Theory in the Prehistoric Era — Who Knew Bone Fragments Could Reveal So Much?

But finally, as we are thinking about what’s going on in the world, sometimes it’s just interesting to see what makes the news, what makes a documentary film and what makes the modern mind. Daniel Buffet is the author of the article that appeared in The Guardian, that’s a left wing paper published in London.

The headline, “Prehistoric women were hunters and artists as well as mothers, book reveals.” Well, indeed, the book is entitled, or at least it’s translated into English as Lady Sapiens: the Woman in Pre-History. It’s identified as a French book and a documentary is going to be published in the United Kingdom in September of this year. And we are told that the book and documentary “are now seeking to debunk the simplistic division of roles.” That means the roles between men and women “by highlighting advances in the study of bones, graves, art and ethnography often ignored in the public sphere.”

One of the persons behind this said, “For a long time, pre-history was written from the male point of view, and when women were mentioned, they were portrayed as helpless, frightened creatures protected by overly powerful male hunters.” But she goes on to say, “Since women have begun to enter the ranks of pre-historians, a different picture has gradually emerged.” Oh, what’s really interesting here is the fact that indeed, the book and documentary are trying to make the case that evidence has been found of a basic equality between men and women in the prehistoric world. And yet there are differences that have to be noted, including of course, and this is what Christians think of immediately, reproductive differences and the fact that women alone can nurse babies. All that supposedly taken into consideration, the documentary and book supposedly show that artifacts found in graves and other forms of anthropological evidence that come down to things that basically are extremely inconclusive.

They supposedly are revolutionizing our understanding of prehistory, which basically, by the way, is prehistory in the fact that we have no direct historical access even to any documents or direct evidence from the era. Now, remember, we’re just talking about bone fragments and feathers and things that are found in tombs, but we are told of ancient woman, “She could hunt. She had a very important economic role. She could do art and the link between men and women could be very respectful and full of tenderness.” I just want to point out that looking at this, you recognize they are basically just making all this up. They’re making it up, they’re making it into a book, they’re making it into a documentary. And The Guardian made it into a news report as if we all of a sudden have credible journalistic access to the lives of men and women in prehistoric times, when as you read the article, you discover there is no such thing.

Now, it just makes sense, by the way, that as you’re looking at pre-history, men and women in agrarian, in a farming context who might be in tribes or groups of hunter gatherers, there could be a close relationship, even in terms of the division of labor between men and women. And frankly, that’s the way it works out in most families, but it is still very clearly complementarian. There are just very different roles in most families, in most marriages, and particularly when you add children to the equation, it is going to be a very different kind of role.

And of course, Christians understand there are biological, physiological, anatomical differences that also play into all of this, basically just ignored for the most part in the book and in the news report. And you’ll notice that statement I made from one of the documentary makers basically even speaks of the romantic life, the link between men and women, that quote “could be very respectful and full of tenderness.” You know that from bone fragments, you know that from shells found in ancient tombs? Well, indeed, it turns out there isn’t much here, but that itself becomes the story.

We’re told that the documentary, when it appeared in France, had an audience of 1.5 million people, “but it was not without controversy.” We’re told that in an open letter published in the most famous French newspaper, Le Monde, last October “nine prehistory specialists wrote that the works ‘systemically eliminate all the elements which could suggest the probability or even the possibility of male domination, either by mentioning them in a more or less disguised way or by resolutely ignoring them.'”

In other words, French academics, at least a significant number of them, responded to the French version of this book and documentary by saying, this is just selective evidence, there is no real case to be made here. In response, the documentary maker said that his book and the documentary are not militant about their presentation of this issue. He concludes, “Our role is not to be emphatic about the role of men and women, but just to show the possibilities in their activities and status in prehistory.”

In other words, he takes back virtually everything he says. This is all just made up. Now, as you look closer, maybe there’s more and maybe there’s less to this story, maybe there’s more and maybe there’s less to this evidence, but the point is that when you’re looking at the mainstream media coverage, you see reporters leap on this kind of story. You see editors run with headlines on this kind of story that tell us that we’re supposed to revolutionize everything we understand about the relationship between men and women, because of some tools and some bone fragments and other things that were found in ancient tombs. And then we have some of the people who are making the case come back and say, oh, we’re not actually being dogmatic, we’re just talking about possibilities.

Oh, and finally, this is perfect. It turns out that the documentary researchers collaborated, we are told, with the producers of the video game, Far Cry Primal. Well there’s the tell, this is indeed a game, but it’s a game that comes with a political agenda, it’s a game that comes with a cultural message.

It is a game that is intended to change the way we think now about men and women. But maybe it is important that some of the people trying to press our society in a far more supposedly progressive direction on questions of sexual morality and gender, do at least admit to us they’re in partnership with a video game.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

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I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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