Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Christian martyr. His name is Bob Eschliman and he was recently fired as the editor of a small Iowa newspaper after writing on his personal blog about Satan being behind the “Gaystapo” that is going to destroy…well, everything. Todd Starnes immediately got an erection and ran to his computer to publish this column.
Bob Eschliman is a Christian. He’s also a veteran news editor. And when he decided to write a column on his personal blog objecting to a gay-friendly version of the Bible, Bob was unceremoniously marched out of the Newton Daily News and shoved out the front door.
After a brief investigation, the Iowa newspaper fired Bob and then publicly castigated him in an editorial. They accused him of compromising the reputation of the newspaper. They said what he wrote resulted in the loss of public trust…
Wednesday, Bob filed formal charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Shaw Media and the Newton Daily News. Attorneys from Liberty Institute allege the newspaper and its parent company are guilty of religious discrimination and retaliation.
And based on my conversations with Liberty Institute attorneys – they’re going to go after the newspaper like a pit bull going after a pork chop.
“No one should be fired for simply expressing their religious beliefs,” Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told me. “That’s exactly what happened to Bob. This kind of religious intolerance has no place in today’s welcoming work force. In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for simply expressing a religious belief that his or her employer may not share.”
But wait…shouldn’t a private employer be allowed to fire anyone they want for any reason? That’s what they demand in regard to gay people, that it’s tyranny to tell a business owner who they can hire and fire. And why should religion be a basis for anti-discrimination law? After all, religion is a choice. No one is born a Christian or a Muslim and people change their religious views all the time. Isn’t that their argument for why LGBT people shouldn’t get protection? But far more people change their religion than change their sexual orientation.
As always, we find that the Christian right’s rhetoric is really just special pleading. They will jettison it in a millisecond the moment it applies to them or to a situation where they don’t like the logical outcome. It’s a cover for Christian privilege, not a serious moral or legal argument.