20th Century, History, Intercession, justice, law, Minnesota, State Government

Youngdahl Becomes Governor

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Photo credit:”Governor Luther Youngdahl”. St. Paul Dispatch. January 1949.

Jan 8, 1947 to Sep 27, 1951
Luther W. Youngdahl takes office as the state’s 27th governor.*

Luther W. Youngdahl, first known for his integrity as a judge, ran to become Minnesota’s governor in an era where inner moral challenges became greater than the external ones. His critics labelled him the “Sunday school governor” for his clear-cut stance against gambling, vice, and moral decline. ** He couldn’t change the hearts of some Minnesotans, but sought to work on enforcing and expanding the laws that protected innocence and virtue.

In the first place, he negated the effects of harmful laws. One year after the legalization of bingo, he was elected governor of Minnesota. During his campaign, Governor Youngdahl had pledged to rid the state of slot machines and, upon taking office, he began to make good on his promise. The number of taxed slot machines dropped from 8,579 in 1946 to 797 in 1950 to two in 1952. ***

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Additionally, he created laws of good conscience. Youngdahl advocated for the most vulnerable Minnesotans, and sought ways to relieve the burden of our society on their loved ones. During his first year in office, the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD) held its annual convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their concerns were around parental advocacy and the needs and rights of developmentally disabled (retarded) citizens. ****

Just two years later, under the leadership of President Mildred Thompson, the group met in Minneapolis with the objective of creating a national organization. It was her opinion that a cohesive national presence would be the best way to help struggling parents. By 1950, we find Governor Youngdahl a vigorous supporter of their dreams. Please read the following speech carefully, and realize the heart of Youngdahl towards our most vulnerable citizens.

“The point is this, ladies and gentlemen, the retarded child is a human being … And for reasons for which neither he nor his family are responsible, he is retarded. He has the same rights that children everywhere have. He has the same right to happiness, the same right to play, the right to companionship, the right to be respected, the right to develop to the fullest extent within his capacities, and the right to love and affection…
We cannot discriminate against this child, deny to this child the rights other children have because of the one thing that neither he nor his family can help, because he is retarded …
He has a right to these things and his parents have a right to know that he has these rights. For they, too, are entitled to peace of mind about what is happening to a retarded child separated from them.” *****

As can be seen throughout his career, L.W. Youngdahl expressed a clear conscience informed by a great respect for our laws. Even his detractors gave obeisance to his character and wise judgments; he broke up rackets and built institutions for those who were rejected by our community.****** He went on to serve three terms as governor of Minnesota before being called by President Truman to serve as a Federal judge for the District of Columbia.*******

Now we turn in recognition to You as Lawgiver and Judge; Nomothetēs kai Kritēs! ******* We respond to You with the scripture cited by President Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address.“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Psalms 19:9 KJV We also recognize that the meaning of the word “fear” used here means reverent respect. We agree with the Psalmist that we feel “clean” inside when we practice honoring Your wisdom and living with a clear conscience!

Father of Good Sense, we ask forgiveness for the excesses and spiritual deficits of this era. We were just past the time of surviving the Depression and WWII, and then some of us turned aside to follow the gods of gambling. We looked past You for our sustenance and joy in this era past, and latched onto the rush of a “one-armed bandit”. Will You forgive us this offense of Your ability to provide us with enough? We have thought Your arms are also to short to save us from purposeless existence, boredom, and koinonia. Forgive this dishonor to Your riveting personality, humor, and ever-flowing vitality; You are the life of the party!

Balanced One, we recognize also our failure to protect and recognize those who most need it. We have failed, at times, developmentally disabled citizens of Minnesota, nor properly honored them as citizens of Your country. Furthermore, we have ostracized those who battle with: mental illness, mental disorders, depression, derangement, neurosis, neurotic disorders, nervous breakdowns, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and dementia. Will You forgive us where we have devalued these neighbors whom You have honored with life and worthiness? Will you bring Your Healing Presence into our broken minds, our disrupted physiologies, and our traumas of spirit?

We acknowledge the shortcomings of Governor Youngdahl to You; in his humanity he is no better or worse than us. However, this day we commend a few of his victories for our state to You. He shielded many innocents from beginning a life of gaming by curtailing the use of slot machines. He added momentum to the AADM, and encouraged the parents and individuals with developmental disorders. He made a place for those displaced by our society because of mental illness. Will You give favor to those who continue his heritage of leadership on these issues?

It’s fitting that Youngdahl was a judge both before and after his political career. He made a lifelong habit of life-giving judgements, and made the way better for those whom society condemned. May we forever take the baton of wisdom passed down through examples like his, and run our leg of the race! May we run until Your mercy overcomes our injustice!

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13 NIV *********

* 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!
** http://collections.mnhs.org/governors/index.php/10004221
*** Vitt, Michael J. (1993). “Wagering the Future: Gambling and the Law in Minnesota”. The Bench & Bar of Minnesota. May/June. Pg.6 cited in
http://www.northstarproblemgambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Gambling-in-Minnesota-2011.pdf
**** https://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/five/5a/3.html
***** Listen to a sound file of Governor Youngdahl making this groundbreaking speech. https://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/five/5a/3.html
****** http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/lwyoungd.htm
******* https://ballotpedia.org/Luther_Youngdahl
******** https://namesforgod.net/lawgiver-and-judge/
********* https://biblehub.com/romans/14-13.htm

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20th Century, Crime, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics

“Shame of Minneapolis”

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Jan 1901 to Feb 1903
Dr. Albert Alonzo “Doc” Ames served four terms as mayor of Minneapolis. His fourth term began in January 1901 and ended with his resignation in August 1902 after a grand jury exposed the corruption in his administration.

In January 1903 McClure’s magazine published an article by nationally-known muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens**** on the fight against corruption in Minneapolis. The story focused on Mayor Ames’ regime and how the work of the courageous grand jury led to his fall. He was convicted of bribery in February 1903.*

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:7 NIV**

Minneapolitans living in 1901-1903 may not have been “carried into exile” like the children of Abraham, but they likely felt that Justice abandoned them. What does one do, when their hometown becomes corrupt? Even more accurate, what response should the public have when their leadership targets them for abuse, and opens the doors of the city welcoming crime?

Mayor Ames’ actions lead to the conclusion that he was single-minded in his pursuit of control, and hungry for bribery. He made his brother Fred chief of police. He fired law-abiding police and replaced them with unqualified and criminally-minded officers. He released criminals from jail. He accepted and encouraged organized crime of all kinds in return for payment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Ames

Lord, hear our prayer! Our forbearers failed to see the character of Mayor Ames, or those he appointed. Some of our citizens participated in activities that enabled corruption. Will You forgive these offenses?

Will You forgive the lust that welcomed and expanded prostitution in the city of Minneapolis? Will You forgive us our willingness to objectify women? Will You forgive us our impatience to find sexual oneness and satisfaction apart from a real relationship?

The “johns” have given themselves over to misogyny, and the prostitutes have given themselves to misandry in response. We have accepted money for the denigration of our bodies. We have divided our spirits with strangers. We have divided our minds by making judgements that it is fine to pay women for sexual abuse, and conversely, to accept sexual abuse in exchange for cash. Forgive us these misbeliefs that do not honor ourselves, others, or You. As Your child shown mercy for his own lust, I disinvite the misogyny and misandry welcomed into Minneapolis during Mayor Ames era, and invite Your Spirit to free us to accept ourselves as men and women, and so become able to love the other gender in the present and future.

Lord, we are also party to another form of misplaced affection; the love of money.
Gambling is the expectation of reward apart from work.*** In it, we participate in the self-injurious behaviors of excitement addiction and greed. Work informs our character with persistence, delayed gratification, and the reward that we produce or are part of a team that gives something of worth to society. We stunt our own growth by believing we should get something for nothing.

Mayor Ames opened our city to this form of greed. Will You forgive those who have loved reward apart from work both past and present? As Your son who has been shown mercy for his own hatred of work, I disinvite gambling from the city of Minneapolis. I invite Your Spirit into our labor. Let us receive the gifts of character in store for us! Let us be glad in how our work gives and serves and benefits others! Let the innovations of our work in Minnesota bring a better life to all humanity, and be a reflection of Your Mind and Muscle! Will You be our unfailing Justice?

*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!
**http://biblehub.net/search.php?q=jeremiah+29%3A7
***How does gambling affects the brain? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933850/
****An excellent article by Iric Nathanson about the man who brought Ames down; Mr. Lincoln Steffens. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/12/goodwin-s-bully-pulpit-spotlights-shame-minneapolis

 

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