Peter Kreeft the renowned Philosophy professor at Boston College addressed this question that has puzzled many for a very long time—is there sex in Heaven?
He says there has to be sex in heaven simply because there are human beings in Heaven and God made all of us, both men and women….in his image and likeness.
That will not change in Heaven.
Whether or not we have sex or sexually distinct social roles in Heaven, he warns are different question entirely.
As he points out sexuality is like race but unlike clothes, an essential aspect of our identity, spiritual as well as physical.
Even if sex were not spiritual, there would have to be sex in Heaven because of the resurrection of the body…a body with identifiable sexual organs.
People easily forget that God invented sex as a favor to men and women…not as a punishment.
According to essayist, Henry Makow, man represents the God Principle.
Woman represents the Creation Principle… God is in love with Creation and vice-versa.
Husbands serve as the surrogates for God while in her soul, the sex act is a living metaphor for the love of God.
It took the Fall to add six and sexual aberrations to the human condition.
Kreeft states that the human body is not a mistake to be unmade or a prison cell to be freed from, but a divine work of art designed to show forth the soul as the soul is to show forth God, in splendor and glory.
The real question is will there be sexual intercourse in Heaven.
This raises the rhetorical question, if we have sexual organs in heaven, what would we use them for?
I have often wondered why God made Adam and Eve with sexual organs if they were not to enjoy sex before the Fall. So it seems logical that they may be used after the resurrection of the body.
One thing is for certain Heavenly sex will not be used for reproduction.
As Kreeft points out—earth is the breeding colony while Heaven is the homeland.
As Christ told the Sadducees there will be no marriage in Heaven.
Everything on earth is analogous to something in Heaven.
Heaven neither simply removes nor simply continues earthly things.
If we apply this principle to sexual intercourse, we get the conclusion that intercourse on earth is a shadow or symbol of intercourse in Heaven.
Kreeft speculates about what that could be?
It could certainly be a sort of spiritual intercourse—and, remember, that includes sexual intercourse because sex is spiritual.
This spiritual intercourse would mean something more specific than universal charity.
He says that it might be a special communion with the sexually complementary that is something a man can have only with a woman and a woman only with a man.
Before the Fall God created woman because a man is made complete by such union.
God recognized that it was not good that the man should be alone.
And as Kreeft says God does not simply rip up His design for human fulfillment.
Kreeft also reasons that the relationship need not be confined to one in Heaven.
Monogamy is strictly for earth.
On earth, our bodies are private.
In Heaven, we share each other’s secrets without shame, and voluntarily.
In the Communion of Saints, promiscuity of spirit is a virtue.
The relationship may not extend to all persons of the opposite sex, at least not in the same way or degree.
If it did extend to all, it would treat each differently simply because each is different—sexually as well as in other ways.
I think there must be some special kindred souls in Heaven that we are designed to feel a special sexual love for.
This general love may have even developed here on earth.
Like many have a circle of friends, people could develop an unfulfilled circle of love during their earthly stay.
But this would differ from romantic love in that it would be free, not driven and it would transcend all earthly cares, responsibilities and obligations from soul to body, not from body to soul.
Nor would it feel apart from or opposed to the God-relationship, but a part of it or a consequence of His design.
These love relationships would also be totally conscious and unselfish.
Kreeft calls it the ethical goodness of agape, the selfless love joined to the passion of eros.
But would it ever take the form of physical sexual intercourse?
Here Kreeft cautions us that we should not kowtow to modernity’s sexual monomania but consider it because it is an honest question about something of great significance to us now, and because we want to know all we can about Heaven.
Since there are bodies in Heaven, able to eat and be touched, like Christ’s resurrection body, there is the possibility of physical intercourse.
We know Heaven by earthly clues.
Earthly human sex has three levels of meaning: the subhuman, or animal; the superhuman, or divine; and the specifically human.
Animal reasons for intercourse include (i) the conscious drive for pleasure and (2) the unconscious drive to perpetuate the species.
Both would be absent in Heaven.
For although there are unimaginably great pleasures in Heaven, we are not driven by them.
Remember there is no need for breeding because the species is complete.
Transhuman reasons for intercourse include (i) idolatrous love of the beloved as a substitute for God and (2) the Dante-Beatrice love of the beloved as an image of God.
As to the first, there is, of course, no idolatry in Heaven. No substitutes for God are even tempting when God Himself is present.
As to the second, the earthly beloved was a window to God, a mirror reflecting the divine beauty. That is why the lover was so smitten.
Now that the reality is present, why stare at the mirror? The impulse to adore has found its perfect object.
Furthermore, even on earth this love leads not to intercourse but to infatuation. Dante neither desired nor had sex with Beatrice.
Specifically human reasons for intercourse include (1) consummating a monogamous marriage and (2) the desire to express personal love. As to the first, there is no marriage in Heaven.
But what of the second?
Kreeft thinks there will probably be millions of more adequate ways to express love than the clumsy ecstasy of fitting two bodies together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Even the most satisfying earthly intercourse between spouses cannot perfectly express all their love.
If the possibility of intercourse in Heaven is not actualized, it is only for the same reason earthly lovers do not eat candy during intercourse: there is something much better to do.
Candy is one of children’s greatest pleasures. Since they are children they cannot conceive of a pleasure so intense that it renders candy irrelevant.
Only if you know both can you compare two things, and all those who have tasted both the delights of physical intercourse with the earthly beloved and the delights of spiritual intercourse with God testify that there is simply no comparison.
This spiritual intercourse with God is the ecstasy hinted at in all earthly intercourse, physical or spiritual.
It is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong, so different from other passions, so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that just elude our grasp.
No mere practical needs account for it.
No mere animal drive explains it. No animal falls in love, writes profound romantic poetry, or sees sex as a symbol of the ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the image of God.
Human sexuality is a foretaste of that self-giving, that losing and finding the self, that oneness-in-manyness that is the heart of the life and joy of the Trinity.
That is what we long for!
That is why we tremble to stand outside ourselves in the other, to give our whole selves, body and soul: because we are images of God the sexual being. We love the other sex because God loves God.
And this earthly love is so passionate because Heaven is full of passion, of energy and dynamism.
A Passionate God?
While God does not have ephemeral emotions as we do, just think about the energy he expressed in making the world and the sacrifice he had to make in offering his only Son to save his creation from darkness—to think of this love as any less passionate than our temporary and conditioned passions is a most disastrous fantasy.
And that consuming fire of love is our destined Husband, according to His own promise.
Sex in Heaven?
Indeed, and no pale, abstract, merely mental shadow of it either.
Earthly sex is the shadow, and our lives are a process of thickening so that we can share in the substance, becoming Heavenly fire so that we can endure and rejoice in the Heavenly fire.
That sounds like he is saying that we may be in for a much bigger surprised than transpired on our respective wedding nights.
Who knows–maybe the Muslim suicide bombers will get what they prayed for.
In Soul Food, I wrote about both the importance of the body and the soul and how our civilization has for centuries bifurcated the two as some kind of warring entities.
The truth is that they are intricately woven like a fine hand-made or in this case God-make garment.
To separate them or pull out their threads and is to kill the body, thus ruining the garment of life.
Both need each other as Adam needed Eve.
That’s why one of the most interesting teachings of the Catholic Church is on the Resurrection of the body, presumably at the end of time.
Quite frankly I don’t know why we have to wait…forever how long that may be.
The body has been the vehicle for the activities of the soul’s will and should be risen at the same time that the soul is.
John Paul II was emphatic when he wrote in his book, Love and Responsibility that it cannot be forgotten that our bodies will be resurrected in the end.
In the book he discussed what role our masculinity and femininity will play in the afterlife, especially since procreation will not be part of it.
For a fuller explanation of this, look for Part III.
It may be a little difficult to imagine what our heavenly bodies might look like but ESPN’s special photo shoot on world-class athletes gives a brief hint as to what our heavenly might look like.
Our bodies were not only created to be in union with another human person, but also to share in spiritual union with God, which is the ultimate goal of human existence.
I know many people, especially women, might shutter at the thought of having their bodies visibly present in eternity.
Theologians speculate that our bodies will be glorified.
The imagery often projected is that we will wear flowing robes that will make it hard to distinguish man from women.
To me this is a repudiation of all John Paul II’s ground-breaking book about the human body.
I have already written that my view conceives of heaven as partly a nude beach where we are free to wander, swim in the ocean, breathe in the air and exhilarate in the beauties of God, nature and our fellow-men and women without any fabric restrictions.
St. John provided his ideal and highly mysterious vision of Heaven in the Book of Revelation, which is arguably the most difficult of all the books of the Bible.
Even before ESPN the human body attracted many creative people from the first time man learned to capture stick figures on a wall, through the fine arts of European painting.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir celebrated the gift of feminine beauty with his many nudes of voluptuous women in the late 19 century.
In each attempt the artist was trying to capture the beauty and true of the model’s inner soul–the invisible soul if you would of the material human body.
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the best at trying to present the perfect human body in all of its divine proportions.
Da Vinci drew The Vitruvian Man circa 1490.
He believed the workings of the human body were analogous to the workings of the universe.
Nature so designed the human body that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is always a tenth part of the whole height.
The open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same while the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth.
In his book, Da Vinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image Toby Lester pointed out that da Vinci’s drawing corresponds in nice ways to existing descriptions of Leonardo that exist.
Lester believes that the drawing of The Vitruvian Man was actually a self-portrait.
His opinion rests on the reports of many of da Vinci’s contemporaries, who of described him as being very finely built, strong, very beautiful with locks of hair that curled and went down to his shoulders.
It was originally named The Poet and alleged to have been Dante, contemplating
The statue is obviously nude and seems to depict perfections of the human body while engaging in a mental or even spiritual activity.
I used to quip that he was thinking about where he left his clothes.
The human body is the pinnacle of God’s creation and in Heaven we can expect a throwback or return to that Sixth Day when God did his best work.
To me this is just an added incentive to make the celestial grade.
However I found out early that there were all kinds of heavenly bodies on earth.
In 1966 I was preparing to visit some friends in New Orleans when some of the older men in the small town where I was teachings suggested I look at the heavenly bodies on Bourbon Street.
Someone else had to explain it to me.
Unfortunately the human body of women has often been used for pornographic imagery, which is designed to unsettle normal relationships between men and women.
It has reached epidemic proportions in this country and around the world.
As a result moral society has been reflexive in its encounter with any kind of female or even male nudity because of the pornographic abuse of freedom in the United States.
Pope John Paul II was valiant in his attempt to put the nude human in its proper moral perspective.
Because God created it, the human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendor and its beauty...
Nakedness should not be equated with shamelessness. Immodesty is present only when nudity plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person.
The human body in itself is never shameful.
Shamelessness is a function of the interior of a person.’
With regards to viewing nudity, it’s clear that there’s a spectrum of appropriateness.
On one hand, it may be appropriate for a man to view his wife’s or baby’s unclothed body.
During routine examinations a male physician may be within his right to view a woman’s unclothed body.
On the other hand, it’s never appropriate for a man to view a woman even his wife with lustful desire in his heart, whether she is clothed or unclothed.
By definition lust is the desire to use another person like an object for one’s own sexual gratification.
Treating people like things is always morally wrong.
Impurity of body only occurs when nudity plays a negative role with respect to the value of the person.
The late pope did warn that concupiscence can create a tangible sexual tension that surrounds relations between the sexes.
In these situations the person must make a real interior effort to avoid any utilitarian attitudes toward nudity in any form.
Appreciation and not desire has always been my rule in such situations.
The human body per se is not impure, nor is the reaction of sensuality, nor sensuality itself.
Lust begins when the will appropriates the reaction of sensuality and reduces the other person – because of his or her body and sex – to an object of pleasure.
Our earthly bodies can also be the transmitters of spiritual joy.
With regard to our earthly bodies St. Francis, the namesake of the Catholic Church’s new pope, was quoted in Omer Engelbert’s definitive biography about the 13th century saint as saying that spiritual joy is as necessary to the soul as blood is to the body.
What Francis missed here was the fact that because of the body’s meticulous make-up bodily hormones can transport feelings of heavenly ecstasy through the blood to every inch of the body and even the soul.
I have felt this in my own life with the incessant and overpowering feelings of joy, well-being and near mind-expanding ecstasy after a therapeutic massage.
These feelings were not just ephemeral but not only made me smile more but warmed my relationships with all the people I came in contact with that day.
As I have stated before these are not just temporary feelings but to me a foretouch of what heaven may be like.
I feel that they are ground in my religious faith and inspire me to look to the heavens above with hope, anticipation and high expectations.
I recently attended my granddaughter’s concert at Visitation Academy in St. Louis.
The first song their choral group sang was the old Simon and Garfunkel hit, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
That song and many other message-oriented songs are food for my soul.
They send me into a momentary reverie that touches my heart and elevates my spirit.
Some religious, spiritual or even classical hymns also send my soul soaring to unimaginable heights.
Music is one of the great feeding stations for a person’s soul and I am always pleased to have an opportunity to sup at a musical table.
People don’t talk very much about the human soul.
Since Charles Darwin and Karl Marx infected Western Civilization with the disease of dialectical materialism there has been a concerted effort among the left to eliminate any idea of the soul.
Professor Benjamin Wiker has a new book out, entitled Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became our State Religion.
The book underscores the fact that if acceptance of a human soul is ever eliminated from the culture, it will open the modern world to all kinds of moral evils.
Maybe that is already happening.
What would happen if there were no soul?
The Christian religion totally falls apart.
It would have no real reason to exist, except maybe feeding the poor.
Christ would then be reduced to a savior for people who don’t need one.
His cross could then be reduced to firewood for the poor and the Catholic Church would be not much more than the largest Bingo operator in the world.
If a mere corporal body is the only thing that exists…like the lower animals, why should anyone treat them any better than animals?
If life is just material, then there is no God.
As Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in the Brothers Karamazov if there were no God then nothing is forbidden.
There would be no right nor wrong, just the arbitrary will of governments.
This would eliminate any opposition to abortion, homosexual marriage, euthanasia and even Holocausts, such as the one that the Nazis created.
The Bible would be reduced to a work of fiction.
It was the Bible where man received his original dignity.
In the Book of Genesis God created man and woman on the Sixth day and said this was very good.
This first book also says that God created man and woman in His image and likeness.
This is a revolutionary idea that has lost its meaning through thousands of years of history.
Think about this statement.
He made men and women with distinctive but complementary sexual organs.
However our sexuality transcends the organs.
Being a man or a woman encompasses much more than our respective genitalia.
At the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn, a man and a woman, both nude, hula-hooped in silence for 35 minutes.
According to the New York Times article, to the small gathering, seated on the floor below, this was beautiful rendition of the beauty of the male and female bodies in a rhythmic motion that locked the transcendence from mere organic differences to something inherently uplifting and artistic.
Actor Maurice Chevalier once said about this: Vive la difference.
Unfortunately in our unisex culture we have forgotten his profound comment.
While the nude bodies of Adam and Eve reflected the beauty, power and majesty of God’s creative love, after the Fall that beauty and love became a vehicle for lust and shame.
The first parents had to cover their nakedness because they did not want God to see them in their shame because they had brought sin into the world.
They were human beings and it was their souls that had offended God, not their bodies.
Both had an integral unity of body and soul that was more like a liquid mixture that reflected both the material and the immaterial.
Throughout history that took mixture became bifurcated into a critical duality that has dominated religion, philosophy economics and politics ever since.
Throughout the early history of Christianity, many different cults of heretics emphasized the spirit over the body.
To many, including St. Augustine the human body, especially the mores seductive features of the female body, were the material of sin and self-degradation.
In a word the human body was evil and had to be hidden as much as possible.
This attitude dominated the Gnostics, the Cathars, and the Albigensians.
The most successful of these heretics were the Cathars, who believed all visible matter was created by Satan.
This even included the human body.
Human souls were thought to be the genderless souls of Angels trapped within the physical creation of Satan cursed to be reincarnated until the Cathar faithful achieved salvation through a ritual called the Consolamentum.
Many Catholic leaders implicitly sanctioned this erroneous belief.
They did so because to them the soul lived for eternity while the body was destined for corruption and disintegration.
Salvation was the work of the Church and it was of the soul, not the human body.
The Enlightenment changed some of this as the Church lost much of its power and influence, especially during the French Revolution.
The Enlightenment emphasized man’s reason and the superiority of scientific fact over the superstitions of religion.
Darwin, Marx and later Freud, were the first ones to deny the soul.
Without the soul men and women had nothing to cling to in life but their bodies.
This led to the sex revolution where men and women sexually united in pairs, groups and as frequently as their stamina and organs could take.
The sex drive, now completely separated from procreation, became an end in itself.
The human body became a cult.
Bicycling, jogging, weight training, yoga, aerobics and all kind of transcendental mediation activities sprang up everywhere.
They were running, bicycling and training so as to extend their material lives as long as possible because they have been told by the powers that be that this was all that they had going for them.
Funny thing I always see people running on a Sunday morning.
They can get up to run but what about Mass or a Sunday service some place?
The end of the soul advocates received a great lift in 1996 when writer, Tom Wolfe, the author of The Right Stuff published an essay in Forbes Magazine Sorry but your Soul just Died.
His article defined the boundaries for the final battle by focusing on brain imaging, the new technology that watches the human brain as it functions in real-time.
While brain imaging was invented for diagnostics reasons, Wolfe underscored its importance for broaching metaphysical and eschatological issues, such as the complex mysteries of personhood, the self, the soul and free will.
Wolfe envisioned that neuroscience would have an enormous impact on how people viewed life, death and other human beings.
He predicted that this new science was on the threshold of a unified theory that will have an impact as powerful as that of Darwinism a 100-years ago.
The debate over man’s soul dates back to 17th century French philosophe Rene Descartes’ dictum Cogito ergo Sum. (I think therefore I am.)
Traditionalists have always regarded his maxim as indicative of man’s dual nature of body and soul.
This gave rise to the ghost in the machine fallacy, the notion that there is a spiritual self somewhere inside the brain that directs and interprets its operations.
Wolfe’s article challenged this idea, stating that neuroscience proved there is not even any one place in the human brain where consciousness or self-consciousness is located.
According to Wolfe science and pharmacology have replaced religious faith by altering the chemistry of the brain, which also dulled the moral sense.
Echoing Nietzsche, Wolfe predicted that the next generation would believe the soul, the last refuge of values, is dead because educated people no longer believe it exists.
It is also clear that the death of the soul movement is symptomatic of a larger scheme.
Cryogenics or the freezing of the dead so that medical science can later resurrect them is a part of transhumanism, a utopian attempt to establish man’s earthly immortality.
The first cryopreservation was in 1967.
To fill the void created by the death of the soul, these modern Doctor Frankensteins have sacralized the earth and made man’s body the object of immortalization.
So while they believe man does not have an eternal soul, his body through scientific discovery and manipulation can eventually achieve earthly immortality.
This effectively flips Christianity on its head.
It is another and maybe more dangerous attempt is to replace an eternal God with an eternal man, which is the fulfillment of the serpent’s promise of ye shall be like gods, in the Garden of Eden.
How important is it for us to understand and oppose this new attack?
If science can eliminate the immortal soul, then Christ’s death, Resurrection the Christian faith are all in vain.
The first man…Adam has always enjoyed a high regard and importance in Biblical discussion.
While it may not have happened exactly like Moses wrote it, people can rest assured that every aspect of it is the divinely inspired word of God and absolutely true in its essential meaning.
Man was created in a primordial state of bliss… the first paradise.
But with all the wonders of God and nature before him he was still very much alone.
It was something akin to looking at the natural majesty of the Grand Canyon.
After a minute or two…one needs to move on…especially since there was no one for Adam to share it with.
So God created Eve from Adam’s rib and the rest as they say is Biblical history.
Then first newlyweds were tempted by pride.
Mankind fell hard and sin entered the world.
Just look around you. Read a newspaper. Sin’s existence should not be so hard to believe.
Man was now eternally barred from the joys, blessings and unfathomable pleasures of heaven.
Enter Jesus Christ…the New Adam to suffer and die on the cross and open heaven’s gates.
This is what 100s of millions of Christians have believed for millenia.
John Paul II has written and lectured widely on the Garden of Eden as the origins of marriage as the Western world has basically known and respected it for 2000 years.
He developed a highly abstract rendition of Genesis, the Sermon on the Mount, the Song of Songs, and several of Paul’s epistles to show the state of marriage before and after the fall.
His topics delve into sexual intimacy, nudity, celibacy, contraception and many other ideas that relate to a sex-obsessed country in a mature Christian manner.
Different cultures have allowed for polygamous societies where a man could have more than one wife…sometimes numbering in the 1000s.
Islam in the 7th century limited that number to just four though a man could service several concubines and mistresses.
It was Christianity and Christianity alone that raised the status of women unlike anything the world had seen.
And as most men have learned, though women might not have always had equal legal status outside of the home.
Behind the closed doors of her home she can get anything she wants from her man through her feminine wiles.
The lot of women was even more protected when the Church raised marriage to the level of a holy sacrament.
Marriage with its emphasis on natural law could only be between a man and a woman.
If one believes in God, one has to accept that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Otherwise why would God have created both men and women with specific reproductive roles and the bodies to carry out his plan?
The late Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote a book that put Christian marriage in its proper perspective.
It was called Three to Get Married.
No, I don’t think he meant the husband wife and mother-in-law.
Sheen emphasized how God was necessary for any human marriage to be successful and fruitful.
No where is there ever any mention of a Steve or a Tom, Dick or Harry to replace Eve.
The idea of gay marriage would be a risible oxymoron if it were not so serious and so potentially damaging to the already shattered edifice of Western Civilization.
Marriage is the ultimate and most important building block of a stable society.
Anything that threatens its foundation is anti-cultural and a threat to traditional society.
I am talking about the obvious–adultery, drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, criminal behavior, immaturity and just laziness.
All of these behaviors undermine the pillars of fidelity, honesty and chastity that any marriage needs to thrive.
Gays say they want marriage equality.
How about marriage integrity?
Just what does that mean?
They can marry anyone they want within the proper limits of the definition of a marriage…just like anyone else.
Heterosexual people have limitations as well. They cannot marry their children, first cousins, another women or man without a civil divorce.
They cannot marry their loving pets.
Men and women are not fungible. They cannot be replaced or substituted for one another because of their gender differences.
What gives a small group…about 2% of the population the right to change a traditional cultural institution after 1000s of years of history and tradition?
Nobody is saying they cannot get married…but within the confines of marriage’s definition.
While children don’t seem to be the standard for today’s couples, the basic fact is that any same-sex marriage is founded on a lie.
There is no natural complementation.
Marriage is not a nominalist invention that can be lightly changed without affecting and dismantling its essential meaning.
Their natural parts just don’t fit.
And emotionally their only hope is of an artificial unity that is based on the arrested development of one of the parties.
There may be some strong emotional bondage but it will never be a true marriage.
Homosexual couples may enjoy something that is of mutual value to the parties but it is nothing that would be of any value to the longevity of a society, let alone a civilization.
Of course married men and women within the context of the sexual revolution have all but destroyed marital integrity but this would be the coup de gras.
Heterosexual marriage is redundant and gay marriage is a contradiction in terms.
Same sex marriage is just the latest and maybe the most pernicious threat because it radically changes the definition of what a marriage is.
Rush Limbaugh, who is intellectually correct, far more than he is mistaken says that the battle was lost for conservatives when they allowed modifiers to the concept of marriage.
The sad irony of this whole bitter debate is that millions of heterosexual couples seem to be renouncing marriage as a social good and a moral necessity while homosexuals are eager to walk down the isle…mainly for social approval.
Without marriage as a solid building block the bell will be tolling for Western Civilization, sadly as it toll for you and for me.
This is just another chapter in the culture war.
Look for a future essay on the marriage wars.
OK the title is more of a teaser.
I never did have a bone fide relationship with Jackie Roosevelt Robinson.
But I did meet him once when I was 11 years old and I got his autograph to boot.
I remember the Dodgers were playing the Reds and Johnny Podres was pitching. He won the game 4-0, a harbinger of what he would do in the October Classic.
But that one brief moment did produce an array of great personal stories that I would like to share, partly in anticipation of seeing the new movie 42 about his reintroducing black players into the major leagues.
The film opens on April 12th and stars Harrison Ford, as the sometimes sanctimonious Branch Rickey, who could also be penurious at times and a line-up as obscure as the 2013 New York Mets’ array of nobodies.
I say reintroduce blacks into baseball because in truth he was not the first black baseball player.
NBC Today host, Gene Shalit picked up on that immediately when I was his guest on the early morning show, May 9, 1974 concerning my accredited baseball history at Maryville College.
I believe that honor of the first black player belongs to the Walker brothers, Moses and later Welday.
He then played in the minor leagues until 1889 after professional baseball erected a color barrier that stood for nearly 60 years.
After leaving baseball, Walker became a businessman and unsurprisingly an advocate of Black nationalism.
Walker made his Major League first appearance was on May 1 against the Louisville Eclipse.
In his debut, he went hitless and had four errors. In 42 games, (an omen) Walker had a batting average of .263.
His brother, Welday Walker, later joined him on the team, playing in six games.
Moses Walker was not much of a hitter but was known for having a rocket for an arm.
Oddly enough my guest speaker for that first course in February 1973 was James Cool Papa Bell, a future Hall of Famer, who was relatively obscure when he came to my class for $50 and cab fare.
Bell would be enshrined in Cooperstown the year after appearing at my class.
I can still seem him standing there in front of 17 female students and two male walk-ons, one of whom became and still is my plumber and the other a life-long friend and my discount broker at the bank.
Bell was so neatly dressed… like a banker or even a lawyer, in a blue-striped suit I could not resist saying to him, Mr Bell you look so ‘cool!’
He told the class that he had scouted Jackie when he was a member of the Kansas City Monarch of the Negro League and found him wanting as a shortstop.
Oh he could play baseball, but defensively his range was modest and his arm too weak for shortstop.
I think Bell recommended against signing him, an honest assessment, given Jackie’s success at every position the infield…except shortstop.
When Robinson came to the Dodgers in 1947 they had to play him at first base, a position he was very unfamiliar with.
His footwork was terrible and it nearly got him seriously injured.
This led to rumors, some of which may have been true, that players were deliberately trying to spike him, especially on his Achilles tendon, which could have been career-ending.
Joe Garagiola, the personality-plus catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals had several run ins with Robinson.
From what I read about these incidents they stemmed from the strong competitiveness of both players and not any deep-seated racial prejudice.
Joe had suffered his own brand of ethnic prejudice and accepted it as part of a baptism under fire that virtually every rookie went through.
I don’t believe Robinson totally understood that or Joe Garagiola for that matter.
Joe told me that himself during an afternoon interview session I did with him in 1974 for an article that never got published.
My father had simply called the NBC studios in New York and arranged the interview for me.
I spent the afternoon with him as he taped five episodes of TV game show that was in its beginning stages.
One of the engineers quipped that Joe had shot down more pilots than the Luftwaffe– the Nazi airforce in WW II.
During the intermissions, I not only got to watch him change his pants four times but listen to him as he talked about Yogi, his St. Louis youth, baseball humor and of course Jackie.
During our chat he told me a story about Jackie and how Joe had nearly ruined his career trying to protect Robinson at first base.
Contrary to rumors that he was out to get Robinson, Joe tried to avoid stepping on his vulnerable ankle.
In doing so he tripped over the base and dislocated his shoulder.
He missed about half of the season, playing just 77 games. His once high .350 average sank to .257 at season’s end.
I saw the scars to prove his point.
This brings me neatly back to my relationship with jackie Robinson.
My dad had taken me to a game with the Reds in June of 1955 and when we got to our box seats on the first base side just past the Brooklyn dugout, who would be standing directly in front of us, leaning against the fence but Jackie with his back to the crowd.
I waited my turn and when it arrived as he signed I told him with all the courage I could muster, I hope you do today what you did last night, Jackie!
He simply shrugged his broad shoulders and responded: I hope I don’t have to do it like that again!.
I was clueless as to what he could have meant.
Let me explain what I had witnessed on TV the prior evening.
Picture this a little Puerto Rican lefty for the St. Louis Cardinals, named Luis Arroyo had pitched his team into the bottom of the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead.
The voice of the Dodgers, then and 58 years later still at it, Vince Scully informed us that no lefty had won a complete game in Ebbets Field in..I forget how long he said…but a considerable span of time.
The date was June 6th, a rare Monday night game.
Well with one out and the tying run on, Jackie digs in at the plate.
With two strikes, he sends a shot over the left field wall, maybe 375 feet away and wins the game for Brooklyn in the most dramatic fashion.
I am happy, the fans are jubilant and he doesn’t want to do that again?
My research discovered years later that this had all revolved around baseball politics.
I knew there was no crying in baseball but politics?
As #42 will dramatize Rickey was the one who signed Jackie and gave him a chance at fame and fortune that had been denied to members of race since Chicago White Stocking great Cap Anson told baseball in 1884 he would not play with those….
By 1955 Rickey had left Brooklyn. Walter O’Malley owned the team and his new manager was Walter Alston.
The Rickey people had never gotten along with the O’Malley clan.
In the aforementioned incident of Jackie’s heroics, manager Alston had ordered Robinson to bunt.
I didn’t remember any of that so intense was the game at that point.
Robinson balked at having to do that.
He wanted end it there and now.
After two haphazard attempts to bunt, Jackie won the game.
Alston fined him $50.
I was not surprised that Jackie did what he did, even if it cost him money.
He had what I have called the black fire in my short monograph, entitled, A Fan’s Memoir: The Brooklyn Dodgers, 1953-57.
It was his inner rage that made him the ball players he became.
I still have a boatload of copies if anyone is interested. Just write me @ email@example.com.
I have seen that kind of determination in only one other athlete and that was Bob Gibson.
The white bigots did everything they could to taunt, humiliate him and make him quit.
He almost suffered a nervous breakdown so great was the pressure.
Rickey had put even more pressure on Robinson when he answered his question about fighting back with the sardonic remark:
No, Jackie I want someone strong enough…NOT to fight back!
His fellow teammates both helped and hindered his historical path.
Some Southerners just could not go against their culture or their bigotry.
Rickey quietly cleaned them out.
Dodger Captain, Pee Wee Reese from the border state of Kentucky, was instrumental in getting Jackie through some of his ordeal.
He tried to keep the rookie loose.
When his life was threatened before a spring training game in Alabama, Reese suggested everyone wear #42 to confuse the assassin.
Now all major leaguers wear #42 on a given day each year.
All teams have or will have retired #42 when Mario Rivera finally retired in the Fall.
When Reese entered the HOF in 1984, they put a reference to his efforts on his plaque.
Jackie Robinson hit an impressive .297 with a dozen home runs. He was elected Major League Baseball’s first Rookie of the Year Award, which is now named after him.
The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown inducted him 1961.
Two years later he was the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
There is so much more I can write about Me and Jackie but I will let the movie provide the physical form for my many words.
I don’t think I have ever done an Easter reflection for my blog.
I mean what can I add to a religious event that has been going on for almost 2000 years?
At our Palm Sunday Mass I found it increasingly difficult to stand, such are the ravages of age.
So my mind started drifting a bit.
When the reader came to the part about Jesus being crucified between two robbers, I got an interesting idea that I want to share with you.
Remember some years ago when they tried to make the thieves into revolutionary insurgents?
What a joke that was!
I always loved the story of the good thief, as the saved criminal was originally called.
I think it is the greatest oxymoron in the Bible.
In his classic Life of Christ, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote that he was the thief who stole Heaven.
What a lyrical way of describing such a triumphant event!
He was never canonized by the Catholic Church but is venerated as a saint by local traditions as Saint Dismas (sometimes spelled “Dysmas” or in Spanish “Dimas”). The name Dismas for this thief may date back to the 4th century.
According to Matthew, both of the thieves mocked Jesus (Matthew 27:44);
Luke however, mentions that:
39 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
According to tradition, the Good Thief was crucified to Jesus’ right hand and the other thief was crucified to his left. For this reason, depictions of the crucifixion often show Jesus’ head inclined to his right, showing his acceptance of the Good Thief.
His story inspired several priests, nuns and others to work with people who had made very bad choices about taking other people’s property.
Dismas House was founded by Father Charles Dismas Clark in 1959.
Father Clark was a Jesuit priest who long had the goal of helping ex-offenders by giving them a place to stay while they got on their feet after releasing from prison.
Along with Morris Shenker, a Russian immigrant lawyer, Clark opened Dismas House in 1959.
At the time, halfway houses were a radical concept and initially met with a lot of resistance within the community.
Today, halfway houses are commonplace and are recognized as a valuable asset to the offender and an integral part of the criminal justice system.
Father Clark became nationally famous as The Hoodlum Priest, the protagonist of a 1960′s Hollywood movie of the same name.
The film starred Hollywood actor Don Murray in the title role. He also directed the low-budget film.
It was Father Clark who approached Murray with an idea about turning his life’s work into a TV movie.
Murray signed on Father Clark’s ambitious project that described the creation and development of his rehabilitation ministry of returning criminals to mainstream American society after their prison terms.
Today Dismas House, which is in St. Louis, serves referrals from the United States Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Probation Offices in the Eastern District of Missouri and Southern District of Illinois, the Pretrial Services Office, and direct court commitments.
Residents can stay anywhere for a few days up to six months or longer, depending on their needs as determined by their referring authority.
I also had another thought during the reading.
The only participation the people standing in the pews was a few utterances by the crowd.
The one that spoke to me was when the mostly Jewish crowd yelled crucify him…crucify him.
That made me think of an interview that I did with Philip Jenkins, the Chairman of the Religion Department at Penn State University on my WGNU radio program many years ago.
A former Catholic, Jenkins has distinguished himself for many years, writing about Christianity and the sociological forces in the world of religion.
In asking him about his latest book, somehow the discussion turned to the death of Jesus.
I think he had blamed it on the Romans, which was a view that just starting to gain currency as a political correction to the standard view that the Jews did it!
I found this something very difficult to believe…and from a Cambridge man at that!
I had never heard the term blood libel during any of my Catholic education from 1949-1965.
I had never personally blamed any Jews for the death of Christ–other than the leaders of the Sanhedrin in the time of Christ.
Nor had I ever uttered the epithet, Christ killer! to anyone.
But how could the Romans (all Italians) be guilty?
Did not Pontius Pilate not offer them Barabas instead?
Was it not the Jews who refused, yelling crucify him..crucify him?
What was the symbolism of Pilate’s washing of his hands?
Did he not say…I find no guilt in this man?
It was indifference and maybe even cowardice but certainly not full complicity.
Of course he had to offer his soldiers for the actual execution.
The Jews lived under Roman control and had no right to execute anyone, even though some of them, according to John’s Gospel, had tried to kill Jesus after one of his sermons.
That was Roman law.
Pilate feared for his job since he was afraid that if he did not hand Jesus over to the Jews, there might be a rebellion.
Jerusalem was not the prime posting for a career politician and he could not afford to make any waves that would ripple back to Rome.
But to blame the Romans is not only specious reasoning but a distortion of both the Gospels and history.
In fact both Pilate and his soldiers became very uneasy about the whole matter.
One centurion spoke of Jesus’ innocence and his divine lineage after he died.
Near the end of the interview, I asked Professor Jenkins if the Romans were responsible, then what was Jesus’ crime?
I will never forget his answer.
He said nothing…not a word…and then we had to bid adieu.
A third and final idea occurred to me Palm Sunday when Jesus predicted his right-hand man and the future first pope, Peter would betray him…not just once or even twice…but three times.
Peter is one of my favorite saints because of his deeply flawed humanity.
He loved deeply but he seems to muck things up at every juncture.
He liked to boast but everything he said seemed to blow back in his face.
He wanted to walk on water and was doing fine until his fears and lack of trust took over and Jesus had to save him.
But when push came to shove, he was crucified just like Jesus with a very humble twist as if being stripped naked and hung up for the pleasure of hundreds of spectators is not humbling enough.
Peter was nailed to his cross upside down.
I hope all of the above will give you something to think about as this Easter season draws to a close.
And maybe if you have any energy left watch Mel’s movie again…the Passion of the Christ. No Easter is complete without it.
I will not be so presumptuous as to offer Francis I any advice.
But I would like to ask him to clarify some issues that have been bothering me about my Church and its approach to economic issues…especially with regard to, not only the poor, but also the wealthy.
I took only two courses at Holy Cross in the Dismal Science, as David Ricardo once called Economics.
So I will not pretend to know all the intricacies of a very complex discipline.
And quite frankly it is near impossible to get any two economists to agree on anything.
I am reminded of the old saying that if you lined the world’s economists up in a straight line they would point in every direction on the compass.
So even they do not understand their own subject in a perfect way.
There are certain words, ideas and abstraction that confuse me, especially when the poor are involved.
I heard a quote the Francis I said that he wanted the Catholic Church to be poor and for the poor.
I have been a Catholic for nearly 70 years and I cannot remember the poor being the main focus of my faith when I was young or even my first decade of marriage.
The Church is always going to need money…lots of money.
Unless he means poor in spirit. That would work for all of us.
Sure we had annual drives for the poor and the missions–I remember the little Mite Boxes for our pennies and dimes they gave us each year during Lent.
But the doctrines, teachings and morals were the prime focus to make us worthy of eternal salvation.
Maybe salvation is automatically assumed today.
Perhaps the Church believes everyone will automatically go to Heaven.
I know for a fact some bishops do.
First I might ask the pope as to where the commandments fit in with the Church’s deep concern for the poor.
I am talking about the 7th and 10th commandments specifically, which require us not to steal the goods or wealth of others or even desire to have what someone else.
As far as I know they are still within the canon of Catholic teaching and doctrine but they are mentioned even less than the 6th and the 9th commandments–the sex commandments.
I wonder how many priests, nuns, bishops and maybe even higher up realize this.
I know the federal government has been breaching the 7th and 10th commandments for as long as I can remember…at least as far back as Franklin Roosevelt.
Was it not Roosevelt who started the class war or what they call today…class envy?
Is not envy still a sin?
I only mention that because it seems to me many old and even some younger Catholics think of FDR as many Christians might think of the Second Coming.
To them it seems alright to steal from Peter to give to Paul.
That’s what disproportionate taxation and economic redistribution are in reality.
To paraphrase the great 19th century French economist, Frederic Bastiat if we as individuals did to our neighbors what government do to us every day, we would be behind bars.
Bastiat also explains in his most famous work, The Law why the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes socialist policies.
Bastiat thought of government, especially big government as little more than legalized plunder.
I know as a Catholic I should be concerned with the poor.
The Bible tells me that to those that are give much, much is expected.
I firmly believe that in my heart, however I should be the one to decide how much and to whom I should give.
That is what a good steward does.
I heard a priest once pray to eliminate poverty.
I think that is a ridiculous notion.
Poverty is a relative term that changes each and every day.
The only way to effect this is to level everybody to the barest subsistence level.
If everyone is poor, which is what happens with socialism, than poverty will have been eliminate.
Is that what they want?
The poor in this country has much more than most of the world’s population.
The United States, which has been blessed with incalculable but not limitless wealth has been the most generous nation in the history of mankind but according to our political leaders it has not been enough.
It is never enough!
To date we have spent over $17 trillion on the poor with all sorts of welfare programs since Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society and his War on Poverty in 1965.
It was really a war on poor people.
Unfortunately this largesse most likely have done little for them as total human beings.
The poor today has approximately $40,000 in benefits available to them each year and still we hear the need for more and more…
Does not getting all this free stuff make them lazy?
Certain words from the poverty problem have bothered me for a long time.
The first one is entitlement.
It seems that nearly half of our population is entitled…to what?
Government redistribution of someone else’s wealth—that’s what!
Why are they entitled?
Who and what gives them the right to demand that someone else take care of them?
Where is their personal responsibilities to themselves and their families?
Who empowered the government to redistribute others wealth to the less fortunate?
That’s what personal charity is for and Americans even with their oppressive tax rates still find some money to give to good charities.
The underlying and unspoken assumption is that these millions of Americans are entitled because the wealthy have been oppressing the poor throughout history and now it is their turn to feel the sting of oppression as their possessions, money, stocks, bonds are subject to partial and even substantial confiscation by the powers of government.
You might ask…where is this in the Constitution?
The answer is partially in the 16th Amendment, which established the first permanent income on a progressive scale.
By that I mean the more you make…not the more they take…which would be fair but the higher the percentage they confiscate.
This is not James Madison or even Alexander Hamilton but Karl Marx.
The IRS has a similar tax on people’s estates.
The government does not want people to be able to pass the vast majority of their wealth on to their children and families.
It should go to the government because the other assumption is that they will know how to allocate it better than your children.
This is also Karl Marx.
I suggest people read the Communist Manifesto.
That’s where our tax system came from.
Don’t misunderstand me–I believe we should all help the legitimate poor.
They are those who cannot help themselves or are temporarily down on their luck.
So many of our so-called poor today find more value in working the system than actually finding some job.
Why the preferential option for the poor and just what does that mean?
Are their souls any more important than those of the wealthy?
I would like to hear my Church speak more about attaining eternal salvation for all people…wealthy and poor alike.
Did not Jesus talk of the Eye of the Camel and how hard it was for a rich man to go to heaven?
Since when did the Church become a social agency for political change, Marxist economics and reform?
Some may argue that on Judgment day we will be asked what we did for the least of God’s people.
Is that the poor or could it possible be the unborn?
While I admire the people who work for the Saint Vincent DePaul Society and their concern for the poor, I have been around no better people than those who put everything on the line to witness at abortion clinics around the country.
I met a lovely young woman outside of a Planned Parenthood killing center the other day.
She and some friends as well as many others that included a number of students from my grandson’s high school, St. John Vianney were there to protest the evil going on behind closed doors as part of our local 40 Days for Life Apostolate in St. Louis.
As a comical side note one woman had three or four small children with her. The youngest–a little boy spent about 20 minutes throwing stones at the brick wall that read PLANNED PARENTHOOD.
She was vital, fresh and warm..a virtual newlywed.
I was truly energized in her youthful presence.
She told me that the three responsibilities she had to her husband were 1) to help get him to heaven 2) make certain he lived a long time and 3) fix his lunch.
What then are the important responsibilities of the Catholic Church?
I am hoping that Francis I will be able to answer these questions for me.
TRIVIA ANSWER: An Arnold Palmer without the slice.
Michelle Obama’s surprise appearance at the recent academy awards got me to thinking about all the movies in which some actor portrayed a real president.
I am not talking about the fictional presidents played by Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas or John Travolta.
I mean the real deal–Washington, Lincoln and FDR.
There should be an official or at least an unofficial award given to the man who has given the best imitation of being a president.
In looking at the entire list, I was surprised to see that all the 43 men, who served as president, have had someone portray him in a movie…even the relatively unknown Millard Fillmore, the 13th POTUS.
Fillmore’s namesake, Millard Vincent play him in the 1939 film, The Monroe Doctrine.
I am sorry I missed that one.
The worst mismatch of all on this list was tough guy Nick Nolte in the 1995 film, Jefferson in Paris.
Wasn’t Sylvester Stallone unavailable?
It is fitting that the first POTUS, George Washington was the 1st president played by an actor in a film–Joseph Kilgour who appeared as the first president in two silent features in 1909.
A Washington actor appeared in 17 different films with the last one being David Morse in the miniseries about his vice-president, John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti.
I didn’t give Giamatti, whose father was the late Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bart Giamatti, any real consideration because he had several hours to depict John Adams.
I thought this was an unfair advantage.
It is not surprising that Abraham Lincoln received the most portrayals in films with the first one being, Joseph Henabery in the highly controversial classic, the Birth of a Nation in 1915.
By my count, someone played Lincoln in 28 movies, the last being Tom Amandes in Saving Lincoln in 2013.
Missed that one too!
Of course it was Daniel Day-Lewis, who I believe is the only actor to win an academy award for playing the 16th POTUS in th eponymous 2012 film Lincoln.
It would have been a real coup had Sally Field won an award for portraying Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd.
Day-Lewis was not in my opinion a figure that easily evoked the presence of the real Lincoln.
I believe that honor should go to Raymond Massey.
His shaky, almost frail frame looked like Lincoln and his authoritarian voice was much better than Day-Lewis’.
Massey was Lincoln in two films–Abe Lincoln In Illinois (1940) and 22 years later in How the West was Won.
An actor, named Frank McGlynn, Sr. holds the record with three Lincoln portrayals from 1934-36.
Henry Fonda would be my second favorite Lincoln, based on his folksy voice and slender frame. He played Young Mr. Lincoln in 1939
Hal Holbrook, twice and even director Walter Huston also played Lincoln in a film.
Another wonderful presidential portrayal was Charlton Heston’s depiction of Andrew Jackson, our 7th POTUS in the endearing 1953 film, The President’s Lady with Susan Heyward as his Indian wife, Rachel.
The biggest stretch in this movie was the lack of any resemblance Hayward had to the pipe-smoking Rachel Jackson.
Heston later reprised his role in the Buccaneer.
Having played Moses and Ben Hur, Heston gave a stately and almost lionesque stature to Jackson.
Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th POTUS received a terrific portrayal from Tom Berenger, who is much better known for playing a gimpy catcher in the 1989 classic comedy, Major League.
His TR was resolute, tough and played with enough self-parody to animate his real-life character.
Robin Williams’ played the Republican Roosevelt in a pair of comedies, Night at the Museum and in a 2009 sequel, A Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
The movie was so contrived that his performance was rigid and mostly pedestrian by comparison.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson made it to the screen on just on two occasions, such was his pedantic and near aloof personal style.
These traits don’t resonate well on the silver screen, as would a president burdened with the soul of a preacher and the temperament of a nursemaid….no easy recreation.
I did see the 1944 movie, simply named Wilson, and starring Alexander Knox, whose reserved, almost melancholic portrayal stayed in my mind for over 50 years.
Another Massey, Walter, who was Raymond’s cousin played William Howard Taft the 27th POTUS. in something called The Greatest Game Ever Played.
Since the 7th inning stretch is largely attributed to the 300 pound Taft and he was I think the 1st POTUS to attend a real game, I would normally assume it had something to do with baseball but after an astute reader pointed it out to me, I found that it was a much more recent movie than I had thought. (2005)
And the irony is I had seen that movie about the great golfer, Bobby Jones.
One could argue that the title is a misnomer because I hae golf but I won’t go there.
It is odd that Taft is one of the relatively unknowns in American political history, even though he later served on the Supreme Court as well.
Several actors have also played Franklin Roosevelt.
I especially liked Ralph Bellamy’s sunny depiction of FDR in Sunrise at Campobello in 1960.
I always like Bellamy who was one of the first actors I remember from my first television experience.
He played a savvy detective, named Mike Barnett…that was Barnett with two ‘ts’, which was a recurring line in the TV series.
Many will remember him more for the film Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Don Ameche.
I think Jon Voight gave a magnificent performance of FDR as he struggled with his handicapped legs in one poignant scene in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor.
Harry Truman on the big screen deserves some comment.
Ed Flanders, a little known character actor gave a fantastic performance as Roosevelt’s third Vice-president and in the 1977 film, McArthur.
Gary Sinise, who as Lieutenant Dan nearly stole Forrest Gump from Tom Hanks, also played a very forceful Harry Truman in the eponymous movie, Truman, 18 years later.
John Kennedy had more than a few screen actors portray him.
The most impressive was Bruce Greenwood in the 2000 film 13 Days, though I have to confess to a fondness for the overly romanticized 1963 classic PT Boat 109, starring the always superlative Cliff Robertson.
I remember one scene in which the actor saved one of his crew, a former football player, by swimming with a rope in his teeth or something like that.
While he failed to capture the depth of LBJ’s mean-spirited narcissism, Randy Quaid, better known as Cousin Eddie (Vacation movies) or as Dennis’ brother, had the perfect physique to play the gangly Texan, who looked at times like a disconnected turkey.
Richard Nixon had two of Hollywood’s finest actors, Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella play him.
Langella stands out, maybe because of his 1977 Broadway role as Count Dracula in his attempt to capture the demon-driven 37th POTUS.
Bill Clinton was better on TV, especially as satirized in many Saturday Night Live skits.
Scott Harriot did portray him in the movie, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, a title that just bleeds with juicy irony.
I think most attempts to portray George W. Bush, especially by the big elf himself, Will Ferrell failed because of the hostility embedded in the left’s dislike of the 43rd POTUS.
I wasn’t even aware of the pair of nondescript movies that gave us a celluloid Barack Obama.
I don’t see how anyone could play a better Obama than Obama himself.
I mean he acts as if he were playing at being a real president instead of actually being one.
Let’s be honest here’s a twice elected president—POTUS #44, who has been acting like a president for more than four years while leading from the rear, playing golf or campaigning while Benghazi burns…and whose presidential symbol is not the eagle or the sword but an empty chair!
Maybe it is a new form of method politics.
So now comes time for the nominations for best Hollywood portrayal of a president of the United States.
Michelle Obama comes out to read the choices:
1) Charlton Heston as Andrew Jackson
2) Ed Flanders as Harry S Truman
3) Raymond Massey as Abe Lincoln
4) Jon Voight as FDR
5) Barack Obama as himself
And the winner is….
One of the lesser known periods in American history was the time that historians call the Era of Good Feeling.
It was delineated by the two-term presidency of the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, who served from 1817-1825.
Monroe was the third straight Virginia Democrat to hold the highest office in the land, having succeeded Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Both his predecessors had also served two full terms of office.
It was called the Era of Good Feeling because at least on the surface there was little of the party bickering that has come to characterized American politics today.
Monroe’s Electoral College score was almost unanimous.
In fact it should have been unanimous since he won all the states, having presided over the virtual extinction of the only other viable political party, the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams.
Monroe would have been ranked forever with another Virginian, George Washington, had not one elector voted for someone else out of deference for the country’s first president.
By default Monroe had become the leader of a one-party government.
He had only the Constitution to prevent him from effecting his will on America.
Fortunately Monroe was a Jeffersonian or small government type of Democrat.
I wish we had a few or even one of those today!
I sometimes wonder if we are at a similar juncture in our nation’s history.
Monroe enjoyed many of the benefits of the youthful exuberance that drove the nation’s spirit in the early 19th century.
Territorial expansion was rampant.
Technology was booming and the raw individualism of a free people was pushing the nation toward generations of unimagined prosperity.
Monroe’s party was beholden to the slave interests of course but for the most part they were not interested in accumulating great personal power and advancing an agenda that would not only limit individual freedom but dampen the American spirit as well.
Are we not entering a period of hard feelings in which our president will rule the American people, not in freedom and individualism but in a collectivist philosophy garnered from the pages of Marx, Gramsci and Alinsky?
Since taking office in January, 2009, this president has not governed in any real sense of the word.
In fact in a brilliant piece of political analysis, Rush Limbaugh recently explained how a president like Obama with the worst economy in generations, worst recovery ever, high unemployment, stagnant job growth and a declining popularity abroad could have won re-election.
Rush believes that throughout his presidency, Obama has been the perennial outlier.
He has given the impression that he is not governing, so how can he be responsible for any of the ill effects of his policies.
All the bad things that have happened are the fault of the Republicans, who despite their inadequacies are the only adults left in Washington.
Obama and his partners in crime have run away from virtually all the hard choices.
The infamous sequester, which according to a once-revered liberal, Bob Woodward, he of Watergate fame, was his idea.
He even refused a game-saving gift from the Republican House for flexibility in making the cuts.
It is as if Obama has worn gloves throughout his presidency.
His mark is on virtually nothing of any serious consequence.
Hard choices are for the losers!
The country is rudderless and heading for the iceberg.
And to make matters worse, Mr. Obama will have to make certain that the worst effects of the sequester do cause a great deal of pain on the American people.
To do otherwise would make him look bad after all his apocalyptic posturing.
If there are long line at the airports and we have to wait for any kind of government service or program, you can bet your next social security check that it has happened under the instructions of the White House.
E-mails are surfacing that gives instructions for department heads not to diminish the impact of the sequester cuts in any way, so as to make the president’s predictions look false.
On the energy front, he still equivocates on the Keystone pipeline, while trying to extract a carbon tax on every ounce of energy the American people use.
His selection of Gina McCarthy, the author of many onerous regulations as a deputy in the EPA should be seen as a warning shot across the middle class bow.
But he is also not a true democrat with respect for our supreme law and anyone who dare oppose him.
So he will try another end run by hamstringing the middle class and our economic system with more debilitating rules and regulations that will just pile more debt onto the American burden.
Obama was a perpetual campaign that really has not halted since 2009.
Obama II seems to have as its agenda…if one can believe Rush Limbaugh and I do…the solitary goal of literally destroying the Republican Party as a viable political entity.
Think what would happen if the Democrats regain the House of Representatives in 2015.
The Washington Post all but confirmed this Rushian Theorem the other day.
What will those final two years bring?
More false hope or just plain despair?
And if they fail to accomplish his grand plan of changing virtually everything good about America does not come into fruition will he actually leave and hand over the reins to another Democrat…presumably Hilary Clinton?
How many times have we heard him say that the Constitution was a great obstacle for his change…for his reforms?
He has circumvented it several times using executive orders, and by intimidation as with the bond holders for GM.
Remember his corps of impudent czars?
The people who elected him might demand his return in 2017.
I am talking about blacks, homosexuals, Greens, the unions and all his bought-and-paid-for cronies on Wall Street.
He will still be vital.
Does anyone think that Hilary will be up to it in 2017?
She looks ill now…even worse than her husband.
And just who would oppose him?
I fear blood would run in the streets.
He has voiced his regret that he is not a dictator –I would add a king but I think he would like to be either.
But from his extra-constitutional actions, policies and attitude, it is no more than a distinction without a difference.
In a past blog post I explored the reality that to be a liberal is to be mentally ill.
With Mr. Obama I see the visions of grandeur in his arrogant strut to the bloody pulpit.
He’s got the sickness of power.
I see it in his facial expressions, and his shortness with any form of question of opposition.
I see it in his inability to govern…compromise or ..or go off message.
More articles are appearing that make him sound like the ultimate invader…from another planet whose sense of self-importance has alienated him from the rest of us.
Oh to be so smart, handsome…a leader without peer…I can hardly stand the emotion.
Obamamania makes me pine for the days of good feeling because we are deeply mired in the Obama Era of Hard Feelings.