The Gospel Truth

A Birthday Meditation on Suicide | September 6, 2012

Yes today is my birthday.  I have finally made it to sixty-nine.

Next year I hope to celebrate my sixty-tenth birthday.

Sevens have never been lucky for me.

Don’t let my title frighten you.

No need to call anyone–the forth-coming election hasn’t depressed me THAT much!

But on second thought, I think we will all be thinking more about suicide if President Obama gets a second term.

I don’t mean that it is something we would ordinarily think about but the president and his allies in the Skinner-trained media will be encouraging Americans in many subtle and maybe even a few overt ways to end our lives prematurely for a myriad of plausible reasons.

A Skinner Box: To train media

I write this because that is the only logical way they have any chance of making ObamaCare work.

There will not be enough money to fund it as it is designed.

That’s why they have switched $717 billion from Medicare to try to fund the care of the younger Americans.

We are old.

We are used up and most of us will become a drain on a limited supply of money and medical resources.

The cost of medical care will skyrocket as 30 million more consumers enter into the arena.

We already have a doctor shortage.

It is a simple case of supply and demand.

People my age are a heavy burden on a system that is already over-taxed.

Assisted suicide will be the new abortion.

It is already big in Oregon where they would rather pay you to kill yourself than take care of you.

I just read that Sigmund Freud, who gave us our love of sex, was an assisted suicide.

Dying of throat cancer, he had a doctor friend give him a lethal dose of morphine.

I also just learned that the infamous Hemlock Society died nine years ago, I think from natural causes or perhaps in a fall…falling membership.

They would have loved Obama’s America where old age can be treated with a mere pill.

Good Life Good Death

Died before their time

Its remnants have tried to piece the giant back together and now operate under their me identity of Compassion and Choices.

The country’s ministers of death are already using the same language they did to sell abortion to the American people.

Not enough doctors coming out of medical schools

Eventually the dividing line between euthanasia and assisted suicide will disappear.

Doctors will be enlisted into the culture of death with regard to the elderly.

Choice–the almighty choice this will be the new imperative and they will encourage it so that we can have death with dignity.

They will tell us we have a duty to die before that choice is taken away from us by dementia, disease and religious fanatics.

No one will want to burden their families with their elderly plight.

We will be encouraged to get out-of-the-way and do the world a favor by killing ourselves.

It is coming.  I can sense it in my weary bones.

Given our loss of moral fiber, I fear that many people will willingly and even gladly go along with it.

Like the tired minions in the classic movie Soylent Green, they will go to killing centers that resemble spas.

They will disrobe, put on white gowns and be given a sedative amidst background music and scenic footage as they drift off into eternity.

The government workers took their bodies and ground them into ground chuck to feed the poor.

How practical can a government be?

Only 10 years to go.

Sounds like a liberal solution to me.

I was prompted to think about this subject after reading about the new biography of disgraced football legend, Joe Paterno, a fellow Catholic whose whole disintegrated during the last months of his earthly life.

I had to buy the author Joe Posnanski’s book and so far it is one of the most engaging and intellectually stimulating bios I have ever read.

Paterno was a deep thinker, a product of Brooklyn Prep, one of the Jesuit rivals in New York to my Xavier High.

He loved Virgil’s Aeneid, which I also read in high school and was driven by the search for his destiny.

He also had a profound interest in Ernest Hemingway, whose grace under pressure, has a distinctive Catholic ring to it.

Retirement or the inability to continue on one’ search for his destiny was worse than death according to Hemingway.

And that’s why he put a shotgun in his mouth on a sunny day in Ketchum, Idaho in July of 1961, the year I graduated from high school.

Ran out of grace

His father had also taken the Roman Way Out.

Like Hemingway we have been slowly conditioned to accept suicide as the Romans did.

They elevated it to  their special code of honor.

It was better to die than be dishonored or in our case loss one’s sense of need and fulfillment.

Honor was the most important thing for the Japanese code of Bushido.

The made it a ritual that is correctly called seppuku and it requires the assistance of a noble associate who will use the long sword to lop off the suicide’s head and spare him the agonies of his own disembowelment.

A Japanese ritual for two

It is more popularly called, hara-kiri.

No, not Harry Carey, the late Cubs’ announcer.

Suicide had always been a taboo in this country.

Things started to change with the 1970 movie MASH and its 13-year long TV series about a group of  horny doctors and randy nurses during the Korean war, which only took three years.

I wonder how many people know that the marvelous and catchy theme for both productions, was entitled Suicide is Painless?

In the film a well-endowed doctor has been losing his performance skills and is seriously depressed about it.

He decides to kill himself.

His fellow doctors contrive a Last Supper with all the affectations of the time of Jesus and his apostles.

They administer a placebo suicide pill and then while he drifts off, a sultry nurse slips into his bed and cures him.

No pain there!

Since then I think we are being taught by our social engineers to accept this as a painless way to leave our mortal coils when our destiny seems to be clouded by pain, suffering and depression.

The compassionate professions are now the counselors who will talk us into accepting the Roman Way Out because God’s teachings and our sense of the sacred don’t seem to have any part in our civilized world.

The separation of Church and State really means the elimination or the complete neutralization of any religious sentiment, teaching or doctrine as we make the slow and steady road toward complete secularization.

Yes, the Roman Way is destined to become the American Way.

I suspect that’s what is ahead for me and anyone else who is over 60, plus those who seem to have lost their ability to function in our complex world…

They are what the Nazis called useless eaters, and God only knows how many of those we already have.

Remember Hitler started with his T-4 Program, not the Jews.

A Nazi Euthanasia Center

But whatever the case I am not going to despair.

I have been fascinated by suicide for a long time.

In fact my third produced play, A Moment of Grace, was a one-act drama that involved suicide amid a chaotic world of fear and suffering—all in a stuck elevator.

I firmly believe that in the end life will always be, as Cardinal Justin Rigali used to say, victorious.



  1. Happy birthday Bill, I had forgotten that you were older
    (24 days) than me. Enjoy yourself, it is later than we think.

    Comment by Ed Smith — September 6, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  2. Bill, it is/was your Birthday! Putting that in the same breath with suicide is wrong.
    Being a Catholic, we already ask, what is death and part of living is the answer isn’t it.
    By natural causes that is, in God’s ordained time.
    I hope you had a happy day.

    Comment by L. Newington — September 6, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  3. Bill,
    Happy birthday. At age 63, I too look to the future with much dread. Being Catholic, trying to uphold a belief in the sanctity of life … we face challenges. But God will be with us, right?

    Comment by Jim Rygelski — September 6, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

    • Amen to all that! Now we get to see who the real Catholics are and how strong our faith really is…rock, weeds, sand and good earth…Bb


      Comment by bbprof — September 7, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  4. Just go t out of hospital after a midnight ride in an ambulance suffering from an attack of atrial fib and irregular heart beat. Thought is was the end and was planning my funeral. But the doctors filled me full of a drug to slow down my heart. It took several hours and they then put me in ICU for observation. I am home and weak but hope to strengthen up gradually. No suicide for me. My Catholic teaching said that God gives life and takes it. Natural means. Thanks be to God. You are young compared to me. Pax

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — September 8, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    • Mary:

      That’s the way it should be. Sorry to learn of your big scare. Will keep my dear friend in my prayers. I am confident when the time comes God will recognize you as one of his. BB


      Comment by bbprof — September 8, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  5. Dear Bill,
    I’m currently reading War Trash about Chinese POW’s held by Americans during the Korean war. The term suggests their lives were of no use if they had not made the ultimate sacrifice by refusing to be taken alive. In other words, to die is better to than to have lived as that brings disgrace to the motherland. Or put another way, you are more valuable to us dead than alive. Come home victorious or don’t come home. Now that’s some real twisted up communist thought for you. Is it any wonder so many did not want to repatriate when the war was over. What a country.

    Comment by maryr47 — September 8, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

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







%d bloggers like this: