“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell
In November 2005 the administration of New Saint Andrews College held a vote among the fellows to determine if Nate Wilson (now called N.D. Wilson) should be promoted to fellow. NSA President Roy Atwood,1 with a full knowledge of founder Doug Wilson’s enthusiastic support for nepotism, conducted the Potemkin election.
Dr. Louis Schuler, affectionately known as “Duck,” was one of only three fellows with Ph.Ds. on the New St. Andrew’s faculty. In addition to his teaching load, Dr. Schuler wrote a column for Credenda/Agenda, a self-described Trinitarian journal that ten years ago was the chief means of spreading Doug Wilson’s worldview. Dr. Schuler also led the Kirk in song every Sunday morning, while Mrs. Kim Schuler played piano. And Dr. Schuler is the genius responsible for the Cantus Christi — no Duck, no Colchester. To be clear, Dr. Louis Schuler is an upright man in whom there is no guile.
Unfortunately, Dr. Schuler believed he had the right to vote against promoting N. D. Wilson, which is what he did. He did not know the point of the election was to ratify the predetermined result. Consequently, Dr. Atwood took Dr. Schuler aside and informed him, “That’s not how we do things around here.” Dr. Schuler replied, “Then why did you ask for my vote if you didn’t want to know my opinion?” He did not understand this was not a conversation; it was his last chance to recast his ballot. Dr. Atwood did not answer his question and referred the matter to Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow.
Doug Wilson remedied the problem of Dr. Schuler’s unwelcome dissent by drafting a three-page contract. The first 2 ½ pages of the agreement were not disagreeable, except that they replaced the preexisting spirit of the law with the letter of the law, which essentially made it a de facto probationary contract. This point becomes obvious when you realize that no one else had to sign it. Mr. Wilson specifically tailored it for Dr. Schuler, which brings us to the real reason Mr. Wilson wrote it:
Commitment to Loyalty
I pledge to conduct myself in such a way that no one could ever question my loyalty to the peace and purity of Christ Church. This includes refusing to speak to any unauthorized person about grievances I might have, and includes refusing to hear any such criticisms as well. If commitment to this standard in any way compromises my conscience, then I understand that my resignation will be accepted, without notice, and without prejudice.
The Commitment to Loyalty was the final condition of Dr. Schuler’s employment at New St. Andrews College and the only reason Mr. Wilson wrote the contract. It needs no interpretation. Its intent is clear. Even the specific ambiguity of “unauthorized person” is plain — it means anyone. Mr. Wilson strictly prohibits dissent of any kind and he punishes it with instant termination.
Dr. Schuler responded to Mr. Wilson’s ridiculous terms by exemplifying the obedience of a Christian man. He told Mr. Wilson to pound sand and resigned his fellowship at NSA as well as his household’s membership in the Kirk.
In hindsight, no one knows if the Kirk elders authorized Mr. Wilson to deliver this ultimatum to Dr. Schuler, but if you think about it, who among them would say no? If Mr. Wilson required total submission from Dr. Schuler, then why would he require less from his officers? This means that if you ask a Kirk elder what he thinks about the Christ Church Commitment to Loyalty and he says he agrees with it, you cannot really know if he’s telling you the truth. Is he dissembling or has he totally submitted his life — thoughts, words, and deeds — to Mr. Wilson’s totalitarianism?
And when you grasp the ramifications of this truth, perhaps you should ask yourself, “Why am I still here?”