Questions Regarding “Issues, Etc.”
Whereas, the radio program “Issues, Etc.” on KFUO AM was a blessing to many residents of the Wyoming District LC-MS and other listeners within the range of KFUO and of the other stations which carried this program in syndication, and on the worldwide web, keeping us abreast of current issues at the intersection of theology and American culture, and helping us to respond to these issues in a truly biblical, evangelical, and Lutheran way; and
Whereas, “Issues, Etc.” has been an uncommonly excellent vehicle for broadcasting some of the best teaching that our synod has to offer to the world; and
Whereas, the Executive Director of the Board for Communication Services without consulting his supervising board, canceled the program “Issues, Etc.”, and terminated its host, the Reverend Todd Wilken, and its Producer, Mr. Jeff Schwarz; and
Whereas, this decision has caused much “anxiety, worry, and consternation...in the Synod” (Statement from LCMS President – April 21, 2008) as evidenced by an online petition of over 7000 signatures; therefore be it
Resolved, that the Wyoming District Pastor's Conference, gathered at Rock Springs, Wyoming, in order to help resolve the ongoing controversy in our Synod, submits the following questions to the President of Synod, the Board for Communication Services (BCS), and the Council of Presidents:
1. The Council of Presidents and Executive Director of the BCS both released statements which claim that the terminations were handled in a Christian and Compassionate manner. How is it an exercise in Christian Compassion to terminate two individuals who had served in this capacity for nearly a decade, on such short notice, and during Holy Week?
2. How does summarily firing a man who was not simply an “at will employee” but also one who had a Divine Call reflect a confessional understanding of the Office of the Holy Ministry?
3. If this decision was made, as has been stated, for purely stewardship and programmatic reasons, why was the Treasurer of Synod (stewardship) and the full BCS (programmatic) not consulted?
4. Given concerns for the 8th Commandment as we deal with issues such as these, why was the decision to discontinue “Issues, Etc.” and the consequent firing of Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz no immediately followed by a statement which clearly indicated that such termination was in no way related to their job performance or any other personal issues with these faithful men?
5. In light of the admitted “anxiety, worry, and consternation” which this decision has caused, and in light of synodical bylaw 126.96.36.199 that “all staff of corporate Synod and every agency of the Synod shall be sensitive in their activities to taking or giving offense, giving the appearance or impropriety, (or) causing confusion in the Synod...” what actions has Dr. Kieschnick taken or does he plan to take to remedy this situation by reversing actions of Synod staff which have broken this bylaw according to his mandate in bylaw 188.8.131.52.c, “He shall call up for review any action by an individual officer, executive, or agency that, in his view, may be in violation of the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod.”?