Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Issues, Etc. Petition

Last spring, the Missouri Synod fired Jeff Schwartz and Rev. Todd Wilken and ended the well-followed radio show Issues, Etc all without explanation.  Now the LC-MS seems to be again getting its hands dirty and threatening Mr. Schwartz and Rev. Todd Wilken, despite already having kicked the show off KFUO airwaves and out of the synod.  Please sign this petition for Synod leave them alone and discontinue illegitimate pressure over the Issues, Etc. trademark.

The petition is at:

It reads as follows:
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To President Gerald Kieschnick and the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod:

The mistreatment of Pastor Todd Wilken and Mr. Jeff Schwarz at the hands of the LCMS is an untenable and un-Christian situation which this petition seeks to address.

Regarding the matter of the pending trademark application for the Issues, Etc. name:

- The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod allowed the trademark of the Lutheran talk radio program Issues, Etc. to lapse in 1999. After the cancellation of Issues, Etc. by the Synod in March of 2008, the Synod's Board for Communication Services recommended that ownership of the Issues, Etc. name be transferred to Host Todd Wilken and Producer Jeff Schwarz. The Director of the Board stated that he had no future plans to use the Issues, Etc. name, and hoped that the show would "continue to be heard through other communication channels." As requested, Pastor Wilken submitted a formal letter to the Synod requesting that they transfer the trademark, though the trademark had lapsed. After being informed by Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz that they planned to resume the show using the Issues, Etc. name, and that a trademark application for that name had been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Mr. Harry Madsen, a supporter of the show, the Synod voiced no opposition to their plan.

- The Synod has now inexplicably reversed its position and filed a letter opposing the trademark application, and has indirectly threatened Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz via LCMS lawyers with a personal lawsuit, statements to the contrary notwithstanding.

While Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz have always discussed matters that in any way reflect on the Synod in an exemplary, measured, and Christian fashion, both before and after the cancellation of the show, the same cannot be said of the behavior of the Synod. The threat of a lawsuit initiated by the LCMS against fellow Christians, whether by the leaders themselves or attorneys hired by the LCMS, is a shameful act, and is in fact a sin, as taught by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. This action causes the Synod to appear vindictive, dishonors our Lord, and hinders the ministry being carried out by the Issues, Etc. team.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, respectfully request that the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod immediately drop its opposition to the trademark application for the Issues, Etc. name, cease all consideration of bringing a personal lawsuit against Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz, and offer to them the Synod's blessing on their endeavors.

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