Monday, April 1, 2024

It’s Monday, April 1st, 2024. 

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

Part I

Transgender Day of Visibility Proclamation on Resurrection Sunday? President Joe Biden, We Get Your Message — But Visibility is Not Working

Well, going into the weekend, the White House released at least two proclamations about March the 31st, 2024. One of them had to do with the fact that, of course, that’s Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday on the Christian calendar, in particular, the majority of Christians in the United States. And the second proclamation had to do with what the White House calls Transgender Day of Visibility.

The intersection of those two things, of course, caught a lot of controversy and deservedly so. The White House responded that it has released a proclamation that President Biden has released the transgender proclamation of Transgender Day of Visibility every year he has been in the White House. And going back 15 years ago, that day was designated as March, the 31st. It was just a coincidence.

Well, quite honestly, I think most Christians aren’t going to buy that argument. Not even this White House can claim that it wasn’t aware that this is Easter Sunday and that this was going to be a head-on collision. And that release in the proclamation about Transgender Day of Visibility, by the way, which was a very long proclamation, and the White House proclamation about Easter, a very, very short proclamation, the priorities of this White House are abundantly clear.

And by the way, politically you might say, we can understand this because the likelihood that President Biden’s going to get much of the conservative Christian vote in the United States, that’s almost impossible to imagine. And thus, going after the LGBTQ vote and after the vote of the cultural progressives that side with the LGBTQ movement, you can understand where the political priorities are.

In his declaration, it’s a proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility 2024, President Biden said in the first person, “I am proud that my administration has stood for justice from the start, working to ensure that the LGBTQI+ community can live in safety with dignity and respect. I am proud,” said President Biden, “to have appointed transgender leaders to my administration and to have ended the ban on transgender Americans serving openly in our military.”

So what you have here is a proclamation that’s basically bragging about the extent to which Biden has served the transgender agenda. “I am proud to assign historic executive orders that strengthen civil rights protections in housing, employment, healthcare, education, the justice system and more.”

Biden then bragged about having signed the legislation known as the Respect for Marriage Act into law, “ensuring that every American can marry the person they love.” He then went on to say, “Transgender Americans are part of the fabric of our nation.” Well, you can imagine where this is going, and it’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, it’s seven paragraphs going on in terms of the president’s claimed accomplishments on behalf of the transgender revolution and his absolute commitment to Transgender Day of Visibility.

Now we’re going to talk about what the agenda is for this day in just a moment, and we’re going to talk about the fact that it’s failing. But before we get there, we need to understand that the President and the White House found themselves in a good deal of controversy because of the intersection of Easter Sunday and Transgender Day of Visibility. And it’s not so much that the two coincided, but that the White House had released this massive proclamation clearly trumpeting the president’s enthusiastic support for the transgender agenda.

Now, in a statement to ABC News, White House spokesperson, Andrew Bates, speaking of Biden said, “As a Christian who celebrates Easter with family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American.” The White House spokesperson went on to say, and I quote, “Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden,” said Bates, “will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.”

Now, that was an interesting score against former President Trump selling Bibles, but the claim that President Biden, “will never abuse his faith for political purposes,” if you’re buying that, you’re more gullible than I thought. This president, even as long as he’s been in the public eye, has been using and abusing his supposed Catholic identity. And you’ll recall that the White House spokesperson, in defending the President, spoke of him as a Christian who celebrates Easter with his family. You also had numerous statements on behalf of the President saying he is a lifelong Catholic. He would do nothing to insult Easter, except, of course, clearly he did.

So just to summarize the controversy, most of it erupted out of the juxtaposition of the two proclamations on one day, and that one day happens to be the day that most Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. And even as Biden claims to be a so-called faithful Catholic, the fact is that on many issues, he is anything, but faithful. He is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic Church on issues related to marriage and, for that matter, the sanctity of human life. He openly flaunts the fact that he identifies as Catholic while, frankly, calling for the absolute opposite of Catholic doctrine on these issues when it comes to public law.

But let’s go back and ask the question, why a Transgender Day of Visibility? It does go back almost exactly 15 years. Well, why? Well, the reason has a lot to do with all of those words, all three of them, Transgender Day of Visibility, the day’s an event. In other words, a scheduled event, which will get publicity, as this one did. The other two words are transgender and visibility. Now behind that is an understanding, an ideology of social change that has been adopted by the sexual and gender revolutionaries over the course of the last several decades. The idea is this, you break down moral resistance by pushing visibility. You make things visible and thus you have giant protests and you have people show up. You have gay pride parades. You work very hard to get media sources to include openly LGBTQ activists in the conversation. You work really, really hard to bring pressure on Hollywood and others in the cultural industry to include openly LGBTQ characters always positively portrayed.

Of course, you keep score. You say the more you make these sexual minorities, as they are sometimes described, visible, the more you make L and G and B and T and, of course, the White House added, QI+, the more you do that, the more you make such things, such lifestyles, such identity claims, such relationships visible, the ideological argument has been, and it has parallels with cultural Marxism, the idea is you will break down resistance and you will push social change, and eventually you will end up with total acceptance of your agenda.

Now, it’s at least humbling for us to recognize that the LGBTQ movement has been stunningly successful on that score, except for one thing. That movement has not been so successful in the T in LGBTQ, and that’s the word here. It’s the Transgender Day of Visibility. The idea behind it is we’re going to demand visibility, we’re going to demand recognition, and the more we do so, the more grounds we will gain, the more cultural terrain we will occupy, the more we will normalize transgender claims and transgender identities in the larger culture.

But I want to step back and say it’s one thing to understand this in terms of the ideology and the social strategy, the political and cultural strategy. It’s another thing for Christians to consider this in a theological frame. And here’s where things get really, really interesting. Because when it comes to a theory of visibility, an agenda of visibility, Mr. President and the LGBTQ movement, it’s not working. The fact is, is that the strategy of visibility, I would argue as a Christian, is very clearly backfiring on the transgender claims and it’s backfiring because your eyes are not lying to you, even as other people are. People say, “This is a male,” but your eyes tell you, “No, there is no way.” People say, “This is a girl,” and your moral instinct based upon your own eyes says, “No, it’s not.” You try to normalize this by pushing this agenda.

And by the way, the biggest loss or receding in terms of the LGBTQ movement’s agenda has been on the transgender issue, no question about that, but specifically, the transgender activist argument concerning children and young people. This is where the public on both sides of the Atlantic, by the way, is simply saying, “You know, we see things clearly enough to know that that’s not going to happen. We are going to have to put in some boundaries.” Britain closed its Tavistock Clinic and, again, on both sides of the Atlantic, people are rethinking the question. 

By the way, they’re rethinking it more quickly on the European side than they are right now on the American side. But our Christian worldview tells us there is every reason to believe that the transgender movement, and especially in terms of what it says in the lie about visibility, well, there is every reason for Christians to believe this is inevitably going to fail.

So President Biden in declaring through the White House a Transgender Day of Visibility and, yes, the main controversy was the fact that it happened on Easter Sunday, but Christians need to step back and say, as offensive as that was and, frankly, inexcusably offensive, it also was incredibly revealing. Because what was made visible is the agenda of this administration and, honestly, it’s war on reality.

Now, this is the big problem for the transgender movement. You can only declare war on reality, on biology to, well, a certain extent. You can make headway for a while, but eventually what you’re doing becomes more and more evident for what it is. You can put together a swim team at a major American university and you can call it a women’s team. But when someone’s up there who’s obviously not a woman now, frankly, anyone who sees what’s going on there understands exactly what’s going on.

And increasingly, even many Americans who may have considered themselves LGBTQ allies in the past, they’re saying, “You know, we just can’t go with that.” On the other hand, you do have the ideologists who are saying, the activists who are insisting, “That’s exactly where we must go.” And this is where many Americans are, well, increasingly recognizing, “We’re not going to go there, or at the very least our kids aren’t going to go there. Our young people, our loved ones aren’t going there.”

The more Americans look at the visible transgender claims and also the visible evidence, the more they have to decide if Christians can play the game of delusion and denial. Increasingly, the answer to that has to be no. In other words, there has to be a clarity and a courage on the part of Christians to say, “No, that’s just not true. We can’t go along with this. We can’t join in the delusion. We cannot become complicit in the denial. As we look at this, we need to recognize that, well, to put it another way, the more the transgender movement insists on being visible, the more the truth is going to show itself.

Now, this is a tragic form of the presentation of truth because this sometimes comes after mutilated lives and, indeed, mutilated bodies. But the truth is there, and eventually the truth is going to win. That’s not just a metaphysical argument. That’s a deeply biblical and theological argument. So President Joe Biden decided to declare the same day as Easter Sunday to be Transgender Day of Visibility. And he came back to say he’s proud to do it, but he’s done it every year he’s been in the White House. This year, understandably, caught particular attention and outrage.

But the big point I want to make is this, the Transgender Day of Visibility is backfiring. It’s backfiring because the more you make the reality of the transgender claims visible, the less plausible they are in the larger society. And for Christians, this is just an affirmation of the biblical worldview that tells us that God created the world for His glory according to the pattern of his sovereign plan. He created human beings, male and female, and we can try our best to confuse that, but eventually it is not going to be confused. The society around us is certain to try additional means of cultural and legal coercion to get people to deny what they see with their own eyes. But let’s just point to the obvious political reality long term, that is not a strategy for success. And I think one of the things you see right now is panic among the ideologues of the transgender activist community.

Christians have to look at this not only with a sense of absolute amazement and with the clear rejection of the transgender claims, we also have to look at this, of course, with broken hearts and with the imperative of the gospel. But the point is we have to look at this and see what it is. Oddly enough for Christians, the Transgender Day of Visibility and the very reality of the White House proclamation of this day, the very idea, the ideology behind it and the broken lives behind it, well, that’s something we cannot unsee once we have seen it. And just remember that for Christians we can never be complicit in a lie.

Part II

When You Elect a President, You Elect a Foreign Policy: The Issues Behind President Biden’s Response to Ban on Flying LGBTQ Flags at U.S. Embassies

But next, as we’re thinking about this issue, an interesting and unexpected conflict has arisen between the White House and Congress, in particular between the White House and the House of Representatives, and it has to do with this special spending bill, $1.2 trillion that was put together. A lot of controversy, certainly among Republicans about that bill. We’ll get to that eventually another day.

But right now, I want to talk about something that the House of Representatives slipped into the bill and it became law because it was incorporated into the bill adopted by the House and the Senate. It was signed into law by the President of the United States, but now the President doesn’t like something that was in that law. What he doesn’t like is language that was slipped into the spending bill by the Republicans in the House that says, “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be obligated or expended to fly or display a flag over a facility of the United States Department of State.”

So there were certain exceptions put in. Of course, those embassies must fly the flag of the United States of America. This measure also said that it would be allowable to fly POW, prisoners of war, MIA, missing in action flags or, when appropriate, the sovereign flags of other nations. But, the pride flag, may not be hung over an American embassy. That is to say, the gay pride flag.

Now, behind this is the reality that when you elect a president, you are electing a foreign policy. And this president, very clearly in service to the Left wing of his party, is very, very avid, unmeasured, as a matter of fact, in his absolute support for the LGBTQ agenda, just like he is in absolute support for the abortion agenda. And in this case, he has been pushing an agenda through the State Department and through American embassies to normalize LGBTQ behaviors and to liberalize laws related to marriage, sexuality, gender, and all the rest. Even putting political and economic pressure on non-aligned countries, so-called Third World Countries, smaller, weaker, poorer countries, putting American pressure on them to liberalize on sexuality and gender issues.

But many of them are simply not buying it. And one of the ways the Biden administration has fueled the flames of this controversy and, indeed outrage and concern on the part of many other nations, is that there’s been a very visible high-profile pushing of the LGBTQ agenda, including the pride flag sometimes flown at the embassies.

Now, the legislation doesn’t prevent the pride flag from being flown anywhere on embassy grounds. It does deny that it can be hung along with the United States flag in terms of the main insignia of an American embassy, a U.S. embassy overseas. And we also have to acknowledge that even under some Republican administrations, at least some embassies have made pro-LGBTQ statements, but the Biden administration and the Democratic Party are absolutely insistent upon this agenda and, frankly, pushing it all over the world.

The White House has come back to say that President Biden wants to see this part of the measure reversed, but just to state the matter clearly, that’s rather defensive talk trying to placate his base because the reality is there’s no way he’s going to get that through, unless somehow the president and the Democratic majority and the Senate at present come up with something that would require the Republicans to sacrifice that. But given the volatility of this issue with the Republican base, just in political terms, that doesn’t appear likely to happen.

So in any event, it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens. But right now you have the Left wing in the United States absolutely decrying this as a form of homophobic tyranny imposed upon the United States. 

But here’s what we also need to recognize that with the election coming, when you elect a president, you are electing a foreign policy. And when it comes down to something just like this, you are indeed electing, to a considerable extent, whether or not there will be a pride flag hanging with the American flag at an American embassy, the embassy of the United States overseas. That’s at least something important to keep in mind as we head further and further into the election cycle.

Part III

Malice in His Heart or Math in His Head? Judge Sentences Sam Bankman-Fried to 25 Years in Prison

But finally, for today, Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in a federal penitentiary for his crimes undertaken during the time that he was the founder and head of the firm known as FTX, often identified with cryptocurrency. The bottom line is that he was found guilty of running a massive multi, multi-billion dollar fraud, one of the biggest financial frauds in all of American history.

But as we think about this, let’s just document a bit of what we need to understand here. The crimes are very serious, financial fraud on a massive scale. Indeed, what prosecutors and the judge identified as one of the biggest financial frauds in all of American history. And, frankly, when you look at American history that really is saying something. We’re talking about multiple billions of dollars.

Sam Bankman-Fried and remember, he’s a rather young man, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He could have been sentenced to a much, much longer term, basically to what would’ve amounted to life in prison. On the other hand, his own lawyer said that he had the best of intentions. This was not an in intentional fraud.

The judge wasn’t buying it, the jury wasn’t buying it, and the judge wasn’t buying it at the sentencing. But nonetheless, the sentence was shorter than it could have been, and it was shorter than what prosecutors were asking for. They were asking for 40 years. The 25-year sentence is going to mean that Sam-Bankman-Fried is going to be in prison for a rather long time. He is likely to be held in a minimum or moderate security federal penitentiary near his parents, who live right adjacent to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. And the difference between, by the way, minimum security and medium security in a federal prison can be really, really big when you consider what other inmates are going to be in the prison with you.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, in handing down the sentence, pointed out that a part of the reason why he handed down a 25-year sentence is because Sam Bankman-Fried never really expressed any remorse for what he was doing.

There’s also a basic disagreement about the facts, and this gets to something we’ll be following up on in a future edition of The Briefing. Sam Bankman-Fried claimed that he holds to a worldview known as elective altruism. Now, we’ll talk about that later, but the bottom line is he said he was making all this money in order to give it away. It was all a part of altruism, of doing good. The problem is that when his empire went down and when he was caught and criminally charged, he was living in a $30 million penthouse with views of the Caribbean. So in other words, it’s hard to say that he was just making all this money and to make the claim he was doing it all for others.

Furthermore, the judge pointed out that the jury had found Sam Bankman-Fried guilty of an elaborate scheme to hide what he was doing in transferring an awful lot of money from one corporation to another to cover the fact that he was taking money out and to cover losses. But he was basically defrauding investors and lenders through his crypto investment company that was known as Alameda Research.

James Fanelli and Corrine Ramey of the Wall Street Journal also point out that the judge said about Sam Bankman-Fried and the sentence he handed down, “There is a risk that this man will be in a position to do something very bad in the future, and it’s not a trivial risk at all.” Sam Bankman-Fried is now 32 years old. You add 25 years to that, he probably won’t serve quite that long. But nonetheless, let’s just go ahead for the full sentence. You add 25 years to that and he’s 57 years old. Well, I can just say from personal experience, there’s a big difference between 32 and 57. 

But this is not the end of Sam Bankman-Fried’s problems. There are other criminal charges that could be coming and, frankly, legal actions against him that are likely to be crushing, devastating when it comes to civil litigation.

When it comes to someone like say, the financial fraudster, Bernie Madoff of a previous generation, there were those who argued, including some of his own legal counsel, that having him in prison might actually save his life, given so much anger in the larger society and so many people who had been defrauded.

Oh, and by the way, the judge also handed down a financial penalty. Now, financial penalties are often a part of crime such as this, particularly when the crime has to do with finance. What kind of financial penalty did the judge assess against Sam Bankman-Fried? He sentenced him to 25 years in a federal prison. What would be, you might ask, the financial penalty? We’ll get this, $11 billion, $11 billion. How in the world is he going to come up with that in prison? But then again, that’s pretty much the point.

One of my favorite statements made by one of Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorney seeking to mitigate or shorten the sentence was where Marc Mukasey, one of his lawyers, said, “Sam Bankman-Fried does not make decisions with malice in his heart. He makes decisions with math in his head.” Christians have to understand that the math in the head and the malice in the heart are not unrelated. We understand the unitary moral responsibility of a human being. And we also understand the moral character of what it takes to discuss or to ask people to give you their money on the basis of the math in your head.

All of that might’ve been just a little bit more believable if Sam Bankman-Fried did not engage in a massive pattern of fraud to cover the losses, while he kept on lying about the financial health of his company. That, let’s just point out, is not just math in his head.

Finally, on this issue, we are reminded that human courts can go only so far and there is only so far human courts can come in exacting absolute justice. What would absolute justice look like in this case? That is hard to say and, frankly, it’s beyond my ability, also beyond the reach or ability of a federal court with a lot of experience in these matters.

All this just underlines why, ultimately, the only morally satisfying judgment is the judgment that will be one day handed down by our holy and righteous God. And on that day, it will be true of all humanity that there will be no way to plead your case saying, “It wasn’t malice in the heart. It was only math in the head.”

I’m happy to tell you that Southern Seminary’s next Preview Day is coming up and it’s coming up fast. 

It’s going to be on Friday, April the 12th. In our secular age, we see an increasing need for those who are called to ministry and we see the need for them to be trained with the highest level of biblical and theological education for a lifetime of faithful service and faithful conviction. That’s why Southern Seminary is committed to providing rigorous theological education that you and the church can trust.

That Preview Day, April the 12th, you’ll tour our beautiful campus, meet our world-class faculty, and learn how God is using Southern Seminary to train faithful ministers of the Gospel. Listeners to The Briefing, now get this, can register for free at by using the code, now, you’ve already figured this out, TheBriefing. I look forward to seeing you there.

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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