20th Century, History, News, Television

Harry Reasoner Gets His Start in MN

Harry Reasoner-Army 1943-46-WW2-correspondent for Stars and Stripes military newspaper.https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/126593439500709413/

1954
Minnesota native Harry Reasoner reads the nightly news at KEYD in Minneapolis. Although Reasoner’s ratings don’t match those of the legendary Cedric Adams, he goes on to network fame as a host of 60 Minutes.*

An excellent source on Mr. Reasoner’s Minnesota years is written by author Douglass K. Daniel. Below is an informative condensation quoted from his book “Harry Reasoner: A Life in the News”. ** Enjoy, all you lover of vintage television and a golden era of news reporting!

“Harry spent many important years in Minneapolis. He moved there as a child from Iowa and graduated from West High School in 1940 (technically he was in the Class of 1939 but the principal punished him for a renegade school paper by putting off his graduation until January 1940).  After a year at Stanford, he attended the University of Minnesota until he flunked out and was drafted. After the war he worked for several years at the Times, then WCCO before moving to Manila, the Philippines, for a three-year posting with the U.S. Information Agency.
He apparently wasn’t employed when he first got to Minnesota, but he took his first TV news job here in Minneapolis in late 1954. He served as the first News Director at the new KEYD-TV, which was a member of the DuMont Television Network and precursor to KMSP-TV. His work at KEYD was his first in TV and set him on that path.
The Reasoners lived at 4085 Alabama Ave. in St. Louis Park from 1953 to 1956. He and his wife Kathleen Carroll “Kay” Reasoner (from Minneapolis) came with four of their eventual seven children.  During the family’s stay in St. Louis Park, former neighbor Betty Beach Barrus reports that the Reasoners were quite social, and kept some of their St. Louis Park friends for decades.
In 1956, the DuMont network shut down, KEYD was sold, and the news department was no more. That was the year Reasoner got the job at CBS in New York.”

At this point in the narrative, we pause for an acknowledgment of the Master. We thank You, El Deah, G-d of Knowledge who guides us into wisdom! We remember You, ho martys, ho pistos kai alēthinos; our “faithful and true witness”! How we love You Ruach Ha Emet; the Holy Spirit of Truth!

Before we remember this moment in the life of Minnesota and Harry Reasoner, we again pause to hear Your words on the concept of reporting.

“Go and report to John what you see and hear,” replied Jesus; Matthew 11:4
“Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about him spread through all the surrounding area.” Luke 4:14
“Large numbers of people also came to Him. Their report was, “John did not work any miracle, but all that John said about this Teacher was true.”” John 10:41
“When they had arrived, and had gathered the assembly together, they reported all the things that God had done with them, and that he had opened a door of faith to the nations.” Acts 14:27
“But they didn’t all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”” Romans 10:16

Though these are but five examples of reporting of the 127 occurrences in the Scriptures, there’s a lot to glean from them. Oblige me to elaborate?

Jesus believed in and commanded his disciples to report “what you see and hear”.
Real news travels far; with or without a reporter.
Honest reporting does not seek to titillate it’s listeners ears or egos; it tells the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Knowing first-hand news can make one a legal witness.
Even honest reporting may be rejected by its audience, and the gravity of good news not land on its hearers.
We need to let that simmer, Lord. Where will we go from here as we sit with You and observe the witness of Harry Reasoner in 1954?

At once, we see a man who strove valiantly and also failed. He had the temerity to start his own paper, but received punishment for his efforts. He went to incredible schools, but did not complete his studies. In the years before his first TV gig, he: went to war, returned from war, worked internationally, and in obscurity. Is this a key to his believability as a reporter, Lord; a heart with real life experiences?

It would be conjecture to suppose this, so we will commend to You what we know. Mr. Reasoner had a literally battle-hardened resolve, and we thank You for creating this in him. He spoke plainly, resolutely, and with an air of masculine authority. His demeanor conveyed a serious commitment to air the news without the tangle of emotional embellishments or verbiage. Perhaps all this preparation led to some of the most riveting breaking news coverage of the 20th century; the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963?

Lord, we thank You that our state could entrust its current events in this era to men like Reasoner! We thank You for the standards of journalistic integrity we enjoyed led by straight shooters like him. We thank You for a man who had both failed and succeeded. Who could convey the everyday and the tragic because he had lived both!

Will You bless his heritage of “give it to me straight” reporting? Will You provide us, in the present and the future, with: anchors, broadcasters, commentators, columnists, editors, correspondents, and reporters who align with Your standards of good news and reporting? Will You forgive us all our offenses when and where we have been false witnesses to the truth? Will You release us from the bitter roots of lies told, and truths rejected because “we can’t handle the truth”?

Make us a people in the L’etoile du Nord that loves honesty. Make us a people that have both a “yes” and a “no” in our vocabulary! Makes us a people that loves Your reality. Restore our broken faith with You, each other, and our media. Mr. Reasoner once said,

“We’re all controlled neurotics.”

Will You rewrite this legacy, and take our controlled or uncontrolled neuroticism up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Amen.

Standard
20th Century, History, Medical Technology, Medicine, Minnesota

First Successful Open-Heart Surgery

Dr. Lillehei and Controlled Cross circulation model, https://twitter.com/MedCrisis/status/1227349896119844865

September 1, 1952
“In 1952, after a long process of study, research, experimentation, and practice, Dr. Lillehei performed the first successful open-heart surgery on a human patient who survived.” *

To be more accurate, Dr. Lillehei assisted his colleague and close personal friend at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Floyd John Lewis in this first procedure. Dr. Lewis innovated the model of inducing hypothermia in his patients to slow the de-oxygenation of their blood during the the time the heart is stopped during surgery. While successful, they learned this model’s restricted time window, about ten minutes, was insufficient to deal with problems and complications of open-heart surgery. Dr. Lillehei sought new ways to overcome these limitations. **

For the sake of brevity, I chose to cite the wonderful synopsis written by Andrew B. Stone for the MNopedia tool of the Minnesota Historical Society below. The productivity, innovation, and advancements made by Lillehei and his expert colleagues, friends and collaborators at the University of Minnesota is so staggering that I would be remiss to provide an inaccurate source. Enjoy!

Chronology
“1942
Lillehei graduates from the University of Minnesota Medical School and joins the army as a surgeon in a mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) unit.
1945
Lillehei returns to University of Minnesota Medical School as a surgical resident under the supervision of Dr. Owen Wangensteen, chairman of the Department of Surgery.
1951
Lillehei finishes his Ph.D. in surgery and becomes a professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota.
1952
On September 2, Lillehei assists his friend and colleague Dr. John Lewis in performing the world’s first successful open-heart surgery.
1953
Dr. John Gibbon performs a successful open-heart surgery in Philadelphia using an artificial heart-lung machine, but these machines are difficult to use and open-heart surgery remains very dangerous. Several surgeons abandon plans for future operations.
1953
Lillehei and his research assistant, Morley Cohen, seize on the idea of using cross-circulation to perform open-heart surgery, and begin experimenting with dogs in their lab.
1954
On March 26, Lillehei performs the world’s first successful open-heart surgery using cross-circulation on thirteen-month-old Gregory Glidden. Glidden dies eleven days later, but an autopsy confirms that his heart defect had been successfully repaired.
1954
Lillehei performs two more successful open-heart surgeries. He announces these successes at a press conference and becomes world-famous.
1955
In collaboration with Dr. Richard DeWall, Lillehei helps to develop a simpler heart-lung machine and oxygen bubbler, making open-heart surgery safer.
1955
On December 9, Lillehei performs his 100th open-heart surgery, but the patient dies after surgery due to heart block.
1957
Lillehei asks Earl Bakken, an electrician at the University of Minnesota, to create a portable, battery-powered device to cure heart block by regulating heartbeat using electricity. (Author’s note: Bakken went on to found the Minnesota-based company Medtronic; a world innovator in pacemakers and medical technology.) ****
1958
On April 14, Lillehei successfully implants the world’s first portable pacemaker into a patient with heart block, saving the patient’s life.” ***

In the end, we may gain the greatest insights into this event and Dr. Lillehei through an interview with his son. Dr. Craig Lillehei, a pediatric surgeon at Boston children’s hospital, said the following about his father ca. 2014.

“The striking thing about him is that he wasn’t afraid of new ideas. And even sometimes crazy ideas. That he would fully consider them and work through it and see, that sometimes doing some experimentation and whatnot, to find out whether they made sense or not. I think that was number one. I think that number two is that he, sort of, knew the big goals and relentlessly pursued those.” *

Shall we begin our supplications by remembering the ancient nature of surgery? Egypt provided the human race with the first written accounts of human surgeries ca. 17th B.C., so all medical research is standing on the shoulders of at least about 3700 years of similar trial and error. We gratefully recount this foundation that provided the basis for modern scientific surgery, Lord! *

We follow that gratitude with a second praise; that You made Dr. Lillehei eternally curious! This man, whose formal education won him five degrees, remained open to new information, and scientifically embraced failures. Perhaps this is why he so consistently entertained solving “impossible” challenges?

In this, we see a refraction of Your nature and example, beloved Messiah. You astounded critics and cynics by embracing impossible outcomes.
“When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25,26 NIV

A tertiary triumph of the life of Dr. Clarence Walton Lillehei is his example of collaboration, basic trust, and extension of relationship. Though a formidable mind on his own, he forged new paths in science and surgery with friends. And oh, what a cast of incredible human beings he created with: Dr. Owen Wangensteen, Dr. Floyd John Lewis, Morley Cohen, Dr. Richard De Wall, and Earl Bakken to name a few. For these, and surely many others, the State of Minnesota and the human race gives You praise! May we be humbly joyful that You guided all these paths to discovery and greatness; together!

Conversely, we remember also the frailty of the human ego. Quite often, innovators in any field care most about big ideas, and truly want their expertise to better the human race. Being motivated such, it is crucifixion to be blocked or cut out of recognition and acknowledgement! It, for so many doctors and scientists, breaks their hearts and spirits because they are fueled by having a good name rather than wealth. Where we may have failed contributors to science and heart surgery in Lillehei’s era, Will You forgive us? Where corruption, academic pride, or greed trumped researchers, will You have mercy? Will You honor those who silently have contributed so much blessing on the present and future?

As a last thought, we ponder the innovation of cross-circulation. What an apt icon of lovingkindness and self-sacrifice? These scientists and surgeons survived epic wins and failures by providing each others brains with the oxygen of acknowledgement, belief, and radical commitment to their various projects.

In so doing, they cross-circulated the lives of patients with hope. They dreamed impossible dreams, even having to create new vocabulary to describe it to their peers and students. What is this but bringing oxygen to the minds and misbeliefs of others?

We see many present forces running counter to the lofty ideals of Dr. Lillehei. Politicians, more concerned with who gets credit than care, starves the brains of innovation. Insurance providers, sometimes heavily manipulated by the political class, become micro-managers of their patients willingness to risk, thus, starving the bloodstream of hope. We see the limitations of the collectivist utopians and social engineers stifling creative thought, depriving our creatives of the freedom to think. Who will think big and make mistakes in our present and future, if we culturally mandate “correct” thoughts? Are we forcing society into the paradigm of “10 minute heart surgery”?

No! We need more time to fix broken hearts! Ruach ha Kodesh, (Holy Spirt) call on Your counsel to heal us in our sufferings in Minnesota. Your Body, the Ekklesia, dies without collaboration and being present with You and each other! We suffer from arrhythmia of culture; we want to keep beating, but can’t seem to find a common tempo! Will You bless like Dr. Lillehei, to see how our hearts can beat for each other? All is possible in Your Kingdom! Only impart to us belief and basic trust in our fellow man’s heart! Amen.

Standard
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

Standard
20th Century, Christian, Evangelism, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Uncategorized

BGEA Formed in Minneapolis

LA-poster

billygraham.org

1949-1950
Evangelist Billy Graham founds the BGEA or Billy Graham Evangelical Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota to establish a radio ministry. Over the course of his life, the organization would use all current advancements in media, along with crusades (mass-meetings) to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to approximately 215 million people in 185 nations worldwide.

“At the mid-point of the 20th century, evangelist Billy Graham was just months removed from the 1949 Greater Los Angeles Crusade that launched his fledgling ministry into national prominence. As a result of this sudden exposure, Graham was approached about beginning a nationwide Christian radio program. Though he dismissed the notion at first, he eventually agreed, if $25,000 could be raised in one night to begin the process of buying air time. That night in Portland, Ore., the funds—an exceedingly large amount of money at the time—did come in, and the radio program “Hour of Decision” was born.
In order to handle the unexpected influx of financial support for the ministry, Graham called George Wilson, his business manager at Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis, MN., and Wilson immediately filed the paperwork to launch a non-profit organization. Thus, in 1950, BGEA was formed for the purposes of broadcasting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” *

Perhaps no person in recent memory did more to redefine their faith or world-view as Billy Graham. His laser-like focus, his raison d’être, was to convey the Gospel of Jesus Christ; nothing more and nothing less. To call others to Christ, one must first ask, “Just what is the Gospel?”

Graham’s clear answer to this question was rooted in the words of Jesus.
“For G-d so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV ** He amplified it’s meaning to him in the following quote:
“This is the one Scripture that I always preach on in a crusade, usually on the opening night. I suppose it is the most familiar passage in the Bible. It has only twenty-five words in the English translation of it, but it is the Gospel in a nutshell. Someone has called it a miniature Bible. The word “whosoever” in this verse means the whole world. Whatever the color of a person’s skin, whatever language he speaks, God loves him and God is willing to save him. To me that is marvelous. It also says that life doesn’t begin when you die, it begins here and now.” ***

Graham’s Gospel reminded the Church of its’ most important commonalities, and steered clear of areas of contention. It introduced to those outside his faith a Father that loved them, liked them, and wanted them. Below are some of the most universal themes of his preaching. Apart from changes in illustrations, he rarely deviated from these simple points.
We can believe in the Gospel because it was written in the Bible by those that witnessed it’s events.
Christ died for our sins on the Cross, and rose from the dead.
It is not a religion, but a relationship. It is G-d reaching out to humanity.
It’s free.
It’s for everyone.
It works. It heals all kinds of separation; internal and external.
It happened once for all time.
Christ is risen. Therefore, He is unique.
He has taken the issue of sin off the table forever so we can focus on real relationship with Him and our neighbor instead of guilt. We can do good works from a good heart.
We can receive it. ****

Maybe it was his commonality and clarity that gave him an audience and built trust with leadership figures the world over? For example, Mr. Graham met and offered his support to every United States President from Truman to Trump. ***** Queen Elizabeth, apparently, was comfortable enough with Billy to let him see her in her Wellingtons, scarf, and old raincoat. ****** Famed boxer Mohamed Ali agreed to meet with Graham and was stunned to find out that he drove an Oldsmobile. That said, Ali also remarked, “when we approached his home, I thought he would live on a thousand-acre farm, and we drove up to this house made of logs. No mansion with crystal chandeliers and gold carpets, it was the kind of a house a man of God would live in. I look up to him.” *******

So we remember Billy Graham today with You, Lord, and the beginning of the BGEA. Is there any wisdom You want to share through the recollection of his life and the Hour of Decision radio show? What did You think about the collaborative events, crusades, and tent meetings he led? How did You feel about his use of radio and media, or meeting with celebrities? As the Speaker of the Gospel, was he a messenger of gladness and announcer of good news?

Beginning with honor, we remember that You are the Author of all good news! You are the champion over every human frailty, rebellion, and separation. You sent Your Son to announce to the world, “Forgiveness and fealty of the King of the Universe to all who believe!”

Can we thank You that this impactful ministry was brought to Northwestern College, George Wilson, and the state of Minnesota in spite of the doubt Graham felt that such a colossal sum ($25,000) could be gathered in one night? We adore You for turning our radio on, and perfectly, strategically positioning the Hour of Decision at the heart of North America? (Could this happen here without the radio pioneering work of University of Minnesota professors Franklin Springer and Cyril M. Jansky Jr.?) Yet, You chose Minneapolis to be a place that broadcasts Your happy news!

Next we consider Billy’s open heart to Your methods, and allowing You to stretch him and build his faith to do what seemed so impossible. Let’s recall a list of ways You grew the impact of Your Kingdom through the BGEA: stadiums full of singing, wisdom taught, and repentance caught. You built an era of collaboration, perhaps, never before possible in the fragmented atmosphere of Christendom that spanned the fears, misbeliefs, and vanity of our denominations. Each crusade being the results of weeks and months of planning, meeting, prayer, and calling out local churches to serve…together!

We appreciate that the BGEA was an organization open to change, and receptive to technology. They did not see advancements in science as a barrier to the Gospel, but as critical allies. We see the growth of this team engaging the worlds of: radio, television, satellites, music and film producing, publishing, and internet media. Yet, through all these channels of communication, the primacy of the human being needing hope, peace, rest, courage, grace, and truth held firm. The gospel must be for people because G-d is for people!

In this, the evangelist set wise limitations to protect his purity and integrity. He met with every kind of person, but maintained his boundaries. Allegedly, he never entered a hotel room first because he didn’t want to be the victim of “gotcha photography” of gossip magazines. He submitted to an accountability group of trusted men who would ask him a list of pointed questions, and the final question was “Have you lied to us in any of your responses today?”

Lord, we see a man and an organization that lived what it believed. We are thankful for their example to their generation, and the impact it had on the present. We are thankful that Your Message brings independence and interdependence, yet frees us from co-dependence!

We also remember the opposition, past and present, to the evangelist and the way the Holy Spirit spoke through him to his generation. We have judged at times, as a Church and society, those who dare bring up the word sin. Yet sin simply means ‘separation’, and we are all disconnected inside and in our relationships in some way. We have taken offense that You dare to claim to be “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6) We have, too often, chosen to hate the message of the evangelist; “You are free. Someone paid your bail. The door is unlocked, but you have to walk out of that jail cell.”

Again, will You forgive the bitter judgements against the evangelical church that Graham symbolizes by the other branches of Your family? We have been shamed by our own faith culture into compliance. Our culture combined with our own misbeliefs, (whether of religious, atheist, or agnostic origins), has largely silenced the voice of most evangelicals.

We perceive that we are a displaced and unwanted people group in Minneapolis. Will You speak the truth in love to us, Sweet Spirit? Will You remind us that there is a place for the timid and the weak in Your family? Will You remind us again how precious the blood of Jesus is, or that those of us with good looking problems are no better than those with obvious ones? Will You forgive our perfectionistic tendencies that block Your Lordship over our lives? Replace the “try harder” gospel ingrained in many of us with the “try humbler” gospel?

Yet, somehow, Billy Graham is just an ordinary member of Your society. As You forgive us, will You replace our curses with blessings? Will You overcome our distractions with a future of focus? Will You heal us from our isolation, and bring us into community? Will You give us calm, assertive energy and fresh purpose? May we forever do good works out of a clean heart in Minnesota! We all know something of the love of G-d, only open us to share the You we know!

P.S. I had to tack this song onto this post! Can you hear the optimism from 120 years ago? It sounds best on any old, dusty, out-of-tune church piano. C’mon all you underdogs like me! We all have a story! Tell your story!

“We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations”
by H. Ernest Nichol 1896

1 We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.
Refrain:
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light.
(https://hymnary.org/text/weve_a_story_to_tell_to_the_nations)

* https://billygraham.org/news/media-resources/electronic-press-kit/bgea-history/
** https://biblehub.com/john/3-16.htm
*** https://billygrahamlibrary.org/in-his-own-words-billy-grahams-favorites/
**** Gustafson, Roy. “10 Things You Should Know About the Gospel” August 4, 2008 Internet. https://billygraham.org/story/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-gospel/
***** https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-pastor-to-presidents-2/
****** https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-and-the-queen/
******* Ecksel, Robert. “Muhammad Ali Meets a Man of God”. February 22, 2018. Internet http://www.boxing.com/muhammad_ali_meets_a_man_of_god.html
******** Hear a sample of the “Hour of Decision” radio show. Though a rebroadcast, the original starts at 3:23. Enjoy! https://billygraham.org/audio/hour-of-decision-online-the-christ-of-christmas/

Standard
20th Century, Civics, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

It’s Your G.I. Bill of Rights June 22, 1944

colmery

Harry Colmery, Drafter of Servicemen’s Readjustment Act**

1944-1956
To help World War II veterans make a smooth transition back to civilian life, the U.S. government provided them with low-interest loans to put toward education, business startups, and housing expenses. The program, known as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, or more commonly, the “G.I. Bill of Rights,” also contained the 52-20 provision, which paid veterans $20 per week for up to 52 weeks while seeking employment.

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), a total of 7.8 million World War II vets took advantage of the G.I. Bill to get an education, and nearly 2.4 million benefited from VA-backed home loans. Less than 20 percent of the United States’ 16 million eligible veterans participated in the 52-20 program.*

“Never again do we want to see the honor and glory of our nation fade to the extent that her men of arms, with despondent heart and palsied limb, totter from door to door, bowing their souls to the frozen bosom of reluctant charity.”
American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery, after helping draft the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in the winter of 1943-1944**

As the author of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, Colmery acted as the national catalyst to offer opportunity to the 15 million men and women returning from duty. R.B. Pitkin, editor of “The American Legion Magazine”, became a key figure in consolidating grassroots proposals, summarizes them into the following objectives.
Educational opportunity
Vocational on-the-job training
Readjustment allowances
Home, farm and business loans
Review of discharges
Adequate health care
Prompt settlement of disability claims
Mustering-out pay (removed from the bill after it was enacted separately)
Effective veteran employment services
Concentration of all veterans functions in the Veterans Administration ***

How did this look in the North Star state? Soon after the end of the war, nearly half the students in Minnesota colleges and universities are World War II veterans studying under the benefits of the G.I. Bill.**
For example, 25,000 vets enrolled at the University of Minnesota in this period; the most of anywhere in the nation. Local private college attendance also ballooned with returning vets; Bethel University had to expand from a two-year program to a four-year program to meet the demand.****

Yet, one wonders, how did this program impact the lives of its participants? Below are a few quotes from interviews with WWII veterans, conducted by writer Kevyn Burger.****
“Without the GI Bill, I never would have gone to college and I would have lived with disappointment… I had a hunger for learning I had to satisfy.”
Jeanne Bearmon, Women’s Army Corps.
“The GI Bill was fantastic, I got $75 a month to live on. That was plenty, more than enough. I had a nice room a few blocks from campus for $7 a week.”
Sherman Garon, US Army

Lord, there is something so beautiful about debts repaid, it’s almost indescribable! We commend these returning vets of WWII before You. We are doubly-honored as we think of them; they showed total commitment to freedom and freedom’s G-d, and our society echoed back its gratitude! What seems so exceptional about them is that they never seemed to expect payback from America?!

Of course, this is a generalization, but the circumstantial evidence and their testimonies prove it true over and over again. It reminds me of Your Holy Word.
“And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” Luke 17:10 CEV
What a joy it must have been to give this small token, the GI Bill, to those so humble and who so thoroughly utilized it?

We also specifically commend Colmery and Pitkin to You. We thank you for their gifts of vision and its administration. Will You bless our state and nation with similar leadership and administration? We perpetually need both dreamers and the activators of dreams; Will You give us the grace to do our role?

In contrast, we confess the limitations of administering the GI Bill in the present: it seems so bureaucratic, it feels un-relational, and the benefits seem far smaller than the costs of administering them. Our society wants to give to vets, it puts money in the offering plate, but somehow only $1 out of $7 seems to reach the hand that needs it. Will You help us with this problem? Will You stop our bickering over the amount we should give, and let us draw a straighter line between giver and receiver?

In the same way, we note the increase in the costs of education and student housing. Returning vets now routinely pay seventy to a hundred times the costs these servicemen and women paid for tuition and student housing?! Too many of these young men and women start their lives saddled with debt, yet they have taken the same risks as their forbearers; doing their duty up to the cost of their lives!

Presently, it feels as though we have lost our empathy for them. We are an heinously distracted people, continuously diverted from paying attention to real people and real relationships. Will You kindly reveal our GI Bill of wrongs, and the heart attitudes that foist scorn on the selfless service of others? Have mercy Lord, we don’t fully understand the depths of their sacrifice, nor of Yours!

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 BSB*****

Minnesota Department of the American Legion. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN. 1944. http://www.mnhs.org/mgg/artifact/gibill_rights
** https://www.legion.org/education/history
*** Pitkin, R.B. “The American Legion Magazine”. Jan.-Mar. 1969 ibid.
**** Burger, Kevyn, “GI Bill gave Minnesota veterans a path to the middle class”. StarTribune, Minneapolis, MN. 11-11-2014 Variety Section. (Kevyn Burger is a freelance writer and a newscaster at BringMeTheNews.com.)
***** https://www.biblehub.com/romans/14-4.htm

Standard
20th Century, Governors, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Republican, State Government, Uncategorized

Stassen Becomes Governor

225360

January 2, 1939

“Harold E. Stassen takes office as the state’s 25th governor. At the age of 31, Stassen was the youngest governor in the state’s history. He goes on to be re-elected governor in 1940 and again in 1942. Four months into his third term Stassen resigns and enlists in the Navy (April 27, 1943).” *

Governor Stassen was raised as a Republican in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the early 20th century. This city had a bifurcated population of laborers from predominantly Catholic regions of Europe, and business owners often with a Protestant work ethic. Perhaps this dichotomy helps explain why he had empathy for laborers, and had awareness of crime and civic corruption?  He gained his law degree at the University of Minnesota graduating in 1929, and was ready to battle injustice. **

Soon thereafter, he found a home in the Progressive political platform of Theodore Roosevelt founded ca. 1912. For clarity’s sake, the Progressive Party was founded:

“To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” ***

To that end, the platform called for:

Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions

Registration of lobbyists

Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings

In the social sphere, the platform called for:

A national health service to include all existing government medical agencies.

Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled

Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.

A minimum wage law for women

An eight-hour workday

A federal securities commission

Farm relief

Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries

An inheritance tax

The political reforms proposed included:

Women’s suffrage

Direct election of Senators

Primary elections for state and federal nominations

Easier amending of the United States Constitution

The platform also urged states to adopt measures for “direct democracy”, including:

The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)

The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)

The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)

Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote)’**** Ibid.

Stassen adapted and simplified this platform to suit the specific needs of Minnesota. Again, his overarching goal was to rid the Minnesota’s government of corruption and cronyism. His secondary goals were to: reform all positions of civil service, create better relationships with labor, provide for the public’s welfare, and restructure the government to make it work more efficiently. 

Shall we pray? G-d of All Justice, we remember gratefully that You are perfect in authority, unchangeable, and incorruptible! What comfort to know that You offer wisdom and discernment so freely to those who humbly bow and ask! We remember today that our Messiah laid down his life, spilling His blood to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, and rising again to conclusively prove that He is “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords”!

We recognize, along with Governor Stassen, that we have broken faith with You in the acceptance of corruption and cronyism of his era. We have bent the laws of Minnesota for our gain, and have inwardly failed to love You or Your Laws. Will You forgive us our enticement to bow to the idols of nepotism, parti pris, and partisanship? We have seen evils, and have agreed with our enemy to “look the other way” and “just play ball”! Have mercy.

Will You bless and keep the heritage of Harold Stassen? Will You give us civic leaders who are immune to the diseases of lobbyists? Will You give us lobbyists who love Your laws? Will You give grace to our leaders of government, finance, business, and industries? Though they have the power to force the changes of laws they desire, may they foster changes in law within the framework of persuasive wisdom and humility. May we progress towards chesed!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.mnopedia.org/person/stassen-harold-1907-2001

*** Patricia OToole (June 25, 2006). “”The War of 1912,” Time in partnership with CNN, Jun. 25, 2006″. Time.com. Retrieved January 6, 2012.

**** Ibid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_(United_States,_1912)

 

 

Standard
20th Century, Anti-Semitism, Christian, Communism, Fundamentalist, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism?

Unknown-1

“William Bell Riley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, founder of the World Fundamentals Christian Association (WFCA), and president of Northwestern Bible School advocates against socialism of New Deal, the black market, and unionism. His outspoken belief that Jews within the Bolshevist (Communist) movement were committing acts of conspiracy and treason labeled him an ‘Anti-Semite’.” * 

“It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

G-d, will give me information that provides a framework for this strong assertion? At first reaction, my own cognitive bias is turned towards denying these allegations against Dr. Riley and Northwestern. However, history should be evidence-based, and so I invite You Holy Spirit to come; help us study, expose the lightness and darkness, and bring revelation.

(The following text is transcribed from the original scans available at the Riley collection at the University of Northwestern).

The Jew and Communism

October 1936

For three successive Sunday nights I have been giving a brief dissertation on Communism, the first of these – “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt,” the second – “The Red Shirt of Russia and a Shirtless Russia”, the third – “Is There Danger to America in Communism?”, and now tonight,- “What Has the Jew to do with Communism?”

A Paper entitled “Anti-Semitism in America”, a Jewish defender says:-

“Until the last few years it has been the Fundamentalists and Premillennialists who have been noted for teaching kindness to the Jews and for persistently promoting the preaching of the Gospel of the love of Christ to the Jews.”

This is absolutely true! I have been a member of the boards of the two Jewish Missions of this city; I was for years on the Board of Councilors of a New York Mission. As a Fundamentalist and a Premillenialist I accord to the Jews not only a great place in past history, but also a major place in prophecy, or history to come. But I also agree with another statement to be found in that same Jewish Defense Paper, namely, “The Word of God offers no quarter to individual Jews who may be criminals. There is no warrant for dealing gently with an offender against the peace of society, because he happens to be a Jew.”

“Anti-Semitism” is a sadly misapplied term. If it means anything, it means “opposition to Abyssianians, Arabians, Palestinians, Phoenicians, Syrians, and the countries of the Euphrates and the Tigris;” and everybody knows there is no such opposition. The term adopted covers entirely too much, and in some cases is intended as a cloak against all conceivable crimes.

For instance, Guilford and Liggett were brutally and cowardly murdered. They were murdered in the same way and in all probability by the same man (Minneapolis- based Jewish gangster Kid Cann a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld), and in each instance by a shotgun. But, when two people, witnesses to the second murder, testified as to the man they saw do the deed, it is very poor taste to cry “Anti-Semitism” and try, thereby, to prejudice the public against the justice that should have been meted out to a liquor vendor Jew!

The same principle applies when Jews are found leading Communistic meetings,- as in Chicago heading Communistic parades,- as in Minneapolis, directing Communistic banditry,- as in China, and murderous revolutions,- as in Russia.” **

William Bell Riley, like many religious leaders of the 1920-30’s, was known as a vigorous advocate for his worldview. It was his organization, the World Christian Fundamentals Association that wired William Jennings Bryan urging him to act as counsel for the association in the Scopes Trial.*** He saw the movement of evolution as a force to dilute and delude people from the Word of G-d and His sovereignty over all creation. Academically, he resisted evolution education on the basis that it was neither sound science or necessarily observational. As an example, the fossil records did not record trans-species mutations that would be physical evidence of Darwin’s theory.

For these reasons, he battled and debated evolution in the public arena and in proposed law.

“…the University of Minnesota, of which the students and president, Lotus Delta Coffman (1875-1938), provided the most effective opposition to Riley’s proposed anti-evolution law. Their resistance, based on the issue of academic freedom, together with lack of support for Riley’s campaign from denominations other than the Baptists and from the general public, doomed the anti-evolution measure. Nevertheless, Minnesota came closer than any other northern State to passing such a law.” ****

This could contribute to Riley’s distrust of academic culture, but how is failure to support evolution as part of the curriculum of the University of Minnesota an act offensive to Minnesota’s Jewish culture of his era? Perhaps it can be better explained by the life experiences and fears of both the Fundamentalists and the Jewish political Progressives in Minneapolis? At the risk of over generalization, the author will nonetheless cite in broad terms the movements of these camps within the North Star state tp further ponder motives.

Often, those in the Fundamentalist camp were Mid-Western in values, and saw life through a spiritual filter first, and one of politics or citizenship secondly. They were distrustful of the Eastern “Establishment” and the powerful influence in had already wielded on their lives. Their issues related to to sense of loss and control of Minnesota’s: farming, railroads, mining, land use, taxation, finance, culture, and a combined faith heritage of Protestant and Catholic Churches.

In a similar way, religiously observant Jews from Eastern Europe sought shelter in Minnesota, and viewed life through a spiritual filter first, and a political lens secondly. They had survived pograms of Russia, corruption and prejudice against their way of life in Poland, and wanted a place to be free. In many senses, their values aligned with the Mid-West, though their collective memory was longer, and more international in scope.

Conversely, politically Progressive Jews had arrived here, usually from the east coast, and made a considerable influence in this era. They, in a general sense, sought the redemption of humanity not through the law of Moses or the acts of YHWH, but through mostly secular and political means. They also had survived the pograms of Russia, and the suppressions of Polish Catholic Nationalism, and these painful memories rightfully pushed them to distrust “Christian” leadership or the benevolence of the “Church”. For many, Marxism became a new Torah that could overcome the obstacles and stagnancy of the old world, and bring a new way through collectivism and faith in humankind.

It seems, in hindsight, that these Progressives and the Fundamentalists were designed to grind: one valued private property and the other the collectivization of all property, one espoused self-government as a virtue and the other the primacy of the state, and finally, one camp held G-d as the ultimate source of authority and the other deified man. Perhaps Riley actually believed that Progressive or Communist political motives of these Progressives were the enemy of our Republic, and not their Jewish identity whether religious or non-theistic?

Having explored this premise as a backdrop, we return back to the saga of W.B. and the shirt sermons. Famed University of Minnesota Professor Hyman Berman believed that Riley displayed anti-Semitic behaviors during this epoch. In his book, “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”, he uses an example of Riley’s sermon, “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt” as evidence of the pastor’s bias. While Riley’s word use would make any modern, politically-correct scholar bristle, did they convey in context, intent, and action a heart bent on anti-Semitism? ****

Let’s take a look at Riley’s actual words from a 1936 reprint of the sermon.

“This series of articles is not in defense of capitalism, nor is it written in defense of the Silver Shirts. We speak because we have noted of late a disposition to attack immediately and almost mercilessly any company of men who are known to stand four-square for the constitution of our land, and vigorously against communism. That is why we speak now of ‘shirts'” p2.*****

Is it possible that this great local historian read meaning into the life and work of W.B. Riley that was not expressly noted in writing or implied verbally? Let’ explore the background of Berman to see what, if any conditions, may have filtered his perceptions.

“Berman’s childhood (the son of radical Jewish workers in the garment industry), his acquaintance with union leaders, leftist theoreticians, and writers, time in the U.S. Army, and studies at the City College of New York and Columbia University provided a textured backdrop to his move to the North Star State. In 1961, Berman claimed that he didn’t know Minnesota from Montana and that family members seriously wondered whether there were sidewalks in Minneapolis. Those perceptions changed quickly.” ******

So, we learn in this article that his family had radical leanings, he was immersed in unionism and leftism, his perceptions were shaped by CCNY and CU, and that he didn’t know much about Minnesota. Is it possible that Berman “jumped the shark” with his powerful charges against Riley? We at least record that his educational and cultural backdrop was “designed to grind” against Fundamentalism apart from any offense taken by his faith, culture, or ancestry. (Note: The author met with Berman twice before his death, and found him a brilliant, engaging, and liberally-minded thinker. A reasonable man in agreement or disagreement. Also, my parents had first hand knowledge of Dr. Riley and First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. They found no evidence of alleged Jewish bias, rather the simple gospel of its’ most famous congregant; Billy Graham. His gospel, in short, is that as we know Christ, the Living Torah, we are enabled to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:4,5, Psalm 78:5, Zechariah 14:9,  Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27.)

Good Father, we give You thanks that You see beyond the biases of human-beings, and our one-word characterizations of our fellow man! We remember to You the success and failures of Israel and the Church throughout time. He have hated too much, and loved too little. We have bludgeoned each other to death figuratively and literally. We have stolen from our brothers and sisters and dishonored our parents and heirs. We have allowed the laws of men to usurp Your eternal words. Will You have mercy on us?

Today, we bless the justice W.B Riley stood for, and disavow where he rejected and spoke evil of his Jewish brothers. Will You forgive the transference of his fears on his congregation, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitterness against Israel that came from clashes with Jewish advocates of: unionism, collectivism, Marxism, liberalism, and politicalization of science through evolutionism?

Will You forgive observant Jews any judgment’s made towards Dr. Riley, the Church, or toward Fundamentalists of this era? Will You forgive any transference from them that may have tainted the present, or threatens to skew our common future? Will You graft the Church more tightly to the Olive Tree? We haven’t yet recognized that we need each other to survive. 

Will You forgive those who identify as Jews, but believe in the Messiah of Progressivism? Further will You forgive the atrocities of humanistic atheism in their age: the Revolution of 1917, Red Terror Bolshevism, the forced collectivization of the Ukraine 1931-32, Yezhovshchina, Polska Organizacja Wojskova, the Great Purge in Mongolia, and the Katyn Massacre? While these Progressives did not likely participate in these crimes, their worldview had damaged millions by 1936. Will You forgive their denial of this reality? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of Jewish Communists towards: observant Jews, Dr. Riley, the Church, or towards Fundamentalists of this era?

Some of the fears of W.B. Riley have come true within our lifetimes. Our universities are dominated by viewpoints that are considered “secular, non-ideology”, yet are belief systems. The worship of political correctness is exactly like any world religion with all the attributes of a religion; its own vernacular, cultic objects, and a yearning for a future utopia where everything is submitted to tolerant uniformity. Can a student be an Orthodox Jew or Orthodox Christian and make it through a graduate program at the University of Minnesota in the sciences without being forced to publicly betray their faith or even the possibility that Your are our Creator?

Dear Lord, we still find ourselves at an impasse of relationship; perhaps not of religion. Progressive thought seeks an external solution to an internal problem.

I.E. “Others must change their beliefs, behaviors, and actions for me to be O.K. because my worth and identity are not rooted to an eternal source.”

Meanwhile, the seekers of G-d find an internal solution to an external problem. 

I.E. “Because G-d has called me O.K., I am worthy and secure, therefore I can accept others’ beliefs, behaviors, and actions. 

Similarly, religious fundamentalists of any stripe can exhibit the same external solutions to inherently spiritual problems. I.E. “My problems can only be solved by legalistic observance to religious knowledge of G-d because I am not secure in in my relational knowledge of G-d.” Finally, sometimes atheists are more in tune with their heart than the members of a strict faith community. I.E. “I don’t care who gets the credit, I just want to see the naked clothed, the hungry fed, and to share with the poor ones.”

So we turn to Your Word, and to You as the Living Word for wisdom!

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”  Apostle Paul in Romans 2:28,29

Further we see examples of Almighty G-d’s benevolently weighing humanity on the dual scales of internal and external justice!

“The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskins of your hearts, O men of Judah and people of Jerusalem. Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it, because of your evil deeds.” Jeremiah 4:4

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised yet uncircumcised…” Jeremiah 9:25

“The one who is physically uncircumcised yet keeps the Law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.” Romans 2:27

Lord, help our unbeliefs and lack of relationship to those we perceive as enemies, or those who genuinely oppose us. May we love our enemy in Minnesota. May we love the enemies of the Jewish faith. May we love the enemies of the Christian faith. May we love the enemies of the Progressive faith. Put us in right relationship so we can listen to each other. Give us Your worthiness so we have something to offer our neighbor. May we find all solutions in El Roi, may we receive  “I Am” and live in the present! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on this broken relationship! 

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Pulaski, Clement., “William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism”. July 14, 2017. Cited in http://faithful-nation.com/2017/07/14/william-bell-riley-and-fundamentalist-anti-semitism/

*** Numbers, Ronald L. “Creationism in 20th-Century America”., Science 218 (5 November 1982): pp 538-544

**** Szasz, Ferenc M., “William B. Riley and the Fight against Teaching of Evolution in Minnesota.” Minnesota History 1969 41(5): 201-216. 

***** Berman, Hyman. “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”., New York : 1979.

****** https://cla.umn.edu/history/news-events/story/hyman-berman-1925-2015

******* Riley, W.B. “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt”. Publ. L.W. Camp: Mpls., MN. 1936. https://www.worldcat.org/title/shivering-at-the-sight-of-a-shirt/oclc/59759935

 

1936
William Bell Riley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, founder of the World Fundamentals Christian Association (WFCA), and president of Northwestern Bible School advocates against socialism of New Deal, the black market, and unionism. His outspoken belief that Jews within the Bolshevist (Communist) movement were committing acts of conspiracy and treason labeled him an “Anti-Semite”.*

“It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

(The following text is transcribed from the original scans available at the Riley collection at the University of Northwestern).

The Jew and Communism
October 1936

For three successive Sunday nights I have been giving a brief dissertation on Communism, the first of these – “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt,” the second – “The Red Shirt of Russia and a Shirtless Russia”, the third – “Is There Danger to America in Communism?”, and now tonight,- “What Has the Jew to do with Communism?”
A Paper entitled “Anti-Semitism in America”, a Jewish defender says:-
“Until the last few years it has been the Fundamentalists and Premillennialists who have been noted for teaching kindness to the Jews and for persistently promoting the preaching of the Gospel of the love of Christ to the Jews.”
This is absolutely true! I have been a member of the boards of the two Jewish Missions of this city; I was for years on the Board of Councilors of a New York Mission. As a Fundamentalist and a Premillenialist I accord to the Jews not only a great place in past history, but also a major place in prophecy, or history to come. But I also agree with another statement to be found in that same Jewish Defense Paper, namely,
“The Word of God offers no quarter to individual Jews who may be criminals. There is no warrant for dealing gently with an offender against the peace of society, because he happens to be a Jew.”
“Anti-Semitism” is a sadly misapplied term. If it means anything, it means “opposition to Abyssianians, Arabians, Palestinians, Phoenicians, Syrians, and the countries of the Euphrates and the Tigris;” and everybody knows there is no such opposition. The term adopted covers entirely too much, and in some cases is intended as a cloak against all conceivable crimes.
For instance Guilford and Liggett were brutally and cowardly murdered. They were murdered in the same way and in all probability by the same man (Minneapolis- based Jewish gangster Kid Cann a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld), and in each instance by a shotgun. But, when two people, witnesses to the second murder, testified as to the man they saw do the deed, it is very poor taste to cry “Anti-Semitism” and try, thereby, to prejudice the public against the justice that should have been meted out to a liquor vendor Jew!
The same principle applies when Jews are found leading Communistic meetings,- as in Chicago heading Communistic parades,- as in Minneapolis, directing Communistic banditry,- as in China, and murderous revolutions,- as in Russia.**

William Bell Riley, like many religious leaders of the 1920-30’s, was known as a vigorous advocate for his worldview. It was his organization, the World Christian Fundamentals Association that wired William Jennings Bryan urging him to act as counsel for the association in the Scopes Trial.*** He saw the movement of evolution as a force to dilute and delude people from the Word of G-d and His sovereignty over all creation. Academically, he resisted evolution education on the basis that it was neither sound science or necessarily observational. As an example, the fossil records did not record trans-species mutations that would be physical evidence of Darwin’s theory.

For these reasons, he battled and debated evolution in the public arena, and in proposed law.
“…the University of Minnesota, of which the students and president, Lotus Delta Coffman (1875-1938), provided the most effective opposition to Riley’s proposed anti-evolution law. Their resistance, based on the issue of academic freedom, together with lack of support for Riley’s campaign from denominations other than the Baptists and from the general public, doomed the anti-evolution measure. Nevertheless, Minnesota came closer than any other northern State to passing such a law.” ****

This could contribute to Riley’s distrust of academic culture, but how is failure to support evolution as part of the curriculum of the University of Minnesota an act offensive to Jewish culture of the era? Perhaps it can be better explained by the life experiences and fears of both the Fundamentalists’ and the Jewish political Progressives in Minneapolis? At the risk of over generalization, the author will nonetheless cite in broad terms the movements of these camps within the North Star state to further ponder motives.

Often, those in the Fundamentalist camp were Mid-Western in values, and saw life through a spiritual filter first, and one of politics or citizenship secondly. They were distrustful of the Eastern “Establishment” and the powerful influence it had already wielded on their lives. Their issues related to a sense of loss and control of Minnesota’s: farming, railroads, mining, land use, taxation, finance, culture, and a combined faith heritage of mostly Protestant and Catholic Churches. In short, an outsider changes the rules of the game, and picks winners and losers.

In a similar way, religiously observant Jews from Eastern Europe sought shelter in Minnesota, and viewed life through a spiritual filter first, and a political lens secondly. They had survived pograms of Russia, corruption and prejudice against their way of life in Poland, and wanted a place to be free. In many senses, their values aligned with the Mid-West, though their collective memory was longer, and more international in scope.

Conversely, when politically Progressive Jews had arrived here, usually from the East Coast, they exerted a considerable influence on the laws of this time period. They, in a general sense, sought the redemption of humanity not through the law of Moses or the acts of YHWH, but through mostly secular and political means. They also had survived the pograms of Russia, and the suppressions of Polish Catholic Nationalism, and these painful memories rightfully pushed them to distrust “Christian” leadership or the benevolence of the “Church”. For many, Marxism became a new Torah that could overcome the obstacles and stagnancy of the old world, and bring a new way through collectivism and faith in humankind.

It seems, in hindsight, that these Progressives and the Fundamentalists were designed to grind: one valued private property and the other the collectivization of all property, one espoused self-government as a virtue and the other the primacy of the state, and finally, one camp held G-d as the ultimate source of authority and the other deified man. Perhaps Riley actually believed that the political motives of these Progressives were the enemy of our Republic, and not their Jewish identity whether aligning with the religious or non-theistic expressions?

Having explored this premise as a backdrop, we return back to the saga of W.B. and the shirt sermons. Famed University of Minnesota Professor Hyman Berman believed that Riley displayed anti-Semitic behaviors during this epoch. In his book, “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”, he uses an example of Riley’s sermon, “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt” as evidence of the pastor’s bias. While Riley’s word use would make any modern, politically-correct scholar bristle, did they convey in context and intent a heart bent on anti-Semitism? **** Did they convey honest intellectual disagreement, or pass over into advocating hate, violence, and crimes against  the Jewish citizenry of Minnesota?

Let’s take a look at Riley’s actual words from a 1936 reprint of the sermon.

“This series of articles is not in defense of capitalism, nor is it written in defense of the Silver Shirts. We speak because we have noted of late a disposition to attack immediately and almost mercilessly any company of men who are known to stand four-square for the constitution of our land, and vigorously against communism. That is why we speak now of ‘shirts'” p2.******

Is it possible that this great local historian read meaning into the life and work of W.B. Riley that was not expressly noted in writing or implied verbally? Let’ explore the background of Berman to see what, if any conditions, may have filtered his perceptions.

“Berman’s childhood (the son of radical Jewish workers in the garment industry), his acquaintance with union leaders, leftist theoreticians, and writers, time in the U.S. Army, and studies at the City College of New York and Columbia University provided a textured backdrop to his move to the North Star State. In 1961, Berman claimed that he didn’t know Minnesota from Montana and that family members seriously wondered whether there were sidewalks in Minneapolis. Those perceptions changed quickly.” ****** https://cla.umn.edu/history/news-events/story/hyman-berman-1925-2015

So, we learn in this article that his family had radical leanings, he was immersed in unionism and leftism, his perceptions were shaped by CCNY and CU, and that he didn’t know much about the culture of Minnesota upon arrival. Is it possible that Berman “jumped the shark” with his powerful post-humous charges against Riley? We at least record that his educational and cultural backdrop was “designed to grind” against Fundamentalism apart from any offense taken by his faith, culture, or ancestry.

(Note: The author met with Berman twice before his death, and found him a brilliant, engaging, and liberally-minded thinker. A reasonable man in agreement or disagreement. Also, my parents had first hand knowledge of Dr. Riley and First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. They found no evidence of alleged Jewish bias, rather the simple gospel of its’ most famous congregant; Billy Graham. His gospel, in short, is that as we know the Christ, the Living Torah, we are enabled to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:4,5, Psalm 78:5, Zechariah 14:9, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27.

Good Father, we give You thanks that You see beyond the biases of human-beings, and our one-word characterizations of our fellow man! We remember to You the success and failures of Israel and the Church throughout time. We have hated too much, and loved too little. We have bludgeoned each other to death figuratively and literally. We have stolen from our brothers and sisters and dishonored our parents and heirs. We have allowed the laws of men to usurp Your eternal words. Will You have mercy on us?

Today, we bless the justice W.B Riley stood for in his passion for fundamentalism. He truly sought and pursued to know You, to love Your laws, and love Your Word. Yet, those as strong as him in the letter of the law often stumble in that they miss the spirit of the law. Will You forgive him, the WCFA, and his followers where he may have missed and mislead others from the spirit of Your Laws into religious pride?  We disavow where he rejected and spoke evil of his Jewish brothers; will You take these curses up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You forgive the transference of his fears for the civic well-being on his congregation, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitterness against Israel that came from clashes with Jewish advocates of: unionism, collectivism, Marxism, liberalism, and politicalization of science through evolutionism?

Will You forgive observant Jews any judgments made towards Dr. Riley, the Church, or toward Fundamentalists of this era? Will You forgive any transference from them that may have tainted the present, or threatens to skew our common future? Will You graft the Church more tightly to the Olive Tree? We haven’t yet recognized that we need each other to survive.

Will You forgive those who identify as Jews, but believe in the Messiah of Progressivism? Further will You forgive the atrocities of humanistic atheism in their age: the Revolution of 1917, Red Terror Bolshevism, the forced collectivization of the Ukraine 1931-32, Yezhovshchina, Polska Organizacja Wojskova, the Great Purge in Mongolia, and the Katyn Massacre? While these Progressives did not likely participate in these crimes, their worldview had damaged millions by 1936. Will You forgive their denial of this portion of reality? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of Jewish Communists towards: observant Jews, Dr. Riley, the Church, or towards Fundamentalists of this era?

Some of the fears of W.B. Riley have come true within our lifetimes. Our universities are dominated by viewpoints that are considered “secular, non-ideology”, yet are belief systems. The worship of political correctness is exactly like any world religion with all the attributes of a religion; its own vernacular, cultic objects and ceremonies, and a yearning for a future utopia where everything is submitted to tolerant uniformity. Can a student be an Orthodox Jew or Orthodox Christian and make it through a graduate program at the University of Minnesota in the sciences without being forced to publicly betray their faith or even the possibility that You are our First Cause?

Dear Lord, we still find ourselves at an impasse of relationship; perhaps not of religion. We broad-brush the motives of those whose we disagree.  We assume that we can fit an entire people or culture or movement under our neatly defined labels. This is wrong and is sin against You, and Your image within those whom we disagree. Have mercy on us!

Oftentimes, Progressive thinkers seek an external solution to an internal problem. I.E. “Others must change their beliefs, behaviors, and actions for me to be O.K., because I am not secure in my worth and identity.”
Meanwhile, the seekers of G-d search for an internal solution to an external problem.
I.E. “Because G-d has called me O.K., I am worthy and secure, therefore I can accept others’ beliefs, behaviors, and actions.”                                                                                                    Similarly, religious fundamentalists of any stripe can exhibit the same external solutions to inherently spiritual problems. I.E. “My problems can only be solved by legalistic observance to religious knowledge of G-d because I am not secure in in my relational knowledge of G-d.” Finally, sometimes atheists are more in tune with their heart than the members of a strict faith community. I.E. “I don’t care who gets the credit, I just want to see the naked clothed, the hungry fed, and to share with the poor ones.”

So we turn to Your Word, and to You as the Living Word for wisdom!

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”  Apostle Paul in Romans 2:28,29

Further we see examples of Almighty G-d’s benevolently weighing humanity on the dual scales of internal and external justice!

“The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskins of your hearts, O men of Judah and people of Jerusalem. Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it, because of your evil deeds.” Jeremiah 4:4

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised yet uncircumcised…” Jeremiah 9:25

“The one who is physically uncircumcised yet keeps the Law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.” Romans 2:27

Lord, help our unbeliefs and lack of relationship to those we perceive as enemies, or those who genuinely oppose us. May we love our enemy in Minnesota. May we love the enemies of the Jewish faith. May we love the enemies of the Christian faith. May we love the enemies of the Progressive faith. Put us in right relationship so we can listen to each other. Give us Your worthiness so we have something to offer our neighbor. May we find all solutions in El Roi, may we receive “I Am” and live in the present! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on this broken relationship! Will You bless our future with real chesed; right relationship with G-d and all people?

* 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!
** Pulaski, Clement., “William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism”. July 14, 2017. Cited in http://faithful-nation.com/2017/07/14/william-bell-riley-and-fundamentalist-anti-semitism/
*** Numbers, Ronald L. “Creationism in 20th-Century America”., Science 218 (5 November 1982): pp 538-544
**** Szasz, Ferenc M., “William B. Riley and the Fight against Teaching of Evolution in Minnesota.” Minnesota History 1969 41(5): 201-216.
***** Berman, Hyman. “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”., New York : 1979.
****** Riley, W.B. “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt”. Publ. L.W. Camp: Mpls., MN. 1936. https://www.worldcat.org/title/shivering-at-the-sight-of-a-shirt/oclc/59759935

Standard
20th Century, football, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Champion Gophers Football

1935ishwithTrophyCase.gif

MVictors.com

1932 to 1941

“Coach Bernie Bierman’s Golden Gophers are the scourge of college football over the next nine years. They play three and a half seasons without a loss, and win five national championships and six Big Ten titles. In 1934 alone, Bierman’s single-wing brand of power football produces both Big Ten and national championships. Minnesota outscores its opponents 270 points to 38 over the eight-game season.”* 

Founded in 1882, the program is one of the oldest in college football. Minnesota has been a member of the Big Ten Conference since its inception in 1896 as the Western Conference. The Golden Gophers claim seven national championships: 1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960. “GOPHERSPORTS.COM  :: University of Minnesota Official Athletic Site”. www.gophersports.com. **

“Base your play on the standards most likely to defeat champions.”

-Bernie Bierman

former Coach University of Minnesota Football ***

So to recap the facts before prayer, Coach Bierman led his teams to national championships five times in ten years? Phenomenal! In 136 years of Gopher football, all but two championship teams were coached by this man!

Even as one more bent towards the arts more than sports, I can see Your imprint in the life of Coach Bierman. I applaud with You, Champion of Champions, the work of this man’s life here in Minnesota! I applaud with You his authority and leadership of young men to pull together and create a great team. 

Will You bless this heritage of leadership and discipline fostered by Coach Bierman? Will You bless him, his ancestors, and all who figuratively follow in his footsteps? Will You bless the University of Minnesota through its football program, and the initiative of its players? Will You make it a place where students can unashamedly give their very best?

Lord, will You forgive where the Church has discounted the value of football and diminished its potential in building character and leadership? Will You forgive all who profit from college sports insofar as their actions corrode stellar temperament with temptations of the base appeals of celebrity? Will You forgive the excesses of our universities in exalting the business of football over the integrity of student scholarship and sportsmanship?

We ask Your blessing on the inspiration and leadership of young men in the state of Minnesota. If You wish to create this heritage through the sport of football, let it be so! We ask Your blessing for our present and future generations of young men to learn the important lessons of teamwork so easily taught in football. May they catch a glimpse of Your Spirit as portrayed through the coaching of Bernie Bierman. Amen!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

-Apostle Paul****

*** http://treasuredmap.blogspot.com/2009/10/308.html

**** http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/9-24.htm

 

 

Standard
20th Century, Americana, football, History, Intercession, Minnesota, sports, Uncategorized

All-American Gopher 1929

nagurskibronkobio

1929

“Gopher football legend Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is named All-American at tackle and fullback, the only player ever chosen at two positions. Later a star with the Chicago Bears, Nagurski signs a contract for $5,000 and pockets another $50 for endorsing Wheaties cereal. After retiring in the 1940s, he will buy and run a gas station in International Falls.” * 

“(MINNESOTA)…6’2”, 226…BRONISLAW NAGURSKI . . .BECAME PRO FOOTBALL’S SYMBOL OF POWER, RUGGEDNESS. . . A BULLDOZING RUNNER ON OFFENSE, A BONE-CRUSHING LINEBACKER ON DEFENSE. . . GAINED 4031 YARDS IN 9 SEASONS . . .ALL-NFL, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937. . .HIS TWO TD PASSES CLINCHED BEARS’ 1933 TITLE WIN. . .HELPED 1943 BEARS TO NFL CROWN AFTER FIVE-YEAR RETIREMENT. . .BORN NOVEMBER 3, 1908, IN RAINY RIVER, ONTARIO. . .DIED JANUARY 7, 1990, AT AGE OF 81.” **

“Sports Illustrated named Nagurski one of the four greatest athletes in Minnesota state history (the other three were Dave Winfield, Kevin McHale, and Joe Mauer).” ***

What is it about tough guys that impress us so much, Father? More exactly, how do tough guys, like Bronko, reflect the image of their Creator? In the present era of kinder, gentler, and more sensitive maleness this could foster a normalcy bias crisis; how can a macho man give pleasure to a just G-d?

I think of the unnamed wife of Manoah that was addressed by the angel of the Lord; 

“You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” **** Judges 13:5

Granted, Nagurski wasn’t fighting for the survival of his people like Samson, but he was given the gift of his physicality and strength. That alone is not enough to create a champion. Bronko clearly battled his opponents on the gridiron with the unstoppable heart of a champion; a spirit that would not give up!

So, this day we give You thanks for life of Bronko Nagurski! We thank You for the strength of his body, and of his mind. We see the unfailing love of G-d better through this image!

We thank You for the amount of work he did as a teen: delivering groceries, plowing, working the sawmill, and laboring at the timber camps. We thank You for this part of his life too, and that he chose to help out his folks and do a man’s work because he could. We see Your rewards for being faithful in small things that lead to bigger things.

We thank You that he chose to become a Minnesota Gopher. He added an unforgettable gravity to a team already good. His work ethic pushed his teammates to give 110% effort resulting in championships. We give You thanks for the way he contributed to bettering the University of Minnesota: in acclaim, in momentary greatness, and in ticket sales.

What I learn today sitting with You thinking on this; You love when we discover who we are, accept it, and live out our potential. Bronko was a tough kid from a no-nonsense place up north. He was accustomed to high alert, dangerous, and very physically demanding jobs. 

Perhaps, this same work ethic is what made him a champion on the field? He give You thanks for Your work ethic on display through the life and career of Bronislau Nagurski. May we receive from You the same embrace of our gifts, a resolute spirit, and some holy toughness to power over, under, or through the challenges in front of us? Help us move the ball down field!

“He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;

He goes out to meet the weapons.

He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;

And he does not turn back from the sword.” Job 39:21-22

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.profootballhof.com/players/bronko-nagurski/

*** http://prowrestling.wikia.com/wiki/Bronko_Nagurski

**** Judges 13:5 http://biblehub.com/judges/13-5.htm

 

 

Standard
20th Century, Agriculture, government, Governors, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Republican, Uncategorized

Christianson Becomes Governor

Unknown

January 6, 1925

“Theodore Christianson takes office as the state’s 21st governor.” *

Sorry Lord! Christianson is another Minnesota Governor that I have no recollection of, but I come prepared with a brief backstory below.

“Theodore Christianson, the twenty-first governor of Minnesota, was born in Lac Qui Parle Township, Minnesota on September 12, 1885. His education was attained at the University of Minnesota, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1906 and a law degree in 1909. After establishing a successful legal practice in Dawson, Christianson became the owner and publisher of the Dawson Sentinel. He entered politics in 1915, serving as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, a position he held ten years. He next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1924. He was reelected to a second term in 1926, and to a third term in 1928. During his tenure, a crime commission was formed, as well as a commission of administration and finance. Also, state expenditures were reduced; taxes were controlled; and state government was restructured. After completing his term, Christianson left office on January 6, 1931. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1933 to 1937. Governor Theodore Christianson passed away on December 9, 1948, and was buried in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.**

Governor Christianson, a.k.a. “Tightwad Ted”,  was a very fiscally conservative Republican who limited the power of government in favor of the individual. In this era, there were many fears about the insider capitalism of Wall Street, and the destabilizing reactions of sabre rattling socialists. He gave mostly agrarian Minnesotans a chance to regroup and recoup after the personal and property losses of WWI. (Those who lost sons to the war also lost heirs to their farms, as well as their most capable and loyal farm hands.)

So, here we give You thanks for “Tightwad Ted”. We thank You for his accountability and respect for the resources of Minnesotans. Theres a ‘time to scatter and a time to gather’ and we pause to remember Governor Christianson as a man who gave respite and a return to normalcy and simplicity to his constituents. Will You bless his heirs, both familial and governmental, who accept that there is season that the most reasonable course forward is to tighten the belt? 

In this, we give You honor for taking us through seasons scarcity and plenty. We thank You for the eternal promise to be our Jehovah Jireh. We ask Your forgiveness where we have forgotten You; either through the sins of easy living, or sins of destitution. Have mercy on Minnesotans’ past, present, and future failure to give You and our neighbors the free gift of gratitude. Amen.

Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8,9 NASB

PS. Will You continue to forgive the cycle of judgment & counter-judgment between the parties and political groups of this age? Perhaps the Republicans forgot Your principles of community because it came through a Socialist  or DFL messenger? Maybe the Socialists and Democrats failed Republicans and Your urgings to personal responsibility through lumping them in with Wall Street, and assumptions that they were against Main Street? Will You forgive all the judgments and counter-judgments of these parties committed then as well as their fruits poisoning the present? Will You make us a State of “tightwads” with our disparaging thoughts, words, and hearts against our neighbor?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_christianson_theodore.html

 

 

Standard