When I was young, I lied easily. Nothing big (as if a lie isn’t big by nature), just what was convenient. Having learned better since then, it is safe to report that I’m a repentant liar with a great respect for the truth and a great sensitivity toward that which is false.
Issues, Etc. has a nice web extra where Todd and Jeff speak about why Issues, Etc. was cancelled at KFUO. It is a story of paranoia, ignorance, sucking up, and plausible lies. Now paranoia is an honored tradition of those in power, unhealthy and false in the end, but understandable as a human trait and I’m not convinced that paranoia is a sin. Ignorance can be irritating, moreso when it is deliberate, but again even a Christian might be excused for being ignorant. Sucking up might well be included in the doctrine of vocation, e.g., “sucking up as to the Lord.” But lies anger me because I know them too well and they have no place for a Christian. The great thread of the Issues, Etc. firings and the operation of KFUO is the great thread of ostensible lies that wend through it. The lies weave through it both in time and throughout the workings of those entrusted to run the LCMS. Purported Christians who instead of laying out the truth without regard to consequences instead lay out a soft bed of lies to cushion the effects of what they do.
Lies are not a part of Christian liberty.
Two lies run through the story:
- The operation of the secular KFUO-FM station. Over the years and in any number of ways (though often corrected), the losses of KFUO-FM have been covered up through accounting practices that knowingly and falsely attribute FM expenses to the Christian AM station. These practices have been known to any number of responsible people and yet they have been accepted practice, and they were implicitly relied upon in the Issues firing. But accounting is by nature supposed to be fact, not fiction – and we to will one day have to render a factual account: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb 4:13). Ought not Christian accountants fear giving any false statement? Should not those who sign off on such accounting either through action or through assent hate falsehood?
- The real reason for the firings was not financial – Todd and Jeff even offered to go independent and run the show for free on KFUO-AM, which would have been cheaper than running a replacement show. The true reason for the cancellation was because Issues, Etc. is assertive in a most Lutheran way, and by nature an offensive program to those who do not believe the gospel. Also, apparently, offensive to the leadership of the LCMS. I can understand the firing, silly as it would be, if it were reported accurately, “We found Issues, etc. to be too clear in its doctrine, an offensive program, and instead have decided to rerun sermons of Joel Osteen, whom all the world loves.” But it was falsely reported as a financial decision. It was the WMD excuse. People found a convenient lie, a lie that would ease a difficult problem and allow them to save face, and like this little liar they waddled happily into the wide, joyous road. And now, instead of repenting the lie, they have simply hardened themselves in it.
Think before you lie. It is weak and despicable. Take it from an expert.