20th Century, Civics, ekklesia, Fathers, government, Governors, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Republican, Social Studies

Governor C. Elmer Anderson

Clyde Elmer Anderson, a Republican, is elected the 28th governor of Minnesota and served from September 27, 1951 through January 5, 1955. This calm and assertive executive already had achieved the distinctions of being the youngest lieutenant governor at age 26 serving under governor Harold Stassen in 1938.  He went on to win five more terms under three different governors: Stassen, Thye, and Youngdahl in: 1940, 1944, 1946, 1948, and 1950. *

In many ways Anderson typified the upbringing of Minnesotans during this age: born “outstate” in Brainerd, on March 16, 1912, born one of nine children to Swedish immigrants Fred and Anna Anderson. Elmer simultaneously worked on the family farm, held an outside job, and went to high school. He lost his father at age 14, finished high school at 16, and began pre-med studies at the University of Minnesota to become a doctor. Though a solid student, he never finished his studies due to financial constraints. **

Not one given to self pity, the young Mr. Anderson picked himself up by his own bootstraps. He found a job at Service News Incorporated, a “a retail fixture manufacturer, a wholesale magazine and newspaper distributor, and a consulting company.” *** By the age of 22, he owned the company, and had made it profitable. 

Perhaps this bedrock solidity of character attracted the attention of candidate Harold Stassen to tap Anderson to become his Lieutenant governor ca. 1938? Though few records can be found to validate as to his own policies in this era, we find him a capable advocate of his governor’s positions.  Governor Stassen recollected of him, “He came in kind of unexpectedly, but he stepped in and carried on in a way that had the general approval of the people.” **** 

During his tenure in office Governor Anderson promoted technology and the skilled labor industry within the state. Strong local companies such as 3M, Honeywell, Engineering Research Associates, Sperry, and Cray needed incentives to attract brainy talent to his cold state. He undertook the tasks to reform mental healthcare, law enforcement, and penal systems.*

Lastly, Governor C. Elmer Anderson knew how to create a consensus. DFL leaders of this era recall opposing him on policy, yet he never yielded to partisanship. Namely, State Senator Don Samuelson (DFL) sums up nicely saying of Governor C.E. Anderson, “He was extremely well-respected by the Legislature. He was not confrontational. He was not there to pick a political fight with anybody. He was just there to get the job done.” ****

We turn to You, Eternal Father, Authority of Authorities, the Omniscient Head of the Council of Heaven and think how much this man’s type of authority reminds me of Your Son! Especially the last quote, “He was not there to pick a fight with anybody. He was just there to get the job done.” We praise You that You did not seek office, or power, or lands as You lived with us; You were here to get the job done!

C. Elmer Anderson led a life with striking parallels to so many of the heroes of our faith in that he trusted in Your positioning, and seemed content to be second in command. He reminds me of Aaron, who operated as the prophet and spokesman for Moses. He runs with Joshua; the strong right arm of of Moses. His administrative skills bring to mind Joseph, and the wisdom, (informed by Your revelations), he asserted to save Egypt and its neighbors. He is a reflection of Daniel, and the humble submission and service shown those of Nebuchadnezzar’s court. He prompts thoughts of Elisha, and his trusting relationship with Elijah.

Lord, hear our prayer; will You accept such commendations of C. Elmer Anderson? We thank You for his example as the longest serving Lieutenant Governor! We ask that You impart such gifts to our present and future citizens who bear the title of “Second in Command”.

We ponder these examples with You, and wonder “Why is it that Your Word gives us so many examples of “power under”? I recollect this idea presented by my former professor, Dr. Greg Boyd. In his book, “Myth of a Christian Nation” *****, he poses similar questions of You and the ekklesia. Your Bride, the Church, has at times acted out such conflicted examples of authority to our world. Sometimes we assert our legal or political wills in excess of Your Kingdom’s directives. Dr. Boyd called this notion; “power over”. Sometimes, though we are inheritors of Your great authority and revelations, Your Spirit may direct us to take the humbler paths of not asserting rights, authority, or engaging in combative rhetoric. To our world, and even to ourselves, submitting ourselves to Your Spirit can look and feel like a defeat. Yet, it is precisely Christ’s “defeat” at the Cross, along with its pain and humiliations, that enriches and empowers the joy of Your Resurrection!

Again, we thank You for this man’s long path to becoming our 28th Governor. We ask that You stamp the lessons taught through Governor C. Elmer Anderson into the psyche of our State. We hear this message; though a consummate politician, he did not lead by asserting political authority, but by trusting that his authority and positioning from You was enough. A sheriff who is insecure has to twirl his guns. A sheriff who knows he’s in charge: tips his hat, smiles, keeps his guns in his holster, leans back on the post of the boardwalk, and just regulates! Will You make of us, and give to us leadership that does the same? Amen.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21 NIV ******

** https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w68p8zcr

*** https://servicenewsinc.com

**** Citing Author Unknown, “The Minnesota Daily”, January 23, 1998. St. Paul, MN.https://web.archive.org/web/20160304094845/http://www.mndaily.com/1998/01/23/former-gov-c-elmer-anderson-dead-85

***** Boyd, Greg, “Myth of a Christian Nation”. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, 2009.

****** https://biblehub.com/bsb/ephesians/1.htm

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20th Century, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Prisoners of War

Moorhead

September 4, 1943 to 1946
One hundred fifty German POWs sit out the war at Camp Number One near Moorhead, a branch camp of the base camp at Algona, Iowa. Farmers short of help pay the government 40 cents an hour for their labor.

Camps were located in or near Ada, Bena, Bird Island, Crookston, Deer River, Fairmont, Faribault, Grand Rapids, Hollandale, Howard Lake, Montgomery, Moorhead, New Ulm, Olivia, Ortonville, Owatonna, Remer, Saint Charles, Warren, and Wells.*

During the span of World War II, approximately 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were taken as prisoners of war and held in the United States. Once in the U.S., the prisoners were disbursed to about 700 camps in 46 states. The prison network had roughly 150 larger base camps, and 500 smaller branch camps.** The vast majority of these POWs were Germans who surrendered in the battlefields of Italy or North Africa. Camp Algona, in Iowa, held about 10,000 of these German prisoners who were contracted to do agricultural labor in the Midwest.***

“It was all about farm labor. Because so many young American men were overseas fighting in the war, there was a severe worker shortage. That was particularly true for agriculture, which was not considered a high-priority industry. The government offered to supply POWs on a contract basis. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the labor could not directly help the war effort or be dangerous. Many agriculture areas took advantage, including the Red River Valley.
So, farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn contracted for 150 POWs to work their vegetable farms. Army inspectors at first wanted to house the prisoners in a barn near the Red River on 12th Avenue south in Moorhead, but neighbors objected and so an onion warehouse on 21st Street near 4th Avenue North was selected.”****

Algona Branch Camp Number One was created in the spring of 1944 to accommodate Minnesota farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn. This area, known as the Red River Valley, was renowned for its’ potato and beet production. Regional historian Kenneth Dawes said, “Local growers were in a near panic” as to how to get the crop in, and also stated that POWs “literally saved the potato and beet harvest” in the wartime years.**

Many efforts were made to protect the humanity of these detainees at Camp One. They had a plethora of recreational activities to choose from: sports, woodworking and carving, art supplies, and books. The musically inclined even gave concerts of German music to their captors. They were granted the right to attend worship services or not as they saw fit.***

Though some locals thought that POWs were being “molly-coddled”, the general consensus was that our fair treatment of Germans would be passed on to American POWs in Europe.** Yet one wonders; “What was the response of these prisoners of war to their years of captivity in America? Hartmut Lang, the Boston consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gives us an astonishing testimony; ”To a German soldier then, being taken prisoner by U.S. troops amounted to winning a ticket to peace and fair treatment.”**

Now we turn to You, the Emancipator of the Human Race, and Giver of All Human Rights and ponder these stories. We humbly recall Your words that reflect Your benevolence to all; including those in prison.

“Blessed is he whose help is the G-d of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever, your G-d, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:5-10 NIV *****

We thank You today for these words of King David so long ago, and that they are forever true!

We confess to You today that we, as Americans and Minnesotans, were unable to avoid war with Nazi Germany in this era, and therefore, may have participated in the deaths of both enemies and innocents. Will You have mercy on this offense?

We confess to You today that we, as Your Church, may have failed to stand prayerfully with our brothers and sisters in Europe in spite of their subjugation and conscription to an evil Fascist dictatorship. Have we righteously hated, rejected, and opposed their government as American citizens, and somehow missed that many of the citizens of Germany were already spiritual captives of Giovanni Gentile; the father of the fascist ideology? ******

Conversely, we confess the judgments of Your Church in Europe towards the United States. Did they fail to see us also as members of Your Kingdom, or only as subjects of the political dominion of America?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and its common political and socio-economic idolatry?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and our shared misbeliefs towards each other during World War II, and taking the bait of self-righteousness held out by our common Deceiver?
Will You set us free from the pride that can assert itself within patriotism, and give make us an unpretentious United States and demütig Deutschland?

Lord, we thank You for this testimony of the character of Your human beings; whether a German POW or an American Minnesotan farmer! We are thankful for the example of Algona Camp Number One and the Peterson and Horn families. Somehow, they simultaneously held up the cause of justice as to the actions of their enemies while not judging their humanity. Yes, they were prisoners, but they were prisoners made in Your Image!

O, dear Father, we so desperately need this kind wise discernment; both here in the North Star state and abroad! Will You continue to bless us to be people who love their enemies and do good for them? Will You give us strong resolve to oppose evil and love what is good and life-giving?

Will You give Your Church the gift of recognizing our dual citizenship? Though we may experience varying degrees of captivity as citizens of our nation of origin, we are also the emancipated subjects of Your Heavenly State. We were all POWs of the Accuser of Humanity, yet You served our sentence for us so we could walk free! Hallelujah! Whether engaged in a outward political war or inward spiritual battle, give us Your eyes, sweet Jesus, to see You inside every POW until war is no more!

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3953177-how-wwii-german-pows-fared-grand-forks
*** http://www.mnopedia.org/place/german-prisoners-war-camp-moorhead-1944-1946
**** https://www.inforum.com/opinion/columns/2725100-McFeely-German-POWs-right-here-in-Moorhead citing Piehl, Mark. “POWs work at Moorhead Truck Farm”. Clay County Historical Society, 1991, pp.15-17.
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/146-1.htm
****** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Gentile
******* https://biblehub.com/proverbs/16-7.htm

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