Monday, June 10, 2024

It’s Monday, June 10, 2024.

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

Part I

We Need Order Along the Border: We Cannot Support the Subversion of Our Border and the Rule of Law

The issue of immigration as a moral issue, as a worldview issue, it’s very much a part of our conversation as Christians. As a political conversation, it’s even more explosive. And there’s a documented way of looking at this. If you were to go back, say, to the 2020 presidential election, there were two different visions of immigration in terms of an American perspective. And you had the two nominees of the respective parties, the Republican nominee, the then incumbent President Donald Trump, his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. They really represented two very different approaches to immigration. As a matter of fact, a part of what Biden ran on against President Trump was the criticism of his immigration policy. The accusation was that it was immoral, that it wasn’t fitting with the American tradition of welcoming the foreigner, that it was implicitly racist, and any number of other criticisms that were made. And you had Joe Biden and the Democratic Party basically in a very pro-immigration perspective.

And this comes right down to some policies that were advocated. And so, you have policies that the Democratic Party, or at least many in the Democratic Party, and generally both of those categories, by the way, who’ve been pressing for such things as a route to citizenship for those who are here undocumented and without legal status in the United States. And there has been a reluctance on the part of the Democratic Party to do anything meaningful about controlling the borders of the United States of America, and most particularly the southern border with Mexico. And I think everyone listening to me right now understands that is a huge problem that actually defies our imagination. We’re talking about eventually millions, but on a daily basis, thousands who have been coming into the United States and they’re claiming asylum by and large.

And there is a category in the American law to recognize those who are under an imminent threat by some kind of evil government or some other form of threat. And they say they need to claim asylum, they are coming because of political oppression or some other real and present danger, and they’re coming to the United States. And thus, the argument from the Democratic Party has been by and large, “We need to let them all come and we need to create a status that allows them at least temporarily to have some kind of legal status.” And then, of course, the Democratic Party again comes back and comes back saying, “We need to translate that into a long term,” what’s often called, “path to citizenship.”

Now, the Republican Party, on the other hand, has held a more conflicted and sometimes inconsistent position on immigration, but that’s largely because of changes that have taken place in the pattern of immigration. And so, if you look at President Ronald Reagan, for example, you are talking about a president who spoke very often of the United States as a place of political refuge. But at the same time, you were looking at a very different pattern of immigration into the United States. And frankly, a different approach taken by government. And then, you fast-forward into the experience we’ve had in the 21st century, and quite honestly, Americans alive today, many of them can’t even remember a time when there was any control on our borders. And furthermore, most of us can’t remember a time when the United States has not been threatened in a very real sense. And that threat comes in a multidimensional way.

For one thing, there’s plenty of evidence that bad actors are very much included in the teeming numbers who are coming in without documentation, and without control of the border. CNN recently did a report at the border and had a film crew and a reporter asking questions of some of those who had just illegally crossed the border. And the amazing thing was how many of them were from places like Turkey, the Middle East, and also Asian nations. And as you look at this, you recognize there are any number of opportunities for people such as, well, soldiers of the Islamic State, or for that matter, agents of the Russian government, or for any other government. You also have organized crime, and the organized crime, and again, the CNN report made this very clear, even with infrared cameras, you’re talking about organized crime now becoming a part of the transport system of those who are undoubtedly desperate and are entering the United States illegally. This isn’t just a big problem. It is very big business.

Now, for Christians, this is a hard thing for us to face because this is a complex question and it has to do with the rise of the modern nation, in terms of modern ideas of citizenship. But then again, that idea is not as modern as some people would like to claim. One of the rights claimed by the Apostle Paul, made very clear in the Book of Acts, is that he asserted his own Roman citizenship. Now, it’s also clear, the New Testament is clear, the Apostle Paul is clear, our ultimate citizenship is in heaven, but there are earthly powers and there are earthly citizenships, and they do matter.

Now, I’ve often argued that from a Christian perspective, the emergence of nations after the fall turns out to be a net good thing, because nations represent political limits and political units that bear a responsibility, and I’m going to say whether they know it or not, under God, to fulfill certain responsibilities, such as the protection of life and the maintenance of order. But there is also the creation of some kind of common culture and history will record that without some kind of common culture, and that includes to a considerable degree, a common language, then you do have a breakdown of that national identity.

Now, I think this works two ways. It means that the idea of a global identity is basically as good as a bowl of cold oatmeal, but it also means that the idea that something smaller than the nation, say just a little community, that it can exist peacefully in the world without national identity, I don’t think that’s plausible for a moment either. And you can say, “Well, my little community is doing quite well.” Yeah, it’s doing quite well because of the United States armed forces, thank you.

Now, where we are in terms of political conflict in the United States is that until now, until very recent days, the political expectation here has been really clear. Republicans have been for securing the border. Republicans have been for what is often called meaningful immigration reform. And by the way, looking at immigration patterns in the United States, if you go back to the early decades of the 20th century, quite restrictive. If you look even at the midpoint of the 20th century, quite restrictive. As you look at the period, especially in the 1960s and even more so in the 1970s, a legislation claim that made immigration to the United States much less restrictive. And the composition of the United States, the population of the United States has been transformed.

And you’re looking at the fact that you have, for instance, an Hispanic population in the United States that is a factor many times larger than would’ve been the case at the midpoint of the 20th century, and that’s true for Asian-American, it’s true for other groups as well. And you look at the strength of the United States, and I think there’s no question that there have been some very significant strengths that have come to the United States by the influx of those immigrants. But there’s also a very clear dichotomy. And that dichotomy is between the immigrants who are coming and are coming with the commitment to build the American project, and there are those who are coming, some of them as the enemies of the American project, but others of them basically to take advantage of the American constitutional project.

And you know that isn’t going to be plausible over time. And it isn’t plausible that you can have an uncontrolled border. And it isn’t plausible that you can use America’s legal protections for those who are suffering real fears of harm in terms of asylum laws, it’s not plausible that that can be applied across the board in such a way that you now have massive human trafficking with a commercial impulse to get people across an uncontrolled border.

Now, there may be good plausible grounds for Christians to argue about what exactly our immigration policy should be, but it is implausible that there should be no immigration policy. It is conceivable that Christians would disagree about how exactly to establish order along the border. It is not conceivable that it is rational to say that a nation can survive the absolute subversion, if not disappearance, of its border as a meaningful category.

The fact is, that as you look at the United States right now, and you look even at our birth rate, well, the reality is that the United States is not only going to have some pattern of immigration looking to the future, it is going to need some pattern of immigration looking to the future. And I do not believe that it is wrong for that immigration policy, and for the laws that structure that policy, to be the laws that structure immigration into the United States in a way that will strengthen the United States and not weaken it. I not only think that is morally defensible. I think that is morally necessary if there is going to be an American republic, and an American experience moving forward.

And that means we want to give place to those who want to be a part of building this American project, and becoming a part of American culture, contributing to the American experiment. And I think it’s also true that Christians are among those who want the United States to have some appeal on grounds of asylum, but that has to be rare, not so misused and subversive, that it has basically destroyed the entire system of legal immigration into the United States and created this massive, massive human trafficking industry of illegal immigration.

But as I said, as you go back to the 2020 election, you had Donald Trump and you had Joe Biden and they were facing off. Joe Biden, well, he has held to a very liberal position on these issues, basically allowing the border to go open and uncontrolled. He wouldn’t admit that, but that’s exactly what’s happened. But there is now incredible pressure in the United States, and just in the last several days, the Biden administration announced that it was going to seek to limit asylum entries into the United States, once a certain level had been reached.

So, this isn’t talking about true control of the border. For instance, the New York Times, a liberal newspaper ran the headline in shift, “Biden Orders Border Shut at Times.” At times? What exactly does that mean? Well, it’s the kind of fuzzy policy that isn’t going to stand. And Republicans are right to say this isn’t meaningful reform. This isn’t comprehensive reform. This isn’t a way of dealing with the issue. This is an attempt to buy political cover when increasingly even the base of the Democratic Party is coming to the conclusion that this uncontrolled immigration, and unsecured border is untenable.

I like the way the Wall Street Journal reported the story last week. “President Biden is expected to sign an executive order that would ban migrants who cross the southern border illegally from claiming asylum. A last resort effort meant to quell voter discontent with his handling of immigration ahead of the presidential election.” So, there in the lead paragraph to this story, the Wall Street Journal gets right to the point that the president is doing this “to quell voter discontent with his handling of immigration ahead of the presidential election.”

Now, will the president be successful in that or not? Well, that’s one of those things that only time will tell. But I think this makes very clear that the issue of immigration is going to be front and center by the time we get to the white-hot heat of the 2024 presidential election. And at this point, I think it’s going to be really crucial that Christians think carefully about how we should even think about this issue, and at least have some understanding of the biblical issues that are at stake. We’ll try to track some of that out with you in coming days as this issue continues to evolve politically.

And by the way, the politics is just really interesting because the power that is being at least invoked in part by President Biden in this is the very power that President Trump had exercised, a very similar action, in similar terms, that the Biden campaign absolutely condemned. Now, there are going to be some political developments here that are going to be fascinating to watch. And one of them is going to be the response to the Biden administration’s halfway policy by members of his own party, particularly in Congress, particularly in the House, but also at the state level. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Part II

Every Country Needs an Immigration Policy: No Nation That Has Unrestricted Borders Will Survive to Help Anyone

But as we think about this and just bring this to a close on this issue for today, I think we should be unapologetic by saying that not only the United States of America, but every nation should adopt an immigration policy that is in that nation’s national interest, aligned with its values and convictions. Now, that nonetheless is a controversial assertion in this world today, but I want to say that that’s exactly what every nation does. One way or another, what nations do is what they see as policy in their national interest. And so, there’s a reason why the United States is in this predicament. It is because policies were put in place that actually created a problem, where others thought the policies were a solution.

But the point is this, no nation that has unrestricted immigration and allows anyone to come in and fails to secure its borders is going to survive as a nation that can help anyone. And so, the United States, like other nations, faces the question of its own political stewardship of its immigration policy and its borders not out of a national interest that is defined as selfishness, but rather, out of the understanding that if these issues are not controlled with a rational and just policy, then over time there will not be a nation that people will even want to come to.

Part III

No, We Should Not Sell China Our Military Expertise: Allies Warn U.S. and Allied Military Pilots Not to Train Chinese Military

But next, we need to look at the fact that we live in an increasingly dangerous world, and this comes down to matters of national security. You go back a generation, and you had American political leaders and thought leaders who are pretty much certain that we were headed into an era of unprecedented peace. Hasn’t turned out that way. Russia under Vladimir Putin hasn’t turned out that way, certainly with the invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Hasn’t turned out that way when it comes to China. Closer commercial, economic, financial relationships between the United States and China did not turn out to mean the end of China’s imperialistic ambitions, nor its subversions of American interest and threat, frankly, militarily and otherwise, to the national security of the United States of America. And furthermore, you’ve got terrorist groups. You just go down the list. The United States has enemies, and this is where Christians understand, well, that’s not to be unexpected.

But there are some very interesting headlines coming at us with developments, and I’m thinking particularly now, the threat posed by China. And just a couple of things just point out as illustrations the kind of challenge the United States now faces. So for instance, front page story in the New York Times just in recent days, “Allies Warn Former Fighter Pilots Not to Train Chinese Military Members.” So, that was a front page news story in the New York Times. And you think about it and just take that apart for a moment. So, China is hiring, sometimes to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars a contract, it turns out Allied, but most importantly, American Air Force and other fighter pilot veterans, including from the Navy, in order to use their expertise to train Chinese fighter pilots in the advanced use of these high-technology aircraft in such a way that they can pose a danger back to the United States of America. So flatly, that’s what’s happening.

These Chinese forces are hiring American, but also Allied pilots who have retired from the military and are hiring them to train Chinese pilots. Now, there is a political ruse that’s being used here, but as is so often the case, by the time you’re involved in this, you’ve pretty much figured it out it’s a political ruse. It shouldn’t be a surprise that all the students who show up as cadets for these kinds of institutes speak Chinese and the jets they’re going to fly are Chinese military jets.

Now, it is an interesting aspect of this that when you’re looking at these advanced technologies in these jets, how did China get there? Well, at least partly by stealing the information, stealing the designs, and stealing the technology. But you know what you can’t steal quite as easily? The expertise of your pilots, it turns out. And so, you look at this and you realize this is just the communist regime in China trying to buy another form of military power. But in this case, they’re not trying to steal technology, they’re trying to steal the expertise of pilots, pilots who were trained by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and other Allied armed forces.

And so, the story begins, “For years, US officials have accused China of stealing American technology to design and build fighter planes. But while China learned how to build advanced fighters, its pilots could not fly them so well.” All that’s starting to change. According to the news report citing American officials, “US and Allied intelligence officials warned that Beijing was intensifying a campaign to entice former fighter pilots from Western nations to train Chinese pilots. The concern has spread to at least five Allied nations. That is the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Those nations have formed an intelligence-sharing partnership known as the Five Eyes.” And that group issued a bulletin stating that, “China’s People’s Liberation Army was trying to tap the skills and expertise of these individuals to improve its own air operations.” That again, in the report from the New York Times.

Michael C. Casey director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center said, “To overcome their shortcomings, China’s People’s Liberation Army has been aggressively recruiting Western military talent to train their aviators using private firms around the globe that conceal their PLA ties and other recruits’ exorbitant salaries.” The Times tells us that American intelligence with our allies have concluded that sites for this kind of training have now emerged in South Africa, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. “They say the recruited pilots have been offered the chance to fly in a variety of exotic and advanced planes and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their services.” Now, as I said, even if they’re not told that this is for the People’s Liberation Army of Communist China, they can figure that out pretty quickly. I like the way the Times puts it, “While the pilots may not initially know they are training the Chinese military, it quickly becomes apparent.”

So again, just a reminder of the dangerous nature of the world we live in, something the biblical worldview tells us we should expect and look for, but it also means it tells us we have a responsibility. And that responsibility now falls to these Allied governments, their intelligence agencies, they’re military, but it also falls upon these citizens who were under the oath of service to these Allied militaries and are now for hundreds of thousands of dollars basically selling themselves and their expertise to the PLA for the training of Chinese pilots with aggressive intentions towards the United States and our allies. In other words, it is another form of high-price treason.

Part IV

A Simple Mountain Hotel or a Nest of Spies? A Chinese Couple, a Century-Old Lodge, and a Plot to Steal Information on Advanced American Aircraft

But as we’re thinking about this, I have to tell you that one of my favorite investigative reports on this actually appeared in the review section of the Wall Street Journal, just in recent weeks, and it had to do with the question “Was a Swiss inn a front for Chinese spies?” It turns out there was a rather rundown Swiss inn or hostile in a rather rural area of Switzerland. And the only reason anyone could imagine that there was a Chinese couple that had a commercial interest, and had bought that property is because it is right next to a Swiss Air Force base that was about to become home to F-35 advanced fighters from the United States, the most advanced fighters and the most expensive military technology ever invented in human history.

Now, according to the article by a team of reporters for the Wall Street Journal, if you look out the front of this small hotel through lace-curtained windows, you’re looking at “a crop of mountains capped with snow that melts into a nearby waterfall.” But then, “It is the view from the back that caught the attention of American intelligence agencies. About 100 yards from the rear of the rustic wood-paneled inn, just past a child’s swing set, cuts the runway where the Swiss military had agreed to base several F-35s, the world’s most advanced jet fighter. The airstrip only partly fenced is so accessible to passersby, the farmers sometimes lead cows across, bells clanging from their necks. A couple identified as the Wangs became the owners of this property and people became rather suspicious of why. There were other better properties in the area. They clearly were wanting the location, and it wasn’t the view that was so unique. It was the runway.” “American and other intelligence agencies began an investigation, and before long the couple disappeared and they disappeared even with food left on the table in the hotel.”

The journal tells us, “The Wangs have since disappeared without a trace. The tables that the Rössli,” that’s the hotel, “are still set for breakfast service. Jars of muesli dried fruit and overturned coffee cups atop saucers. An elderly neighbor keeps the heating on to stop the pipes from freezing.” The article concludes by the way in an interesting manner telling us that there had been some word in the media of a transfer of the property from the owners to a new owner, and it turned out that the new owner is the Swiss military. Go figure.

Part V

A Potential War in Space? America Prepares for the Militarization of the World Far, Far Away

But even as we have to bring this day’s consideration to a close, the journal also was responsible for another front page story about the military challenges the United States faces in an increasingly dangerous world.

And as you’re thinking about a radical increase in that danger, just consider what is represented by the headline, “Pentagon Prepares for Space Warfare.” We don’t have time to take into account all that’s reported here. The most important thing is just the headline itself, stating that when you are looking at the militarization of Planet Earth, it is now accompanied by what has to be acknowledged as the increased militarization of outer space, and of the space which represents the orbital opportunities for objects launched from Planet Earth.

Speaking of the weapons of a potential war in space, the journal cited, “Such technologies as space jamming, in which electronic warfare satellites would jam signals sent to and from other orbital platforms could also interfere with communications on Earth. Directed energy, high-powered lasers or microwaves, which would be used to fry satellites’ internal electronics, chase satellites,” How’s that for very interesting? “chase satellites are satellites that would have robotic arms that could ‘capture other craft or knock them from their stable orbits.'” You thought this was Star Wars? No, this is the front page of the Wall Street Journal. And then finally, explosives. I think that’s easy to understand. “Conventional or nuclear weapons could be detonated to destroy equipment or disable electronics.”

So in other words, when you’re looking at a pilot academy located somewhere in an exotic land, when you’re looking at a rustic Swiss inn, or at night when you’re looking up at the night sky, who knows? You might be looking at the next theater of warfare. Indeed, we live in a dangerous world.

Meanwhile, let me ask, are you driving to Indianapolis for the Southern Baptist Convention? I’d like to invite you, if you are to visit Southern Seminary and Boyce College here in Louisville, Kentucky on your way, or as you travel home. Visit our world-class bookstore, you’re going to love it. Meet our faculty, see our newly-renovated library, enjoy a drink in our coffee shop. And just come and enjoy being on this beautiful campus and being thankful for what the Lord has done here. We want to thank Southern Baptist for your generous support, for your prayers, and for your faithfulness to this institution.

For details, and we’ll also send you a free drink coupon, visit That’s simply I hope to see you here. Thanks for listening to The Briefing. For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter or X by going to For information on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’m today in Indianapolis, Indiana for the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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