“Issues, Etc.” web extra (Mollie) — 37 Comments

  1. Could you give the actual URL for the MP3?

    I’m looking on the site now, not seeing it, even refreshing the browser.


  2. Has it been removed from the web? I listened to it last night, but don’t find it now! Am I just not seeing it now? Perhaps I just need more caffeine?

  3. Darnit, Mollie, can you tell us what it was about? Or do you think that it might be legal ramifications for them if you do?

  4. I’m glad I got it onto my MP3 player before it went missing. I was glad to hear the backstory, the present situation, and the reasons that Todd and Jeff aren’t willing to meet with reps with lawyers present. Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” was appropriate lead-in music. I look forward to your story Mollie.


  5. I’m sure Mollie will do a much better job on this but here’s the quick version.

    Way back in 1999, the synod let the trademark for Issues Etc lapse. After the show’s cancellation, a friend of the show saw that the trademark had lapsed & applied for it himself.

    The synod has said publicly on several occasions that they do not want the name or intend to use it & would be happy to give it to Issues Etc. Even though they technically don’t have the rights to the name anymore!

    What the synod hasn’t said publicly is that they want Todd & Jeff to sign a gag order & agree to waive their right to a jury trial if this agreement, which Todd & Jeff haven’t signed, is breached.

    The synod BOD, under pressure from Kieschnick, decided at their November mtg to object to the application for the trademark that the synod had abandoned & no longer has the rights to & decided to also threaten legal action against Todd & Jeff.

    That’s the short version. I listened to it this morning so hopefully I haven’t left too much out. Fun stuff.

  6. The BOD and SP sound like they’re taking a page from those fabulous folks over at the “church” of Scientology, to wit: attack and sue/threaten to sue. Not very winsome. I wonder how their fans are spinning this.

    Gag order! Well, at this point, I’m speechless.

  7. This may not be the place or the purpose of this comments list but I bursting to say:

    Todd and Jeff, don’t back down! My prayers are with you!

  8. As I said on the other thread, I no longer am willing to give what little benefit of the doubt was left in me, to Kieschnick, over the events of March. Todd’s statements just confirmed all that I had already suspected. I would just tell everyone reading this – listen to Todd & Jeff’s statement for yourself and draw your own conclusions. In my opinion, this synod is under the control of devious, power hungry, spiteful, vengeful, duplicitous individuals.

    Todd & Jeff, I am another one who loved the “I Won’t Back Down” lead in bumper music, and would say to you what others have stated here – DON’T BACK DOWN! Not an inch. If the thugs of LCMS Inc. want to pursue legal action against you, let them. It will confirm for the entire synod what many of us have known for quite a while.

    Mollie, you should get another article in to the WSJ A.S.A.P.

  9. When you read the LCMS BOD minutes from Nov. 2009, they moved into “Executive Session” so many times that poor Dr. Hartwig lost track and labled #5 as #4, for the second time. KFUO was such a hot topic that they had to go into “Executive Session” twice to cover it. I wonder if the threatened lawsuit was brought up in one of those “Sessions” in the one with the Synod’s legal counsel?

  10. I wonder what the basis for the threatened legal action is. Todd didn’t seem to specify. I’d guess it would have to do with vocal opposition to Kieschnick’s policies and the Church Growth Movement, but that does not seem like a viable basis for a lawsuit, more like a constitutionally protected right and sound biblical teaching. Does anyone know if there was any indication as to what type of legal action may be recommended and on what basis?

  11. Mollie,

    Sadly, someone out there really is trying to prove to me that the LCMS is no longer my grandfather’s church. Who’s church do they think it is?

    I’m sure the PR department in St. Louis has got to be squirming quite a bit. Where can the BOD minutes mentioned in #18 be found?

    Even more questions:

    Can you imagine the outcry that will be heard if LCMS Inc. publicly OPPOSES this ministry with lawsuit?

    What grounds can the President and the Synod have for bringing a lawsuit against either the program or Pastor Wilken and Jeff Schwarz?

    Why do they need a gag order? How can the leadership expect to exert control over a program that is (by their own choice) no longer under their oversight?

    Why can’t our Synod publicly rejoice that a ministry that before March could not be afforded, is now back proclaiming pure Lutheran doctrine and practice to the world?

    Maybe “It’s Time” for a change in Missouri–
    Reverend Matt Harrison in 2010?

    I pray for wisdom for all those involved in this ill-conceived dispute.

  12. pastor wilken and jeff, I think what you have here is a failure to commucate ,but maybe they understand all to well and that is why they fight so hard . remind’s me of a dying rat, they will bite at anything , even themselves .
    I W B D i think that could be a nice rally cry for issues ect
    Ron lockport IL

  13. Would the basis of legal action really be using the name Issues etc.? They have no legal standing in the matter and had publicly acknowledged that they had no problem with the use of the name. Surely if they sue it would have to be over something other than what they gave up a decade ago.

    If the Synod is having problems with money coming in now I can only imagine how hard it would be if they sued a pastor and a layman over a program that spreads the gospel. When they canceled the show they were very good about saying very little. Since much was left untold they encouraged the best construction to be put on everything. Even if it smelled funny, since they admitted nothing and any possible proof was kept private there was nothing to point to as evidence. The recent actions on the part of Synod seem to conflict with what little they did say regarding the cancellation of Issues etc.

    If there was smoke before this is looking like fire. The best possible construction is getting worse and worse. We are all sinful but with the lack of accountability at the levels of Synod involved in this how can we lovingly correct brothers who threaten those who preach Christ crucified even when it is a stumbling block?

  14. You can retrieve information about the filings for the “Issues, Etc.” service mark from the US Patent and Trademark Office website. Simply go to and enter “Issues Etc” (without the quotes) in the search box. Then, click the “Submit Query” button. This will list two serial numbers. The first one, 77487948, is for the current filing. The other is for the original filing by the LCMS. Click around on the various links and you’ll eventually find links to more information and the various PDF files.

    { Editor Comment: above link doesn’t work. Go here, click on Trademarks in the left sidebar, click on 3 Search Database, click on top item “New User Search Form”, and enter Issues Etc. }

    The opposition by the LCMS, Inc., was initially dismissed by the PTO because they failed to send a copy to Harry Madsen. The lawyer acting on behalf of the LCMS, Inc., remailed the opposition document on December 2, which Madsen claims was too late because the deadline was on December 3 and he didn’t receive his copy until December 4. I am not a lawyer and I don’t know whether it will be rejected on that basis. Madsen has made a motion to strike and lists a number of other reasons the LCMS, Inc.’s, opposition should be rejected.

    ttabvue-91187981-opp-1.pdf is the LCMS, Inc.’s Notice of Opposition. Of particular interest is ttabvue-91187981-opp-8.pdf, which includes copies of a number of documents, including the one from a LCMS lawyer to Todd and Jeff. The LCMS, Inc., was willing to grant a free license to the “Issues, Etc.” name if they would agree to certain things, including a gag order and getting Madsen to withdraw his application. The LCMS would be able to revoke the license if they thought the agreement was breached.

    I suggest that the webmaster retrieve these documents and any others he finds appropriate and post them on this website so that people will be able to find them more easily.

  15. Stan,

    We can only hope the bungling of LCMS, Inc. over this matter will prevent them from moving forward with respect to the name.

    However, Pres. Kieschnick would just invent some other reason to try to put an end to the spreading of the Gospel which he clearly despises.

  16. Two quick thoughts:

    1) I can’t help but wonder if the things discussed in the other “Open Mics” discussions at the Issues, Etc. “On Demand” page had a lot to do with the LCMS administration’s decision to press this matter. You know, “If only they’d kept quiet, we’d have let this go . . .”

    2) I can’t imagine that the administration would actually want this to end up in court, where all sorts of things would necessarily be brought up for discussion and as part of the public record.

  17. Jeff S.,

    All of those ‘Open Mics’ were in response to the lies being spread by Pres. Kieschnick and comrades. If Pres. Kieschnick had decided to simply keep quite and let them go, those Open Mics would never have occurred. Seriously, what were Jeff & Todd supposed to do?

    I have no doubt Pres. Kieschnick and comrades want this to end up in court if for no other reason then to try to bleed Jeff & Todd dry for the purpose of shutting down even more people who are effectively spreading the Gospel. The only reason why they would not do this is if they believe it would threaten their power within LCMS, Inc.

  18. OK, just HOW did we end up with such a group on the LCMS BOD? They largely will answer, no doubt, that they want to put the best construction on the SP and others; yet they will not offer you the same accord. Todd and Jeff, remember this: evil truly has no bottom. You wonder when they will finally knock it off. By not stopping this nonsense they reveal again just what is behind all of this. Please, in Christ’s strength, try not to back down. Satan is defeated. Christ is victor. We are praying for you. It is just a matter of time when they lose – and when more people finally awaken to this. May it be that not too many souls will be destroyed before this madness ends. Kyrie eleison!

  19. From comment 21:

    I’m sure the PR department in St. Louis has got to be squirming quite a bit.

    *laughs* I’m quite honestly surprised I haven’t heard someone mention that in the last year before now.

  20. Eric, at #30:
    Just to make clear: I by no means intended to suggest that the “Open Mics” were unwise or unnecessary — just that their existence (actually, more their content) might very well have been enough of an irritation or embarrassment to prompt an attitude of “We’ve let this go long enough — let’s find a way to shut these guys down!”

  21. Jeff S.,

    If that were the case, it would only add to the evidence of just how corrupt Pres. Kieschnick and comrades have become.

  22. Two other factors should also be considered:
    1. The public rationale for cancelling Issues, Etc. was to curtail deficit spending. Have all fees of LCMS legal counsel related to retaining rights to the name Issues, Etc., been waived? That is, are the synod’s lawyers working pro bono? Surely, in the synod’s current financial crisis, no synodical funds have been used in this quest to regain rights to the name.
    2. Why is the synod trying to regain rights to the name? That is, what are the synod’s specific plans for using the name Issues, Etc., in the future?

  23. Perhaps they want to apply the name to an international web-based radio show that presents an articulate and faithful exposition of the Lutheran confessions and of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Or maybe they just want to own it so they can burn it. Or sweep it under a rug.

  24. If Todd and Jeff sent them some I Have Issues t-shirts and coffee mugs, I’m sure they’d drop the whole thing.
    Perhaps they have a price…

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