Monday, April 22, 2024

It’s Monday, April 22nd, 2024.

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

Part I

Biden Administration Chooses Trans ‘Rights’ Over Women’s Rights: Title IX Gets ‘Gender Identity’ Expansion as Protected Class

On Friday, the Biden administration dropped its new proposals on Title IX, administrative proposals intended to update and, in the words of the Biden administration itself, to correct policies that have been put in place under the Trump administration and the leadership of then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The DeVos regulations, handed down through the administrative process, which by the way takes a few years, which is why this is just coming now in the Biden administration and just came when they did in the Trump administration, the DeVos changes really drew the ire of the left over two main issues. One of them had to do with how hearings, when there’s an accusation of sexual abuse, are to take place on a college campus or, for that matter, in an academic setting covered by Title IX, which means American taxpayer money.

What the secretary at the time, Secretary DeVos, was seeking to correct was the fact that on many campuses there was an absolute culture of what can only be described as kangaroo courts. You had some who were actually very clearly violating the rights of students in allowing hearings that, for instance, never required them or offered them the opportunity to confront their accuser. Frankly, you had universities operating in their disciplinary processes on the basis of a federally mandated procedure that quite frankly didn’t even come close to offering the protections for due process and evidence that are granted even to those who are indicted on federal crimes. The second thing had to do with the LGBTQ revolution and the fact that what became known as the DeVos rules did not require schools in compliance with Title IX to apply gender identity as an issue of non-discrimination.

Now, there’s a lot going on here. For one thing, why in the world are we talking about something called Title IX? It’s because the United States Congress adopted what became known as Title IX. In 1972, it amended what was known as the Higher Education Act of 1965. Furthermore, it also brought amendments into the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So just to state the matter bluntly, going back to 1964, Congress adopted very important, very historic legislation mandating that there be no discrimination on the basis of race. In 1972, they came back and said the same thing on the basis of sex. What they meant by that was biological sex. It meant male and female.

So this led, in 1972, with the adoption of Title IX, and that was as an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This meant that now, institutions receiving federal money, and that includes federal student aid and all the rest, so this meant most of higher education in America, could no longer discriminate on the basis of what is now often called gender, the identification of a student as male or female. This, by the way, was applied through the Higher Education Act and also through the Education Act, which had to do with elementary and secondary schools. So the adoption of Title IX in 1972 meant that all the way from, in the public schools, kindergarten, all the way through any kind of taxpayer-supported, and that includes any institution that receives federally funded student aid all the way through graduate study. So you’re talking about kindergarten through, say, the PhD or medical school, there could be no discrimination against girls or women.

Now, back in 1972, that meant that now you had the issue of race, no discrimination. The issue of gender or sex, male and female, no discrimination. Now, that didn’t mean that back in 1972, Congress meant that it no longer made any difference if you’re male or female, but it did mean that there had to be a form of equity. This led to two major areas of vast social change. One of them had to do with, say, admissions. So on the basis of admissions, you can no longer have programs that were overwhelmingly male.

Now, this led to, of course, some interesting questions. Can you have contexts educationally that are overwhelmingly female, even exclusively female? And so almost immediately it became virtually impossible to have an all-men’s college, but it was not necessarily true that you could not have an all-women’s college, and that is because it was women, it was girls and women, who were assumed to be the likely subjects of discrimination. So the non-discrimination policies are primarily put in place to avoid male-only areas where there would be a prejudice toward male students, either boys in elementary and high school or, for that matter, of course, the entire range of collegiate sport.

Now, when you look at this again, the claim of equity is something that has taken some time to try to even debate or figure out, but it led, no one can doubt, to a vast expansion of two things. Number one, a massive expansion of the number of women involved in higher education at every level. That is now just an irrefutable fact. At this point, it is not only a fact that women have equal access to higher education. It is also a fact that, in terms of collegiate education and, for that matter, also many graduate programs, but in particular at the undergraduate level, women now vastly outnumber men as students on the campus. That’s true in entering classes in just about every year. But the second big issue had to do with sports, intercollegiate athletics in particular, but also sports at the high school level.

This meant that there would be a vast expansion of women’s sports, but you’ll notice the language I’m using here because it’s the only language that would’ve made sense to anyone at any time, and quite honestly, it’s still the only language that should make sense to Christians thinking through these issues. We’re talking about a distinction between boys and girls, a distinction between men and women. The call, in the Higher Education Act of 1972 and Title IX was for equity, not for a denial of what it means to be male and female. The DeVos rules basically extended the logic of the 1972 legislation, which was put in place after all by those who believed that women and girls have been subjected to discrimination and that that discrimination should end. This was a major goal with the feminist movement, although there were many beyond feminism who supported the adoption of Title IX.

But the point is, back in 1972, virtually every single human being in the United States of America was really clear that this was legislation intended to offer the promise of equity to girls and women, as compared to the educational and athletic opportunities of boys and men. But these days, of course, that is not the controversy, at least not the leading edge of controversy. That’s how the DeVos rules got into so much question. That’s because the transgender revolution now threatens everything. As I’ve often stated on The Briefing, you can have one or the other. You can have the transgender revolution or you can have rights for girls and women, but you can’t have both. You can have the goals of the feminist movement in America, or you can have the goals of the LGBTQ activist movement in America, but you cannot have both.

Now we need to go back to Friday and just one footnote just to remember. We often mention this on The Briefing. If you are the executive branch of government, if you are the White House, in particular, and you want to drop news that you don’t exactly want to be leading in the press all week, you drop it Friday afternoon. That’s exactly what happened with the Biden Administration’s new rules when it comes to Title IX. It dropped on Friday, which means that given all the other news, mostly having to do, of course, the foreign policy, aid for Ukraine, aid for Israel, the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the battle between Israel and Iran, we really are talking about a very full plate when it comes to foreign policy and national and international attention for that matter.

So here you have the Title IX new policies and proposals drop. This is a part of the federal rules-making process. It is one of the very lamentable dimensions of having an ever-expanding regulatory state or administrative state. This is exactly what the administrative state looks like. But almost immediately, conservatives recognized that this was exactly what was feared. Even as there were some in the LGBTQ community who said, “We don’t think the Biden administration has gone far enough.” It turns out that they were probably wrong. For that matter, the Biden administration is likely to come back with even more. Why didn’t the administration drop new policies on the issue of school and collegiate athletics? I’m going to make a very clear argument, and I believe this is transparently true. I believe that the White House did not drop that policy in those explicit terms precisely because there’s an election coming up and the vast majority of Americans, between 70% and 80%, according to a lot of surveys, indicate that they believe that girls should play on girls teams and boys should play on boys teams, period.

But it’s also clear that the Biden administration is entirely committed to and sold out to the goals of the LGBTQ movement. That movement is not going to be satisfied until all of that is explicit. But sadly enough, what was handed down on Friday probably will give them just about everything they demand. That is because when it comes to the protected classes under Title IX, what the Biden administration did in the announcement on Friday was to insert the words “gender identity” in terms of the groups that are now to be protected by Title IX. That’s a vast explosion. That is a major development, an earthquake in the cultural scene, because what the Biden administration did was simply to bypass virtually all the arguments and simply say, “Gender identity is now a matter of a protected class.”

Now understand what that means. It means that if someone claims to be a woman or a girl, they are to be treated as a woman or a girl, and that is going to apply eventually, whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not, to who’s going to be on what team in your local high school and at the local college.

Part II

Will Women Stand Up to the Title IX Change? Rights of Women and Girls Will Be Steamrolled If ‘Gender Identity’ Changes to Title IX Stay in Place

Now, at this point, honestly, I have to step back and wonder, and I just have to ask myself out loud, “How in the world are the feminists going to put up with this?” Because the whole point of feminism, the whole point of the women’s rights movement, the whole point of Title IX back in 1972, was to make certain that girls and women were given equity. Well now, you can kiss equity goodbye because you can’t have equity for girls and women and the transgender agenda at the same time. You can’t have gender identity as a protected class, along with women and girls. It won’t work because what you’re going to end up with is biological males simply claiming a female gender identity. Thus, they’ re claiming to come under the very same protections and to be included in the very same programs that were intended to assist girls and women to achieve equity.

Again, you could have one. You can’t have both. I also want to underline once again the significance of just putting in the words “gender identity” in this administrative rule, which, after all, becomes a part of federal law. This has the binding force of law, and it will be used to ratchet that force throughout all of higher education and all of secondary education. For that matter, it’s going to go all the way down to elementary schools when it comes down to knowing the difference between girls and boys, men and women. Once you add gender identity, all those categories are instantly destabilized.

Now, on the one hand, Christians have to recognize, this is a mass social experiment on a scale that simply staggers the imagination. Let’s just state the obvious. Throughout all of human history, people have been confused about many things, but they have been able to figure out what it means to be male and female, a man or a woman, a boy or a girl. If you try to stand all of reality on its head, it’s going to lead to disaster, and that disaster is going to fall first, and most fully, on those who are most vulnerable. Here’s what we need to think for a moment.

The big risk, for instance, when it comes to sports is not that there are going to be biological females showing up, claiming to be males, and clamoring for spots on the boys teams. That’s not going to be non-existent, but it’s going to be extremely rare, and everyone recognizes that. What is going to be more common is what’s already happening, and that is a biological male who, after all, might not rank all that highly when competing against other biological males, shows up and declares gender identity as a female and demands to be on a female team.

Now, as we know in 2024, this is no longer hypothetical. We’re not talking about science fiction here. We’re talking about things that are actually happening right now. They’re happening in local schools, and we’re not just talking about colleges and universities. As we’re going to see, this is happening in middle schools and in high schools. So even as there was a lot of controversy, and rightly so, you had a biological male standing in a female swimsuit and having defeated biological females competing as a woman, most Americans were absolutely scandalized. Again, that is exactly the right moral response. Now you’re going to have the same thing. Indeed, it’s not just going to, right now you do have the same thing ratcheting through the lower levels, going all the way down, at least to middle school. I’m going to document that in just a moment. But here’s where we need to recognize the worldview significance of this, is that you have the Biden administration issuing an official rule, which, let’s just take the matter fundamentally, seeks to turn creation order on its head.

When you’re talking about male and female, you’re talking about something as basic as creation order. Furthermore, even as it is necessary for any legislative reality, so say the federal government of the United States, to have a definition of male and female, that definition had better match a creation order definition or you’re going to have endless mischief. That’s exactly what we’re set up for, is endless mischief.

Now, there are a lot of other issues that will flow out of this. One of them is going to be the direct confrontation with religious liberty. What about a school that operates on the basis of Christian conviction? Now, at this point, there are certain Title IX exemptions given to some schools, but I don’t think anyone really believes that’s going to last long. As you’re looking at this, you can see why federal bureaucrats have some confidence they’re going to be able to work around such exceptions. And the very language of Title IX they’re talking about now is a frontal assault on religious liberty when it comes to Christian colleges, universities, and schools, or at least those that participate in federal funding programs, which is one of the reasons why The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College participates in absolutely none of those programs and doesn’t take a penny of federal tax money, period.

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, who is chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, she went on to point her finger at the Biden administration, accusing it of placing Title IX squarely on the chopping block. The congresswoman rightly said “This final rule dumps kerosene on the already raging fire that is Democrats contemptuous culture war that aims to radically redefine sex and gender. The rule also undermines existing due process rights, placing students and institutions in legal jeopardy and, again, undermining the protections Title IX is intended to provide.” She went on to say, “Evidently, the acceptance of biological reality and the faithful implementation of the law are just pills too big for the department to swallow, and it shows.” It’s amazingly strong language. Every word of it, absolutely true.

Part III

The Sexual Revolution Coming to a Middle School Near You: Federal Appeals Court Rules Trans Student Athlete (Biological Male) Can Compete on the Girls Team

But next, I’m going to shift to that middle school development because this one is really, really important, and it’s important for a couple of reasons, first of all, for what it is, but secondly, for how it puts to the lie the people who say that raising this kind of objection is just inventing a problem. No, it’s not inventing a problem. Just ask the people in Bridgeport, West Virginia. The news came last week that a federal appeals court had ruled that a transgender middle school girl there in the state of West Virginia, as Brendan Pierson of Reuters has reported. The federal court said that this middle school student, who is a boy, may compete on girls track and cross country teams, and thus, the judge blocked a state law that had indicated that only girls could play on girls teams.

Now, again, let’s just remind ourselves, we’re not talking about college here. That’d be bad enough. We’re not even talking about high school here. We’re talking about middle school. We’re talking about a 13-year-old, and I’m going to mention the name of the child because the child is explicitly mentioned in the mainstream media, a 13-year-old boy claiming to be a girl to go by the name of Becky Pepper Jackson. We are told that this 13-year-old, “has publicly identified as transgender for around five years and takes puberty-blocking medication.” 

Now, the legal action was undertaken on behalf of this child and the child’s mother, but what in the world is going on here? Frankly, this is a remarkable case. Just consider the age of the child we’re talking about. A child identified as now 13 years old, who we are told is publicly identified as transgender for around five years. You do the math. That means beginning about age eight, and we’re also told that the child is taking puberty-blocking medication. There’s a picture of the child that is featured in much of the mainstream media coverage. It is not clear exactly what the effect of those drugs might be, but we are told it is to prevent the adolescent pubertal growth spurt, that would turn a boy into an adolescent boy, and eventually into a man, in a male body, which is exactly what creation order is intended to do, intended, by the way, by the Creator.

Now, one of the things we simply have to mention is how tragic all of this is. We’re talking about people doing things in the name of the good of the child that will actually block the development of normal puberty in the child. Just imagine the strength of the hormonal medications involved here. Of course, the complicit medical authorities keep telling us this is safe. Yes, they’ve told us many things were safe in the past, and we now know much better. Simply, it flies against all common sense to believe that this could become something like a routine medical intervention. But the big news here is that you’re talking about a thirteen-year-old biological male who is now, with court authority, participating on girls teams there in West Virginia.

Now, there are further news stories out of this. For one thing, just recently, five girls refused to participate in a competition in which this child was involved. And we’re also told that the child posted a remarkable shot putt in track and field, which, by the way, wouldn’t be all that remarkable for a boy, but turns out to be quite remarkable for a girl. Again, you do the math.

A story in the Washington Times reported the event this way, “The Bridgeport Middle School eighth grader won the girls shot putt event at the Harrison County Middle School Championships trouncing the second-place girl’s throw by more than three feet of the same child, again, a biological boy, also placed second in the discus throw.” The following sentence is crucial, “Five girls from Lincoln Middle School engaged in a silent protest by stepping into the circle when it was their turn to compete and then stepping out without making a throw.” That was a silent protest because they basically threw it, because it was unfair that a biological male, otherwise known as a boy was competing against them. So note again what’s happening here. You can have the actions claimed to be on behalf of the protection of women and girls, or you can have the transgender revolution. You can’t have both. Because if you are going to have a level playing field, no pun intended here, when it comes to, say, girls and women’s sports such as track and field, then you’re not going to be able to allow biological males to compete as females.

Now, I want to go back to the first development here because this is what’s really dark. The Biden administration is trying to sneak all of this in simply by importing the words gender identity into the protected categories under Title IX. I think your average American Christian is just not going to recognize how revolutionary this is and what a threat it represents. By the way, this represents something else to Christians. It also represents an understanding of how this kind of agenda, the LGBTQ agenda, the ideology behind it, how that will force every sector of society to comply with it, because that’s exactly what happens. Once you have Title IX, and this establishes what basically is a new moral reality, at least a newly constructed moral reality, then it won’t be limited to the schools. The same logic is going to be extended to employers and other sectors of society. Quite frankly, even immediately, this becomes a matter driven through every level of education touched by federal money, and with very rare exceptions, that means virtually everywhere.

Part IV

California Attorney Moved to Refute Rights of Parents: The Dangerous Double Speak Behind the ‘Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth’ Ballot Initiative

But speaking of everywhere, you had a sneaky suspicion we would somehow end up in California, and you were absolutely right. The Los Angeles Times, just in recent days, has reported, “Supporters of a proposed November ballot initiative wanted the all-important title of their measure to reflect their beliefs, a name like Protect Kids of California Act. But Attorney General Rob Bonta saw things differently when his office chose the name signature gatherers must use.” It’s this, “Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth.” That’s the name of the citizen referendum that the very liberal, very progressive, ideologically leftist attorney general of California says must be on the form.

What’s going on here? This is a proposed citizen initiative in the state of California that isn’t radical at all. It would simply say that if you have a child in the public schools, who identifies as and is identified as a transgender identity, or, for that matter, a non-binary identity, if the child is presenting a different identity at school than at home, the parents need to be informed. You’ll notice that the California state authorities, the California education authorities, in terms of the public schools, don’t want that to happen.

Almost like George Orwell, 1984, were back to it again, the doublespeak, you have the Attorney General requiring this citizen initiative to be referred to as the “Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth” initiative. So you can imagine how you’re going to be standing outside a grocery store somewhere in California, getting someone to sign a petition. You’re going to eventually, you hope, put this before the voters, and this is what they’re going to be voting on. This just shows you how ideologically committed the left wing of the Democratic Party is. When it comes to a state like California, quite honestly, the left wing of the Democratic Party is fully in control.

So one of the things we need to note is not just what’s going on here, but frankly, what this means for the rest of the country because that is the ascendant wing of one of the two major parties in the United States. Honestly, at this point, both parties are in their own version of trouble and turmoil, but they are not even close to the same kinds of trouble and turmoil. When you look at the Democratic Party, we see the face of the future in the fact that the state basically is absolutely determined that parents not have a role in the transgender transitioning of their own children. That tells you a lot about where we stand as Christians in the United States of America, because as we often say, “A lot of this begins in a state like California, but you know full well it will not end in California.”

So we’ll be tracking this story. No doubt there will be some interesting twists and turns, but what a fascinating seven days behind us. Frankly, what a deeply troubling seven days behind us. It just warns us once again of what we face when we look ahead, and we’ll do so together day by day.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. 

For more information, go to my website at You can find 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’m speaking to you from Woodstock, Georgia, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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