Woke in the WELS: Black History Program at WISO

An anonymous source forwarded the following email regarding a Black History (month) Program at Wisconsin Lutheran High School on Tuesday, March 14th:


Dear delegates and pastors of the WLHS Conference,

I am writing to apologize for any offense and harm that was caused by parts of our Black History Program from last Tuesday. On behalf of the school’s administration, I ask for your forgiveness for our failure to preview all of the details of the final program. Although Principal Leyrer and I had met with our faculty advisor and the choreographer early in the process and the principal met several times later with the faculty advisor, we never saw, nor reviewed the final product. Next year’s final program will be reviewed completely by the principal and president for content.

Please understand we were proud to showcase student-led presentations celebrating Black history in honor of Black History Month. The students worked for months to produce over 40 minutes of choreography. The performance was streamed to enable parents to view it. After the performance, the live stream was taken down for two reasons: 1. The monologue was a reenactment of a scene from the movie Judas and the Black Messiah that depicted an actual piece of black history but one that needs context. Many were not aware of where it came from and were confused and offended by the content of the monologue without any context. I apologize that this piece was selected rather than other texts which would not have been as controversial. To avoid further confusion and offense in the absence of context, we took the video down. 2. The performance contained various parts, including the monologue, that were copyrighted. Copyright law allows us to live stream a performance like this while it is being performed, but does not allow us to archive the video without permission.

Taking down the video caused more confusion and hurt for many of the performers and their parents who were proud of their hard work. On Friday in chapel, I tried to address the situation and would invite you to view that archived message at https://vimeo.com/808701075. The actual message begins at about the 14:45 mark.

Pain has been caused on many sides. Many experienced discomfort and confusion. Consciences may have been burdened. Claims of racism were made for taking down the video. Concerns were raised about whether WLHS honors specifically the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th commandments. Please be assured that WLHS does not condone violence; respects the police as God’s servants; and seeks to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Co 10:5) while seeking to speak the truth in love. In all of this, Satan is trying to divide us. WLHS is a special gift from God! Our unique ethnic diversity brings both special blessings and challenges. We can’t allow Satan to sow discord and division.

Principal Leyrer and I will continue to be open to receiving your concerns as well as seeking ways to bring healing out of this situation. Above all, we seek your prayers and patience.

In closing, may St. Paul’s words to a diverse community of believers at Colossae encourage our WLHS family: "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Colossians 3:12-15)

Again, I ask for your forgiveness for the errors that were made. We are learning lessons from this incident. Please continue to pray for our students, parents, faculty, and administration as we continue to try to navigate through the pain which was caused.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Ken Fisher, President of WLHS


My source provided details from the presentation I am looking to corroborate and expand. The "Judas and the Black Messiah" bit that Rev. Ficher acknowledged in this letter is, quite frankly, the tip of the iceberg. If you have additional information, pictures, or video, please email me (layman@nihilrule.com). Your anonymity is assured.