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Editorial: Faith in us, the U.S.

The Fourth of July week in Faith starts at 5 p.m. today at Faith Baptist Church with the 50-voice Fourth of July Chorus singing its patriotic songs and honoring military service members past and present. The chorus, which includes singers from 19 area churches, will be performing as part of their selections an original patriotic song whose music and lyrics were composed by Marc Hoffman.

The Rowan Big Band All-Stars actually warm up things prior to the chorus, and afterwards food vendors and amusement rides open up at Faith Legion Park. All the nightly activities through the week lead up to the big Faith Fourth of July Parade Saturday morning and the always anticipated fireworks at night.

It all goes toward cementing the little town’s right to say it has one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in North Carolina. Hasn’t it always seemed appropriate that a community named “Faith” is where we annually pay tribute to our country with the most gusto?

Our faith in this country is often shaken and stirred, but never broken. We don’t feel good about ourselves when a racially motivated mass shooting takes place as occurred in Charleston, S.C. How could we? And we have become almost numb to these too-frequent instances of gunmen walking into businesses, schools, movie theaters, military installations, post offices, churches — you name it — and killing people at random.

We have to have faith we can do better.

Depending on your religious and political beliefs, this past week also might have shaken you to the core. The Supreme Court handed down huge decisions on gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act that were controversial but now must be considered the law of the land. Have faith that it’s for the best.

Maybe you don’t like what’s happening to the Confederate battle flag and have never considered it as a symbol of racism but an artifact of history. Governors and folks running for president have called for the flag’s removal from government-owned grounds. In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory has ordered the state to stop producing specialty license plates that include the Confederate symbol.

Have faith that this discussion needs to take place and is long overdue.

No matter how much your faith in the United States is tested, whether it be on issues such as trade, climate change, war, terrorism, abortion, education, gun rights, Social Security and healthcare, know you live in a country where these things can be fully debated and citizens have the power of a democracy behind them.

It’s not always pretty the way it works, but the radical declaration of independence made some 239 years ago laid out a plan our founding fathers thought would work — and it has, quite tremendously, warts and all.

They had faith that it would.

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