The Gospel Truth

An American Chameleon:Obama and His Sense of Identity

April 13, 2010
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I have a standard line that I use frequently to get a rise out of people.  I tell the unsuspecting friend that some one stole my identity.

After an initial reaction of shock and horror, I add: Yeah but the guy called a week later and said he was giving it back because it was too hard being me!

No matter what one may say or think about President Barack Obama, I think he can rest assured that nobody and I mean–nobody will ever steal his identity.

I mean we have been through this a lot recently.

What do we really know about the most transparent president in history, as he likes to pretend?

Here are some questions about him.  See is you can honestly answer them.

1) Where was he born? You say Hawaii? Are you certain?  Have you ever seen a birth certificate?

Of course most of us have never seen any president’s birth certificate but this president has spent over a million dollars of someone’s money trying to avoid showing his in public.

You don’t have to be a birther to wonder about his national origins, give the suspicious way he has reacted to the questions.

f there were a valid birth certificate available–the State of Hawaii has not released any to my knowledge…even under the Freedom of Information Act–it would be in every newspaper.

This would effectively end the issue.

2) Who was his father? Barack Senior, you say.

Again we have been over this territory.  II have read an article that lines up pictures of the president with his mother, Virginia, Barack Sr. and Frank Davis, a self-admitted Communist who mentored the younger Obama when he was known as Barry.

You don’t have to be an expert in identification to see the close family resemblance to Davis and on a similar note, the lack of resemblance to Barack Sr.

Of course if Comrade Davis had been his natural father then any debate about his national origins would be mute.

3) What religion is he? You say Christian.  That’s possible but how do we really know.

People are still debating the religion of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Obama certainly studied his namesake’s religion when he lived in Indonesia and his mother had married a second Muslim man by that time.

He said in 2008 that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright had brought him to Christ yet I have never once heard him invoke the name of Christ in any speech, talk or personal interview.

If Reverend Wright brought him to Jesus, he is certainly tight-lipped about the ramifications of his “conversion.”

Several professional athletes that are born-again, refer to Jesus in virtually every interview they give and even on the field during games.  Just listen to Kurt Warner sometime.

4) What race is he? Biracial or mixed you say. He had a white mother and a black father–either Frank Davis or Barack Obama.  That seems like a 50-50 mix to me.

Well they just released his census form answers and President Obama checked the box for black.

In her column, Obama’s Census Identity for the WSJ the other day, Abigail Thernstrom makes several cogent points about just another of the president’s many identity issues.

First of all, she pointed out how officially he changed his race from  biracial which he is, to black, which he is not, on his census form.

Funny how we can know about this but we still do not know conclusively about his birth origins.

And I wonder, isn’t it illegal to falsify information on a census form–even if one has a good reason?

Well some people are above the law–like Bill Clinton for one.  I think perjury is still illegal.

Thernstrom goes on to recount his appearance on the David Letterman Show in September of 2009, where he talked about his search for his identity as an adolescent in high school.

This prompted the host to quip:  How long have you been a black man?

This may have more of an element of truth in it than the intellectually challenged host realized because it his high schools days, Obama was known as Barry and tended more toward the white side of his genetic make-up.

What neither seemed to understand or say was that Obama’s racial preference is based on the ante-civil rights assumption that even one drop of black blood made one a black person.

Thernstrom also points out that his false choice on the census was a slap at his dead mother, and the grandparents who acted as surrogate parents for much of his boyhood.

It is also strange that Obama has chosen the identity of his father who abandoned him when he was barely two years old.

Thernstrom opines that the reason he joined Reverend Wright’s Trinity Church was because it was an Afrocentric church with strong ties to the black community.

Thernstrom contrasts the president’s politicization of his race with the attitude of defamed golfer, Tiger Woods, who calls himself, because of his own mixed parentage a Cablinasian, that is a Caucasian-black-Indian-Asian.

Though I hate golf, and was very disappointed by his extra-marital behavior, I do admire Tiger’s witty approach to the dicey question of racial identity.

If only we could have gotten something similar from our president, then maybe the country would not be sending so many mixed messages.

He is very much like an American Chameleon because of his ability to try to change his identity to suit the blowing winds of political change.

Some day I expect to see him on a recreation of that old popular TV show of the 1950’s To Tell the Truth, where the original host, Bud Collyer would say:

Will the Real Barack Obama please stand up!

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Obama’s Easter Carol

April 8, 2010
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One of the great things about grandchildren is that one gets to see things that would have been closed to my imagination.

These little people have a God-given sense of wonder that too many of us big people seem to lose as we face the realities of life.

The other day my youngest granddaughter was visiting and we all watched her DVD about Veggies, called the Easter Carol.

It was loosely–I say loosely because I think Scrooge and Tiny Tim were meat-eaters–based on Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol.

The 49-minute film presented a similar story with some Easter variations.  This Scrooge was a fat broccoli who had a factory that made plastic eggs for Easter.

To expand his plant he has plans to tear down the Cathedral where all the radishes, tomatoes, celery and squash go to pray to God.

I didn’t see any asparagus because I think I read somewhere they tend to be atheists.

( I know a profane story about Babe Ruth and asparagus but I will save that for another day.)

On a side note I had an epiphany that proved to me that you are never too old to learn something, even from a children’s movie.

In watching Scrooge’s guarding egg, who bore a strong resemblance to James Barrie’s tinker bell, I realized that It’s a Wonderful Life, is an American version of Dickens’ classic.

I have seen that film at least 35 times since 1960 and I NEVER noticed that.

This all brings me to my topic.  Just before I saw the Veggies movie I received an e-mail that contained the president’s Easter Message.

I think calling it that was a misnomer because there was nothing of the true meaning of Easter in it at all.

The e-mail detailed how the president completely left Christ out of his Easter message.

This might be excusable if he had written it himself but the slick president literally edited Christ out of his Easter Message, which he excerpted from a sermon given by a military chaplain on Iwo Jima on Easter Sunday 1945.

This is what the president told his fellow Americans.

People in every corner of the planet have marked the rites of Passover, and the traditions of Easter, for thousands of years.

They have been marked in times of peace, in times of upheaval, in times of war.

One such wartime service was held on the black sands of Iwo Jima more than sixty years ago.

There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew.

Together, he said, they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands…Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me.

Obama’s Easter Carol continued The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them…their only hope that this unity will endure.

Their only hope that this unity will endure.

Now read below the same paragraph again, but this time note the additional bolded language that comes from the audio of the 1945 sermon and its context, but which President Obama decided not to include:

There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said:

He has risen. With all due reverence, we apply these words to our beloved dead.

There are too many air call wings encrusted with the stain of their owners’ life blood, too many marine trousers upon the graves, too many symbols of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew.

Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands under the fury of enemy guns here on Iwo Jima.

Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, and love of country, love of you and of me. Together they stand before the greatest soldier of them all – Jesus Christ, to receive the token of our triumh.

For Christ has said: “Greater love than this no man hath then that he lay down his life for his friends.”

And so our beloved dead have gone from the world of hate to the world of eternal love.

The chaplain continued, The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them in the drudgery of recruit training or here in the chaos of bursting shouts.  Their only hope: that this unity will endure.”

And so our dead have risen to glory. (Ed. note–Like Christ)

See the difference?

In his Obaman Carol the president has given new meaning to his idea of transparency.  He remains as opaque and hidden about matters of faith, moral, spiritually and the eternal verities, making him probably the most mysterious president in history.

He keeps giving off these subliminal vibrations that he is hiding something… something that’s  really important.

I can think of no president of all his 42 predecessors (While Obama is #44, Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president) who mentioned or shall I say, failed to mention the Deity.

Even the few Deists among them always seemed to have a place for the Creator.  They all had, at least in their public appearance, the stance of humility before God and most asked for his blessing on America.

Lincoln was vague about whether he was a Christian or not.

I have read both sides of the debate and it seems that his faith was in an evolutionary phase when he was assassinated.

Yet he always quoted the God of the Bible.  The Deity’s name was always on his lips.  He believed in a higher power than man.

Does President Obama?

A good friend thinks that he is either a closet Muslim or an agnostic…or perhaps even an atheist.

The president is particularly vague about his religious sentiments, leading us to imagine anything and everything about him.

Obama’s Carol is a message of secular humanity, based on a religion of man where everybody is the same, no matter if they believe or don’t believe–it doesn’t matter…the new god, the god of American power is here to save them and take care of their every need.

The message is that no one needs God.  They have Obama and the over-flowing US Treasury.

It would have been better had the president issued no message at all.  Maybe some day he will be terrified by a vision of America’s future.  I know that vision terrifies me.


Colonel Obama in the Parlor With the…

April 4, 2010
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Easter Sunday 2010

As a child and later as a parent with young children, I always enjoyed the parlor game, CLUE.  My favorite character was the sultry Miss Scarlet or would she be Ms Scarlet today?

Well times change and I am not even sure that people have parlors any more.

One relatively new game that many Christians like to play is  what would Jesus do?

I don’t mean to trivialize any one’s valid religious faith but it seems to me that several years of Theology would be necessary to even scratch the surface of the mind of Jesus.

I have 16 credits of Theology, which is more than most people this side of a seminary and I would not venture to assume that I could fathom the Divine mysteries of the Incarnation.

I still haven’t figured my wife out after nearly 44 years of marriage, so what chances do I have to know what Jesus would do 2000 years removed from Nazareth?

I will say that Jesus’ approach to His culture was not revolutionary as some claim today but much more paradoxical.

There is currently a growing secular variation on the WWJD parlor game, called What Political Party Would Jesus Belong To?

To my mind liberals conceived this game and are the only ones who know how to play it.

I seriously doubt that Jesus would belong to either party since he was not interested in aggrandizing His own political power but merely with opening the Gates of Heaven for those who would love Him and do His will.

My good friend, Joseph Sobran, probably the most unsung writer in the history of political and religious commentary, nailed it in one of his beautifully written essays.

In writing about liberal Catholic author, Garry Wills, probably the most overrated Catholic author on the docket, Joe said, Wills assures us that Jesus, if he were among us today, would be partial to gays.

Joe points out that Wills cites not a single verse or word in the gospels, or any other part of Scripture, to support this peculiar view. I guess the Bible is not necessary to play this game.

Joe’s superior erudition prompted him to compare Wills to the Tolstoy character who chooses his opinions as he selects his clothes — according to mere fashion.

In another prescient comment Joe points out that Wills also holds that abortion is a woman’s right, never mind that the one of the earliest surviving Christian documents, the Didache, which may well express the thinking of the Apostles, flatly forbids abortion (as does the Hippocratic oath.)

Even my buddy Duane, the Erstwhile Conservative thinks that left-wing political activist, the Reverend Jim Wallis is more Christ-like than self-professed Christians and Catholics, Anne Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck. (I think Mormons count themselves as Christians and Beck is a fallen-away Catholic.)

A reader friend of mine sent me a spoof on what this potential game might look like.   I think he should patent it before the left beats him to the punch.

Here are some excerpts from his letter to me several months ago.  He wrote them in answer to local Democratic politicians who knew how to play the claiming Jesus for my side game.

Well, if Jesus were a Catholic Democrat hanging around St. Louis today, he might have a few problems with his representative on earth, Pope Benedict XVI.

Jesus would be voting for, giving money to, and working the polls for politicians who believe an unborn child is just another piece of medical waste.

He would knock on doors and convince other Catholics to look the other way on social issues and support the party of JFK and FDR, since it’s OK to be “personally opposed, but”.

Jesus would attend Mass on Sunday morning and hear the priest say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and then march in the Gay Pride parade and advocate for gay marriage on Sunday afternoon because the party requires it.

He would work the fish fry during lent, and then vote to allow human embryos to be used and destroyed in medical research because of the long shot chance it might produce local jobs and unspecified, “cures”.

If Jesus had kids, whom most Catholic Democrats do, he would send them to Catholic grade school, struggle to pay the tuition of SLU, Nerinx, St. Joe or CBC, and possibly further struggle to send them to “Catholic” colleges.

He would then wonder why his kids don’t practice the faith, or even the version he practices.

Catholic Democrat Jesus may grow old and pass away, but he won’t go directly to Heaven as before.  He will make a side trip to Purgatory for further reflection.

Personally I think that the rules in the WPPWJBT must state that most left-wingers believe that Jesus would be a liberal who would spend most of his time dreaming up all the social programs and political moves that Jesus could do, like taxing the rich to feed the hungry, disarming to insure for world peace and paling around with a bunch of gay men in robes.

A liberal Jesus would probably be the spitting image of Martin Scorsese’s Jesus in the ridiculous 1988 movie, The Last Temptation of Christ.   I rented it years ago and was amazed at how silly the entire film was.

I mean the troubled Catholic director cast David Bowie  as Pontius Pilate, and Harvey Keitel whose Judas favored more a Mafia hitman than he did the greatest betrayer  in world history…until Bart Stupak.  (OK that’s a cheap shop.)

Willem Dafoe, an accomplished actor, whose best flirtation with Christ was probably his dramatic death scene in the Oliver Stone film, Platoon, was the most improbable Jesus I have ever seen.

(He was more convincing in army camouflage than white robes.)

I will admit that some Jesus portrayals, such as Jeffrey Hunter in The King of Kings were somewhat plastic and robotic but compared to Mel’s movie,   Scorcese’s Jesus was more like a cross between Clarabell of the Howdy Doody Show and Harpo Marx.

Dafoe’s Christ wandered aimlessly around the multitude uttering the traditional Bible verses with the reverence and solemnity of Pee Wee Herman or even Bill Maher.

On Good Friday I picketed the local abattoir with a group of committed Christians that would have serious trouble with Jesus working to support  abortion rights and Planned Parenthood.

I honestly think that Jesus was there with us holding a sign to protest this terrible destruction of His human creatures.

I wonder if this will all lead to a game about president Obama, that might be called Clueless in DC?  One result might be that President Obama does in the Republican party with the Poison Pen in the White House parlor.


About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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