Monday, June 27, 2022
It's Monday, June 27th, 2022.
I'm Albert Mohler. And this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.
‘Horrific,’ ‘Appalling,’ and ‘A Big Step Backwards’: World Leaders Respond to the Overturning of Roe v. Wade — Hypocrisy, Contradiction, and Cosmopolitan Liberalism on Display
Well, it's been an incredible weekend. Let me remind you that we released a special edition of the briefing a second edition for Friday of last week, and it's a pretty thorough engagement with the Supreme Court's decision in the Dobb case that did indeed, thanks be to God, reverse the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. I will not repeat here what I discussed rather thoroughly there. And the reason for that is not just to avoid repetition. It is because there are so many big issues related to this that we need to discuss and cover. One of these things has to do with the response to the decision, not only in the United States across the political spectrum but also on the international scene. This tells us a great deal.
The most interesting report is actually come from CBS News. The headline world leaders react to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Now, these are world leaders. Most of them presidents, prime ministers, but a few of them are officials in international organizations, including most importantly, the United Nations, the UN coming from the UN a spokesperson for the secretary-general on Friday said that the United Nations is appalled at the Dobbs decision headed down by the Supreme Court and the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Americans may be surprised to know that the United Nations would dare to tell the United States what our law on abortion should be. It's one of the reasons why the more Americans look at organizations like the United Nations, the less they are going to appreciate them. The spokesperson for the United Nations General Secretary nonetheless went on to say that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation of a life of choice, empowerment, and equality for the world's women and girls.
So yes, the United Nations has a position and it's disappointed that the United States has now not lived up to that position but as we shall see, there's a good deal of contradiction. Indeed, of dishonesty here, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights called the ruling, "a major setback." Michelle Bachelet went on to say, "Access to safe, legal, and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human rights law and is at the core of women and girls' autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives, free of discrimination, violence, and coercion."
This decision said the high commissioner strips such autonomy for millions of women in the United States, in particular those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, to the detriment of their fundamental rights. Now there's just a lot of confusion there, but we should not be confused about the fact that the high commissioner at the United Nations for human rights dares to tell the United States that we have disappointed her commission and the United Nations and that she is going to speak to the United States as an offender on human rights because of the reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Furthermore, in this particular statement, high commissioner, Bachelet went on to say that the idea of abortion of affirming abortion, is it the core of women's and girls' autonomy and ability to make their own choices. And she went on to say that the Supreme Court had stripped women of such autonomy. Now here's, what's really interesting. She dares to speak to this when she has just basically had to resign in shame for having been in China and refusing to criticize the genocide of the weaker people there. So over against her silence in China, with the genocide of the weaker people, she now dares to speak to the United States, telling us what our understanding of abortion should be, what our policy should be, but you'll notice something else. You have absolutely no reference here to anything about human rights for an unborn human being, the unborn human being is simply completely absent.
And this is one of the demonstrations of what happens when you try to have a secular understanding of human rights. It ends up sounding pretty much like this, but there are a couple of other issues of contradiction, a couple of other issues of hypocrisy. I want to point out and they come from two allies to the United States. And in particular, I'm thinking of Britain and France or the United Kingdom and France coming from the UK, the British prime minister said, "Look, I'll be absolutely clear with everybody." Boris Johnson said, "This is not our court. It's another jurisdiction." But now when you have a politician, say, "I'm not going to talk about this, but well, listen to what he says." He said, "But clearly it has massive impacts on people's thinking around the world. It's a very important decision. I've got to tell you," he charged on, "I think it's a big step backwards."
He said, "I've always believed in a woman's right to choose, and I stick to that view. And that's why the UK has the laws that it does. And actually, if you look, we recently took steps to make sure that those laws were enforced throughout the whole of the United Kingdom." Now, all I want to point out there is that's not really a surprise and it just points to the fact that in moral terms, the conservative party in the United Kingdom is not all that conservative. And that's demonstrated in the person of Boris Johnson, the current prime minister, whose let's just say sexual lifestyle and all the rest has been decidedly not conservative, but he's going to preach to the United States. The other contradictory issue is this. As you look to the abortion law in Britain, it is actually far more restrictive than what was the result of the Roe v. Wade decision.
And so, let's just point out that he got away with criticizing the United States Supreme Court, without ever being clear about the law that he actually supports and hear brags about in the United Kingdom. But if that was egregious, even worse came from France, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who is perhaps the greatest illustration around the world today of a cosmopolitan secular ethic. I think he would actually find that as a compliment Emmanuel Macron, the French president said, "Abortion is a fundamental right for all women, it must be protected." He said this in a tweet that he actually had translated to English, "It must be protected." said the French president, "I express my solidarity with the women whose freedoms are today challenged by the Supreme Court of the United States." The French foreign minister also wrote on Friday, "Appalling! The U.S. Supreme Court's revocation of the right to abortion represents a major setback for fundamental rights."
The French will continue to mobilize in their defense. Yes, she's so proud of the French. So is the French president so proud of French abortion law, so appalled at the United States, but let me tell you something neither the Minister of Foreign Affairs, nor the President of France included one key piece of relevant information. Remember that the Supreme Court case on abortion that was handed down on Friday, originated from Mississippi with a law that would've restricted abortion. After 15 weeks of pregnancy, the court actually went further and reversed Roe v. Wade. But the issue was a law that restricted abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Now the French President says that is an egregious unacceptable abrogation of the human rights of women. So, what is the law in France? It's a limitation on abortion after 14 weeks of pregnancy, which means that the law about which the French President brags is actually by a weak, more conservative than the law that was condemned, which was adopted by the state of Mississippi.
This is grandstanding. It is a cosmopolitan ethic that is being used by those who would oppose the Supreme Court decision. In order to say, we are out of step with other nations. Number one, if so, then good. They need to conform their laws to ours in this respect, not vice versa but the fact is, it's just not honest. In many cases, especially as you look to European nations, yes, they have some right to abortion according to their law, or even their fundamental document such as a Constitution, but in almost every case, it is more restrictive than what you found in most, if not many American states and throughout the entire United States, under the regime of Roe v. Wade, no surprise across America's Northern border, where the French Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau made very clear his political posturing on the issue. And by the way, at least when it comes to Justin Trudeau and the law on abortion in Canada, it is just about as extreme as you might imagine.
In the case of Canadian citizens, a woman can seek an abortion at any point in pregnancy. Nonetheless, the Canadian Prime Minister said in pontificating to the United States, "No government politician or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. I want women in Canada to know that we will always stand up for your right to choose." So, there he is being incredibly progressive except wait a minute. He's not, he keeps using the word women. If he wants to be progressive, he's going to have to get with a new progressive vocabulary and talk about pregnant people. But if you talk about pregnant people, you can't address yourself as the Canadian prime minister does over and over again as the candidate who want to be supported by women. So, in this case, you'll notice he following the example of his father seems to know who is and is not a woman.
I reference there Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's father, the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who also was known as something of a playboy and like his son, the current Canadian Prime Minister often addresses his electoral appeals largely to women.
‘The Court Sends Women Back to the Dark Ages?’ Hyperbolic Fallout from the Left over the Dobbs Decision
Back in the United States, however, and will be documenting some of this ongoingly, especially as we move through the next few days, you have a response coming from the political left and the media left in the United States as if the reversal of Roe v. Wade is setting back the clock to something like the year, oh, I don't know, 14, 15 or so for instance, Maureen Dowd liberal columnists for the New York Times offered an article on Sunday's edition with a headline, "The Radical Reign of Clarence Thomas." By that, of course she makes reference to Justice Clarence Thomas, well known for his pro-life advocacy and rather notorious now in the left, particularly for his concurring opinion in the Dobbs decision handed down on Friday.
But the breakout quote that is used in the article is this, "The Court sends women back to the Dark Ages." Okay, seriously, this is the New York Times. It hires fact-checkers. It has editors. This got through everybody. Now you have the absolute claim and you say once an opinion piece. So, let's put out as a piece of say argumentation, but nonetheless, the newspaper itself actually ran the sentence. The court sends women back to the dark ages. Now, number one, if you're a historian, you don't actually talk about the dark ages. You talk about the medieval era, the middle era between say the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the modern world. But as you're talking about the medieval era and that's dated at least something like a millennium about 10 centuries, there is a reference to it looking backwards as the dark ages.
Now whether that's fair or unfair. And I'll say it's a little bit of both in one sense, the reality is that it's supposed to be one of the scariest expressions. You could hear to hear that woman are being sent back to the dark ages. That was a time when witches were believed in and women were often accused of being witches. They were drowned, they were burned, they were tried. You just had all kinds of things going on in the medieval era. For one thing, you had nothing like modern medicine. Modern medicine is incredibly modern by the way, you had all kinds of issues, politically theocracy crusades throughout much of the world you had.
Well, it was indeed a tumultuous and often violent time. There was no modern notion of human rights whatsoever, neither a Christian notion or a secular notion. But the fact is it's absolutely ludicrous to say that women who have the right to be citizens of the United States on equal standing, even on the anniversary of title nine, just to give one example who have the power to vote and are full participants in the economy and in the society here, we are told that they've been thrown back to the dark ages.
Why would it be said that they've been thrown back into the dark ages? Because the Supreme Court of the United States corrected itself on the issue of abortion and gave the issue back to the people's elected representatives. And that, by the way, just even saying the people's elected representatives, an incredibly modern notion entirely absent from the dark ages, but nonetheless, you see the kind of rhetoric that the court's decision has brought tomorrow. We're going to look at some of the religious response to the court's decision. We'll know a little bit more about that. As more information comes in from what had taken place over the weekend in churches, synagogues, and elsewhere. But it's also important for us to recognize that historical deaths now are called, as we think about what took place Friday at the Supreme Court, with the announcement of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Now, as the liberals look at it as the abortion rights movement looks at it, you see accurate headlines such as this is the result of a half-century of concerted pro-life and conservative and conservative Christian activity thinking intellectual contribution, political mobilizing, personal self-sacrifice indeed. One of the interesting things you see is that so many in the abortion rights movement are castigating themselves for failing to convince the American people. Similarly, on the issue of abortion. Now here, I want to come back and say, arguing for the humanity of an unborn child is self-evidently a morally and politically advantageous strategy to trying to argue against it. But nonetheless, the Democratic Party is now so committed to the abortion rights agenda that it will not back up and in once says politically it can't back up because it is now postured itself with a pro-abortion base to such an extent that even President Biden as we saw who had supported the hide amendment, limiting the coercion of taxpayers to pay for abortions.
He switched his position because he wanted the democratic presidential nomination in 2020, which he won going on to be elected president against Donald Trump. We should note, and we're going to come back to that in just a moment. It was in the 2016 presidential debates when then candidate Donald Trump was running against then former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, that the issue came up of the Supreme Court and abortion and the future. And it was in the context of one of those debates in 2016, that then candidate Donald Trump said that if he were elected president, he would make appointments to the United States Supreme Court, which he said would of course rather automatically lead to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, meaning that he would appoint from a list that had been constructed by conservative legal experts of potential jurists to sit on the Supreme Court, as well as other courts of the land.
But in particular, the Supreme court who actually held to a conservative understanding of the constitution and would consistently apply that in such a way that they would apply the text to the constitution to make clear that there is no reference to abortion whatsoever. And thus, abortion rights are not enumerated or included within the United States Constitution, thus reversing Roe v. Wade. Now the big question in 2016 was whether Donald Trump would actually do what he said. I was among those who doubted, I need to say as a matter of historical record, that I was wrong to doubt he did exactly what he said he would do. As you look at the Supreme Court today, Donald Trump appointed one-third of the justices sitting on the Supreme Court that is three out of nine. Do the math, the decision to reverse Roe v. Wade basically was five four, which is to say that if Hillary Clinton had made those three appointments, you'd be looking at seven two the wrong way, which hauntingly enough is exactly the vote of the Supreme court in the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.
The Appointment of Conservative Justices and the Correction of Judicial Progressivism: The Political Legacies of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell
Columnist Marc Thiessen in writing for the Washington Post. Got it exactly right when he said this, "Every Republican president before Trump failed miserably, when it came to Supreme Court picks in 1970, Richard M. Nixon nominated Harry A Blackman who would go on to be the ignominious author of Roe. Gerald Ford picked only one justice. John Paul Stevens, who became the leader of the court's liberal block. Ronald Reagan had three appointees, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony M. Kennedy, but only Scalia was a consistent conservative vote on the court. George H.W. Bush named one brilliant conservative Clarence Thomas and one catastrophic liberal David Souter. George W. Bush selected Samuel A. Alito Jr., a marvelous conservative intellect," writes Thiessen, "who wrote the decision overturning Roe. But Bush also gave us John G. Roberts Jr. who promised to be an impartial umpire, but instead is repeatedly legislated from the bench siding with the court's liberal block on a string of cases, including saving Obamacare, preserving the deferred action for childhood arrivals program and striking down laws that required hospitals to extend admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions."
That was a lengthy quote, but it is so good and so accurate. It corrects the historic record in such a way. I wanted to put it in the record for the briefing. Thus, when you look at the three Trump nominations, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, you are looking at the math that explains five four to reverse Roe v. Wade, six three to uphold the Mississippi abortion law. Neither of those votes would be thinkable if Hillary Clinton had been elected president in 2016, I wasn't at all certain in 2016 that Donald Trump who had been pro-choice, if not avidly pro-abortion at one point in his life, I was not convinced that he would do what he pledged to do, but he did. And he not only made the nominations, he made them politically stick at considerable political cost. And that also needs to be in the record.
Also, on the record must be our deep indebtedness to who deserves credit as the political strategist behind all of this when it comes to confirming justices or not confirming justices in the United States Senate. And that person is the Republican leader of the Senate, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. It was McConnell who refused to move forward with the nomination that had been made by President Barack Obama of Merrick Garland. Instead, to say that the president elected in 2016 should have the right to make that appointment. It was Mitch McConnell who skillfully guided the process for all three of President Trump's nominees to the Supreme Court, as well as other judicial nominees. But most particularly, and importantly, those three Supreme Court justices, it was Mitch McConnell who played the long game and it was the master of the Senate, as he deserves to be known who so skillfully led the Senate or at least the Republicans in the Senate to stay together and to push forward, knowing that over time his greatest contribution in the lens of history is almost as assuredly going to be the Supreme Court of the United States as it currently stands.
Scott Jennings, who had been an advisor to Mitch McConnell and is currently a political strategist and columnist, he went on to say about Senator McConnell's impact on this issue, "I just think he is one of the pillars of the modern conservative judicial movement." And in that case, Scott Jennings is pointing to something many other people miss. And that is that in serving as the master of the Senate in this way. And in so skillfully guiding through these nomination processes, it wasn't just a matter of scoring wins. It was a matter of correcting a judicial and constitutional imbalance and thus Mitch McConnell didn't just do it because he's the Republican leader. He did it because he believes its right, but Senator McConnell did not do this because merely he was and is the Republican leader in the Senate. He did. So, because of his basic conservative constitutional, that makes it even more important and even more worthy of mention, as we think about the historical legacy of the reversal of Roe v. Wade and who humanly speaking played such a gigantic role in bringing this about.
How Did the Dobbs Decision Come to Be?: The Unsung Heroes of the Pro-Life Movement
But even as I bring this particular addition to The Briefing to an end with so much to think about and to talk about on this issue and in many others, I just want to come back to remind us once again who are the real heroes and heroines of the pro-life movement from the beginning.
It has been those who have licked envelopes and done mailings who have carried signs and walked sidewalks. It has been those who have been willing to put their lives on the line and their hearts on the line to counsel women who have been approaching an abortion clinic. It has been those who have gone into court and made arguments when it didn't appear, there was any likelihood that conservative pro-life constitutional arguments were going to gain traction.
It includes many who have given financially to the pro-life movement. It includes many who have been involved in this movement and had been soldiers and people on the street doing good and honorable work, simply because it was good and honorable and necessary and urgent to do many of them didn't live to see what we experienced on Friday with this historic announcement by the Supreme Court.
But as we think about those to whom we are indebted, we simply have to list many. I mentioned some of these in my article, some of these, I mentioned in the special edition of the briefing on Friday, but let's not forget the reason the pro-life movement is one, at least this very important historic strategic victory with other battles, even hotter battles yet to come. The reality is that it wasn't one first and foremost at the Supreme Court. It was one first and foremost on the sidewalks, on the streets in courtrooms, in places where arguments were made, when no one thought they might win, it's impossible to exaggerate just how important the Supreme Court decision on Friday was and is and will be.
But just remember it has opened the door for us to press on to even bigger battles ahead. We have to keep that in mind, but also joyously, we must go.
Thanks for listening to The Briefing.
For more information, go to my website at albertmohler.com. You can follow me on Twitter by go to 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.