The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

It’s Tuesday, March 28th, 2023.

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

Part I

Heartbreak in Nashville: Horrific Tragedy as Shooter Takes the Lives of 3 Children and 3 Adults at the Christian School

We simply have to start with an absolutely heartbreaking story at a Nashville, Tennessee, at a Christian school there known as The Covenant School. An intruder came in, a former student identified as both transgender and at one point as female, at another point also identified as a former student at the school evidently took in very powerful weapons and in a strategic and intentional attack, killed three children, all about age nine and three teachers or administrators at the school. So, so far as we know right now, six dead is victims of this mass shooting and the shooter herself also dead.

Now, we need to say at this point that Nashville law enforcement authorities have been very clear that there is more that they know about this situation than has been yet revealed. The police have openly spoken of a manifesto and of a strategy or plan for the attacks by some media reports. It was actually intended to be attacks at two locations, but nonetheless reduced to one. The shooter was herself killed by police, by law enforcement at the scene.

One of the most basic Christian responsibilities in truth telling is to acknowledge, here is what we know, here is what we don’t know. We also reach a certain point when it comes to certain events where we say, we know this much and we have to talk about it, but in this particular case we can talk about what we do know, but we already know that there is much more to be known and indeed much more to be disclosed perhaps just in the next hours, much less days. But here’s something that we already do know. The heartbreak is simply incalculable, unthinkable and very difficult to even talk about.

We are in this case, looking at the targeting of three children and it appears that the targeting was not just to bring out the deaths of three children, but at least one was targeted with some kind of individual targeting. Again, law enforcement has made some of these points clear, but they’ve also made clear there will be more that will be known rather quickly.

The three adults also, some of them may have been targeted, but we do know that the school itself was a deliberate target and the school, which is based in a very clearly identified evangelical congregation and is itself clearly identified even by its name and certainly by its identity and curriculum as a Christian school, it was attended by the shooter at some point. The school by the way, includes education up to the sixth grade. So even as we know, we will know more and we have been told we may know more rather quickly, here’s at least a summary of what we do know.

The shooter went into the school and killed three children and three adults before police or other law enforcement authorities killed the shooter. Now here’s something else secondly that we know. Early media reports on this mass shooting indicated that the shooter was a female and that was repeatedly mentioned. And of course, that stands out in the news reportage because of the very unusual situation of having a female mass shooter. This is a young person identified as female, also identified as a former student at the school.

But then later yesterday, a third development came up when media reports indicated that the shooter who had been identified as a woman, a young woman in this case, was also identified as claiming some kind of transgender or non-binary identity. By one major press report was claiming both transgender identity and identity as a woman had shifted to non-traditional pronouns and all of a sudden this was a transgender story.

Now, here’s what’s really interesting. The Associated Press long time, the Bellwether press service in the United States formerly called a wire service because the stories were actually conveyed over the wire services over telegraph. That’s why you had the telegraph itself as an early form of the transmission of news. And then wire services meant the stories would be wired even in the age of telephone and digital communications.

The associated press began by reporting that the shooter was a woman, and then shortly thereafter, the story was reissued without any particular gender reference. Now, the LGBTQ issue is just always before us showing the corruption of the language and the fact that it’s virtually impossible to have a conversation if you accept the premise of the LGBTQ Revolution and in particular the T for transgender and the non-binary because we are talking about the fact that the media had begun to make much of the fact that the shooter is a woman only for all of a sudden, the mainstream press committed to the LGBTQ agenda and to frankly making peace with the LGBTQ community that had to come back. But you’ll notice they didn’t come back and report the shooter as a man.

And you have to ask the question why. If indeed you’re looking at the pronouns being indicative and the transgender revolution being entirely authentic, you would think that the press would just switch from woman to man. That would be wrong, but it would be at least somewhat consistent.

But evidently, at least at this point, that’s not what has happened. Now with a little sympathy, you might say, “Well, the press services and major media are trying to figure this out.” There are likely to be any number of implications from what we learn from this horrible development in Nashville, Tennessee.

But as I say at this point, what we know is that there is much more to be known. What we know right now is that the press has made a mess of the story, partly because it’s an incredibly complicated story evidently, but you just have to note that as soon as the LGBTQ issue or that dimension arises in this kind of news story, sadly in one sense, that becomes so much a part of the news story. In this case, it might become a very revelatory part of the news story, not only about the event, but about the press coverage and the culture in all of its confusion, finding itself virtually unable even to talk about this horrible development because we’ve lost the ability to talk in coherent terms about gender.

And this is where Christians have to understand that if you accept a little bit of incoherence on gender, then you have basically accepted the whole mass delusion. There’s no way to try to go back and build a halfway house after you have destroyed the foundation.

But we simply today, just based upon what we know, have to reflect upon the fact that when you are talking about the strategic targeting of a school, you’re talking about something that is just unquestionably just unambiguously evil. And when you talk about the deliberate targeting of young children, that just raises the moral stakes just indicating what’s at stake morally in what is becoming an increasing theme in our society.

But there are unique particularities to this story. We know that already. Our hearts have to go out to those Christians, especially those parents and families and members of the church and of related churches there in the Nashville area.

Sometimes as Christians, we have to put our insatiable desire to understand a situation on hold and just move forward to pray for those because we know it’s the one right thing, always right thing we’re called upon to do.

And in this case, don’t we know that we need to pray?

Part II

Is Reality Dawning in Elite Sports?: World Athletics Council Restrict Transgender Women from Competition as Women

Next, I had already intended to discuss on The Briefing today the fact that the World Athletics Council, which is identified as the governing body for international track and field has decided to bar transgender women athletes from elite competitions for women.

Now, this particular move was not completely unexpected. For one thing, it was increasingly clear to anyone who had eyes to see that allowing those who identify as transgender women and had gone through male puberty to compete with biological females wasn’t fair. And if there’s any one thing that is measurable, it is all of the measurements that are taken into account with fields such as track and field events.

You are looking at something that is immediately measurable and you’re looking at something that just isn’t adding up. It isn’t adding up to fair in any sense. And of course, there are related athletic contexts that are very similar. It’s not just track and field, it’s also aquatic competition and in particular, swimming. But it is certainly very important news that the World Athletics Council has put this into policy, has codified it and has announced the policy, which begins on March the 31st.

Now Juliana Kim reporting for National Public Radio said that the new policy, “largely targets athletes who transitioned from male to female after going through puberty as a male.” Now, one of the complicating issues there, which is why this reporter said that this policy largely targets those who went through male puberty but now identify as female and want to compete as female because testosterone level is also a consideration in this policy.

And there are individuals who given genetic abnormalities, that’s the way it’s reported in the press, genetic conditions, they are in a situation in which you might have someone who is identified as female who has an elevated testosterone level that’s also covered by the policy, but that is not the main issue here of controversy. It is very interesting to note that eventually, something we might call reality wins out.

Now, this is actually a basic principle of the Christian worldview and it comes down to something that I’ve articulated as a principle. The words I use for are these, ontology trumps autonomy.

Now, I first applied that principle, and by the way, that’s a longstanding kind of argument. That’s just a particular way of putting it. And that is to say creation order eventually wins over any ideology. You can say that X is Y, but X is going to show up as X and Y is going to show up as Y. You can say that you accept all the LGBTQ, modern ideologies of the transgender non-binary movement, all the new gender theories, but at the end of the day, our chromosomal order is not bending to your ideology, nor by the way is the body after puberty.

Athletes who undergo puberty in a male body. It’s odd. We have to talk in those terms, but let’s just be abundantly clear. They gain physical advantages over women when it comes to the length of stride, when it comes to upper body strength, when it comes to general height, when it comes to cardiovascular capacity. The fact is that male puberty brings about massive challenges to female competition when it comes to track and field to swimming, to any number of other endeavors.

So here’s what’s also very, very interesting. If you’re talking about buying into the new revolutionary gender ideologies, then you should talk about transitioning either way, right? You should talk about someone who’s biologically male, who identifies as female and someone who is biologically female who identifies as male. But you’ll notice this policy doesn’t address someone who is biologically female identifying as male. There’s a reason for it. And that reason actually doesn’t have anything to do with ideology. It just has to do with statistics.

There is no athletic advantage to someone who is born in a female body to identifying as male because you’re going to have to compete against actual males who given the advantages of male puberty and of the adult male body, when it comes to track and field when it comes to swimming, let’s just say there is no scandal of transgender men identifying as transgender men displacing biological males on the championship podium where the medals are distributed.

It plays the other way only, and that’s why you see the World Athletic Council actually handing down this policy, and that’s why you see National Public Radio saying it largely would cover those who are biologically male identifying as female because the other really isn’t a matter of athletic controversy. Now, something else we as Christians need to recognize is that this controversy is eventually inevitable.

If you’re going to have young men, or you might say those who are young males who are identifying as transgender females and they want to compete as women either in individual competition or on women’s teams, you’re going to have situations such as, of course, the great controversy over a swimmer winning as a “transgender female,” the University of Pennsylvania, who wasn’t placing very highly when in a male body competing against other males.

So again, you can understand why this is now inevitable, but this was the World Athletic Council making this decision. We need to note that the International Olympics Committee is scared to death. They’re basically cowards when it comes to this issue. Sometime back, they just deferred to the individual sports. Well, that really doesn’t solve their problem. And eventually, those individual sports councils are going to have to make very similar decisions.

And already, this is assumed by the way to be something that just makes sense in the sports world and must be an exception to the larger transgender ideology and the establishment of that ideology throughout society. But here’s where Christians had to come back and say, “If this doesn’t make sense on the track, if this doesn’t make sense in the pool, then here’s a clue for you. It doesn’t make sense.”

Before leaving this particular headline news story over the weekend, it is interesting to see the language with which this kind of development is reported. So it’s reported in the mainstream media as a ban on transgender athletes, and we’ll just have to say that’s not exactly wrong. But you also understand this could have been reported simply as a decision to allow only female athletes to compete in female competitions.

So the way these issues are framed in the language that is used, for instance, the Washington Post, and again, NASA public Radio ran stories and at least some in the media are lumping together what they say is this development with other anti-trans actions undertaken by states or by institutions. So again, if this is an anti-trans action that just tells you, that means transgender action, then that just tells you how the mainstream media is absolutely determined to frame this kind of story.

But this is still a very significant development. And anytime reality is affirmed and acknowledged, we ought to at least acknowledge that’s an important thing. Reality, by the way, wins. That’s a basic principle of biology, and again, points to if you want a baby, guess what? You can’t buy the transgender revolution because that way, well certainly doesn’t produce babies.

Part III

The Big Issue Facing the Oldest Population on Earth: Italy Has a Huge Birth Rate Problem

And that then takes us to a third and fourth issue for major consideration today. One of these developments comes from Italy, the other comes from China, and they’re closely related. How are they related? Well, there is one huge problem that is shared by both of those countries, and they are indications of a larger problem that will likely be coming to a country very much like yours and very soon.

We’re talking about Italy. We’re talking about China, and in both cases, the basic problem is not enough babies. In Italy, the problem is that the number of elderly is now growing as a percentage of the population to such an extent that there simply will not be enough caregivers, that’s simple math. There just aren’t going to be enough caregivers. So the New York Times over the weekend ran an article asking bluntly who will take care of Italy’s older people and then answering it, maybe robots.

Now, it’s a very sad story. It’s sad particularly when you consider what this tells us about the culture and the moral state of the Italian culture at this point in which there simply aren’t enough babies and there haven’t been enough babies for a long time. And this isn’t a biological or reproductive problem, it’s a worldview problem. This is where Christians understand fundamentally it’s a theological problem. As societies grow richer and as they secularize, the birth rate begins to plunge.

And this became particularly acute in the second half of the 20th century with the advent of the pill, moderate birth control and all the rest. In Italy, the problem is a scissor maneuver. A radical fall off on birth rates is not enough babies, not even close, and also an increasing number of those who are categorized as the old and now the new category, the extremely old or the very old.

According to some calculations, Italy now has the oldest population on planet Earth. The story begins from Carpi, Italy reported by Jason Horowitz, and he tells us of a facility for the care of the aged where they introduce robots not only to do some menial tasks, but more importantly to keep the residents of this adult care center occupied and to provide companionship.

Now, interestingly enough, the big issue here is, of course, the fall off of the birth rate and the fact that a country like Italy, which after all such a long Roman Catholic heritage that at least theologically should be inclined towards having children in large families. The fact is that this shows that the moral power of Catholicism within Italy has been corroding. It’s been going into retreat now for decades, and it’s showing up in the birth rate.

But you’re also looking at the fact that human beings crave companionship. And if you’re not going to get it from a fellow human being because there just aren’t enough young people even to work in these facilities, then maybe, well, you’ll turn to a robot. But the story’s also very revealing because there are very clear limitations to that theory.

Now, you may know that similar kinds of proposals have been made in another one of the most fast aging populations, and that’s Japan. Japan is also a leader in technology, but in Japan and in this situation in Italy, it’s turning out to be a very mixed experiment because some of the folks in the care center really aren’t buying the companionship from a robot at all, but that is Italy.

Part IV

The Scandal of Gendercide: China’s Missing Baby Girls and Rising ‘Bride Prices’

The other country, as I said, is China. And there again, the problem is not enough babies for a very long time, but in a darker twist, it’s not just not enough babies for a very long time, it is in particular, not enough girl babies in a very long time.

Years ago, I wrote an article in the problem known as China’s Broken Branches. Now, think of family tree. That’s what the broken branches mean. China’s notorious one-child policy undertaken in the 1970s meant that the communist authorities in China made as a matter of national policy, the limitation of one child per family.

And they backed that up with forced contraception, with forced abortion, and in some cases with what we know is documented infanticide, which is the killing of infants. But in this case, the big issue is that when it came to contraception, abortion, and to infanticide, there was a disproportionate pattern between baby boys and baby girls.

Now, throughout human cultures, there’s been a preference, at least for the first child, for a boy, and a lot of that had to do with primogeniture, which is the old principle by which the firstborn son would inherit from the father. But even beyond that, the big issue comes down to, especially in the East in Asian cultures, a radical preference for sons over daughters. And the reason there is status and economics.

In status, having a son, it brought about greater status gain than having a daughter. But there’s also the economic factor. You put all of that together and there was a radical preference for boy babies at a time when there was also government coercion, including contraception and abortion and infanticide and all that together means that there are tens of millions of missing girls and young women in China, not a few, tens of millions.

So thus, the full page in the print edition report, again in the New York Times, the headline, “In China, a surplus of single men means bride prices are up.” And so this is a reference to an old Chinese custom of a bride price, but in this case, it’s basically become something like an auction.

There are so few women for so many men. There are so many young men who will never have a hope of being married. There are so many men who will never have a family. They’ll never know what it means to be a husband. They will never know what it means to be a father. And that is a direct result, not of some kind of natural development, but of one of the most perverse anti-human policies undertaken by any government at any time in human history. And China is now reaping the results of that horrifying policy.

The Times report acknowledges, and I quote, during the four decades of the on- child policy, parents often preferred sons, resulting in a lopsided gender ratio that has intensified competition for wives. I go on, “The imbalances most pronounced in rural areas where there are now 19 million more men than women. Many rural women prefer to marry men in cities to obtain an urban household registration permit, which provides access to better schools, housing, and healthcare.”

That is to say that these women and their families are now in the relatively stronger position economically and culturally of saying, “Look, there are many, many men who want a wife. If you want this wife, given the old cultural practices of China, it’s going to cost you. And it’s going to cost you not only in terms of the bride price, it’s also going to cost you in that women are now in the position of having the option of saying, ‘I’m only going to marry if it means I advance socially and economically.'”

And in the countryside, that’s making the problem worse because so many of these women say, “I’m going to marry a man from the city who will take me to the city.”

Part V

‘The Silly Old Bear Becomes a Resistance Icon’: China’s Communist Party Tries to Cancel Winnie the Pooh

But finally, while we’re talking about issues of controversy with the Chinese Communist Party, I’m going to end by making reference to a current controversy, which has to do with the cancellation in China of Winnie the Pooh. A. A. Milne’s famed character is now by the way out of copyright given its age, and thus, even as there are products about Winnie the Pooh that continue under copyright, it is evidently possible for there to be new products that aren’t authorized by anyone.

And one of them is something of a horror movie that has been shown in Hong Kong and Macau. It is known as “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.” Now, from what I understand, it’s an absolutely horrible film. Nobody should see it. No one should want to see it. And it may be that no one is going to see it, particularly in areas of Chinese control because the Chinese Communist Party has basically made the movie disappear.

And why are we talking about this you say and what does it have to do with Winnie the Pooh and the Communist Party? Well, it is because in the last several years, someone put together a meme making fun, mocking Xi Jinping, the president of China, and the chairman of China’s communist party, precisely because when he walks in profile, he looks like, wait for it, Winnie the Pooh.

In the digital media age, people can jump all over this. A picture of Xi Jinping along with then U.S. President Barack Obama became a cartoon figure in which you had Winnie the Pooh standing next to Tigger. Another encounter between Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader and Japan’s prime minister. It evoked as National Public Radio says, an image of Pooh and Eeyore, the eternally glum donkey. We are then told the Chinese authorities response was to ban most images of Pooh. This made the silly old bear into a resistance icon.

Now in the United States, you can come up with just about any meme you want against a political leader, and it is protected by the First Amendment. And furthermore, an American political leader who acts as if he’s too outraged about that is likely to lose face because he’ll look too thin-skinned. But in China, this is how autocrats work. And it’s also in Russia where toilet brushes have become symbols of resistance because after all, it was reported that Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia in one of his Black Sea homes, was found to have a toilet brush that cost $619. That better be one good toilet brush.

There are all kinds of ways a regime can reveal its own character. In this case, this Chinese communist regime has revealed its character by banning Winnie the Pooh.

But with the tip of the hat to the old bear himself, I simply say, if you’re intimidated by Winnie the Pooh, well, oh bother. Shame on you.

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 Washington D.C., and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me using the contact form. Follow regular updates on Twitter at @albertmohler.

Subscribe via email for daily Briefings and more (unsubscribe at any time).