The Gospel Truth

A Moral Tug of War

August 16, 2015
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One of my fondest memories from my college days at Holy Cross was the annual spring intramurals. While there were a variety of events, the tug-of-war had the greatest impact on my memory. The contest pitted the most brawny and surliest behemoths of each class against each other in an exhausting display of sinewy prowess.

Another kind of tug-of-war surfaced a year after my 1965 graduation. While teaching a religion class at St. Henry’s High School in Charleston, Mo., I used the book The Gospel According to Peanuts as one of my textbooks. In one of the illustrations, poor Charlie Brown bemoaned the moral tug-of-war that was raging inside his heart.

I believe that Charles Schulz, the late cartoonist, had used his hapless character to express a deep point of Christian theology. Charlie Brown’s conscience was caught in the invisible vice between the things he wanted do and the things he should do. Schulz successfully underscored the never-ending tension that is a universal quality of our divided human nature.

Like Charlie Brown, our moral struggle forces us to focus on the disparity between what we should be and what we really are.

Instead of the brawny linebackers, tackles, and guards in college, this moral tug-of-war pits the world, the flesh and the devil on one side and Jesus, Mary and Joseph on the other.

However, this eternal contest is not a simple black-and-white struggle. While the presumption of victory is always on the side of the Holy Family, there is a grave warning implicit for people who follow Church teachings, devotions and pietistic rituals in the course of this struggle.

A tug-of-war can take a long time, and there are definite strategies that are not apparent to the unschooled eye. In one such strategy the secular team eases up, ever so lightly on the rope, so that complacency, self-satisfaction or pride catches the religious team off-guard.

Mother Teresa is a good example of this. As a young nun bursting with love and enthusiasm for the Lord, she prayed that God would let her share in Christ’s suffering so that she could be one with Him.

God heeded her fervent wishes but instead of the physical pains of Calvary He sent her the most agonizing mental struggles of Gethsemane that brought her to the brink of despair. God was not being cruel but recognized that His eager servant could be susceptible to the righteous pride of an enthusiast. Father Brian Kolodiejchuk’s 2007 book, Come Be My Light poignantly captured her soul-rendering tug-of-war.

The best way to soften the direct impact of our personal inner tug-of-war is to regard this struggle as one of the crosses we have to bear daily. We can accomplish this by walking the narrow vertical path between the lateral temptations of a secular world and the proud seductions of the interior life.

Both can be devastating to the unsuspecting soul. This salvific route forms a simple cross (+), a symbol of God’s love for us. We should also see this as a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate saving power of the Christian sign of contradiction to the world. With Christ as our helmsman how can any of us fail to navigate the rocky shoals of these worldly and spiritual temptations?


In Lucy’s Hands

June 25, 2013
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The media tells us we are on the brink of a historic point in our immigration policies.

Dozens of Republicans are working feverishly to concoct a bill, replete with many amendments that will reform a policy that is nearly as cumbersome and as ineffective as our tax code.

Don’t you just love it when bromides, such as change and reform are tossed around like the food in Animal House?

Political training

These words ar to e often used interchangeable, which to me is just another open conspiracy, designed to pull more wool over the eyes of the average American citizen, who cares little for the fine print of politics.

What they really mean is that things are going to change drastically or in the case of immigration reform they are going to remain exactly the same.

Nothing is ever reformed to any real degree in politics.

Nothing will change

Rush Limbaugh opened millions of eyes in a recent program when he pulled the covers off another lie our government has told us.

Most Republicans want our immigration policies the way they are.

They don’t want reform.

Most American businessmen want cheap labor, even though it makes a mockery of American law.

The unions have been perplexed by this because cheap foreign labor is no good for their high wages.

But now they are on board because Obama and his cronies because they have been told  that 70-80% of these illegals will vote Democrat and that will be oh so good for them.

Since they don’t want to upset their federal meal ticket, those union workers, who still have jobs throw their support behind something called amnesty.

In real English amnesty means that whatever immigration laws someone has broken, they can jump to the head of the line–ahead of those who have followed the rules and obeyed the country’s laws.

What does that tell you about our equal protection laws?

But why am I not surprised?

This administration has made it a rule to enforce ONLY those laws that help the Democratic agenda and reward those who have bellied up to the campaign donation bar so that the Democrats can maintain their power and control over the rest of us.

No administration has been more flagrant in its abuse of power than the Obama administration.

It is the Chicago school of corruption that now rules America.

Republicans like the charismatic Marco Rubio, the chameleon Lindsey Graham, who chastises the isolationists in his own party and even the dutiful Paul Ryan reflect not the tradition of our American heritage but the progressivism of the Republican Roosevelt.

Lindsey Graham, Official Portrait 2006.jpg

Erstwhile conservative

As I have written before, it was Teddy Roosevelt and his patrician-oriented liberalism that had infiltrated the Republican Party around the turn of the century with its chimerical sense of reform, entitlement and duty.

These erstwhile conservatives are selling out to the political demands of the party.  No matter how many amendments they attach and no matter how many promises the Obama administration and the Democrats make, there never will be any enforcement of their concerns for borders control

According to Limbaugh enough border security laws are already on the books.

They just never get enforced.

So do not be surprised when after all the Republican cheering, back-slapping and high-fiving is over that nothing will have changed.

In 1986 when there were just three million illegals, not the 11-15 million on the table now, Senator Teddy Kennedy promised that if the Republicans granted amnesty to them, the problem would be solved forever.

I never can understand why these Republican Charlie Browns continue to believe their Democratic Lucys and attempt to kick the ball.

Republican standard-bearer

The Democrats pull the ball away each and every time.

There will be no cause for celebration.

So cork the champagne bottle, the borders will not be any more secure than they are today.

There still will be violent assaults on the citizens of Arizona, New Mexico and California.

And while I am on immigration, how about the Catholic Church’s role in this?

According to Donald Kerwin in the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Cardinal Roger Mahony electrified the US immigration reform debate by announcing on March 1, 2006 (Ash Wednesday), that he would instruct archdiocesan priests and lay Catholics to ignore provisions in a House-passed ‘enforcement only’ bill (H.R. 4437) — were they to pass — that would make it a crime to assist unauthorized immigrants.

Country needs real reform

Since  then, the Catholic Church has played a central role in the immigrant-led protests that have swept the country.

In many localities the church has encouraged parishioners to participate in the protests, offered bishops and priests as speakers, and served as an interlocutor for its newcomer members before Congress and in other public forums.

It has only been Amnesty Internal’s support of abortion rights that has had the church cancel its support for this extremist organization.

But according to Kerwin, the Catholic Church in the United States does not support open borders, illegal immigration, or an ‘amnesty’ that would grant legal status to all unauthorized immigrants. It believes nations have a legitimate responsibility to promote the common good by denying admission to certain migrants and by regulating the flow of all those who are seeking to enter.

Democratic footballs

I am not certain that is what the majority of Catholic priests are preaching.

Sure I agree that their has to be reform of a broken and ineffective system but that will happen when everyone is on the same page.

For some internal reason i can only speculate about, the Democratic Party does not seem to want to change things for the public benefit.

And lets face it, there never will be any moral reform of immigration unless the Mexican government complies.

I doubt if that will ever happen.

They are always looking for the political wedge that they can drive through the heart of all opposition to their never-ending quest for power.

Unfortunately the millions of suffering illegals are mere footballs in the hands of their Lucys.


Health Care,Trust and the Legacy of Johnny Carson

March 25, 2010
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Several years ago my wife and I took a trip to Las Vegas.  Fortunately our money was the only thing we left in Vegas…mostly for food and inexpensive lodging.  I lost less than $2 on the slots.

One of the most memorable moments was attending the performance of Johnny Carson at Caesar’s Palace on the strip.  I remember one routine about after three days of non-stop Vegas living of walking, drinking, gambling etc, the said tourist was last seen sucking a yucca plant in the desert.

I wonder how many people remember that before the Tonight Show, Carson was the host of the grammatically-challenged TV show, Who Do You Trust?

I used to watch him…I think Ed McMahon was even with him then, after school once or twice a week.  He had the comedic knack even then.

We could use a reality show like that today.  What constitutes human trust and just what kind of people do they trust?

In the old America, people used to trust their priests as a first resort.  In the last decade the priesthood has taken some very hard shots across its bow.

Now we look to Washington for all our needs and desires.

I recently heard a dynamic priest describe idolatry as what people placed their trust in.

If his definition is accurate, that would mean that millions of Americans idolize their government when it is God they should be putting their faith in.

I think that means millions have made government their lord and provider.

Businessmen have been demonized in the press and by the White House with great frequency…dating back to at least Teddy Roosevelt with his trust-busting.

His cousin Franklin even outdid him twenty years later as he blamed the nation’s ills on the so-called malefactors of wealth.

I wont go into all the usual arguments about cost, debt and long-range subservience of another 1/6 of the economy to the federal government.

Most thinking Americans are aware of the potential for disaster to the country that this abomination of ObamaCare can wreak on the country.

As for abortion, though I think the euthanasia aspects of this health care fraud are far superior, let me say how disappointing but not totally surprising the last-minute defection of Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak was a great disappointment.

Kathleen Gilbert in an article for LifeNews.com said she was baffled by Stupak vote last Sunday.  Not only did he put ObamaCare over the 216 top, he had the temerity to oppose a last-ditch effort to insert his own abortion-funding ban in the reconciliation “fix” package for the Senate health care bill.

Thanks to the cowardly Michigan lion, the House subsequently struck down Rep. Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) attempt to pass Stupak’s language 232-199.

In a statement that must stand as one of the greatest falsehoods in legislative history, Stupak uttered that This motion does not promote life, but It is the Democrats who have stood up for the principle of no public funding for abortions.

Stupak alleges that Obama’s promise of an executive order ensures that the sanctity of life will be protected.

With a delicious sense of Biblical imagery, one pro-life leaders calls the executive order a transparent fig leaf.

Representative Stupak is either a liar both to himself and the country or seriously delusional.

He is akin to the battered football player who breaks down the sidelines and within five yards of the goal line punts the ball into the stands and signals a touchdown for his team.  That’s the real question, which team was he really playing for?

An Executive order can not “repeal” or supercede a law and like it or not, once President Obama affixed his John Hancock with 20 pens, I might add, the bill was law.

This only proves that the term pro-life Democrat is an oxymoron.  It proves that this party is still the party of the culture of death.

It is the devilish engine that drives its left-wing agenda and now it has targeted the nursing home in addition to the womb for its victims.  Like Stupak the Party has shown ist true color and they are the black and white of the Jolly Obama

Now that universal health care is close to being a full-fledged reality, I am seriously tempted to ask the question: Why do so many people seem to place their faith in their politicians?

I cannot understand why so many people, even in my Catholic Church, still trust our current president, given his propensity for mendacity with his broken campaign promises on transparency, taxation, and job creation?

Have they not seen the Peanuts cartoon?  I am talking about the one where Lucy Van Pelt offers to hold the football so Charlie Brown can kick the ball.

Without fail every time he lets her she pulls the ball back and he falls flat on his face.

Like a good liberal Lucy promises to help Charlie but the devil inside her can’t resist each and every time.

And like the poor sad sack he is he continues to believe that this time she is telling him the truth.

Have we become a nation of Charlie Browns?  Why are we so trusting of our politicians?

Why do so many people who despise businessmen and priests and maybe even the medical professor, fall down in the prone position in front of so many politicians who promise to take care of them and satisfy their needs?

Is it because we have gradually replaced our faith in God with a faith in man…a faith in those who will promise us the most for the least amount of effort?

Have we all fallen for the con, as illustrated in David Mamet’s absorbing movie A House of Games?

Are we now a nation of adolescents who accept the gratuitous pleasures of 24/7 sports programing, American Idol and all the Romanesque trivialities that distract us from the flames around us?

Is America not burning while President Obama fiddles around?

The New York Times has already let the proverbial cat out of the bag.  Writer David Leonhardt opined that The bill President Obama signed on Tuesday is the biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

In other words Obama is brings us back to the days of Jimmy Carter with one of the largest redistribution scams since FDR.

As for myself, I plan never to get sick in the future because I don’t want to need what I wont be able to get.  That sounds more like Yogi than Aristotle.

I am a historian, not a prophet.

But I will say the last hope for stopping this health care canard, if that is even possible, will land on the doorstep of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the pivotal swing vote that might become the most important man in America in the next few years.  You can take that to the bank.


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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