The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Friday, February 10, 2023

It’s Friday, February 10th, 2023.

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

Part I

Friendly Fire? How Big Business Is Subverting the Family

Christians are very aware of the fact that there is a concerted effort to subvert the family, to redefine marriage, to redefine the relationships between parents and children. And indeed, as we’re looking at the unfolding and unwinding of the moral revolution around us, we recognize that at least virtually nothing untouched. And of course we look at other developments on the left including identity politics, extreme ideologies, but here’s what we need to note. There is subversion from the family that is not coming from the left. Indeed, arguably by some definitions it is coming from the right. Now, I want to be clear, these sources are not conservative, but they are on the right side of the political equation. Indeed, I think even many conservatives, including Christian conservatives, would say that at least some of these organizations and institutions are actually conservative, but they’re not trying to conserve marriage.

Indeed, what we need to note is that we are now looking at a significant fracture in what had been at least referred to as the conservative coalition of the last say 60 or 70 years. When you look at the rise of the conservative movement in the United States, particularly in the 1950s and beyond, there were three basic components. There was big business, corporate interest on the one hand, and then there were libertarians who had a basic instinct towards small government and a very clear resistance to big government. And then there were also traditional conservatives and in with those traditional conservatives, no coincidence were the Christian conservatives, religious conservatives because after all, it is Christianity that is the main tradition that conserves in terms of Western civilization. Now the joining together of those three different parts of what became the modern conservative movement and the combination of them is often referred to in the history of conservatism as fusionism, the fusion of corporate interests and free marketers on the one hand, and then of course moral libertarians and small government conservatives and then traditionalist conservatives, and that’s where we come in.

By we, I mean conservative Christians who are genuinely conservative because we understand the imperative of conserving the permanent things that have to be respected and have to be protected and have to be conserved and preserved if there is to be any flourishing human life and much less human community. And at the center of what must be conserved is the institution of marriage by God’s creation and then by extension from marriage, the family, and from extension of the family to the neighborhood. Now the fusion that marked the modern conservative movement is coming apart and one of the reasons that’s coming apart is because the libertarians and the traditional conservatives are increasingly at odds over big issues. You want to ask why? We’ll just figure it out. LGBTQ, abortion. If you are a libertarian, at least some libertarians will make arguments pro-gay marriage or pro LGBTQ activism and at least some will resist any laws that would conscribe or prohibit certain behaviors including abortion.

Not all, but some. For one thing, when it comes to libertarianism, it really does matter whether or not you consider a person a person. But nonetheless, there is now stress between traditional conservatives, mostly Christian conservatives and libertarians, but there is now also stress between real conservatives who are trying to conserve the permanent things and first principles and corporate America. Now one problem is what we call woke capitalism, and that is the fact that so many corporations are actually joining the ideological revolutionaries and we’ll discuss that. We have made reference to it before, even in recent days on The Briefing, but that’s not my main concern today.

My main concern today is just big business that doesn’t even think itself woke because in the modern context, big business and many of those who are the ideological patrons of big business and those who are the political supporters of big business, well, we at least need to note that big business these days in many ways is a major force that is weakening the family, if not tearing the family apart, and certainly separating couples when you think of husbands and wives from each other for the majority of the day, and also when it comes to children and the decreasing amount of time working parents spend with their children.

But all of this really comes to light in an article that appeared in the print edition of USA Today yesterday, and it’s on the business section. It’s so important yet I think most people will miss the worldview significance here. Alia Wong is the reporter. The headline is this, “Report: Poor Childcare Hits Economy Hard,” really interesting headline. What’s going on here? Well, the reporter tells us of a recent analysis and report by a group known as Ready Nation, a coalition we are told of business leaders and the report they have just released indicates that there is huge economic loss in the United States. They quantify it, and that’s to 122 billion dollars each year in lost earnings, productivity and revenue. And what are they blaming for this massive hundred billion dollar loss of productivity? The fact that many parents are not as adequately deployed in the workforce as they should be.

And the question is why? And the answer is children. And what this article is really arguing is that our economic woes would be considerably alleviated and we could stop just leaving economic gains on the table, so to speak, if we had an adequate childcare system so that both parents, all parents could work during the day and there will be someone else taking care of the children and thus the nation would reap economic gains. I just want us to consider what we’re looking at here. In Christian worldview significance, we have to look very carefully when arguments like this are made and we need to ask who’s making the argument? And this is a coalition of big business, and there’s a history to this kind of argument. As a matter of fact, if you were to go back to say America in the 1950s, the argument that was made then was about a division of labor.

And by the way, that division of labor argument would go all the way back into the Old Testament. The division of labor is this, someone’s got to work in the field, someone has to work in the house in order for children to be raised, in order for the family to be fed, but also in order for the ground to be cultivated and the harvest to be reaped, there has to be a division of labor. And throughout time that division of labor has ended up in a pretty clear direction. In the domestic arena, women have largely been in charge and that has largely been a female domain, so to speak. And then in the vocational side, it has largely been men. And by vocation, we’re not just talking about professions, doctors and lawyers and airline pilots, we’re talking about people who work in agriculture in trades and crafts.

We’re just talking about the division of labor that makes the world make sense as you look backwards, at least until the rise of the factory in the industrial revolution. Fast-forward after the industrial revolution to the industrial age, and you have figures such as Henry Ford, of course, the founder of the giant Ford Motor Corporation. And by the way, his economic contributions and corporate philosophy were so well articulated and so clear at the time, love them or not, his philosophy was basically referred to as Fordism. That was a language basically used by the left to rejecting it. But nonetheless, Henry Ford was one of those pioneers of American big business who said, “Look, we need to pay the man of the house a family wage that would be able to sustain his family, and then we need to understand the division of labor and we need to understand the family as an economic unit.”

Now that was so important that where you saw major American factories and factory towns and mill towns of the industrial revolution, you also found family housing. You go to the sites of these vast factories and industrial installations and what you see are house after house, after house, after house, worker houses. But it was not just for say single men, it was rather for single families and sometimes even extended family. The point is it was a family and there was a division of labor.

But especially after World War II, two things happened. One of them was feminism, but that turns out not to be most important at this stage. What is most important at this stage is that you have some of the titans of American industry who say, “We’re only employing about half of the human workforce that is available to us. We would have a far larger economy and we would reap vast economic gains if we were able to say radically increase our workforce in the industrial age and now in the post-industrial age. And that means it would be a good thing for America if wives as well as husbands, women as well as men were fully deployed in the workforce.”

A figure known as Alex Kievoni identified as a “prominent early childhood education advocate from Connecticut” in response to the argument of this report said, “The nation’s economy rests on the shoulders of early care and education teachers and the system that they’re in is on the brink of collapse. When parents can’t find childcare, they can’t work. It’s really simple, and when they can’t work, families and businesses suffer. Building a better childcare system is the best opportunity to unlock the power of our nation’s economy.” So again, worldview analysis here, let’s just look at it. Some worldview produces that kind of argument. The argument is the great good that we must point ourselves to and make our central priority is economic growth.

In order to get more economic growth, we need to get more people into the workforce. But there are problems in getting more people into the workforce, and one of the problems are those little people who after all need a great deal of care. Now, one of the things we need to note, this is just a historical footnote of significance. Much of the rise in schooling and certainly in taking schooling into younger ages was precisely for this reason. Childcare advocates were arguing, look, children would be better off on the welfare of those who are trained professionals, put them in the schools even if at that point they’re not really ready for the kind of learning of older grades, at least you get them into school. And the argument was you can get them in a cycle of learning and you can put them in a socialization context.

No doubt you’ve heard many reasons why people suggest children at younger and younger ages should be put into the schooling context because after all, that would free up their parents for other activities and in particular when it comes to the two parent family, both of the adults being fully and consistently deployed in the workforce and from the earliest moment possible and then continuously throughout life. So what we’re looking at here is a massive revolution in human life and furthermore, it’s very complex. I’m not even discussing today whether or not men and women should have an equal opportunity to work. That’s another conversation. Whether or not it is right or wrong in all situations for a mom to be in the workforce, that’s not even the discussion. The discussion here is the cultural imperative that now shapes our nation, particularly driven by big business to try to get as many adults into the workforce as possible without concern for children.

Instead, as you see in this report and in this front page business section article in USA Today, the concern is not children, the concern is childcare. And look, American policy makers love quantification and this article offers quantification, but I want to read to you several lines and I just ask you to let this sink in. Just understand the argument that is without any embarrassment being made here as if this makes absolutely perfect sense. I quote, “All in all, parents of infants and toddlers lose 78 billion dollars annually in foregone earnings and job search expenses thanks to insufficient childcare. This is bad,” says the report, “For those infants and toddlers too.” “Beyond its impact on the workforce and economy today.” Then this is a direct quote from the report, “The infant toddler childcare crisis damages the future workforce by depriving children of nurturing, stimulating environments that support healthy brain development while their parents work.”

Now, I just have to be honest, this sounds like something right out of Aldous Huxley or George Orwell in the dystopian novels of the 20th century. This sounds just like the kind of argument we heard in the Soviet Union where we were told that children would be advantaged by taken out of the context of the home and put into childhood cultivation centers. Now look, there are many reasons why any number of people are in the workforce. There are any number of reasons why this is a complicated conversation when it comes to any given marriage, any given couple in any given family for that matter. But we do need to note that there is a very clear ideology behind this argument and the ideology is, look, children are an economic problem because they take so much time away from parents who could otherwise be working and especially when you have at least one parent having to be at home and remember this report itself zeroes in on infants and toddlers so we know exactly who they’re talking about, those needy little creatures who are taking up so much time.

Let’s come up with an institutional setting, and let’s call it very high quality, and let’s just rationalize this so that it’s for the education and stimulation of this child who might not be educated and not stimulated in the home environment with a parent and let’s just argue and make clear to ourselves that this is a better situation, and it has to be a better situation given the modern industrial and post-industrial age, than anything that could be reduced to a family with a traditional division of labor. Now, again, I am not saying that the Christian worldview mandates one particular model of how parents understand this responsibility. I am saying this, when you imply that someone, and this means of course a professional and understand how ideology now shapes all these professions, when we are told that professionals can do better than parents when it comes to the raising of children and explicitly the children who are mentioned are infants and toddlers, well, folks, we have a very big problem and that big problem in this case is not primarily coming from the ideological left.

This problem is coming on the money page in the financial section of a major newspaper and it’s coming from a coalition of business interests. It is not coming from Pravda and the old communist party in the Soviet Union. Now, I want to be very clear, there is a leftist ideology ready to take advantage of this and in particular to be in charge of the childcare programs as they’re largely in charge of educational programs and the country at this point. So they are there, but this argument is not emerging from the left. The argument is emerging from big American business. When it comes to defending the first principles, when it comes to defending the permanent things, when it comes to defending marriage and the family and parenthood, well, it turns out that we are looking at challenges that go far beyond just the ideological left.

There are problems coming from other sectors of our society as well and in many cases forces even closer at hand.

Part II

Are the Pizzas Here Yet?: 6-Year-Old Uses Dad’s Phone to Order $1000 Worth of Food from Grubhub

But just before turning to questions, I want to talk about a headline news story that has to do with a father and a son, thus the family and children.

A six-year-old boy in this case and big businesses involved too and in a very strange way, as Andrea Salcedo of The Washington Post explains, it turns out that the young boy is Mason Stonehouse and his father is Keith Stonehouse, and at a certain point in a certain evening, Keith Stonehouse had to put two and two together. What was he having to deal with? Well, it was a flurry of text messages that were informing him that a massive number of food takeout orders were about to be delivered to his home.

It was on a Saturday night and with Keith Stonehouse started getting all these texts saying, “Your order is being prepared. Your order has been delivered.” Well, according to the report, he had only one suspect and that suspect was in his house, age six. It turns out that the boy, and I’m reading the report from The Washington Post here, “Had placed about $1,000 worth of GrubHub orders from several local restaurants when his father let him use his phone to play a game before bedtime.” Now, the father, who was the only parent at home when this happened, went in to confront the boy about the more than thousand dollars worth of GrubHub orders, and he asked the boy, “Why did you do this?” And his son who was hiding under the comforter on the bed said, “I don’t know, I was hungry.” Now, clearly we have here a father who has got to deal with his son, but he also had to deal with, well, an awful lot of pizza and everything else that was arriving at his house.

By the way, when the boy was confronted with the misdeed, his first question was to ask if the pizzas had arrived. I don’t think the father was too pleased by that. It turned out that at least part of the order was turned down by the bank because evidently the bank’s computers were perplexed by an instant $439 order of pepperoni pizzas. Well, to make a long story short, the family had a lot of food they had not expected and ate a lot of it, including several as leftovers, but you know who didn’t get any of the food? Mason. The morning after all the food had been ordered and some of it had arrived, they had a real talk with Mason, according to the report. They showed him the bill. It was something they itemized one by one. According to the report, “He was a little devastated, but he understood.” He had $150 in his piggy bank, and guess what?

That entire $150 had to go towards paying the food bill and he didn’t get to enjoy the food because as his father said, “We didn’t want to glorify this to him. This is not a funny thing.” According to The Washington Post, the boy recently asked his father, “Do I have to start my piggy bank all over again?” And his father said, “Yes, Mason. Sometimes in life when you make a mistake, you have to start all over.” Now let’s just be pleased. This sounds like a father doing what a father’s supposed to do. It sounds like a six-year-old boy armed with a smartphone doing what? Well, he just might do.

And the only real problem with this story, which of course has its own charm to it, is that even talking about this story makes me hungry.

Part III

Our 6-Year-Old Daughter Wants to Be a Boy When She Plays Pretend. Is This a Cause for Concern? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Next we turn to questions.

One question came from a homeschooling family from the dad, and the message comes just this way. “We’re a homeschooling family that, generally speaking, are able to keep our children away from woke ideology, specifically questioning gender. However, I have a six-year-old girl that wants to do boy things.” And he mentions what some of those were in play. “Recently, she’s asked her siblings to call her bro and taken on a male persona while playing pretend. We’re a conservative family that affirms the biblical gender perspective.” So he’s basically asking as he goes on, “How do I deal with this?”

Well, one of the things I want to say to this dad is number one, you have the support of other Christian parents in understanding the scale of this challenge. On the other hand, you are talking about a very young child and young children experiment with all kinds of things. Needless to say, even GrubHub. I think one of the most important issues here, and you raise this by the way you asked a question, is that you and your family, you have the parents and also the siblings of this child obviously love the child, but can’t affirm an opposite gender or a gender confusion. That’s the step too far is affirming it.

And in this case, we can simply hope that in a period of some kind of experimentation and maybe this child is simply very, very upset about being left out of the play with the boys or something like that. The reality is you don’t know exactly what you’re dealing with yet, but it’s also a reality that if you look at just the history of childhood, there is evidence especially among children of your daughter’s age of an awful lot of play and pretend and also a bit of just trying things out and trying to figure out who they are. I think the very fact that you have the right convictions and obviously you are a close family and the fact that you will love your daughter as a daughter and remind her she is a daughter, I think all of that is likely to go a long way.

I think as you look in contrast, what you see coming from the gender ideologues is the fact that the parent should instantly just affirm whatever identity or experimentation a child is undergoing and go along with it. We just have to wonder, by the way, if that doesn’t explain, in fact wonder’s an understatement, that social contagion now, especially among girls, marks so many so-called outbreaks of say gender confusion or transgender identity and activism.

My encouragement would simply be to love her, to affirm her as a girl and just not under any circumstances to play along as if she’s anything else. And it just might be that at that age that’s exactly what it is, kind of a form of play and experimentation, and as I say, that is a very widespread, fairly common pattern throughout the history of childhood. That too is probably a good thing to keep in mind.

Part IV

How Can Christians or Conservatives Argue Consistently for Freedom of Religion While Also Condemning Satanism? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

An interesting question came from Deanna asking, “How can Christians and conservatives argued consistently for freedom of religion while also condemning Satanism?”

The statement, the question continues, “It is not as though other religions honor the true God either.” Well, Deanna, good question. I think one of the things we need to differentiate here is that we are not saying, even as we condemn satanism that, we’re calling upon law enforcement officials to shut it down, and that includes what we saw at the Grammy Awards last Sunday night.

What we are saying is that we have to make a theological judgment and we also have to make a moral and commercial judgment when it comes to this kind of product, this kind of entertainment, the cultural messaging that is being sent and even the corporations that are sponsoring it and paying for it. So I do believe in religious liberty because that is essential, I think, to our own liberty to preach the gospel, but we do not believe in religious liberty to the extent that it implies much less mandates that we believe that all religions are equally true, that all religious true claims are equally valid, and when it comes to satanism, we also have to understand that not everything that someone might do in the name of religion is constitutionally protected.

The last thing to say about this question is that undoubtedly in our age of theological confusion and also constitutional argumentation, some of these questions, at least in the courts, remain to be finally settled.

Part V

Should European Muslims Make a Common Alliance with European Christians to Defend Conservative, Family-Oriented, Sexual Mores? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

I especially appreciated a question sent in by a man who identifies as a Sunni Muslim. And he is in Europe, and he’s appalled by, as he says, the rampant sexual degeneracy LGBTQ movement, godlessness and contempt for conservative values which is present now in Europe. And he goes on to say, including Eastern Europe.

He then asked straightforwardly, “Will it be fanciful on the part of European Muslims to make a common alliance with European Christians to defend conservative family-oriented sexual morays?” He then goes on to say, “I don’t see Christians in continental Europe interested at all in the revival of biblical values.” Well, I deeply appreciate the question. It’s an important question, and by the way, it does point to something very significant on the moral horizon and also on the cultural horizon, and that is this.

Increasingly, the great divide in the world is going to be between modern secularists and religious believers. That’s just the way it’s going to fall out. We see it already in the United States. Just consider the fact that even though the theological differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants on the one hand and just say across a far larger divide, think of Mormons and Orthodox Jews and indeed Muslims, at least in some parts of the United States, there is a commonality of worldview when it comes even to the objectivity of truth and to the centrality of marriage, and fundamentally, by the way, resistance to subverting marriage in the family. There are areas of vast agreement when it comes to many of those judgments. It is difficult to imagine how some kind of super platform of theists could be put in place in order to achieve some kind of shared political strategy because the differences nonetheless are still very great.

But nonetheless, I think you’re onto something, and I want to say, by the way, again, thanks for writing us on, but I want to say that I think you’re going to see a commonality of voting patterns. You’re going to see a commonality of arguments in many cases. You’re going to see a commonality of the demonstration of the strength of family and community, and you’re going to see a commonality in the claim that all of this is based upon revelation and objective truth, not just some kind of human social evolution and negotiated moral judgment. I think there is going to be that commonality. The last thing that Hassan mentioned, he says he doesn’t see many Christians in Europe as all that concerned about these issues. Well, unfortunately, when it comes to especially much of the institutionalized Christianity in Europe, well, you are not looking at very convictional forms of Christianity, and in many cases you’re looking at very lukewarmly, odyssey, and theologically compromised systems.

But that’s not always the case. As you’re looking at Christians in many societies, I think it just might take some time for many Christians to understand that the time for concerted effort in addressing these things has certainly come. They are beyond doubt in a context in which they can tell us just what the consequences of advanced secularism look like.

Part VI

How Do We Fight CRT Depicted in Children’s Entertainment? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Next, I really appreciated a question from Cindy about critical race theory, CRT.

She asked this, “How should Christians respond to the issue of CRT, especially when it appears in cartoon form on The Proud Family? That’s a program on Disney.” Now, she goes on to say, “The obvious answer is not to watch the show or support Disney. However, how do we fight this?” Well, that’s a good question, and I will say, Cindy, part of what we need to do is call them out.

That’s exactly what you’re doing, and I thought it was such a good idea. I decided to use your question in order also to call out Disney on this. And yes, it was a cartoon endorsement of and presentation of a form of critical race theory or CRT. Now, at one point, at one level, it’s kind of helpful and sometimes the enemy does this. The enemy gives us something and says, “Okay, here’s something you have to look at, you have to respond to, you have to think about,” and that can actually sharpen our arguments, and it turns out, by the way, perhaps to be a good conversation for you to have with your children.

But on the other hand, as you’re looking at this kind of depiction, you need to understand that woke capitalism is trying to get away with as much as it possibly can, and I think at this point, companies like Disney have at least based their business plan on the idea that there aren’t enough concerned Christians in the United States to hurt them where it counts in the bottom line. I guess time will tell not only about Disney, but about conservative Christians in America.

Part VII

Since Jesus Was Born as a Man, Does This Mean God’s Gender is Male? — Dr. Mohler Responds to a Letter from a 9-Year-Old Listener of The Briefing

Finally, a question from a nine-year-old boy, Braxton. He asked, “Hi, Dr. Mohler. Since Jesus is God and he came to Earth and was born as a man, does this mean God’s gender is male?”

Well, Braxton, no, God’s gender is not male because the Father does not have a gender in the sense of having a body. Jesus did. That’s the great miracle the fact that Jesus came and became just like us. Now, Jesus’ gender is male. There’s no question about that. That is absolutely clear in the biblical record, but nonetheless, as we’re speaking about the Father, the reason it’s wrong to talk about gender in the same way we talk about the Son is because God doesn’t have a body, and so therefore he is not male or female in that sense. But that’s not to say that God doesn’t have a gender in one sense, in a different way because he names himself in Scripture and over and over again, he names himself as Father.

Now He makes clear He is more than just a human father. We understand that, but nonetheless, it is God, the Father Almighty, who we pray to. It is the Father. And it’s not a heavenly mother in this case. And so I hope this makes sense. Frankly, I just want you to know grownup theologians have to spend a lot of time trying to work hard to figure out how to say this kind of thing just right. And I think as we try to say it just right, we need to say that God, the Father, is beyond gender, but he has revealed himself to us as God the Father.

Braxton, thanks for the question, and keep thinking. And the good news is that we don’t have to just come up with an answer that makes sense to us because we’re Christians. We’re going to try to find the answer right in the Bible.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can call me on Twitter by go into For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’m speaking to you from Fort Worth, Texas, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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