On August 11, 2021, I was fired by Veritas Academy after only two weeks of employment.
I was given two reasons:
- I had publicly decried the behavior of Douglas Wilson on my personal Facebook page a year prior.
- I had used the pronoun “she” to refer to the Holy Spirit in my essay, “I Survived a Rural Evangelical Daddy Cult.”
The drama over these firing offenses played out over the course of an anxiety-ridden five days, August 6-11, 2021. On Friday, August 6, Bruce Etter, the Dean of Academics–and my boss–called me with some concerns. A parent of one of my incoming students had googled my name. This parent–a local preacher, I was given to understand, though I was offered no other identifying information–had emailed Ty and Bruce a list of six grave concerns about me based on what he had found on the internet.
They were these:
Bruce asked me to respond to all of these questions in an email addressed to both him and Ty Fischer in order to try and resolve the parent’s concerns–which were now also to some degree their concerns as well. I scrapped my plans for the day–which had included making salsa out of my garden tomatoes with my best friend who was visiting from out of state–and spent the entire afternoon and evening writing that email and then engaging in further conversation with Bruce and Ty.
It was excruciating. I felt eviscerated. And I still did what they asked, the best way I knew how. Including agreeing to come in to Ty’s office the next day–a Saturday–to be grilled further upon the matter since my written answers were apparently insufficient.
I agreed, on the condition that my friend could accompany me. She did and can testify to what follows.
On Saturday afternoon, August 7, I sat with knots in my stomach and listened to Ty Fischer tell me how heavy the past 24 hours had been for him, how much the whole matter was weighing him down; how he, too, had grown up in southern Indiana, in the same broad area where a majority of my abuse had taken place, and how this gave him a sense of kinship with me; how my essay, which he had now taken the time to read due to the scrutiny it had incurred since my hiring, had moved him and inspired him to be a better father, himself; how there are, of course, two sides to every story regarding the supposed problems with Doug Wilson; how Ty had heard nothing of certain incidents regarding abuses at Doug’s church, which Ty only briefly allowed me to convey and, therefore, found negligible; and how he, Ty, had personally read all of Ride, Sally, Ride, enjoyed it, could not think of why I would have issues with it–the novel about a sex robot written by a pastor–and concluded that my distaste for it was premature based upon the fact that I had not read the whole thing.
My friend confirmed for me, later, that while we had spent about an hour and a half in Ty and Bruce’s company, I had been allowed to speak for perhaps 20 minutes of that time. Time supposedly intended for a weekend interrogation where I was to give an account of my personal convictions–none of which had any bearing on my professional conduct or suitability for my job.
It became very clear to me, in that conversation, that Ty Fischer’s goal was not to understand me better, or even properly; it was to assure himself that he and I did not see eye-to-eye on two subjects of utmost importance to him: the legitimacy of Douglas Wilson, and my account of a personal experience with the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the conversation, Ty said, “Well, now I feel a lot better.”
My friend took that as a hopeful sign–that the matter had been resolved, and that I would move forward in my employment at Veritas Academy.
My gut told me differently. My gut told me Ty felt better because he had solidified his decision to get rid of me.
The following Tuesday morning, I received a phone call confirming exactly that.