The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Monday, August 7, 2023

It is Monday, August 7, 2023.

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

Part I

Sell Us Beverages, Not the LGBTQ Revolution? Bud Light Tells of Survey Results As It Distances Itself from Fallout of Failed Marketing Campaign with Dylan Mulvaney

One of the realities of our current period is that we end up talking about things we otherwise wouldn’t talk about. We’re surprised by the things that all of a sudden leap into the public consciousness, into the headlines on social media into vast public controversy. Just say Bud Light.

Look over the last several weeks, and especially with Pride Month in June, and it was just one thing after another. In one sense, it really began to snowball with Target and with Target’s nearly unspeakable special section of Pride materials that quite frankly went so far over the line that the company took some time just to even get its footing to try to recover in public relations. But then there was Anheuser-Busch InBev and Bud Light.

Bud Light had been slipping in terms of its sales. That has a lot to do with changes in the larger American market and changes in the demographics related to age and ethnicity. But Bud Light decided it would try to make itself relevant to a younger constituency and ended up, well, to put it lightly, setting itself on fire. It basically ruined its own brand.

Now, at this point, let’s be very clear, just in crass capitalist terms, Bud Light is not worth nothing. It is likely worth billions of dollars. But in this economy, in order to have the attention of investors and in order to maintain traction in the economy, you not only have to hold your own place in terms of sales, you have to grow. Now, when you look at a vast corporation like InBev, the ways that it can grow come down basically to two.

You can either grow by selling new products you haven’t sold before to people you haven’t sold them to before, or you have to rejuvenate a brand and somehow gain some traction or regain some lost ground. Now, to be very clear, the second is always harder than the first. It’s easier, in one sense, to develop a new constituency or a new market than it is to try to enliven an old market that’s gone stale. And when it comes to Bud Light, the fact is that Bud Light blew itself up by trying to message itself with a transgender, non-binary celebrity named Dylan Mulvaney, and it just blew up in every way possible. For the company, it blew up, first of all, with its constituency, which isn’t just in terms of demographic reality. Before we get to the morality, just in terms of demographics, the Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light constituency is not a Dylan Mulvaney constituency. If you haven’t figured that out, well, you probably need to go work for Bud Light.

But nonetheless, it’s a bigger problem than that because the company then decided to go ahead and offend just about everybody. So it offended the right—that is cultural and moral conservatives—but you don’t have to be very conservative, in this case, to be offended its own customer base. Then it offended Dylan Mulvaney, who, after all, is a so-called transgender celebrity. Then they decided to go on and offend just about everybody from the stock market in the investment community, to the advertising culture, you name it. Bud Light seemed to want to offend everyone at once. Nonetheless, right now, weeks after the story first broke in terms of Pride Month and all the rest, now Bud Light’s back on the front page of the financial sections. It’s back in a lot of financial speculation.

Last Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, which is the nation’s most influential business periodical, in its business and finance section front page ran an article, “Bud Light Boycott Eats into Anheuser Share.” Now this refers to the parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is identified here as the world’s largest brewer. Its US sales, not just Bud Light, but its total US Sales is down “following a promotion it did with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.” The Wall Street Journal article continued, “AB InBev also defended Bud Light saying a large survey it commissioned of US consumers during the quarter shows the brand is still viewed favorably and that people just want it to stick to selling beer.” Now, I want you to note in moral terms, in terms of how our culture works, what’s going on there.

First of all, it’s unlikely that investors are going to be reassured that a major beverage company says that one of its brands is still strong because a survey said it was. When you’re looking at the investment community, they’re not interested in surveys, they’re interested in sales. But the other issue here is even more important, the end of that paragraph says that the survey indicated that “the brand is still viewed favorably and that people just want it to stick to selling beer.” So what’s going on there? Well, let’s just state the obvious, what they discovered in terms of the Dylan Mulvaney controversy is that people want the company to stick to selling beer.

Now, as a Baptist and a non-beer drinker, I don’t have any particular stake in this, but as a Christian trying to understand the culture, I’ve got a big stake in all of this. You’ll notice that what’s going on here is that the company is using this survey to say that its customers just want the beer company and the beer brand to stick to beer. Now, you say, “Why is that important?” Well, it’s because the company is going to use this to say, “Look, we’re not taking a moral stand in this. We’re not taking a moral stand to back off of the LGBTQ issue, stand down LGBTQ employees, stand down LGBTQ activists, we are just reporting to you what the survey said.” So that’s the way this kind of cultural combat is now fought.

This isn’t a very strong play by Bud Light. Now remember that this is a big beverage conglomerate that is now based in Europe, and the CEO is Michel Doukeris and he said, “People do not want to enjoy their beer with a debate, they want beer to be simple, beer to be for everyone, and beer to be enjoyable as they share it with family and friends.” So there you have the Europe-based CEO explaining, “Look, we did a survey, and guess what we found? We found that people want beer to be, now wait, hold for it, beer. They don’t want it to be a major moral statement, and they certainly don’t want to drink to the transgender revolution just when they go to pick up a six-pack.” Now, again, I don’t drink beer. I have no stake in this company, but the point is, this company seems to be apologizing in every way possible for discovering what would otherwise be known as reality.

Now, it’s also interesting that the very same section of the very same newspaper ran an article just the day before with the headline, “Bud Light Boycott Can’t Douse Anheuser-Busch InBev.” And this particular article tends to downplay the response to Bud Light, but basically not by trying to salvage Bud Light, but just saying, “Look, this is a much bigger company. And in terms of its other brands, some of the brands that compete with Bud Light, the company is doing fairly well.”

Nonetheless, we are told “at its lows in late May, AB InBev stock was down around 20% from the end of March, but it has since recovered some of its ground and the shares were up more than 1% on Thursday.” So, looking for another big lesson in terms of how the culture works and how the economy demonstrates moral concerns, people tend to move on from controversy, that’s just what business is counting on. You look at this, you look at the controversy that was faced by Bud Light, the controversy it inflicted on itself, it did cost the company not just millions but billions of dollars. And yet the company is saying, “We can recover at least part of this.” Now, the company is also just trying to say, “This brand is not dead.” Now remember, the brand was in trouble before this.

They actually tried this kind of effort with Dylan Mulvaney, identified as a transgender, non-binary, social media influencer, in order to try to gain a younger market. But here’s another thing that’s interesting, when it comes to demographics, the younger constituency isn’t drinking beer in general the same way that an older constituency did. And when it comes to brands, well, one of the points made by younger consumers is that they are not older consumers, they have different buying habits. Enticing them now to go to Bud Light is likely to be an enormous challenge no matter your confidence in marketing. But then the day before, the Wall Street Journal, the very same paper, ran yet another article on the same issue. So we’re talking about Thursday and Friday and Saturday.

This headline “Bud Light Struggles Cast Pall Over Its Summer Ad Campaign.” Katie Deighton is the reporter in this case. Here’s what’s reported, “Bud Light has continued losing ground with consumers during a busy season for the beer industry even as the brand runs its biggest yet summer advertising campaign.” So how are they trying to push Bud Light now? This tells us something. It tells us how much ground they lost. Now get this, this is the Wall Street Journal, this is a newspaper that in the business section is not trying to render any kind of moral judgment, it’s not even, in this case, trying to point to any overarching cultural trend, but, boy, does it tell us something interesting.

The same period last year, Bud Light ran ads 32 times on national television. Now that’s an easy-to-understand number, 32—not 31, not 33, 32. But in the same period due to this problem between June 1 and June 30th this year, the brand ran television ads 3,400 times. From 32 to 3,400—do you think someone got their attention?

This article also tells us how the company is trying to get over the embarrassment about its transgender social media star controversy. Get this, “In the current ad campaign promoting Bud Light, the company is working hard to portray a sunnier image. The comic effort, an extension of the Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy theme Bud Light introduced during the Super Bowl features beer drinkers confronting summertime mishaps such as falling out of a hammock and burning bare feet on sun-scorched asphalt, but enjoying Bud Light with ease.”

Yeah, that’s what they’re doing now. “Transgender, non-binary, who would’ve ever thought we would’ve had anything to do with that? That is so yesterday. Now we’re about falling out of hammocks and burning tender feet on hot asphalt.”

Why are we giving this so much attention? It is because this is a really big story. And in so many different ways, at so many different levels, it tells us how culture works. First of all, it tells us that people trying to sell stuff primarily want to sell stuff. They primarily want you to buy stuff. When it comes to beer, again, I’m not a consumer, I don’t have a stake in this company, I do have a stake in the culture, I do have a stake in terms of the moral conditions of the culture, and we all should have an interest in seeing how a company’s trying to respond to this controversy by talking about anything other than the controversy and just by trying to move on.

A couple of issues for us to watch as we look to the future. Now, here’s an interesting one. How’s the LGBTQ community, inside the company and outside the company, how’s it going to respond to this? My guess is this isn’t going to go over well because those constituencies want these brands to become moral advertisers for the sexual and transgender revolution. On the other hand, will an older established constituency, the constituency offended by the Dylan Mulvaney incident, will it migrate back to the company? I think there are big questions raised in both of these dimensions. It’s going to be interesting to see how this moves in the future. But again, you just have to think about those numbers, 32 national television advertisements the same period this year, 3,400 this year. I think somebody got this brand’s attention.

Part II

A Tragic Parable of the Decline of Marriage In Canada: The Trudeaus Announce Separation

But next we turn to an even bigger moral issue, and this has to do with the survival of marriage. First of all, marriage is an institution, and then secondly, even one particular marriage because every single marriage is important and should be important to all of us. Sad news coming out of Canada is that Canada’s premiere, its Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie, have announced a permanent separation. This is big news and basically it appears to be the announcement of something that’s going to eventuate in divorce.

The couple’s been married for several years. They’ve been, of course, the first couple there in Canada, very central to Canada’s political culture. Justin Trudeau is head of the Liberal Party and he is, in just about every way imaginable, a liberal certainly on social issues. Under his leadership, the LGBTQ Revolution—not only that, but assisted suicide and euthanasia, issues like that—have just been promoted with tremendous energy. Justin Trudeau came by his moral liberalism honestly. His father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau was Canada’s prime minister, another liberal, from 1968 to 1979. And then very quickly again from 1980 to 1984.

Pierre Trudeau was the playboy of the Western world. He was often referred to as the Canadian Kennedy. They divorced during his term in office, was known for extramarital affairs, including some with Hollywood entertainment figures. But nonetheless, Pierre Elliot Trudeau established a dynasty there in Canada. His son came along and basically has built on that dynasty. Very sadly, indeed, tragically. You have the second-generation Trudeau’s Prime Minister also divorcing, this time with three children, the oldest in the family being 15.

We are told that Mrs. Trudeau will be moving out, indeed, has moved out of the official residence, and the children will be spending most of their time in the official residence with the Prime Minister, their father. And we’re also told all kinds of information about how the couple has been very careful to take care of the children. There’s even a statement from Justin Trudeau’s mother, and again, she had divorced his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and the statement was, “We weren’t too good as spouses, but we were outstanding parents.”

This is another one of the tragedies of our age. You have a mother and a father, a husband and a wife who divorce and they say they are doing so while making sure that there’s very little impact on the children or they’re doing everything to mitigate the impact on the children. And by the way, there’s no reason to doubt that this couple loves their children and they’re doing everything possible to mitigate the damage to their children, but if anyone is in a position, sadly enough, to know the inevitability of that damage, it is the prime minister himself.

And maybe he does know that, and maybe that’s reflected in the fact that it’s Mrs. Trudeau who’s moved out. I don’t know. It’s impossible to understand exactly what’s going on in any marriage. It’s not our business in one sense to figure out what’s going on in every marriage. But in this situation, you do have someone who sold himself on his family image.

Interestingly, Canada was at one point more culturally conservative than the United States. That was at one point, even in the 20th century. So much so, I should add, that in the 1930s when Britain’s playboy King Edward VIII indicated his intention to marry a twice-divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson, it was the governments of the two dominions, Canada and Australia that indicated, given their cultural and moral opposition to divorce, the king’s marriage would be unthinkable.

And that’s one of the reasons why the king was forbidden to marry Wallis Simpson, why he abdicated, and of course, history was changed thereafter for good, by the way, for reasons we may discuss on a future date. But nonetheless, the point is that Canada was so conservative back in the 1930s that Britain had to basically tell its king he could not marry a divorcee. Now, I want to be clear, the Church of England was very clear on that issue as well, but it was Canada that was markedly conservative on the issue along with Australia. And there’s something else to notice here, even as our society’s more secular, more progressive, more liberal, and of course, even as the divorce rates are unprecedented in terms of how high they have gone over the course of the last 50 years, the fact is people still know what’s a big issue.

Now, let me tell you one tell, one indication about that—it has to do with the fact that when Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, divorced his wife, that was the last time a sitting prime minister has divorced. That was a generation or more ago. So, even as you have societies moving in a far liberal direction, they don’t want that when it comes to their leaders. They’re not looking for that. Certainly in terms of any recent divorce, much less a divorce in office. Just to state the matter differently, what in the world would the American people think, not so much of a president who at some point had been divorced or had married a divorced woman, to put the issue in some parallel to what’s going on in Canada, what if a president and a first lady were to divorce during the president’s term in office? My guess is the American people respond to that very differently than they might say they would in advance. Another issue just in terms of American history.

In 1963, Nelson Rockefeller married a divorced woman with whom presumably he’d had a relationship. She became known as Happy Rockefeller. The point is that the governor of New York, who was of course heir to a titanic fortune, and not only that, he was the governor of the most populous states in the country and was the leader of one major movement in the Republican Party. When the 1968 race for the Republican presidential nomination came around, Nelson Rockefeller would have been perhaps the front running candidate, except for one thing, he had divorced his wife and married a divorced woman. At least in 1968, that was morally unthinkable in the United States of America. Two things always for Christians to keep in mind here, there are two issues of our concern.

The first of them is the microcosm of this one family and what it’s now experiencing, especially those three children. We need to pray that they’ll be protected in the midst of this in terms of the worst effects of divorce. The second thing is the macrocosm: the society at large. And in this sense, you look at North America, you look at Western societies, and you understand the normalization of divorce has, number one, not actually produced the moral normalization of divorce, and number two, at the level of the macrocosm, we can understand what has happened to the society at large in tandem with the subversion of marriage. It’s not a pretty picture. And as the biblical worldview would remind us, unless marriage is returned to its position of sanctity and honor, that is the union of a man and a woman, a lifelong union in our society, there will just be one tragedy after another.

Part III

Richard Dawkins Squares Off with the Transgender Revolution — And It Cost Him His 1996 Humanist of the Year Award

But finally, I want us to look at one of the most polarizing figures in modern science and modern atheism. I’m talking about Richard Dawkins, formerly the Charles Simonyi Professor of the History of Science at Oxford University and perhaps the world’s most famous or infamous atheist after the death of Christopher Hitchens. Richard Dawkins has written a number of bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic against the existence of God promoting atheism. He’s one of the prophets of the so-called New Atheism. It’s a particularly activist and aggressive atheism. And he has gone full-bore in terms of his attack upon the very existence of God and the public influence of Christianity. Now, in this sense, Richard Dawkins was first famous as a scientist, especially as he developed his own understanding of evolution in terms of the selfish gene as he named it.

And then Richard Dawkins became famous as one of the four horsemen of the New Atheism. But that’s not why Richard Dawkins is famous now. Richard Dawkins is famous or infamous right now because he still believes, as a research scientist, that a woman and a man are fixed categories, that male and female are fixed categories. And in the face of the LGBTQ Revolution, someone who is so radical as to be one of the four horsemen of the New Atheism riding the crest of modernity in the beginning of the 21st century, he is now so yesterday. He is retrograde. He is to be canceled. He is to be silenced because, after all, he’s run afoul of the LGBTQ Revolution, and in this sense, especially the ‘T’, or transgender.

He wrote an article for the New Statesman. Now that’s a pretty center-left publication in Great Britain. If it’s not center-left, it’s left. He answered the question, what is a woman? And here you had a research scientist who, after all, is committed to what had previously been known as biology, who wrote in that article what he thought was obvious. He said when answering the question, what is a woman? “A woman is an adult human female free of Y chromosomes.” In other words, XX in chromosomal structure, not XY. Now, Richard Dawkins said this rather condescendingly. He’s said it in podcasts, he’s said it in other comments, he’s said it, in this case, in a major news article. But the point is what he said, let’s just notice that what he said was absolutely non-controversial just a matter of a couple of decades ago. Had Richard Dawkins said it then, virtually the entire scientific community would’ve said, “Well, that’s absolutely right, and anyone who denies that has no touch with reality.”

Now the difference is that at this point, the critics of Richard Dawkins are not coming from the scientific community, they’re coming from the ideological community committed to the LGBTQ Revolution. And let’s be honest, they right now are in the driver’s seat in this culture, not the Charles Simonyi Professor of the History of Science at Oxford University. Just a matter of say two decades ago, the left was saying, “Look, here’s our future. We’re going to create a future based upon the scientific worldview, scientism as an ideology. We’re going to raise scientists as the prophets of the New Atheism and the new secularism.” But here’s the problem with many of those scientists, they actually are committed to at least what they think is science. And one of the issues in observational science is that XX and XY are the difference between male and female.

And, well, here you have it from a scientist, a research scientist who at one point was probably the most famous scientist in the world who simply says, “A woman is an adult female free of Y chromosomes.” Now you have people responding for outrage from the left, outrage from the transgender community. But let’s just note something very carefully. Richard Dawkins did not just come to the conclusion that this defines a human female. This is his subtle opinion ever since not only, I should point out, he became a research scientist, but frankly, ever since he probably had the ability to observe the difference between boys and girls, even at preschool. The fact is this was uncontroverted fact. This was biological basics until all of a sudden, the transgender revolution comes along. And the transgender revolution, here’s the stunning thing, has been more powerful than the scientific revolution in terms of pushing its ideology.

So as Christians, let’s ask ourselves the questions, “Why would that be so?” And I think the easy answer we have to come to is this, it’s a very clear answer. When it comes to matters of sex, sexuality, and personal identity, people are far less interested in science than they are in just receiving and demanding affirmation.

But finally, something else we see in all of this is how those who are pushing this kind of revolution use every lever at their disposal to try to reinforce their judgment and to silence any critic, even if that critic is Richard Dawkins. For example, get this, an article that appeared in Religion News indicates that Richard Dawkins was awarded the Humanist of the Year Award in 1996 by the American Humanist Association, but in response to his latest comments, now get this, the American Humanist Association has rescinded the honor.

So the atheist secularist who had been identified as the Humanist of the Year in 1996, because he was so with it, has now had the honor stripped from him by the American Humanist Association because he’s so without it. He is absolutely on the wrong side of history. He’s on the wrong side of the American Humanist Association.

But as much as I disagree with Richard Dawkins on so many fundamental issues, I do want to say at least this much, when it comes to biology, Richard Dawkins knows the difference between male and female. And at this point, he’s refusing to surrender that to the sexual revolutionaries.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

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’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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