THE TOWN THAT BANNED CHRISTIANITY

By STEVEN TRAVERS

I have written about Fairfax, California on this site before. It was in Fairfax, back in 2013, when I was literally, actually and in real life jailed overnight for declaring myself a Republican and a Christian, in public, to a police officer. This is not metaphor, parody or opinion. It just plained happened. Details can found in that earlier article.

Fairfax is named after Lord Fairfax, and a decade or so earlier a descendant of Lord Fairfax made his way there from England to celebrate the anniversary. It is not my hometown but is close to it. I have many friends there and share many wonderful memories. It is an endearing place with many fine qualities. 

Dr. Michael Savage once lived in Fairfax, long before he was a world-famous radio talk show host. He was a struggling young Ph.D. candidate trying to support a wife and family. It was around the time Dr. Savage lived in Fairfax that things started to change . . . for the worse.

Fairfax was once like any other small American town. It was patriotic, church-going, family-oriented, and enjoyed terrific year-round weather that made its citizenry especially active and in touch with its natural surroundings, probably what most attracted Dr. Savage. 

But its location was its downfall. Fairfax is located in Marin County, a suburb of San Francisco. It is the last hub before beachgoers make their way to the Pacific Ocean. As we all know, the world got turned on its head in the 1960s, none more so than San Francisco. During the Summer of Love hippie children descended on San Francisco and by the fall of that year they were strung out on drugs. 

Many found the streets of San Francisco unforgiving and sought greener pastures. Some ventured to Berkeley, home of the University of California and the Free Speech Movement. But many others found their way to Marin, in particular Fairfax. Surrounded by hills with streams and lakes, hippies camped out and lived off the land, at least for awhile. Eventually they ventured into town, attracted by Fairfax’s eclectic surf shops and head shops. Eventually so many kids were smoking pot that the cops basically gave up trying to police it. By the 1970s it was “Mayberry on Acid,” a popular bumper sticker seen around town. Eventually, all those hippies became the town’s Mayor, its town council, its business owners and citizens.

But there was still a solid middle class in Fairfax. There was a substantial Italian population, second- and third-generation immigrants whose families had made it, moving from San Francisco’s North Beach to the suburbs. The local St. Rita Catholic Church and school thrived there. It was the center of life in Fairfax. CYO basketball games drew large crowds, as did little league. 

But the serpent had been let loose in the Garden of Eden, and eventually paradise was lost. For me this centered not on St. Rita, but on tiny little Christ Victor Lutheran Church on the edge of town. This was built from the ground up largely by my good friends John and Jean Strahlendorf. John returned from World War II and moved into neighboring San Anselmo to raise a family and worship God. The location was based on a promise that a junior high school and housing project would be built near White Hill, which separates Fairfax from the ocean. 

It took 10 years before the school and adjacent homes were constructed, but the little church survived despite a small membership. I attended Sunday school there when I was seven and joined in 1984, the year I was married there. By that time Christ Victor was a solid member of the community, donating with many fund drives to benefit the needy. All the guests at my wedding commented on how pretty the little church and its natural surroundings were.

I lived in Los Angeles for many years but returned to Marin in 2001. Good old John and Jean welcomed me back and I attended religiously until 2018. But by then the snake was in the grass. It is impossible to tell this story without just telling it, no matter how politically incorrect it is, but the snakes in the grass were a lesbian “married” couple that joined some time around 2010. 

Christ Victor had always been gay friendly and nobody complained. At one point we had a gay pastor. There were several woman pastors, one of whom may have been gay but it was never really confirmed. She, however, felt Christ Victor too closely resembled American victory in Iraq, so she took it upon herself to change the name to Christ Lutheran Church. This she accomplished just before she left us. 

If a gay man or woman wished to worship the God that made them and ask forgiveness of their sins from Jesus Christ, as I do, I along with the others was happy to sit alongside them. But there was a plot afoot. What motivated this plot I cannot say, except to say it seemed evil and malevolent. One of the lesbian women took it upon herself to engage in a long, time-consuming, difficult campaign to sell the beautiful property Christ Victor sat on.

It took years, close to a decade. We heard its progress on regular reports from this lesbian woman who, along with her “wife” had moved to America from a foreign country, yet made turning the property of the church she joined a secular city-controlled property her life’s work. 

She sat in on countless town council meetings, wrote letters, lobbied council members, and arranged for a lawyer and experts to expedite the process. It all took a long, long time but she never gave up. It was like being a lobster thrown in a pot of water at a slow boil. By the time the heat overwhelms you the deed is done. 

In the summer of 2018 word came down: Christ (Victor) Lutheran Church had been sold to the town of Fairfax in order to make room for affordable housing. The church and an adjacent school were torn down and housing units replaced it. How many people live there? 50? 60? How much do they pay? My guess is it is not particularly “affordable,” especially with inflation in the Biden economy. 

The members of the little church were scattered to the four winds. The community was disbanded, friendships broken up, faith seemingly unrewarded.

On top of that, St. Rita closed its school. There is no place for the good people of Fairfax to give their children a proper Christian education. All they are left with is secularism. The local high school changed its name from Sir Francis Drake because the famed explorer was too white. Kids are left to their own devices: social media, drugs, hook-up culture. I no longer hear Italian names. Home prices are astronomical. Nobody earns their keep. It is a town of liberal trust-funders guilty for having it all handed to them. 

Somebody works the sewers, picks up the garbage, fixes the electrical wiring; but these people come in from the surrounding hinterlands of Santa Rosa or Vacaville. They are necessary but not admired because they cannot code.

This all happened before mine eyes.

Steven Travers is a former Hollywood screenwriter who has authored over 30 books including the brand new Best Sports Writing Ever and Coppola’s Monster Film: The Making of Apocalypse Now (2016). One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game That Changed a Nation (2007) is currently under film development. He is a USC graduate and attorney with a Ph.D who taught at USC and attended the UCLA Writers’ Program. He played professional baseball, served in the Army JAG corps in D.C., was in investment banking on Wall Street, worked in politics, lived in Europe, and was a sports agent before finding his calling as a writer. He has written for the San Francisco Examiner, L.A. Times, StreetZebra, Gentry magazine, Newsmax and MichaelSavage.com. He lives in California and has one daughter, Elizabeth. He can be reached at USCSTEVE1@aol.com or on Twitter @STWRITES.

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