(Editor’s Note: About a month ago I chatted with Rev. Bill Cwirla, president of Higher Things and well known in the blogoshpere, even beyond Lutheran circles. He agreed to write for us on occassion. With the business of the conference last weekend I have not had time to make those arrangements but I noticed that he commented on one of the lawsuit srings. As usual his insight gets behind the commonplace. I thought it was worth a post here on the homepage.)
It seems pretty clear to me. LCMS, Inc. wants Todd to stop saying bad things about LCMS, Inc. because LCMS, Inc. has little to no tolerance for criticism. Failing to curb Todd’s right to free speech with a gag order attached to his severance package, LCMS, Inc. is now attempting to accomplish the same by challenging their trademark application, which it certainly has a right to do as the former owner of the trademark. This is LCMS, Inc’s “last strand” so to speak, the last bit of control they have over Todd. Had LCMS, Inc. paid its trademark fees and kept its paperwork up to date, the ball would have been entirely in LCMS, Inc’s court. As it is, the last string it has is to attempt to defend its trademark.
What’s interesting is to me is that the name Issues, Etc. is more closely associated with Todd Wilken than it is to LCMS, Inc. Clearly, LCMS, Inc. did not continue the show under that name with a new host, and has shown no intention of doing so. In challenging Wilken’s application, LCMS, Inc. is attempting to deprive Todd of a living in exchange for his silence, just as it deprived him of a severance package for the same reason.
That, not the veiled legal threat, is what is immoral and unethical about this action on the part of LCMS, Inc.