The Ferndale Fortitude (Vol. 2 No. 4, June 22, 2022)
President John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
That being the case, we can begin to understand why things are so upside down in our country, and even in our own dear town.
Denis P. Edeline describes Ferndale’s 1892 reaction to local sexual immorality, saying “A moral cyclone struck Ferndale.” The Enterprise preserved the spirit of Ferndale in that day: “And be it understood that the Enterprise or the element of Ferndale’s population for which it claims to speak, is not in favor of prostitution or intemperance, but on the contrary believes in upholding the high moral standing of our town…”
Today, the local advocacy of sexual immorality and intemperance is not met with a cyclone of morality but is itself a twisting tornado promoted by a few influential citizens and, to our great shame, even some of our elected lawmakers.
Extra marital sex is immoral (1 Cor. 6:12-7:2), yet in 2022 one is hard-pressed to spot a reactionary dust devil in the 95536 let alone a cyclone. Likewise, homosexuality is immoral (1 Cor. 6:9) but in June of 2021, when an LGBTQ twister touched down in front of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Councilman Stephen Avis took the opportunity to greet the angry, immorality-advocating crowd who moments before were shouting to drown out the truthful words of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
“I’m glad there is such interest in making this happen,” Councilman Avis said. “And I want to thank you all for being here.” Avis concluded his remarks by further encouraging the proponents of immorality. “I’m so glad this community is here. I just wanted to give my support. So thank you for being here.”
What has happened to our morals? Sure, we see them disappearing from the fabric of our country, in our state, and in other places in our county, but in Ferndale? Where is that central component upon which our Founders were so reliant? How did we get to a point where we call good evil and evil good (Is. 5:20-21)? When did we stop teaching our children to guard and defend morality if not for their sake, then for the sake of maintaining the freedoms that only self-governing, moral people are responsible enough to enjoy?
It was suspected prostitution that prompted what Edeline calls a moralcyclone. “The cyclone—actually the fury of a dozen Ferndale ladies, with the help of a good stout horse—struck only one building, that of Edna Gardner and Minnie A. French.” How regrettable is it that in our day it’s not a house of sexual immorality but morality—a church—that has been struck by the fury of a few Ferndalers? And while they don’t have the help of a stout horse, they’ve learned how to use their social media presence to leverage support from those of a like mind across the county.
In 1892, when Ferndale’s high moral standing was unjustly assaulted, our predecessors met the accusations with a swift and public defense of “the good morals of the people of Ferndale and… the honor and integrity of” our residents. We should want to be able to do the same today. But can we? Honestly? Objectively? Are our morals still of high standing? Where is the moral compass our forefathers possessed, which guided their path? Do we still have the moral fortitude of our ancestors, which they needed to settle the Eel River Valley and stand up to immorality when it tried to do the same?
On June 26, 2022, another rainbow-striped cyclone of immorality is scheduled to touch down in town. What will be Ferndale’s response? How will the Edeline’s of the future record the events of our lives? Will there be any moral standing about which to write? Sexual immorality was once struck by a cyclone in Cream City. Is there enough morality left among us for those winds to swirl yet again?
We shall see what the weather will bring.
I, for one, believe we will see the gale-force winds of a moral people once again. I know too many moral men and women in and around our town who cherish our history, grieve over our present, and are praying for a healthy future for our posterity.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Tyrel Bramwell
2 Corinthians 12:10