As you probably know, the LCMS Board for Communications Services fired Pastor Todd Wilken and Mr. Jeff Schwarz, host and producer of the radio call-in show Issues, Etc. a year ago during Holy Week. In the meantime Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz garnered enough support to restart the radio program.
That was a very emotional period for many in the LCMS. It was difficult to understand why the synod would cancel such a popular show that had enough listener support to continue on the air. Seven thousand people signed a public petition asking the synod to restore the program but President Kieschnick, the Board of Directors and the Board for Communications Services ignored the pleas.
Issues, Etc. set up shop independent of the synod and just when things were starting to roll smoothly some six months later in November, President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors decided to hinder Issues, Etc. application for its trademark. The synod had let the trademark go back in 1999 but all of the sudden it had an interest in getting it back, even though they had given all of the Issues, Etc. paraphanalia (T-shirts, mugs, bumber stickers, etc.) to Todd and Jeff. Here is the letter from the synod’s attorneys threatening legal action against Todd and Jeff if they would not sit down and negotiate even though there was nothing to negotiate.
When you read the following timeline of actions on this matter it becomes clear that the LCMS Board of Directors wanted to leverage the trademark (that they did not control) for the purpose of keeping Wilken and Schwarz from airing criticisms of the LCMS. This is really sleezy behaviour for a church body.
In the following memo President Kieschnick asserts that he had no part in this ordeal and yet all along, he was a member of the Board of Directors which managed the whole process. He had every opportunity to preserve unity in the synod by stating that he was opposed to this leveraging of the trademark and that he would do all in his power to stop it. He did nothing of the sort. Instead, he simply hid behind the semantics of this memo.
- Memo from President Kieshnick stating he had no part in the lawsuit, and that information would be forthcoming shortly
This is unacceptable behavior on the part of the Board of Directors and the president of the synod. We hope you will join us in asking the board and the president to repent of these sins.
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