'Gaystapo'? Iowa editor fired over anti-Gay blogpost

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Do gays want to rewrite the Bible to justify their “sinful natures”?

The editor of the Newton (Iowa) Daily News, Bob Eschliman, thinks so and even blogged that, but his employer soon judged his remarks were offensive personal opinions about gays and lesbians.

Eschliman wrote about a new translation of the King James Bible, dubbed the “Queen James Bible” and sold on its website and Amazon.  He criticized in his April 28 blogpost the “LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo.”

“I’d like to talk a little bit about deceivers among us, most notably the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo effort to reword the Bible to make their sinful nature ‘right with God,'” he wrote.

He went on, “If you ask me, it sounds like the Gaystapo is well on its way. We must fight back against the enemy.”

His post criticized the Queen James Bible, which identifies itself as selling “a Gay Bible” and explains it has edited “eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.”

The Bible’s website states, “Homosexuality was first mentioned in the Bible in 1946 in the Revised Standard Version. There is no mention of or reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to this – only interpretations have been made.”

His blog, commonsensebob.wordpress.com, has been deleted.

Jim Romenesko reported last week that after he e-mailed Eschliman to ask about the blog post, the blog was taken down.

John Rung, the president for the Daily News‘ publisher, Shaw Media, explained why Eschliman was fired and distanced the newspaper and Shaw Media from his comments. “While he is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”

Rung preemptively responded to potential critics of the firing, writing:

“There will be some who will criticize our action, and mistakenly cite Mr. Eschliman’s First Amendment rights as a reason he should continue on as editor of the Newton Daily News.

“As previously stated, he has a right to voice his opinion. And we have a right to select an editor who we believe best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers.”

Romenesko reported that Eschliman was initially suspended.

According to a news story on the Daily News website, “Eschliman had been employed at the Daily News since June 2012.”

The Daily News is a Monday-Friday newspaper with a circulation of about 4,200, Mondo Times reports.

iMediaEthics has written to Shaw Media for further comment. We’ve also messaged Eschliman via his Facebook account. We’ll update with any additional information.

Shaw Media said it is looking for his replacement.  “This was a very difficult situation,” Shaw Media’s Dan Goetz said. “I cannot directly comment on a personnel matter. We are moving on.”

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‘Gaystapo’? Iowa editor fired over anti-Gay blogpost

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