Congressman William E. Dannemeyer 1979-1992 1105 E. Commonwealth, Box 13 Fullerton, CA
92831 Tel: 714-871-4318
2004 – A LESSON IN HOW PRESIDENT KIESCHNICK PREVENTED ANY CONVENTION VOTE ON
TWO VERY IMPORTANT ISSUES DEMANDING ATTENTION IN THE LCMS
July 27, 2004
A wise man
once observed that getting anything done in Congress or in a State legislature
or a church convention is kind of like driving a bunch of unleashed cats
through a fish market.There are a lot
of distractions in the nature of things.
difficulty of the task is compounded when the leader of the LCMS, President
Kieschnick, before the convention, returned two Overtures, which stated two
very important issues facing the LCMS, to the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Fullerton,
California, claiming they each contained
“material error or misrepresentations of truth.”
that no identification or explanation of the claimed deficiency in either of
these Overtures was stated.Pursuant to
Matthew 18, efforts to meet with President Kieschnick to find an explanation
for the claimed deficiencies long before the convention were not
successful.Indeed, neither of two
separate letters addressed to President Kieschnick asking for a meeting ever
produced a response to the Lutheran Church of Our Savior.The first letter produced a response to
President Stoterau suggesting that he meet with a representative of the
Lutheran Church of Our Savior for possible discipline proceedings.
very important issues facing the LCMS described in these two Overtures are:
days before the convention started I received a written statement from the
office of Rev. Schumacher, the chairman of Committee #7, that I would not be
allowed to speak at the open hearing of all the committees of the convention
including of course Committee #7.This
claimed disallowance to speak was later withdrawn after no one at the
convention could come up with a reason as to why it should be enforced.
President of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, I appeared before Committee #7
at the open hearing on Saturday, July 10.
made my five minute speech on these two Overtures, a pastor delegate from Wisconsin
asked the chairman what recommendation he would make to the convention
concerning their status.The chairman
stated both would remain in the committee.Without saying so, the chairman in effect said these two Overtures would
be deposited in the circular file.
Overtures are submitted to any Church convention.Typically, each committee will produce what
is called an Omnibus Resolution.Committee #7 produced Resolution 7-20 which contained 34 Overtures to be
Overtures were considered to be so lacking in merit that neither of them were
included in the list of the 34 to be rejected!
decision by the Chairman of Committee #7 seemed odd so later in the day on
Saturday, July 10, I went to the convention office and asked to speak with the
Parliamentarian.I was told he wasn’t
available and to try later.
third trip to the convention office on that day each time asking to speak with
the Parliamentarian I was told by the office clerk to place my request to the
Parliamentarian in writing.This I
promptly did and delivered it to the office later on Saturday, July 10.
in my letter request that any committee of a convention is subordinate to the
convention and has a duty to report to the convention what action a committee
has taken on any Overture referred to it.
opinion of the Parliamentarian on this question was one of the weirdest I have
ever heard in my years in public life dealing with committees of the California
State Legislature and fourteen years with the House of Representatives in Washington,
or not, in writing the Parliamentarian uttered these words:
“As a courtesy he also shared
them with the floor committee referenced in your note, but did not formally
“refer” them to the committee for the reasons stated.
Therefore it is my opinion that
based on the bylaws referenced above that the floor committee is under no
obligation to include these two overtures in either resolution 7-75 or to
report them to the convention in any matter, they having never been officially
referred to the committee as stated above.“
related these words to a friend of mine at the convention, he responded that
there are only two people in the world who can explain the difference between
the verbs “to share” and “to refer.”The
Parliamentarian and Bill Clinton.
political decision of the Parliamentarian was not inadvertent or
accidental.It was specifically designed
to prevent the inclusion of these two Overtures into the Omnibus rejection
resolution of Committee #7.Had these
two Overtures been included in 7-20, then the request to remove one or both
from the group could have been directed to the specific Overture to be taken up
by the convention rather than go through our planned strategy, moving to remove
a related subject matter Overture and then, if successful, offering an
to the next question. What is the option
of the presiding officer when an amendment is offered on the floor to an
Overture?Simple, if you want to
continue to bury the issue from the convention delegates you arbitrarily state
that the proposed amendment is not an amendment but a substitute.When the chair rules it is a substitute, the
person submitting it then is advised that he has two minutes to explain why the
convention time should be taken up with this substitute and the person is
further advised, you may not discuss the substance of the substitute in the two
of the presiding officer is the result of the Behnken Rule:If you desire to prevent any convention of
the LSMS, District or Synod, to be so structured that one person, the District
or Synodical President can by the total discretion to structure a committee and
hire a “discerning” parliamentarian, stop a convention from ever considering a
very important issue facing the organized church, you couldn’t have devised a
better system of roadblocks designed for one specific purpose, make sure the
delegates at an LCMS convention never learn the Emperor wears no clothes.
point some people might be inclined to observe that these two Overtures were
considered by a committee of the convention, to be specific, #7, so isn’t the
foregoing criticism nothing more than sour grapes?Absolutely not.Please note and reflect on the composition of
Committee #7.Eleven of the seventeen
members, or almost two-thirds, work for
the organized church.It is not
realistic to ever expect that a large majority of persons who owe their
temporal existence to an employer will ever vote on a committee to diminish the
personnel structure of the organization which employs them or alter the power
to organize the committee structure of a convention which will diminish their
authority over the future.
Resolution 7-20, the Omnibus rejection resolution was to be taken up on the
convention floor, a lay delegate from the PSWD planned to request approval to
remove one of the 34 Overtures to be rejected and have the convention consider
it separately.He was then prepared to
offer an amendment to the withdrawn Overture which contained the objective to
return the 593 Pastors to the parish ministry over three years.
strategy was not allowed to be pursued because the Committee #7 Omnibus
rejection resolution 7-20 never came up for action in the convention because
time ran out.The convention schedule
called for adjournment at on
Thursday, July 15, and the convention adjourned without 7-20 being considered.
importance of the issues raised by these two Overtures is so important to the
future of the organized church, the LCMS, that decisive and effective action
needs to be taken.Districts of the LCMS
need to feel the heat in order for them to see the light.
congregation in the LCMS should promptly study this report very carefully and
prayerfully consider adopting a resolution and send it to its District office
and to President Kieschnick which state as follows:
congregation has considered the action taken by the leadership of the LCMS at
the 2004 Synodical Convention in St. Louis concerning the two Overtures
described in the report prepared by an officer of the Lutheran Church of Our
Savior in Fullerton, California, and you will please take notice that we will
forthwith contribute no more funds to our District and/or Synod until the
following steps are taken:
(1) The committees of any future District or LCMS
Convention will be organized as stated in the enclosed Overture.
(2) The District and Synod will over the
next three years terminate the positions of those Pastors among the 593 who
left the parish ministry between 1981 and 2001 who are now called or employed
in a District or at Synod and suggest to these pastors that they accept calls into
the parish ministry of the LCMS.