The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

It’s Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

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

Part I

Where Do We Look Find the America’s Continental Divide on Abortion? Just Compare California and Oklahoma — Whose Argument Will Win in the End?

At times, all you have to do is cross a state border, or at least pass from one region of this country to another, and it is as if the worldview has just changed. The majority worldview is clearly different than it was as you compare where you left to where you are now. Just a matter of a few days ago, I left Kentucky and I am speaking to you now from California. It’s different, and I don’t just mean the topography. I don’t just mean the weather, and I am not even just referring to the humidity. I’m referring to the moral climate. The moral climate’s just very different.

Now, this is not to say that as you’re thinking about individuals, that the people of Kentucky are more morally upright than the people of California. I’m not talking about individual morality. I’m talking about cultural morality, and when you look at cultural morality, you’re looking at a stark distinction that is growing so large that there are persons who are openly questioning just how long a nation can stand together when you’re looking at a nation so divided politically, economically, culturally, morally as the divide between, just to give this example, Kentucky and California.

I am speaking to you from California, and out here the political powers that be and the cultural elites are quite concerned about the issue of abortion in a way that’s very, very different from how other states around the country are concerned about abortion, you know, a state like Oklahoma that just passed overwhelmingly pro-life legislation. Meanwhile, out here in California, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California General Assembly are trying to figure out whether or not they actually want to pay people basically to come to California to get abortions because the right to abortion in California, according to the state, is not just a right to access an abortion, and, of course, in California, you’re hearing less and less about pregnant women, more about pregnant people.

Nonetheless, in the State of California, the right to an abortion as it is established and defined here is not just to obtain an abortion, but to have the state pay for it. Now, at this point, we also confront something very, very interesting, and I’m here in California, the pro-abortion movement’s trying to figure out if there are adequate protections legally and constitutionally even in the State of California. Now, you ask yourself, “How could that be an open question?”

Well, it’s really not an open question, and that’s made clear even by very liberal pro-abortion legal scholars, but it is a matter of conversation. The conversation out here is largely about how California can handle an influx of women from other states coming to get abortions and how California citizens might actually pay for those abortions from women coming out of state, even offer them lodging and, in some cases, perhaps even pay for their transportation to California. We really talking about not just red and blue America, we’re almost talking about two different Americas, thankfully together right now in a constitutional compact, but nonetheless, you are looking at an incredibly deep moral divide.

As you’re looking at California, the headline recently in The Los Angeles Times was this, “State Moves to Enshrine Abortion Contraceptives.” Now, that means a so-called “right to abortion and contraceptives,” but then you ask yourself, “In this state where this is no Republican holding statewide office and where Republicans have almost no political voice in the State, you ask yourself, “Wouldn’t abortion and contraception defined according to a progressivist understanding of rights already be very much ensconced and protected within California law and the California Constitution?” The answer basically, again, the legal scholars agree would be yes.

Erwin Chemerinsky is one of the most liberal legal scholars in the United States, and he teaches and leads at the University of California’s Law School at Berkeley, known as Boalt Hall. Erwin Chemerinsky is absolutely certain that the right to privacy is so explicit in the State Constitution in California that there is virtually no threat to abortion rights, even if the Supreme Court of the United States should reverse the Roe v. Wade decision as it is expected to do in just the next couple of weeks.

Melody Gutierrez, reporting for The Los Angeles Times, tells the readers of that paper, “Democratic legislative leaders, hoping to solidify the long-term right in California to abortions and contraceptives, have introduced a bill asking voters to enshrine those protections in the State Constitution.” This would be known as Senate Constitutional Amendment 10, and we are told, “It is the latest countermeasure from California Democrats to the expectation that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that barred states from criminalizing the procedure.”

Now, even as The Los Angeles Times is writing about this and considers it so important they put the story on the front page, the paper also states this in its report that the amendment “would not expand California’s already progressive reproductive healthcare rights that ensure a woman’s right to abortion and birth control,” now get these next words, “including the rights of minors to access services without parental notification or consent.”

Now, what I want to note there is that those last words are a massive moral claim that is simply incorporated here in what’s described as a woman’s right to reproductive health services. That right, remember, the key word here is right. Not just a legal access, but a right that is extended right now, according to the California law and California’s Constitution, to minors who may be seeking an abortion. Yes, but you’ll notice the report, even in The Los Angeles Times, avoided the use of the term abortion there, instead, reproductive healthcare. Indeed, at one point simply services.

Just to make the moral divide that is a worldview divide in our country perhaps more easy to understand, Oklahoma’s government, the state government, the legislature and the Governor have adopted legislation that says that no one should be able to access abortion. Meanwhile, in the State of California, virtually everyone, at least included amongst the definition of pregnant people, should have not only access to abortion and contraceptive regardless of the form, but specifically about abortion, should have access to abortion, to have that abortion paid for by the state government, and that would extend even to teenagers, even to minors, without any notification of parents, much less any kind of permission,

Another thing to note about California’s current laws and practices on abortion is that even in the third trimester, there’s basically very little real limitation, which means that in California, anyone who might be pregnant can obtain an abortion for any reason or for no reason at all, even at the expense of the state, even if as a minor. In one state, say Oklahoma, no abortion. In California, an abortion for just about anyone at any reason who might be able to get abortion, or for no reason at all and with no legal restrictions, even without parental notification. It’s just hard to imagine a country in which one state representing one worldview would hold to, say, Oklahoma’s position, and California hold to a different position.

You can understand why ultimately both sides in the abortion conflict understand that a state-by-state basis is not long term tenable. Because of the importance of the issue, one side or another, one argument or the other, one worldview or the other will prevail at the national level. Now, that’s probably going to be slowed down a great deal by the partisan divide in the United States Congress, and in particular, in the United States Senate. Those who were going to be pressing for a national law basically emulating Roe v. Wade that would by federal statute guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, you can guarantee they’re going to be trying to build on laws like California.

Meanwhile, those of us who hold to a pro-life position are going to hope and work so that the logic of Oklahoma prevails rather than the logic of California. That’s pretty much the moral setup in our country right now, but even as Dean Chemerinsky at The Law School at The University of California at Berkeley, tells the newspaper that California already has such robust protections for abortion rights. He does go on to say that even as this proposed Constitutional amendment isn’t particularly necessary, he goes on to say that if Congress were to adopt pro-life legislation, that would cover all 50 states, including California. Now, he says, “Don’t worry. Abortion rights are so established in California. They are not at threat in California, but they might be long term in Washington.”

For both sides in the abortion controversy, frankly, for both sides in the nations’ great cultural conflict, it just points out that those elected to office and nominated to positions of influence in Washington, they really do matter.

Both sides ultimately know it.

Part II

The Awkward Pinch of the N.C.A.A.: Should It Virtue Signal Over Abortion As It Has LGBTQ Issues?

But meanwhile as we’ve been talking about Oklahoma and California and we’ve been talking about the issue of abortion, it comes up once again explicitly with reference to the State of Oklahoma. This time, it comes up in connection with college softball.

Now, you might not have known this, frankly, I didn’t know this, but the very heart, the capital the center of the universe for college softball is the State of Oklahoma. Now, just to remind ourselves as we’re talking about college softball as a sport, that’s a Title IX-defined women’s sport. As you’re looking at the male sports in the NCAA, it’s baseball. The female sport is softball. By the way, I will just point out that there’s a physiological and anatomical reason for that that has a lot to do with the difference between the male skeleton and the female skeleton, which even comes down to pitching, and that’s another reason why men and women, here’s a shocker for you, being different, and that would go all the way down to boys and girls, they actually play different sports in a different way, and they are organized accordingly.

Speaking of the organization of college softball, it is facing a big resurgence and it really is located more than anywhere else in Oklahoma, because in Oklahoma City you will find The USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, and that is ground zero for the biggest action in women’s softball at the university level, but you’ll recall that just moments ago we were talking about the State of Oklahoma passing some of the most clarifying pro-life legislation basically outlawing abortion. Thus, the sports section of The New York Times just recently ran a major article, more than a full page print edition, raising the question as to whether it is appropriate for the NCAA to allow the State of Oklahoma to continue to hose the women’s softball tournaments and championships if, indeed, Oklahoma is going to outlaw abortion.

As Billy Witz reporting for The New York Times tells us, “The deepening roots of Division I Softball’s Championship Tournament, which has been played almost exclusively at this site since 1990, and the State of Oklahoma standing as the epicenter of the sport, may soon be tested by an unlikely foe, politics over abortion rights.” Later in the article, we are told that Oklahoma’s abortion law along with another recent law passed there in Oklahoma barring transgender women from playing on women’s sports team “represents a new test for the NCAA.” that’s the National Collegiate Athletic Association, “which has used championships to take stands on issues that affect college athletes.”

Now, that’s a very interesting point. The NCAA is really in a pinch here. Now, I’m not very sympathetic because I would blame the NCAA for starting this game in the first place, that is the political game. Back in 2017, the NCAA moved a regional men’s basketball tournament from the State of North Carolina because of a law that had been adopted there concerning the fact that women’s sports should be limited to women. Beyond the NCAA, North Carolina lost that same year’s NBA All-Star Game for the same reason.

The Times then tells us this, “The issue of abortion may be more vexing for the NCAA given the divisions in the country and among those in the world of college sports.” The paper goes on, and I quote, “The question of the Women’s College World Series has percolated in the halls of the NCAA’s offices in Indianapolis, but several committees that study women’s athletics, inclusion, and mental health are unlikely to formally consider the implications of changing abortion laws until their next meetings in the fall at the earliest.”

Now, you look at this and, is the question confusion over the issue of abortion? The answer to that is no. It’s basically hesitancy. Hesitance on the part of the NCAA to jump into this issue. What does that tell you? It tells you something very significant, and we need to pay attention to it. Otherwise, it might be missed. It tells us that on so many of the sexual issues, explicit issues such as the transgender revolution, the NCAA says, “Oh, we’re quick to take sides. We are very quick to take sides, so much so that we will actually move tournaments, we will move events, but when it comes to abortion, well, it’s not so clear.”

Now, how could that be so? Well, it is because Americans are more deeply divided on the question of abortion and how that should be translated into legislation than Americans are on other issues, and that includes the LGBTQ issues. I think it’s lamentable that there’s more confusion on the LGBTQ issues, but that’s just the way it is right now. There’s something else to note, and I think many younger Americans, or even older Americans, might miss this, and that is that if you go back to Roe v. Wade in 1973 when the Supreme Court out of the blue basically legalized abortion, shocking the nation, Americans were less divided on that issue than now. There were fewer Americans back then willing to take a really clear pro-life position and resist the abortion regime.

It is my hope that over time, an increasing number and percentage of Americans will come face to face with the LGBTQ revolution and recognize that, too, is fundamentally incompatible with human flourishing and human good, and thus we have to hope for that. Right now, what this does tell us is that the NCAA is a very political organization. Now, it has been for a long time, but it’s political in a new way and it’s about to have its political pants split down the middle over the issue of abortion.

The article is actually more alarming at the moral level. When you consider that beyond politics, one of the things we see here is the extent to which so many people are ready to make arguments that women must have access to abortion. Otherwise, they might miss out on something spectacular such as a softball scholarship or the ability to play on a team in college, or even the ability to finish a softball season. This kind of awful argument is actually made very clearly. For example, one person said this, “Women’s participation in athletics would suffer, including because some women athletes would not be able to compete at the same level or at all without access to abortion care.”

That’s from a brief of athletes, and the statement went on to say that even as several Olympic athletes were cited, they said that their careers would have been derailed if they had not been able to obtain abortions. Now, another indication in this article, and this is buried deep within the sports section of The New York Times, another reality here is the pervasiveness, at least according to the claims in this article made by abortion activists, of how many women athletes at all levels have had abortions, at least one.

This article also illustrates perhaps accidentally that many bureaucrats in the NCAA and elsewhere are basically so scared to deal with this issue that they will agree with whatever argument is presented to them by an individual at that time, only to change their minds and perhaps even the stance of the NCAA almost immediately thereafter. The NCAA, I’ll simply predict this, will have to come down on this issue one way or the other, and I think what we’re going to see is that just like with the LGBTQ issue, eventually the NCAA is going to get so much pressure from the left, and it’s the left putting the big pressure on here, that they’re likely to cave on the issue of abortion.

The reticence you see reflected in this article is likely to evaporate, but the big question is, and here’s another thing, it just comes down even to sometimes matters of math, or you might say even demographics. It would be this. If Oklahoma is the center of this women’s sport, and in Oklahoma, by the way, the state legislature is pretty clear not only about the sanctity of human life, but about who is and is not a woman.

How long is it before the powers that be say, “You know, Oklahoma is just too clear on this issue, we’re going to have to abandon Oklahoma, censure it, and move this particular sport and its tournament, its championship somewhere else?” Probably also its Hall of Fame. Again, it’s not an accident at the moment that I’m in the State of California.

My guess is that California, even if not many women proportionately play the sport, would be very glad to have the sport move here. Join the revolution.

Part III

Report Announces Major Rise in Transgender Youth: Evaluating the Sexual Revolution’s Influence on Young People in the U.S.

Next, speaking of joining the revolution, one of the most interesting things and ominous developments of our time is the fact that when you have this explosion of interest in and affirmation of and fascination with the transgender revolution, it’s having a disproportionate effect on the young. Now, we’re going to be looking at this in different ways as we move to the future, but The New York Times over the weekend had an extremely important, if ominous, headline, “Number of Youths Who Identify As Transgender Doubles in U.S.”

It’s a really important article, but it’s not telling us something we didn’t know. Azeen Ghorayshi here is simply reporting on new data. It’s much like the old data, telling us that with the current popularization and the ideological tidal wave on the transgender revolution, it’s having a disproportionate impact. Now, that makes sense, by the way. It makes sense in two ways. Number one, there are not that many, say, senior adults who having heard of the transgender revolution, say, “Yeah, I want to join that.” No, it’s happening mostly as you go younger in the age span. The first reason that makes sense is because younger people are always, always more culturally sensitive.

Young people are always also more likely to be social in their influence and in their impact than they are just individual, and also when you’re thinking about young people, let’s just state the obvious. Undergoing the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty and also just with entering adulthood, they are dealing with issues of identity that are absolutely central. You look at the fact that the identity crisis comes in one way or another to all adolescents. You look at the fact that as you’re thinking about identity, the most vulnerable and fragile state is the youngest of those states or stages. Then, you look at the impact of social media and the ideologies being trumpeted by Hollywood and all the rest, why would we be surprised?

I think you probably will be surprised to know that the data coming in now indicates that the percentage of younger Americans identifying as transgender didn’t just go up, it has increased by at least 100%, and in some cases apparently by far more. The Times article begins, “The number of young people who identify as transgender has nearly doubled in recent years according to a new report that captures a stark generational shift and emerging societal embrace of a diversity of gender identities.”

Now, the reason some of the math here gets slippery is because the language gets slippery because, for one thing, it turns out that even among younger Americans, there’s a very clear disproportionate influence not only of the transgender ideology, but the idea of denying a gender binary. That is to say claiming to be gender something other than, say, male and female as a sex assigned at birth, that’s now all lumped together in these numbers, at least when it’s convenient for the activists to do so.

This article tells us that at least a part of why these numbers would be so large now is because the very definition of what it means to be transgender has changed. It doesn’t necessarily mean something that would be as predictable as, say, transgender would have been five years ago, and you’re looking at the fact that many of these teenagers aren’t even requesting hormone treatments, much less surgery. That comes up later in the article. There are plenty, sadly enough, who are looking for those particular kinds of treatments, but it is clear that there is a form of social contagion going on here. This has now become something that’s popular, and that puts adolescence particularly at risk.

Now, the mainstream media influencers have tried to deny the fact that there could be any social contagion going on here, but in its own way, The New York Times acknowledges that fact. For example, Ghorayshi reports, “Experts say that young people increasingly have the language and social acceptance to explore their gender identities. Whereas, older adults may feel more constrained, but the numbers, which also vary from state to state, also raise questions about the role of peer influence or the political climate of the community.”

I’ll just pause and say that’s pretty astounding. It’s not astounding that it’s recognized, it’s just astounding, sadly in this context, that it’s recognized even in just a passing comment by a reporter for The New York Times. Clearly, this is going on and, by the way, it’s not just because people in retirement homes have a settled identity impervious to politics. No, it is because the young have particular vulnerabilities and we have known that. Every society has known that, and it’s one of the reasons why protections are put around adolescents in any sane and responsible society in order for the society to say, “Look, it’s not on you to come to terms with who you are. The identity crisis is not something you at age 14, 12, 17, even 21, it’s not something you are intended to bear alone.”

There’s an entire society here to help tell you who you are, and that’s a matter not of oppression, but of comfort, and frankly, of psychological and psychiatric necessity.

You don’t have to have a medical degree to figure that out.

Part IV

Two Affirmations for Christians in the Wake of the Transgender Revolution: The Importance of Parents and the Church in the Raising of Faithful Young People

But there’s something else here, and I simply want to end with two affirmations that should encourage Christians.

Number one, if nothing else, all this demonstrates the importance of parents, parents to be there in the front line as a mom and a dad to say, “Look, by God’s grace we know who we are. We also know who you are.”

Secondly, the importance of the church. The people of God, the body of Christ, to come along, people, whatever their age, but in particular to come along young people and say, “We love you. We love you in Christ. We love you for who you are and who God made you to be and we know who you are, and we celebrate who you are. We want you to know that God making you a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, is a part of his perfect plan for you. We know more about that plan because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but the plan starts that way as our identity starts that way. It is the Scripture, beginning from the very first chapter of the Bible that situates us there healthfully.

You know, as you read the entire Bible, you’re going to notice something. At no point does any verse in Scripture suggest that we are to ask ourselves, “Have you found yourself yet? Do you have any idea who you have decided you are to be?”

I dare you to read the Bible. You’re not going to find those questions posed that way to human beings. Some made male, some made female, all to God’s glory, all in God’s image.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

Today, I’m glad to say that my latest book entitled, Tell Me the Stories of Jesus: The Explosive Power of Jesus’s Parables, is released. You can find it in your local bookstore. You can order it online. You can also get more information by going to the website, In this new book, I try to share my joy in learning the parables of Jesus, teaching the parables of Jesus. It’s been a life project. It’s a major book. It just comes out today, and my hope is that you’ll find it both interesting and helpful.

For more information, go to my website at

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

I’m speaking to you today from Anaheim, California, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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