NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 20: Ambassadors attend the United Nations Security Council meeting where US vetoed the latest attempt at the UN Security Council to demand an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza Strip where the official death toll rapidly nears 30,000, in New York, United States on February 20, 2024.
Photo by Fatih Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Briefing. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024.

It’s Thursday, February 22nd, 2024. 

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

Part I

The U.S. Stands By Israel At UN Security Council: U.S. Vetoes U.N. Calls for Cease-Fire in Gaza Without Release of All Hostages

For the third time, the United States of America exercised its veto before the Security Council of the United Nations, and it did so for the third time in order to prevent the security council from adopting a resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. In this case, the military effort that is now being undertaken by Israel, particularly in Gaza.

Now, there have been widespread calls for some kind of ceasefire. The United States itself has floated proposals for a temporary ceasefire. But what the Security Council of the United Nations was proposing and what ended up being opposed publicly only by the United States of America was a call for an immediate ceasefire.

Now, let’s just understand why the United States would’ve done this. It did so specifically because such an immediate ceasefire on the terms that the United Nations Security Council was proposing would’ve effectively handed a major victory to Hamas, and furthermore would’ve done absolutely nothing to lead to the release of the massive number of hostages still being held by Hamas in the wake of the October 7, 2023 attack.

We are really looking at a very dark picture, and the United Nations, and the United Nations Security Council in this case, were going to do more mischief than good. And thus, we should actually understand that the United States, and in particular in this case the Biden administration through the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, the United States, did the right thing in vetoing this particular resolution. Britain abstained.

But this is a situation in which we also come to understand there are huge structural problems, not only when you look at the situation in Gaza, but you’re looking at massive structural problems when you look at the United Nations and when you look at the United Nations Security Council. One of the things many Americans don’t understand is that without the Security Council, the United Nations would’ve gone off the rails long, long ago, going all the way back to the formation of the United Nations as we know it, in the wake of World War II, American presidential administrations were extremely clear on both sides of the aisle. That is to say Republican and democratic administrations were very keen to understand that the United States, though calling for the United Nations and intending to play a leading role in the United Nations, was not going to put our future at stake by the United Nations or for that matter, before the United Nations.

So it never was what many people thought that it was to become the general assembly of the United Nations. All the nations recognized by the UN arrayed in that massive room, modern architecture, all these concentric circles, all these desks, all these nameplates, all these microphones, all these nations standing equally in this body, except that’s not even where the action is. The action at the United Nations in terms of the big issues of decision-making go to the Security Council, and that security council has several permanent members, and you can pretty much figure out exactly who they are.

The United States is one of the nations on the Security Council that has an absolute veto power. It can unilaterally veto anything. And let’s be honest, there would’ve been no political support for the United States to enter into any international body, even perhaps even especially in the wake of American authority and influence after allied victory in the Second World War. There would’ve been no American political support for putting the future of America in anyone else’s hands.

But Tuesday’s veto also reminds us that this is not just about American interests narrowly defined. It is about our interests all over the world as well, and that includes Israel. It also goes to show that so many in the United Nations, not only in the General Assembly, but of course some doing mischief on the Security Council, they would seek to turn the UN into an engine to basically nullify the existence of Israel, or at the very least, to circumscribe Israel so that it cannot defend itself.

That’s not to say that we don’t have to make moral judgements about every situation and every nation, but as you’re looking at the great clash of worldviews in the world, you recognize that clash of worldviews takes place right there on the Security Council. And we can state right now that, but for the United States of America being in that room, Israel would be in a very different position and that should be a sobering realization to both nations.

Part II

Interpol Is Real, But Complicated: What Happens When the Bad Guys Are Able to Abuse the System

But next, while we’re thinking about the reality and the challenge of international organizations, how about this one, Interpol? Now many Americans don’t even really know that it exists, and at least some seem to think that it’s a fictional organization, but Interpol is real, and as you recognize it is implying international police. I think most Americans would also be surprised to know this goes back to the 19th century.

And by the way, going back to the 19th century, the late 19th century, it’s not just that organizations like Interpol newly existed. As you look at the say second half of the 19th century, what we know as modern policing was basically invented. In the truest sense it really didn’t exist even in Western nations until, well about the time of the Civil War in the United States and around the world some very similar developments, especially in other places, very similar in terms of civilizational development such as London.

You could say London in particular is one of those cities where modern policing was invented. New York, another one, Chicago, you could go down the list. You pretty much get the picture, but Interpol was a late 19th century attempt to try to put together an international police body, or at least international cooperation. And a lot of it had to do with identifying people, coming up with registries of people.

This was also during the time where at least some governments were coming to terms with the fact that something like organized crime actually existed. And not only that, but transcended borders as well. And so you might ask the question well before the rise of, say, modern policing, then what did exist? Well, on the one hand you had the military, but in the United States very tightly conscribed by Posse Comitatus principles and by the US Constitution. Very, very little military involvement in the United States in what would be considered policing.

And elsewhere, there’s not such a fine line. But even elsewhere, particularly in places such as Europe and also in Great Britain, you also have the development of the professional detective, the professional police force. It didn’t exist before. In the modern age, it all of a sudden needed to exist. Industrialization is happening, cities are developing. A criminal pattern is beginning also to develop. And it’s the understanding that in the modern age, you have to have a modern form of policing. What was there before? Constabularies, and then as a backup in many cases, the military.

But other than that, just not that much in terms of policing. By the end of the 19th century, you’ve got a lot going on in cities. By the early 20th century, you’ve got a lot more going on. But my point is that Interpol started out in that modern age of policing being developed and the idea was criminals don’t honor boundaries. They don’t honor laws. They don’t honor borders either. And so we need cooperation. But why is Interpol in the news right now? It is because in so many cases, the wrong side is using the organization.

So for example, front page of yesterday’s edition of the New York Times headline, “Interpol Trails the Autocrats a Step Behind.” Jane Bradley, the reporter. This is following up on some previous reports about the same thing. As you look at Interpol supposed to be kind of like an international police organization. Well, the United States has never put much confidence in it, to be clear. That’s not to say no confidence, but not a great deal of confidence. You don’t hear about Interpol too much in the United States. But as you’re looking at modern policing surveillance, massive databases, Interpol has now created an opportunity for the bad guys to use the organization against the good guys.

There are different kinds of notices that can be filed at Interpol. Governments can request them. There are red notices and blue notices. But the point is many of these are clearly being misused by autocrats, by autocracies, by totalitarian governments, and frankly probably in all likelihood by criminals linked to the very same persons and institutions.

So the longer the reach of an organization, the more vulnerabilities there are. You have an international organization like Interpol, which is supposed to serve the cause of law enforcement. It turns out that it can actually serve the other side. And sometimes an organization like this puts together rules in terms of the sharing of information and the issuing of notices. And they can be used to punish people doing the right thing rather than the wrong thing.

They can be used by repressive governments as well as righteous governments seeking to investigate. But it’s also just a reminder to us, even as we turn domestically to the United States, that this kind of thing has been controversial for a long time. So controversial that in the United States, the idea of not just an international body but far closer to home, a national body such as the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was quite controversial for a very long time in the United States. There were efforts to try to coordinate at least some law enforcement and investigation at the federal level in say, the last decade of the 19th century.

But all this began to grow in the 20th century. And there were a couple things that really began to add momentum to the need for some kind of federal law enforcement and investigative agency. And it had to do with the fact that you had organized crime and you also had interstate crime. In particular two things, prostitution and prohibition. You had rum running as they said, and you also had interstate prostitution and local law enforcement just not enough to track the problem when it crossed borders.

So eventually you had the development of the Mann Act as it was known, creating a new class of federal crimes in terms of the crossing of state borders for the commission of a crime. And then eventually you had the development of what became the FBI, eventually located in the Department of Justice. Another thing just to remember and never without controversy, often with a great deal of respect, but never without controversy.

Part III

We Should Be Terrified? The Left Melts Down Over Alabama Supreme Court IVF Ruling

But all right next we need to turn to one of the most important moral worldview stories of our age. And we began the week talking about it. We have to come back to it because this is an unfolding story and every unfolding part of it demands our attention. At the end of last week, on Friday, the Supreme Court of the state of Alabama handed down a decision. It was a seven-two ruling in which the court stated that frozen embryos are embryonic children and they are covered by protective legislation no matter where that human embryo is to be found, which means in the womb or in the freezer.

It was a remarkable ruling. And as I stated at the time, it was the correct ruling and it affirms something that we as Christians know. Life begins at fertilization and that means that every fertilized life is a human life and has to be regarded as such. Obviously, there are some pretty dramatic ramifications for this in terms of in vitro fertilization procedures, IVF, but also just modern reproductive technologies. But beyond that, just how we understand ourselves as human beings and what in the world would a human embryo represent?

All of a sudden we’re understanding the lines are being drawn right before our eyes. They’re being drawn this week. We need to pay close attention. So first of all, we talked about the development. I also ran a major article at World Opinions on this. I pointed out that many of us have been dealing with this issue for decades now. It’s gained very little traction even among many Christians who simply wanted to ignore this issue. But you can ignore it no longer.

The Supreme Court of the state of Alabama has put it now front and center. What’s been the response when the secular world, for example, the New Republic, one of the most influential thought magazines in the United States, it responded hysterically. Here’s the headline. “Alabama Supreme Court cites the Bible in terrifying embryo ruling.” Terrifying embryo ruling. The word terrifying is used here in the headline is screaming out at us. The declaration that an embryonic human being is a human being, that’s terrifying to the worldview of those who publish The New Republic magazine.

NBC News ran an article telling us, “Doctors and patients fearfully proceed with IVF after Alabama court rules embryos are children.” Alright. Every once in a while, just in the exercise of trying to think as Christians operating by a Christian worldview based on scripture, we need to look at something like this and ask ourselves the question, what does this tell us? Alright.

Let me tell you first of all what this tells us. It tells us that we are down to an issue which is absolutely frameable in a very simple sentence. If an embryonic child is not a child, what is that thing? If indeed embryos are not children, then when does an embryo become a child? Here you have one of the issues of our age laid bare in such a way no one can ignore it, any longer. So let’s just face the facts. The Supreme Court in Alabama was looking at several truths.

One of those truths is that the definition of a child in Alabama already included the unborn child. Already. So this was not a legal innovation on the part of the Alabama Supreme Court. Longstanding in the law, an unborn child is a child. Well, here’s the question. How long was that unborn child a child? Now, here’s where Christians understand. We have no right to answer that question at any point subsequent to fertilization. But here’s where we also understand that the world around us wants to answer that question anywhere other than fertilization. And yet there is no agreement as to where that point at which the embryo becomes human.There is no agreement as to where that is, which is why if you abandon the biblical worldview, if you abandon an objective understanding of when human personhood begins, then you are left with nothing but constant artificial negotiation. And now that’s been laid bare. 

But we have to look at something else. Perhaps even more basic, and that is that millions and millions of Americans, and I shudder to say millions and millions of American Christians have simply thought about IVF if they thought about IVF at all thought about frozen embryos, if they thought about them at all as being of no particular moral importance. That’s exactly why I want to look at the NBC report that is grounded there in the state of Alabama. I’m not going to mention the couple’s name, but a couple is mentioned in this article. They become the focal point for the article and it’s a woman and her husband, that is a husband and wife, who according to NBC, decided last year to pursue in vitro fertilization in their home state of Alabama.

“IVF allows doctors to test embryos for genetic abnormalities, then implant only the ones that are healthy”. Yes, that’s exactly what it does, and that’s what is done in the name of IVF routinely all over the world and in the United States thousands of times a week. There is the sorting of embryos between those that are acceptable and those that are not acceptable. Now, here’s where Christians, just think for a moment. You would not go into a nursery and separate the babies between those that are acceptable and should be allowed to live and those that are not acceptable. I know you wouldn’t. You have more moral and biblical sense than that. 

But what’s interesting is that many people, even many Christians, who would never enter into a nursery with that logic, they do enter into the IVF procedure with a very similar logic. I want us to understand exactly where that logic leads and the NBC report actually helps us to do that, mentioning the couple saying they were, “On track to freeze embryos later this month and they planned to only store the ones that were genetically normal.”

Okay. Massive, massive worldview alarms need to be going off. First of all, we’re being told right up front, they only intended to preserve, much less to transfer, the embryos that were “genetically normal.

” Now, that’s problematic enough. That’s massively, hugely problematic. Who decides what is and is not? Who is and is not a genetically normal embryo? Normal according to what? According to whom? We also understand there’s more to the problem, which is, when you talk about genetically normal in this case, that means someone is establishing an understanding of what normal is. And if you’re thinking about the fact that normal, well, we could say would mean two lungs and one heart and a fully developed brain, that’s one thing people might say.

But what about when a couple wants a blonde-haired child or a child with a particular, say, athletic or academic ability? What if that is how they define normal? My problem is, and the Christian worldview problem is this, if you set yourself up to decide who is and is not normal, guess what? You may say you’re doing it only in the laboratory. And I will say that’s not morally acceptable. You may say that’s all you want to do, but I just want to tell you that logic won’t stay in the laboratory. That logic’s going to show up in the nursery. That logic is going to show up in the concentration camp.

Okay. If you wonder what’s going on here, just understand what else is presented in this NBC report just so that no one could miss what’s at stake. “In the wake of the Alabama ruling, many patients of providers are unsure of how to navigate the IVF process given that embryos are often discarded if they have genetic abnormalities or after parents decide they will not need to use them.”

Notice what just happened there. So it went from the very serious problem, which is a problem unto itself, of whether or not it is morally right to define certain embryos as acceptable and other embryos as unacceptable. We should see that problem right in front. But you’ll notice what’s so sly in this sentence. It slides even from that to, or after parents decide they will not need to use them. But now it turns out we’re talking about embryos that are just not needed or no longer considered as needed.

The NBC report says, “The decision raises questions about whether those who undergo IVF will have to store all their embryos indefinitely, but experts said the answer is not yet clear.” So from time to time something just explodes in the culture in such a way that all of a sudden people who weren’t paying any attention are paying attention. And there are so many people on the secular left right now who are all of a sudden paying attention because, well, for one thing, we have headlines saying, “Look, this particular decision, it’s running in the face of the reproductive technological revolution. Who could possibly do this?”

You also have people making immediate arguments from the left. “This violates personal autonomy.” And of course, there’s the constant refrain about this coming down to a threat against a woman’s reproductive health. And there are many people who are simply saying, “Look, this is immediately what follows from the Dobbs decision reversing Roe v. Wade back in 2022.” That is actually nonsense, but nonetheless, it tells you how in the mind of the left, one thing at least is real. It’s all interconnected.

That statement comes out when one person identified as senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “Anyone who cares about reproductive autonomy should be terrified of this decision.” Well, there’s terror again, terrified of this decision, anyone who cares about reproductive autonomy. There’s a phrase your grandparents never heard. But then again, just to make the point, this is the same NBC news report.

Again, we’re pointing to the fact that what’s behind all this is what the Marxist called the commodification of everything. Everything turned into a price. Everything turned into a product. And in this case, if it’s not a human being as a product on a shelf, it’s a human being as a product in the laboratory. And the logic of where that works comes out in this article just a few paragraphs later where a woman identified as an attorney in Birmingham, Alabama said that all this controversy and the court’s action was going to require her to transfer one of her embryos fast just to make certain that she had access to it.

And just see if you pick up on the giant problem when you hear this, “We are picking a boy to transfer because these rules and laws that are coming out that are affecting women’s health kind of scare me for a daughter.” Don’t follow the logic of whether she’s choosing a boy or a girl. Follow the logic that she thinks she can choose a boy or a girl. She’s making a choice. This is a consumer product. She’s deciding that in this circumstance, she’s going to take a boy off the shelf, not a girl.

Notice something else. Her language absolutely betrays her. Let’s not let her get away with this. She said, “We’re picking a boy to transfer.” Well, you’re picking a boy? Guess what? You do know it’s a child. You actually used the very word to make clear it’s a child. You didn’t say we’re going to choose a male embryo, you said, “We’re going to choose a boy,” because you know that male embryo is a boy. As we’ve already discussed for Christian couples, there’s some very hard decisions to be made in the wild, wild west of American reproductive medicine as it is called.

And there is reason for Christians look deeply into these questions and quite frankly for all of us to recognize that we need to be ready to give counsel to Christian couples looking at these things. And on the issue of IVF, there’s some very important considerations that Christian couples should be thinking of and weighing very carefully. But it is interesting to catch the secular world in its secular conversation. It shows itself. It betrays itself. Its worldview becomes very, very clear.

And here’s the bottom line point. When it comes to choosing an embryo, this woman said, “I’m going to choose a boy.” In other words, when she wants it to be a child, it’s a child. But at the same time, when she doesn’t want that embryo to be a child, it’s not a child. If it’s a child only when you say it’s a child and want it to be a child and not a child when you want to ignore it. I think all of us should recognize there is a massive, massive moral problem here.

We can rest assured that this issue is going to be debated in this culture and that debate is going to be hot, it’s going to be intensive, it’s going to be often very emotional. Christians need to recognize that when it comes to our conversation, it has to be unavoidably theological as well. If our conversation, by the way, is going to be bracketed as though the theology doesn’t matter, you’ve just said that Christianity, the authority of scripture, they don’t matter when it comes to the most intimate, important questions of life and moral choice. And that’s we as Christians know, we can’t possibly say, and so our answer is going to have to be theological even if it drives the world absolutely crazy.

It’s also, as I’ve tried to demonstrate today, really, really important to listen to the world talk and to see how the world thinks on these issues, and if they don’t listen to themselves talk, at the very least, we need to listen. 

I want to tell you about a modular course I’m going to be teaching at Southern Seminary and Boyce College this spring. So it’s coming right up. I’m talking about it because I want to invite you to join us. The class is entitled 10 Battles That Define the Gospel: 20 Centuries of Controversy that Shaped and Reshaped the Christian Church.

It’s just really important for us to recognize that many of the most important doctrinal statements we know, many of the most important developments in church history came in the context of a theological battle, some kind of great and deep and important controversy. 20 centuries of those controversies. We’re going to go right to the heart of 2,000 years of theological controversy in the Christian church and see how those controversies have shaped and forged our understanding of the Christian faith.

So we’re going to start right in the New Testament with the battle for the Gospel in the New Testament. Then we’re going to move through the early church battles over Christology and battles over the Trinity. And then we’re going to go into the Medieval Age. We’re going to go to the Reformation, that great controversy between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants, and then we’re going to come to the modern age, the enlightenment, the great battles between conservative and liberal theology, and of course the great challenge of the LGBTQ revolution.

So all that and more. This is really going to be interesting. But our main purpose is not just to understand the past, but to come to understand our responsibility, to defend and to teach, and to perpetuate the faith in this generation. The course is going to begin March the 19th, so that’s coming up pretty fast. It’s available to both on campus and online students. To learn more, just go to That’s just one word, mohlercourse. I hope to see you there. It’ll be fun to learn together. 

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.

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).