One evening after dinner they moved out on the sun deck, which overlooked the Pilcomayo River. As they were talking, the leader of the Argentine Republic asked a question. “Mr. Babson, why is your continent of North America so much further advanced than our continent of South America?”
Then he proceeded to talk about the abounding natural resources of his native land. He said, “Mr. Babson, did you know that in the forests of South America there are 286 kinds of trees which are not listed in any book of botany.”
He went on to describe the great South American ranches with their fields of grain and large unbroken tracts of pasture land. He dwelt at length on their great reserves of ore—iron, coal, copper, zinc, silver and gold and pointed out that with their great rivers the potential waterpower exceeded that of the Niagara.
“Why is it,” he continued, “that with all these advantages, South America is so far behind North America? I have been giving this matter a great deal of serious thought lately, and I think I know the answer.
“When the Spaniards came to our country, they came to conquer and to plunder. They came to South America in search of gold. When the Pilgrims came to your country they came seeking a place where they could worship and live in freedom. They came to North America in search of God.”
On our coins are to be found these words: “In God we trust.” This is the source of our greatness as a nation.
On this Thanksgiving Day, 2010, let us unite our hearts in the prayer of Samuel F. Smith:
Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee, we sing:
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light:
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!
Rev. Nichols is pastor emeritus of First Christian Church of Temple. He writes religious columns for several Central Texas newspapers and is compiling a book of his writings.