I haven’t made a formal statement on my sudden departure from the radio station position I’ve held since 2010, but it’s time I cleared the air. The details of my resignation are different from what has been reported.
For the record:
- I did not leave because of my son’s medical issues. I have been updating people about this on my personal Facebook page, and those posts are public.
- I didn’t resign because I am a complementarian. I was told that BECAUSE I am a complementarian, I would no longer be able to comment on Scripture or even read it on the air. My co-host is not a complementarian, and believes women are just fine preaching from a pulpit on any given Sunday.
Complementarians believe that 1 Timothy 2:12 is clear about women not teaching or having spiritual authority over men. But a radio talk show is not church, and the microphone I used to interview guests and report news – using Scripture to compare with what false teachers were doing – that microphone also wasn’t a pulpit. Still, I always tried to make sure I wasn’t crossing any lines in the time I held the co-host position.
A paradigm shift
In November of 2014, I began to notice a shift in focus. Up until that point, we had been solidly committed to sharing the Gospel in every program, and our entire staff was on board to pray for each other and for our listeners.
- A new teaching came in, based on the science of how the brain functions and how human beings react to certain triggers.
- This new teaching was dubbed, “Discipleship Training,” and the staff was required to gather weekly for two hours to study the new training manual.
- Those who voice concerns were firmly told that this was biblical, and that attendance and participation was mandatory for all employees.
A pastoral campaign
- In early 2015, a group of local pastors made it clear they wanted me off the program.
- A local pastor by the name of Jerry Lewin (currently a regular SUFTT guest) contacted the Board President to complain about my tone and about my reporting. He claimed to represent a group of other pastors who wanted me off of the blog, and off of the radio. In other words, they wanted to Board to fire me.
- In April, the pastors requested a meeting – requiring my presence – to talk about the new tone and direction forward that my boss had promised was in the works. He offered them a chance to speak into our “tone” as an advisory group. They wanted to be our new Tone Police. I refused to attend such a meeting.
A new vision
- The Board had received a new vision for SUFTT going forward. Directly from God.
- “Inspired by God,” The Board of Lakeshore Communications decided to take the Stand Up For The Truth program in a very different direction, and one that in my heart of hearts I could not follow.
- Instead of being a news-based program, the staff was informed that SUFTT would now be focused 70-80 percent on pastoral teaching of the Bible, with news at the end if time allowed.
Spiritual Authority over staff
This vision also included some alarming statements blurring the line between an employer and one who has spiritual authority over another: “We are in a position of spiritual authority over the employees of this ministry.” (I disagree. My spiritual authority is Christ, and I submit to my husband. Submitting to the laws of the land and to employers is not the same as them having spiritual authority over me.)
New Role; No voice
- My role as Co Host would be replaced with Reporter.
- I would no longer be allowed to comment on the news or on Scripture, unless it was in the form of a question for Mike to answer.
- I was told I would no longer be able to make statements of truth about Jesus, the cross, salvation, the Holy Spirit, or any other doctrinal issue.
- Additionally, a legal expert was consulted and I would no longer be able to share opinions about news stories for fear of lawsuits.
- When I asked why I could not comment on news or Scripture, I was sharply rebuked and told:
A.) Commenting on Scripture is the same as teaching
B.) Mike would be the One Voice representing the ministry.
C.) Anyone in this Reporter Role, be it male or female, must not comment on news or Scripture. This reporter role will be consistent regardless of who sits in that role, male or female.
Direction of SUFTT pasted from official documents
We are confident God has ordained this new path as He has given us a unanimous heart on the issue of SUFTT.
The show has focused for the past 4+ years on many false teachings or potentially dangerous movements infiltrating professing Christianity in our nation. We believe there was a solid reason for this as many have been ignorant to subtle deception infecting all of us as professing believers. This does not mean we ignore unbiblical movements or teachings—we will still discuss them but they will not be the primary focus of the show unless there is real news to report on them.
If we lead believers astray we will be held accountable by God. If we blaspheme a person who God considers a faithful servant we will be judged by God (Matthew 5:22).
We also strive for a 50/50 balance in what we post on social media. For every concerning post there should be one that is encouraging and reports on good things happening within Christianity.
We will continue to share, when necessary and newsworthy, stories about movements within the church. But we seek a better balance between these “outside” and “inside” stories. The Body of Christ needs to focus more on our common enemy—Satan and his vehicles/institutions—and less on internal issues facing the church. There is a time to look at ourselves internally and where we are headed; but we must not take our eyes off the challenges the church faces from the world.
Role pasted from official documents
As Reporter, we want your duties to be only as follows:
- Read news and opinion pieces on air as directed by the show host.
- Stick to the questions for guests the show host has developed for the show.
- Refrain from teaching or commenting on the Word of God.
As a Board we believe commenting on the Word of God equates to teaching the Word of God. Amy you have professed a Complimentarian view on this issue—that women should not teach the Word to men. We respect that deeply held conviction. While we do not necessarily believe that a woman should never teach the Word to men, we believe that it is best that men teach the Word as leaders of the family and within the church.
On the eve of my son’s lung surgery, I received the first of two letters from the Board of Directors asking that I not only comply with the direction and my role, I needed to fully accept it in my heart. Two days later, the final ultimatum letter came from the Board, laced with accusations of my insubordination, how my on air reporting had taken on a negative tone, and how I was “badgering” other employees about the music the radio station played. All of these shocking charges were either blatantly false or stretched into something unrecognizable as truth. It ended with an accusation questioning my loyalty and commitment to SUFTT, and the final ultimatum:
It is absolutely crucial that you accept and agree with the direction God is leading us. Compliance to our direction will only go so far; we need to know that you are committed to where God is leading us. If in the future you do not feel you can remain committed to our direction, please talk to Mike so we figure out the best steps for you and the ministry. One option would have been for you to continue to do “Naomi’s Table” only.
The timing of this ultimatum letter came in the midst of our anxiety over our son’s lung procedure and recovery. There was no phone call, no offer of prayer or help for our son, no questions asked about him at all. At a time when I should have been offered a right hand of prayer, I was getting the left boot of fellowship. The table was set and I really had no other choice. My husband helped me write my resignation letter.
Almost instantly, I received a letter back thanking me for my hard work and dedicated years of service, and asking, finally, about how my son was doing.
Interestingly, only a few days after the announcement of my departure was made, the host called veteran radio host Janet Mefferd to ask her if she would accept the Reporter job as the co-host. When Janet called to tell me of the bizarre conversation she’d had, she was surprised to hear the full job description of the Reporter role. Imagine Janet not being able to talk about Jesus or Scripture on the radio. I showed her the emails I had received about the new role, and she understood the spirit of what was happening to me, having been in my shoes in a much bigger way.
That job offer was one of many things my pastor confronted the Board about in an open letter to my boss, the Board and the staff, asking that his advertisements and ministry spots be removed, and explaining why he could no longer support the radio station.
My boss gathered the staff and vehemently denied the content of the letter, even assuring them that he did not pursue Janet for a spot in the co-host chair, but that he only reached out to her for an interview. Within hours, I received a call from a very upset staffer who challenged the Janet Mefferd story based on Mike’s denials that he wanted to hire her. Thankfully, Janet has put it right in this letter.
Even now as I write this, I see that the thousands of research articles I’ve written for SUFTT will soon be transferred to a new and improved website, and from what I see all of those stories will have a Mike LeMay byline. All those hours, all that I was passionate to share, now another will take credit.
These past weeks have been hard. When you feel thrown away by those you trusted and had been loyal to, the pain doesn’t go away in a week or even a month. It will take some time to heal. The only possible way to walk this journey is with Jesus Christ, who is my Healer and my Rock. I thank my husband and my many friends who have prayed for me and have reached out in comfort.
My journey now is one of forgiveness, and it’s the hardest command Jesus gives us. But we must forgive those who hurt us, regardless of what they do or don’t do.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 18: 21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”