Bob Eschliman, the editor of the Newton (Iowa) Daily News, is suing his publisher after he was fired from the newspaper for his anti-gay comments in a personal blogpost.
Eschliman criticized the “LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo,” and a new translation of the King James Bible that removes lines that could be read with “homophobic interpretations.” He called the translation the “Queen James Bible.” Eschliman claimed the “LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” was trying to “reword” the Bible to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.'”
Now, two months after his firing, Eschliman has complained to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the firing, the Des Moines Register reported. He claims his blogpost showed his religious beliefs and the firing exhibited religious discrimination. The Des Moines Register uploaded a copy of the discrimination complaint.
The Newton Daily News is published Monday through Friday in Newton, Iowa and has a circulation of about 4,000 copies, according to Mondo Times.
In a statement by Eschliman attached to the complaint, the now-fired editor said that the newspaper was aware of his blog and previously had no problem with it. “Once I began to work for Newton Daily News, I made them aware and was never asked to stop my private efforts there,” he wrote. “Newton Daily News, my employer, never had a policy prohibiting personal blogging, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media. In fact my employer encouraged us to engage in social media on a personal level.”
He said his “Gaystapo” blogpost was a “theologically based article stating my sincerely held religious beliefs bout [sic] efforts by some to criticize and remold my faith through what I believe is false teaching.” He added that his post included “a variety of sources” including the Bible.
“My comments on my blog were personal in nature and reflective of my sincerely held religious beliefs,” he commented. “Furthermore, I felt compelled by my sincerely held religious beliefs to share my Biblical view with the few folks who read my blog.”
He said he was not given a reason for the firing, but that almost a week earlier he was told he was suspended because the company wanted “to investigate the matter regarding my blog post about my sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Eschliman argued, “There is no question that I was fired for holding and talking about my sincerely held religious beliefs on my personal blog during my off-duty time from the comfort of my own home.”
“There is no dispute that it was my personal blog and not connected to the newspaper,” he wrote. He further claimed the company “directly discriminated against me” over those beliefs.
The Newton Daily News published a news story reporting on Eschliman’s complaint but noted that its publisher Dan Goetz “declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal action.”
iMediaEthics has written to Eschliman’s lawyer and Shaw Media, which owns the newspaper, for comment.
Hat Tip: Roy Greenslade