by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
“America is great because she is good.” Those famous words by Alexis de Tocqueville still hold true as they did when he spoke them centuries ago. In the holiday season, we see repeated demonstrations of this goodness. De Tocqueville also noted, “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.”
And moreover he said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
In the 40 years since 1970, secular humanism has assaulted the fabric of this faith. The American Civil Liberties Union and various associations of atheists and Marxist-leaning intellectuals have attempted to disconnect America from God. They have failed.
Last night we attended our daughter’s public school choir concert, and despite a blizzard of litigation, unsettling judges’ edicts, and bad public policy, Christmas still reigned supreme.
The public school choir did sing about the Grinch, but they also sang about our Savior’s birth. They sang about the Christ Child and the miracle of God reaching down and touching mankind through His Son. When the honor choir broke into a rousing rendition of Handel’s Halleluiah chorus, we were moved along with all assembled. The audience ended the night on their feet.
Besides singing wonderful Christmas songs in December, every year we take time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the future. As a family, one of our traditions is to gather every New Year’s Day for a Chinese dinner. Over steaming hot plates of Kung Pao Chicken and Moo Goo Gai Pan, we go around the table and ask each person to share what was special about the past year. This year our reflections started early, prompted by Floyd learning of the passing of a very special man in his life.
John Fuiten was pastor of a small church in Aloha, Oregon, during the 1970’s. It was during that decade that Floyd cemented his Christian beliefs and was baptized. Much of his knowledge of Bible and worship was taught to him by Pastor Fuiten. His ministry might be judged as lacking when measured against today’s mega church obsession with arena sized buildings and even bigger salaries and budgets. But what the Aloha Church lacked in high finance, it made up for it in faithfulness and selflessness.
John Fuiten was a faithful teacher of the Bible. He was always on call. He was available to pray with families in times of sickness and trial. And he was never too busy to share a moment with a young boy just learning about Jesus.
While mega churches often command the headlines, it is small churches, meeting in simple buildings, sometimes in schools, or even gathering in people’s homes, which nurture the faith that makes America an exceptional nation. It is the thousands of John Fuitens stretched from Florida to Alaska and their multitude of simple sacrifices and good deeds that keep our collective faith alive.
So in this era of tough economic times and rampant unemployment, we sense a spiritual renewal. Maybe it requires tough times for people to refocus on the humanity of our neighbors and the warmth of spiritual renewal that can only come from a rededication to the religious principles that built America.
This religious faith is like an anchor or ballast of a mighty ship: it keeps us centered and stable when facing trials and uncertainty. Faith is the source of America’s goodness and greatness.