Vic Eliason

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Victor "Vic" Carl Eliason (born 14 May 1936) is an American evangelical clergyman who is the founder and a prominent on air personality of the VCY America Radio Network, a conservative Christian broadcasting ministry, based in Milwaukee.[1]

Early life[edit]

Victor Carl Eliason was born on May 14, 1936[2] in Fort Dodge, Iowa,[3] the son of lay preacher, Oscar C. Eliason, who served with the Swedish Baptist Church and the Assemblies of God, and Norma Olson (born 1911). Eliason attended Open Bible College, in Des Moines, Iowa. After serving as an associate pastor in Des Moines, Iowa, Eliason was ordained in an unaccredited non-denominational church, in October 1957.[1]

Career[edit]

Vic Eliason in studio

in 1959 Eliason and his wife, Freda (born 13 February 1935),[4] moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1960 Eliason became interim director of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin chapter of Youth for Christ.[5] In May 1961 Eliason went on the air with Voice of Christian Youth, a 30-minute youth-oriented radio show over WBON-FM in Milwaukee.[6] Soon after the ministry had expanded to a full broadcast day, resulting in 1970 in Eliason purchasing WBON for $315,000 and renaming it WVCY-FM.[7] In 1976 Eliason started Crosstalk, a radio talk show with himself as host.[7]

In 1973, Eliason led the Milwaukee Youth for Christ chapter out of the national organization, renaming it "Voice of Christian Youth." Now known as VCY America, it is a Christian broadcasting ministry based in Milwaukee.[1] VCY currently oversees 15-20 stations mostly across the Upper Midwest, depending on the source,[8][9] not including its Internet site, a 24-hour a day, seven days a week, television station in Milwaukee, which is WVCY-TV30, began in 1982,[1] as well as several "translator" and "satellator" stations. VCY America also provides programming via satellite to stations around the country. The ministry is 100 percent funded through listeners' and supporters' donations.

Eliason is a prominent on-air personality for the network, with duties including being one of the regular hosts for the network's morning public affairs program, VCY Today and the afternoon news program, Crosstalk. Eliason also provides the voiceovers for the network's overnight music program, Music 'Til Dawn, which features "mostly conservative, ministry-oriented inspirational music", where tunes are interspersed with verses from the Bible and life-affirming comments.[10]

In 1978 Eliason established the Voice of Christian Youth school, a private Christian K-12 School at 3434 W. Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee.[11] In the early 1990s, the Voice of Christian Youth School merged with Faith Christian Academy and the name of the school was formally changed to Badger State Baptist School,[12] and was relocated to 1170 W. Windlake Ave, Milwaukee.

In 1983 Eliason started WVCY-TV on Channel 30 in Milwaukee.[7] In September 1994 the WVCY-TV board rejected a purchase offer of $10 million from CBS.[13]

Crosstalk[edit]

Vic also sits in on various days for the network's nationally broadcast weekday afternoon public affairs program, Crosstalk, which is taped and rebroadcast every weekday evening; one of those broadcasts is also replayed at noon (CDT) on Saturday as Best of Crosstalk.

Topics range from "the economy, the political scene, the continuing moral collapse of our nation, legislation that affects the family, or the state of evangelicalism.".[14]

Controversy[edit]

Julia Brienza[edit]

After discovering UPI Supreme Court reporter Julia Brienza (born 1962) was a lesbian and had written a free-lance article on "hate radio" for The Washington Blade, a gay newspaper in Washington, DC., Eliason began a national campaign that resulted in Brienza's employment being terminated in April 1990.[15] After Brienza was fired, Eliason stated during his radio show that "'Christianity has triumphed".[16] Later in 1990 Brienza filed a US$12.75 million lawsuit against UPI and Elison for "unlawful job termination" based on her sexual orientation.[17] To settle the case, in April 1995 Eliason agreed to pay Brienza $255,000 and to issue a statement that Gays and Lesbians have the right to work in the media.[18]

Rembert Weakland[edit]

Eliason was vociferous in his opposition to Rembert Weakland,[19] the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Milwaukee, "whom Eliason regarded as a "liberal" for his views on homosexuality and sex education".[20] Weakland's eventual retirement was overshadowed by revelations that he paid $450,000 of diocesan funds to a former male lover to prevent a lawsuit.[21][22]

Personal[edit]

Eliason is married to Freda M. Eliason (born 1935), and the father of three adult children - Andrew Carl Eliason (born about 1964), who is employed as an engineer at VCY; Ingrid J. Schlueter (born about 1966), former producer and co-host of the Crosstalk Radio Talk Show on the VCY America Radio Network (resigned from VCY America in May, 2011) ;[23] and Lisa C. Turner (born about 1968),[24] two of whom work at the radio ministry.

Eliason is the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree given at the 74th Annual Commencement exercises of Bob Jones University in May 2001.[25] Eliason is also a licensed pilot.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Balmer, Randall Herbert, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism (2004), p.228
  2. ^ Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  3. ^ However, one source indicates he was born in Cook, Minnesota. See J. Gordon Melton, Phillip Charles Lucas, and Jon R. Stone, "Vic Eliason" in Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting (Oryx Press, 1997):83.
  4. ^ Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com; Ingrid Schlueter, "50 Years By Faith", (October 20, 2007), http://ingridschlueter.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/50-years-by-faith/
  5. ^ Dick Golembiewski, Milwaukee Television History: The Analog Years (Marquette University Press, 2008):435.
  6. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Religious Leaders of America: A Biographical Guide to Founders and Leaders of Religious Bodies, Churches, and Spiritual Groups in North America, 2nd ed. (Gale Research, 1999):177.
  7. ^ a b c Lucas and Melton, 83.
  8. ^ Broadcasting Stations
  9. ^ Crosstalk - April 7, 2008
  10. ^ Michael C. Keith, Sounds in the Dark: All-night Radio in American Life (Wiley-Blackwell, 2001):45.
  11. ^ "Plans Set for Private High School", The Milwaukee Journal (May 3, 1978):5.
  12. ^ http://friendsofbadgerstate.org/AboutUs/tabid/171/Default.aspx
  13. ^ Tim Cuprisin, "WVCY Spurns Purchase Offer from CBS", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 24, 1994); Tim Cuprisin, "New Paramount Net Signs 2 More in State", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (October 7, 1994).
  14. ^ http://www.vcyamerica.org/crosstalk
  15. ^ Dennis Cauchon, "UPI Reporter Fired After Minister Gripes about Gay Newspaper Work", USA TODAY (May 1, 1990):02.B; John Robinson, "HOMOPHOBIA CLAIMED IN REPORTER'S FIRING", Boston Globe (2 May 1990); Martha A. Schmidt, "Dahmer Discourse and Gay Identity: The Paradox of Queer Politics", Critical Sociology 20 (1995):81ff.
  16. ^ Jason P. Isralowitz, "The Reporter as Citizen: Newspaper Ethics and Constitutional Values", University of Pennsylvania Law Review 141:1 (November 1992):221-281.
  17. ^ Ethan Bronner, "GAY REPORTER TO SUE UPI, SAYING IT FIRED HER UNDER A CLIENT'S PRESSURE", The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) (29 November 1990); Lambda Update 11: 3 (1994):13.; "Brienza v. United Press International (District of Columbia)", SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION: CIVIL RIGHTS, http://www.qrd.org/qrd/orgs/LLDEF/1993/current.cases-11.18.93 (18 November 1993).
  18. ^ "Lesbian Reporter Wins Settlement", The Washington Post (6 April 1995); Media Report to Women 23:2 (1995):10; Eldon Knoche, "Christian Station Settles Suit; Lesbian Journalist Says Campaign by Eliason Led to Her Being Fired", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (7 April 1995). The Daily Labor Report indicated: ""It is an important symbol to have Victor Eliason, a man who devoted his life to conducting hate campaigns, admit that lesbian and gay journalists have a right to participate on equal footing with all others". See Daily Labor Report (1995):A-41.
  19. ^ See, for example, Mary Beth Murphy, "Weakland Comments Blasted", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (May 22, 1990).
  20. ^ Lucas and Melton, 84.
  21. ^ NationalReview
  22. ^ Heinen, Tom; Zahn, Mary (2002-06-01). "Weakland begs for forgiveness". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  23. ^ Newsweek 148:10-18 (2006):9; "Ingrid Schlueter", http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/bio.php?authorid=16
  24. ^ Ingrid Schlueter, "50 Years By Faith", (October 20, 2007), http://ingridschlueter.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/50-years-by-faith/
  25. ^ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (May 22, 2001).

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