March 31, 1934
“Notorious bank robber John Dillinger escapes authorities by blasting his way out of a Lexington Avenue apartment house in Saint Paul. Four months later “Public Enemy No. 1” is killed by federal agents in a gun battle outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.” *
“What made them do it?” This is a common question that the law-abiding portion of society has of the criminally minded. To better investigate, let us lay out some of what is known in the days leading up to this infamous Dillinger event.
03/03/34 – Dillinger escapes from jail using a wooden gun, and steals a Sheriff’s car.**
03/06/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Sioux Falls, SD. with Baby Face Nelson and others. The heist nets them approximately $49,500.**
03/07/34 – The Department of Investigation, (FBI), because in stealing and transporting a sheriff’s car he commits a Federal crime.**
03/13/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Mason City, IA. with gang, and is injured in shoulder. The theft yields about $52,000.**
03/14/34 – Dillinger is treated at home of Dr. Nels Mortenson at 2522 Fairmount Av. St. Paul, MN.**
03/16/34 – Dillinger arrives in Chicago and attempts to obtain divorce from the husband of his girlfriend Billie Frechette.**
03/19/34 – Frechette delivers sums of money and wooden gun to Audrey Hancock and Dillinger’s father.**
03/20/34 – Dillinger and Frechette rent apartment together in St. Paul, MN.**
03/30/34 – Dillinger and Frechette host a raucous party at the Lincoln Court apartments which lasts most of the night.**
03/31/34 – The caretaker tips off the Department of Investigation, (FBI), and Dillinger and Frechette escape after shoot-out. Dillinger receives wound in the left calf.**
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 ESV ***
What shall we pray for this tragic event, and the transgressions of John Dillinger? Lord, we give You thanks that You are the author of the law of life that has set us free from separation and death. You are the Good Father that waits for all prodigal sons and daughters to stop rebelling, turn around, and come back home.
You are the only proper Judge of all humanity, whether those who do justly, or those who live in defiance. Your character is not defiled by our hatreds, or limited to our finite vantage point of our neighbor’s life. Give us humility and wisdom to watch this event with You, and to receive Your Rhema Word for ourselves and our state.
To open, Your Word tells us that we become both what we practice, and what we think about.
“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.” **** Proverbs 11:27 NIV
“As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7
Dillinger’s calendar is a portrayal of some of his thoughts and actions just for the month of March 1934. His actions betray a mind almost singularly set on crime, and personal gain. He thinks of self and worships self. He even steals a “marriage” with Billie from her husband in prison?!
Will You forgive any in our society in his day that idolized him as a folk hero? Will You forgive those who capitalized on his notorious contempt for for the law; even using him to sell their brand of cars? Will You forgive the press of his day for their greedily hyping and sensationalizing his story to sell more newspapers? We traded our scruples to be participants in his defiling story; they sold it, and we, the public bought it. Why are we such passive thinkers and indirect participants in crime? Have mercy on us!
Will You release us from the curse of worshipping an antihero like Dillinger in Saint Paul, and throughout Minnesota in the present? We idolize thugs in the music business, and our youths have become more cruel. We venerate icons of technology, though they betray our privacy for gain, and have become voyeurs. We steal from our neighbors and employers with liberality, and vote for politicians who steal our liberty. By the Authority of Jesus Christ, we break the spirit of the Antihero over our society!
Show us a better way in the future! Bless us to report crime in ways that do not honor or popularize or capitalize on the worst actors in our culture. Bless us to receive Your thinking about those committed to lawless thinking that leads them to lawless actions. May we practice “meditating on Your laws day and night” like King David! May we agree with Your thoughts, spoken through the prophet Micah;
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” *****
“Workers at George A. Hormel and Company stage the first sit-down strike in the U.S., taking over the Austin meat-packing plant for three days. The tactic works; Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.” *
To offer a backstory, we must look at the character and practices of a father and son. George A. Hormel founded the company in 1891, and survived the Panic of the 1893-1897 by setting the standards for success himself. “People talked of Hormel’s passion for efficiency and quality and of his eagerness to work in the plant beside his employees.” Hormel often insisted on doing the key butchering operations himself.**
Jay Hormel was the only son, actually the only child of the G.A. Hormels’. He had an excellent education at Shattuck School for Boys and Princeton University. After schooling he pursued a career as a jazz pianist with some modicum of success.
Though trained by his father through two years of work at the plant, perhaps he did not retain the personal identity with the town of Austin, his staff, or the business. He married a foreigner, and moved his family out of Austin to a large French style estate.
Fast forward to the landmark strike. A group of workers at the hog killing floor were unsuccessfully persuaded to join the “voluntary” insurance program being pushed by management. At issue were the further loss of wages, 20 cents per week, and the expectation that those who didn’t join could be fired. The incensed workers shut down the killing floor for only 10 minutes, yet their exasperations had a ripple effect.
In response, hundreds of employees joined the newly formed International Union of All Workers (IUAW), and contributed $600 to achieve its aims. These are out lined below:
“1. An increase in the hourly rate for all workers who are members of the union of 20 cents an hour over and above the rate of November 1, 1933.
2. An increase in pay for those workers on a scale other than the hourly rates so they might receive an increase in pay equal to those on the hourly basis.
3. The abolition of the bonus system and the rate of those affected by the abolition be set by an hourly rate plus a bonus.
4. That when females replace males in the plant, the rate of compensation be the same as that paid to the male workers.
5. An agreement whereby either company or union may present each other with formal requests in writing, the receiving party acknowledging receipt of the request and arranging provisions for a conference within 24 hours of receiving it.” **
The occupation of the plant pushed Hormel into reaching out to both FDR and Governor Floyd Olson for help. Neither of these politicians were in the mood to enact a strike bust, but rather approaching the issue as mediators. Ultimately Governor Olson, without security, calmed the situation and led to the writing of an agreed plan between workers and management.
Hormel’s attitude towards his employees did a complete u-turn. Instead of seeing workers as his opponents, he saw them as his team. His “Master Plan” was putting out fires before they start; a system of anticipatory welfare capitalism. This plan gained acceptance and trust of laborers so throughly that it pre-empted the necessity of union actions in most cases. When asked by other business men how to deal with labor, Jay Hormel replied; “labor troubles would not occur if business could understand labor.” **
Shall we pray? We give thanks to You, Lord of All Workers, because You truly understand the backstory of everyone who works. We thank You for Your intimate knowledge of each human’s psyche, work ethic, and motives. Will You enhance our watching of this event in history, and bring revelation to Your people everywhere?
Initially we see an example of a father and son, and their differing approaches to the same task of owning and managing a business. We thank you for the leadership style of George Hormel who: lived locally, married a girl from town, and was an active participant in all stages of his company. Will You bless Him, the Hormel family, and those like him in Minnesota’s food processing businesses? It is hard to fault one who leads by practical example.
We also thank You for the leadership style of Jay Hormel who: thought outside his own town, loved music, and married outside his culture. We thank You that though he originally was known for his weakness to relate to his labor, he discovered that he could change. We give thanks that he was humble enough to learn from his failures in this strike, and grow as a businessman and human being. Will You bless his family and companions in the food trade, both past, present, and future?
We give thanks for the workers and strikers of this event. We recognize their pains and fears in this era. Will You remember those tasks that were done at an immediate and personal loss to them? Will You remember the days and years where they did not complain though they were increasingly chafed at the increase of employer demands with lack of job security? Will You remember how they were faithful to Hormel, and forgive the ways they weren’t? Will You bless them, their families, and generations in their labor to “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”? ***
We remember the insufficient nature of the “isms” at play in this event. Will You temper our collectivists to remember the individuals in their ranks? Will You protect our unions from judgments that can chain them to a permanent state of envy? Will You give the capitalist the humility to see that money doesn’t solve the problems of workers hearts and needs for respect? Have mercy on our business. Have mercy on our strikes. May we receive Your contentment whether on the killing floor on making a killing? Amen.
** Conatz, Juan (2014, July 21)https://libcom.org/history/we-were-poor-people-hormel-strike-1933-larry-d-engelmann
*** Colossians 3:23
“Leaping through rings of fire, then bowing shamelessly for applause, the celebrated jumping horse “Whiskey” was a star attraction at Fort Snelling and throughout the Northwest.” *
Below are a few fun snippets from “Smartest Horse in the U. S. Army” by Marilyn L. Slovak.
“He went into training in 1921, reached his peak of popularity in the late 1920s, and retired from performance in 1932. In 1944 Whiskey was buried with full military honors and a government headstone near the present Federal Building at Fort Snelling.
The future initially appeared bleak for this wild horse that reputedly “didn’t even wear shoes” and “could kick a hole in a battle-ship.” Considered unsuitable for the army because of his rebellious spirit, he might have been destroyed were it not for another 1921 arrival at the fort, Lt. William Reuben Hazelrigg. Seeing the possibility of greatness beneath the horse’s unruly exterior, the experienced equestrian selected the chestnut as his assigned mount and, perhaps because of the sway in his walk, named him Whiskey.”**
“Whiskey’s greatest talent was jumping. Combining spectacular jumps with a repertoire of tricks, the horse and his rider did double duty at fort polo games, also supplying the half-time entertainment. No obstacle deterred the fearless, high-flying horse, be it a team of mules hitched to a supply wagon; the white mule, Snelling, standing between two fences; a group of diners seated at a table; a human hurdle; or a blazing jump. When the crowds in the stands clapped and shouted their approval, the Minneapolis Star reported, “it seemed Whiskey knew they were cheering at him.”**
“At night, using a front hoof to maneuver the two-by- four that held the door closed, Whiskey routinely escaped from his stall. “I’d meet this horse in the aisle every night,” recounted Stewart Montgomery, a former sentry and Third Infantry band member. “I’d try to get him back into his stall with no success. Whiskey wasn’t going to follow my instructions. He just didn’t like to be locked up.”**
Today, after reading about the connection between Lt. Hazelrigg and Whiskey, I ponder the significance of the relationship of animals and human beings, Lord. Why is it that animals can play such a crucial role in revealing Your heart to humankind? Why is the Bible so full of revelations that are brought or symbolically taught a lesson through another species?
A brief list of man and beast stories told in the Old Testament off the top of my head, Lord.
The heart of the greatest ruler on earth was tempered by gnats, lice, frogs, and locusts in Exodus 8-10.
The nation of Israel miraculously escapes Egypt by the hand of the Almighty. Then they miss having meat so G-d delivers so much quail they struggle to eat it all in Numbers 11.
Jonah runs away from his destiny and is delivered back to it by the trauma of being swallowed by a whale in Jonah 1.
Elijah, driven into hiding, was fed by ravens in I Kings 17.
Daniel refused to stop praying, and was thrown into a den of lions as punishment. Yet, he was spared, and his accusers were torn to shreds when they shared the same fate in Daniel 6.
We see an archetype of animals being agents or messengers of change to specific individuals,tribes, and nations. Our contemporaries scoff at Biblical accounts of the miraculous interventions of Your creatures. We often rationalize along with them, and have been ashamed of Your word in an era of science. Will You forgive us?
We have forgotten that the King of Universe can use anything, anywhere, at any time to convey His messages. We train domestic animals, but what do we know about communicating with them, or listening to their speech? We pat ourselves on the back for cloning animals, yet we cannot create a creature as magnificent as Your horse.
I thank You today for the life of Whiskey and Lt. Hazelrigg. I thank You for their example of the redeeming relationship between Your creatures and humans. I thank You for the lessons taught by Bill Hazelrigg to his horse, and by the lessons kindled by Whiskey to him.
I do not want to diminish the value of either human beings or animals in Your kingdom. According to Your word, we are to be the managers and stewards of Your creation, but You are the owner of all.**** I want to acknowledge that Your heart is on display when there is a strong bond between us and the animals we know.
Can a horse experience joy? Only You know. Does a horse do tricks for anything other than a conditioned response-reward cycle? You also understand this.
We do thank You for bravery of war horses like Whiskey. We thank You that our animals seem to have sense of humor. We thank You for how we grow to “know” them, and as they may “know” us. We thank You for the heritage of Whiskey, and all creatures that make us better creatures! Amen!
Whiskey’s gravestone marker resides alongside the fallen soldiers of Fort Snelling, Minnesota and reads; “Whiskey / a great horse /a stout heart / 1911–1943.”***
**“Smartest Horse in the U. S. Army” by Marilyn L. Slovak ibid pp 337-339
^ Lieutenant William Hazelrigg and Whiskey jump the army mule Maud. Creator: Minnesota Historical Society, Photo Lab. 10/21/1922. Courtesy: © Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN (USA) photo “Donkeyversity” Pinterest
“In the heart of the Depression, hunger marchers in downtown Minneapolis demand an $8 weekly relief grant.” *
Minnesotans fared better than most during the first wave of the stock market crash due to the longstanding tradition of private charity. Eventually these reserves were depleted by the sheer numbers of the homeless and unemployed. Below is a citation of the intensity and desperation here by historian Raymond L. Koch:
“After the fall elections of 1930, which saw the Farmer-Labor party gain prominence at the state level of politics with the election of Floyd R. Olson as governor, pressure for action on relief needs rapidly increased from organizations of unemployed persons which had sprouted immediately after the great crash. The day after Olson’s first in- augural speech, a group of Twin Cities Communists arranged a march to the Capitol and staged a demonstration for unemployment relief. They were led by Karl Reeve, district organizer of the Communist party in Minneapolis and leader of a local chapter of the Trade Union Unity League, a Communist-front organization. The group distributed a circular that blasted the American Federation of Labor and the Farmer-Labor party and even accused Olson himself of being a “henchman of the Steel Trust.” Several weeks later the Trade Union Unity League scheduled William Z. Foster, a leading national Communist figure, to speak on March 2, 1931, in the Minneapolis Gateway district, a haven for transients and local homeless and jobless individuals. Mayor William F. Kunze banned the speech, but the league tried to hold a meeting anyway. The result was the “Gateway riot,” as it was called the next day after police broke up the assembled group.”**
For further amplification of the situation read the excerpt below:
“The summer relief crisis reached a peak on July 8, 1932, when approximately seven hundred “hunger marchers” demonstrated again in front of City Hall. They demanded a five-million-dollar appropriation for city relief, an eight-dollar-a-week grant to un- employed workers, and a slum clearance program. Invading the city council chambers, the demonstrators listened to two Farmer-Labor aldermen protest Mayor Anderson’s reappointment of one of the conservative members of the board of public welfare — Mrs. H. S. Godfrey — to another four-year term.”**
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. We seek Your insights into this snapshot of a vitriolic moment in the history of Minneapolis. Will You come and restore us into a right relationship with You and others so we do not replicate its offenses and judgments?
We begin by repenting of self-reliance instead of looking to You. Maybe we forgot the Lord’s prayer; “give us this day our daily bread”? Or the coin did not drop into our hearts until we reached the point of daily and literal hunger? In any case, Minneapolitans have judged You and Your Church as being an incompetent providers. Will You forgive when and where we have denied Your Greatness and clung to our depression?
It also seems apparent that this conflict was not solely about what relief was given, but who would get the credit. Prior to this crisis, it appears we helped the poor by a team effort between the cities’ board of public welfare channeled through the direct care of private charities. Where the politicians sought to convert welfare into votes; have mercy. Where private charities blew their own trumpets, and diverted gratitude rightfully Yours onto themselves; have mercy. Will You restore us as a people so that we are more concerned about aid reaching the needy rather than being publicity greedy?
Another bone of contention between protesters and philanthropies derived from the question how the aid would be given. Some with a Marxist worldview advocated for aid to be in the form of direct cash payments. Traditionalists sought a solution of workfare; those seeking aid could barter their labor for food or other assistance. Will You forgive this offense to You, and the drive to power that couldn’t bear to experiment with both methods?
Ultimately, these events originated a rift still extant: will we be a people who value independence, or dependence? In either case, proponents of both philosophies may deny or contain misbeliefs about the concept of interdependence.
Communism has some inherent motive conflicts; it wants equality of outcomes but must rely on capitalism to pay for its programs. It has inherent paradoxical beliefs regarding land and personal property. Simultaneously, it advocates the abolition of private property while seizing the property of those “haves” in order to give it to the “have nots”. It is also interesting to note in this context, that the proponents of a system which hates capital (money), simultaneously agitates for relief to be disbursed in cash rather than barter or another type of exchange in kind. Will You forgive these offenses within the Gateway Riot and the collectivists of the period?
Capitalism of this era also contains perfidy and forms of double-mindedness. Can a market seek a fair price if it is manipulated by its regulators? How can the Federal Reserve system get by without an audit; ever? Only twenty years after its creation it eliminates the gold standard that facilitates irresponsible investments, public debt, and the stock market bubble? Over 9,000 private banks that it conditioned to act as fractional reserve lenders went bankrupt; yet it had no motive in eliminating competition? If this is not duplicitous, then it appears intentional and criminal. Will You forgive the offenses by those who have manipulated the markets and the value of money?
Let us not forget the divisiveness of the Depression that was pushed by the spirit of religion. By this, I mean religion that exists for its own growth rather than humbly pointing seekers to G-d. Imagine the charity that could have happened in this time frame if the Protestants religious leaders of Minneapolis had cooperated with the Catholic leadership of Saint Paul? Imagine the magnanimous state of Minnesota if the leaders of the religion of the Farmer Labor Party had not fought the leaders of the religion of the Democratic Party who fought the leaders of the religion of Republicanism? Too often, we have endured hardship because of pride. For too long, we have suffered rather than compromise with a religious or worldview enemy! In Your mercy, will You forgive us the worship of the mechanics of our religion rather than You? Will You forgive us the bitter judgments of our religious enemies in Minnesota? Will You heal our double-mindedness as a society? We have demanded a gift rather than asked for it from You and our neighbor. Will You make us poor in spirit so we can be rich in love?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.*** I John 4:19-21 NIV
** Raymond L. Koch.“The Development of Public Relief Programs in Minnesota, 1929-1941.” University of Minnesota, 1968.
January 6, 1931
“Floyd B. Olson takes office as the state’s 22nd governor.” *
Governor Olson was many things to many people, but perhaps he is most known as the leader of the Farmer Labor Party. Why is this so critical to Minnesota, and our collective memory? After Olson’s victory, “the Farmer-Labor Party would emerge as the dominant political force in Minnesota. It became one of the country’s most successful third-party movements.” **
This famed reformer wore his Progressive Socialist agenda on his sleeve, and was happy to distinguish his movement from either Republican or Democratic thought previously known in the North Star state. He clearly advocated for the minimum wage. As a former Industrial Workers of the World unionist, he proudly supported trade unions and their most prized reform; collective bargaining. To properly finance his progressive view of social justice he proposed a progressive income tax. (A progressive tax is simply a plan based on the idea that if you earn more, you should pay more.)
How then would his policy stack up against historic economic theory regarding the utility of the minimum wage? “In economic theory, a price floor creates a surplus in the market place because there is more supply than demand at the set price. This theory applies to the market for labor as well. Some argue that when the minimum wage is raised, more people want jobs because now they are more lucrative. However new jobs are not necessarily created. Based on this standard economic model, when demand for labor is greater than the supply, a labor surplus results, creating unemployment.” *** To interpret, higher wages may attract more to the job market, new jobs are not necessarily created, and based on historical data; there is more unemployment.
Further, what are the strengths and weaknesses of unionism and collective bargaining as proposed by our Governor? Below is a quote by Labor Economics expert James Sherk.
“A union’s monopoly over bargaining makes it a cartel that prevents employers from hiring workers who would do the same job for less than union wages. That benefits union members at the expense of their potential competitors. It also means that state and local governments must pay more to have the same work done. Without providing financing for the mandate, the act will force these governments to either cut services or raise taxes.” **** By definition, a monopoly is the exclusive possession or control over something. So, perhaps it could be more accurately construed as “monopoly bargaining”?
According to the ideals of Governor Olson, for society to progress, it must have the tax base to right social wrongs and lift up the oppressed by the hand of government. “The income tax is the most just tax thus far devised because it is the most equitable tax; it is based on ability to pay,” he added.
Maybe this is why he borrowed from the collectivist visions of Karl Marx? Below are the first five planks of the original German interpretation of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”, please note plank #2.
“1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.” ******
Shall we pray? G-d, we give You honor as the Authority of Authorities, Provider of All to All, and Justice to all forms of Justice. We remember that Your Dominion is not a matter of talk, but of power. You are the Only Arbiter of Grace and Truth. You are the Only One who perfectly balances Justice and Mercy!
We acknowledge our separations from You through the leadership of Governor Olson. We chose to follow the false god of Progressivism. We admit that we cannot bring a utopia through humanistic means. We are not able to grant unalienable rights or take them away for that is Your work; Your mystery. Though we try through the ages, we cannot improve upon the Shema of Deuteronomy 6, or by it recitation by Christ in Matthew 22:37.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ “ *******
Will You forgive us where we failed to love You in this era, and where we failed to receive Your love in return? Our hands hold so tightly to power that we cannot grasp the manna You are giving us today.
We acknowledge our separations from You in our trust in the minimum wage during the Great Depression. We have limited our neighbor’s right to negotiate a wage with their employer, and infringed upon that individual’s will. Though we try through the ages, we cannot improve upon the divine positive laws of the 10 Commandments.
To paraphrase, the seventh and tenth commandments tell us to respect and honor the property of others, and to be content with our property. How can we simultaneously respect and honor an employer whom we force to pay us more? How can we respect and honor our neighbor’s will if we interfere with it? Father, where allowed the real pain and discontent of the 1930’s cloud our boundaries and honor for other Minnesotans; will You have mercy?
We acknowledge our offenses to You and our neighbor in putting faith in collective bargaining and unions. (I do not condemn either of these ideas per se.) Chosen collectivism is beautiful and admirable. Look at the example of the early Church
found in Acts 2:44.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” ********
Where collectivism breaks with Your example, perhaps, is that it may negate the will of its’ neighbor. Why should a worker be required to join a union to work? If labor is the possession of each laborer, then forced collectivization could become extortion or ultimatum.
Why should an employer be required by a third party or law to negotiate with his employees on a collective basis? For example, the words ‘labor strike’ do not imply mutual submission with a boss towards a mutually defined goal, but a choice to break that relationship. Where we have broken faith with You, our neighbor, or our leaders through forced unionism or collective bargaining; will You have mercy?
We acknowledge our offense to You and our neighbor through our faith in a graduated income tax. We, as a State, may have required more of our neighbor’s wealth than You. Below, the prophet Malachi reports to the peoples of Judah to give to G-d the 10% flat tax He required.
“You are under a curse–your whole nation–because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
If this is to be Your example to us, then is it true that those who fail to participate actually rob You and their neighbor? I’m not thinking here in terms of money, but of themselves. Those who do not invest in society may not develop an interest in society, or experience the gratitude of an unmerited gift from one who invests heavily. The relationship between giver and receiver is broken when it is required instead of choice. Further, for a progressive tax model to be truly even, could it require a non-monetary investment of time in lieu of a financial contribution? Will You have mercy on the uneven nature of our remedies to inequality?
In spite of these pondering prayers, will You bless the heritage of Floyd B. Olson? Will You remember his attempts to relate and create policies that contribute towards a better life for regular Minnesotans? Will You give honor and favor to those who labor at the minimum wage? Will You come to the aid of those who belong to a union, employ union labor, and collectively bargain in good faith? We want society to mature without acknowledging the revenge, envy, and discontent inside? Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on Minnesota! Will You perfect the progress of our inner lives?
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” *********
**** Article by James Sherk, Research Fellow, Labor Economics https://www.heritage.org/markets-and-finance/report/mandatory-collective-bargaining-creates-more-problems-itsolves
******* Quote of “Manifesto of the Communist Party” Chapter 2 (German original) https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm
1930 to 1935
“In the depth of the Great Depression, unemployed transients loiter in the Gateway district of downtown Minneapolis.” *
Many great cities are renowned for their entrances: Paris has the Arc d’ Triumph, India has the Buland Darwaza, and Jerusalem has the Golden Gate (Sha’ar HaRachamim). Minneapolis wanted to create a beautiful structure to welcome visitors into Minneapolis as they came from the train station. In 1915, the city built a gateway pavilion, flanked by curving colonades, that surrounded a Civil War memorial fountain and flagpole and pathway. Known as Gateway Park, the surrounding area adopted the title of the Gateway District.**The Gateway District of Minneapolis was centered at the convergence of Hennepin Avenue, Nicollet Avenue, and Washington Avenue.***
So, how did this this transition from fabulous to flophouse happen in the next two decades? Author David L. Rosheim did extensive research into the decay of this neighborhood in his book; “The Other Minneapolis or The Rise and Fall of the Gateway, The Old Minneapolis Skid Row”.****
“According to Rosheim, as unemployment rose, so did the hobo population. A new demographic of this drifter population was youth, driven away from home by poverty, or perhaps in pursuit of better opportunities.
Public relief rose drastically during this period. In 1930, an estimated $215,000 was spent on Minneapolis Poor Relief. Charities such as the Union City Mission continued to serve free meals if the visitor listened to a sermon. The Minneapolis City Council raised funds through bond issues to begin construction on public projects, in hopes of making a dent in the massive unemployment rate.” ***
What can be said about poverty that has not been said? What were the judgments of these primarily male vagabonds against Minneapolis, society, and themselves? What cultural transference resulted from the relationships in the Gateway District?
Will You bless both those who wish to beautify the public spaces of the city, and those who wish to make use of those places? Will You forgive the judgments of those who took too much pride in the sanctity of this park, and the judgments of those who take too little pride in themselves or their public conduct? We have failed You on both ends to see the message brought by those who have different motives than ours. Have mercy.
Will You forgive, where it applies, the pridefulness of the alcoholics, and addicts of this era? We are guilty of trying to solve our problems on our own, and have rejected the help that comes from being open to new relationships because we would rather hold onto our pain. When and where Minneapolitans have suffered foolishly rather than accepting kind and useful input into our bad choices; have mercy!
Will You forgive both the misogyny and misandry of the sex trafficking of this era? We have sexualized the need for touch, and have rejected true affection. We have chosen either to take money to submit to abuse, or pay money to be the abuser.
We have judged the opposite sex falsely in the transaction of prostitution. Our men have wanted women for sex, but not considered them worthy of relationship. Our women have viewed men as incapable of love, so they might as well be an open wallet. Will You forgive the sexual sins that result in sex trafficking then, now and future?
Will You forgive the shame of these men for being poor and alone? The Great Depression was so very costly to many, and its pain lives in the false self assessment that we are what we do and own. Will You lift this pain and shame up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ?
Will You forgive “functional” society its judgments of these men, and this District? Many of us live under the premise; “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” This maxim recognizes the benefits of mutually beneficial relationships. But what is one to do when those relationships are gone, and basic trust of society is broken? Have mercy on our judgments of Your broken sons and daughters of the Great Depression, as well as their children, and their grandchildren.
Will You forgive the “dysfunctional” portion of society its judgments of those outside the Gateway? A criminal or debaucherous subculture often makes a mockery of the culture of innocence and lawfulness. Will You forgive any defiance that took place in the geography of the Gateway District against the laws of Minnesota, and more importantly, the laws of the Only Just One?
We ask Your blessing on Minneapolis, the former grounds of Gateway Park, and the Gateway District to replace the curses we’ve sown. Will You bless those in our state experiencing poverty of mind, body, spirit, and property to turn to You for help? Will You grant the spirit of gratitude to replace the spirit of entitlement? Will You help givers to be humble? Will You help those receiving charity to give respect and honor due to those who give freely? We invite You to be the Gatekeeper of Minneapolis!
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:4-9 NIV*****
**** Rosheim, David L. The Other Minneapolis or The Rise and Fall of the Gateway, The Old Minneapolis Skid Row. Maquoketa, IA: The Andromeda Press, 1978.