Statement to the District on Issues Etc
My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus:
God’s peace is ours in Christ Jesus, won for us this day as our Lord Jesus died for us. He took our sin and death into Himself that He might give us His life and His righteousness. In the proclamation of His cross and His resurrection, we have life. I pray God’s blessing and peace for you and yours this Good Friday.
As many of you know, this past Tuesday the very popular Lutheran radio show, Issues Etc. was cancelled and the host, Rev. Todd Wilken (a member of the SID) and the show’s producer, Mr. Jeff Schwarz (a member of St. Paul, Hamel) have been dismissed from the employ of the Synod. By way of explanation, this is what David Strand, Director of the Board for Communication Services, sent to the District Presidents:
While this was a programmatic and business decision, it also touches on matters of employment and human resources. Because of this, there is very little that can appropriately be said by way of "explanation" or "reasons" for this decision.
I would respectfully suggest that you direct callers or e-mailers to the Synod's Church Information Center (1-888-THE LCMS, or email@example.com), whose staff is equipped to handle such calls. There also is a brief statement on the KFUO-AM website at www.kfuo.org (from an email, received from David Strand March 19, 2008)
In addition, when I first heard of this, I asked President Gerald Kieschnick if he could tell me why the show was cancelled and why Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz were dismissed. Following is his response:
Following is a statement from the Board for Communication Services office regarding this matter, which transpired with my awareness but neither by my order nor at my direction:
The “Issues, Etc.” radio program on KFUO-AM has been discontinued. Show host Rev. Todd Wilken and producer Mr. Jeff Schwarz are no longer with KFUO. We thank these men for their years of service of behalf of the station.
…To my knowledge there is no reason for disciplinary action regarding those affected (From an email, received from President Kieschnick March 18, 2008)
I have received no further information. We much always put the best construction on everything. Yet I do realize this leaves many questions completely unanswered. For instance, why? What are the “programmatic and business reasons” for the decision? No one, least of all Rev. Todd Wilken or Jeff Schwarz, has been given any reason. Please trust that I am diligently seeking more complete answers through personal contacts. I hope that at some time a further explanation can be offered by those responsible. There may be good, understandable reasons for this, but at the very least, I do believe those who appreciated Issues Etc ought be given a credible explanation why this was done.
In the meantime, I would humbly suggest that you let your thoughts be known by contacting the Board for Communication Services through David Strand (David.Strand@lcms.org), or by contacting the President’s Office or the numbers given above. They need to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Please know that I will be doing all I can from my office to help Pastor Wilken and Jeff Schwarz. The most important thing you can do is to pray for them, pray for our Synod, pray for our leaders. Please also, in all your contacts, remember the 8th Commandment, remember that we are dealing with brothers in Christ. Be honest about your thoughts, but remember also our Lord’s Word – “Whatever, you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17).
Yours in the One crucified for us this day,
+ Herb Mueller
Southern Illinois District President