Editor Who Was Fired After Complaining About The “Gaystapo” Cries Religious Discrimination

Bob-EschlimanIs it okay for a newspaper editor to be a raving bigot? Apparently, Bob Eschliman thinks so, as long as you’re a Christian. Eschliman was canned from his job at the Newton (Iowa) Daily News after he went on a tear about gay rights on his personal blog. Now Eschliman has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, claiming he’s a victim of religious discrimination.

On his blog, Eschliman complained that “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” were trying “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’”

Not content to leave it there, Eschliman went on:

[Jesus] said there would be deceivers. He said those deceivers would cause Christians who remain true to His teachings to become reviled. He said false prophets would follow to deceive even more, and that lawlessness will abound.

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

Not surprisingly, Eschliman’s employer, Shaw Media, didn’t take too kindly to the rant about the “Queen James Bible.” At first they suspended him without pay and then they fired him. The paper then followed up with an editorial taking Eschliman to task.

“Last week, he expressed an opinion in his personal blog that in no way reflects the opinion of the Newton Daily News or Shaw Media,” Shaw Media President John Rung wrote. “While he is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”

Eschliman is now complaining that he’s the victim of religious discrimination. He’s getting legal help from the Liberty Institute, a Christian-right legal group. Liberty Institute is best known for representing Phillip Monk, an Air Force Master Sergeant who complained that he was demoted for disagreeing with his superior office about marriage equality. (The Air Force said he was reassigned, not demoted, because he wouldn’t keep his views to himself, as ordered, instead of sharing them with new trainees.)

If Eschliman’s complaint isn’t settled to this satisfaction, he can sue Shaw Media. He may have a case because he was expressing his views in a private setting, not through the newspaper. Still, it’s not like he was using a simple “love the sinner, hate the sinner message,” instead going for over-the-top offensiveness.

“Certainly, his bosses at Shaw Media did what they felt they needed to do. I find his words disconcerting,” said Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT organization. “I am not a lawyer, but if he were working for me, I would fire him.”

Photo credit: Liberty Institute

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  • Billy Budd

    I hope he doesn’t get a penny out of this. I would easily donate money to help pay for the defense against his accusation.

  • Caliban

    “Gaystapo” is a POLITICAL term, not a religious one.

    If he’d said “I believe that homosexuality is condemned by the Bible” he’d *still* be an idiot, but that is a common interpretation of that religious text.

    “Gaystapo” however is some Fox News/Right Wing BS.

  • rand503

    There’s nothing religious about his writings. He is merely attempting to hide behind the First Amendment and have a protect him from the consequences of his writings. He will likely lose, because employers have a right to fire you for any reason at all. Of course, the exceptions are they cannot fire you if you are part of a protected class and the reason for firing you is only because you’re in that protected class.

    So for instance, if he were a Methodist, and his boss says I’m going to fire you because I don’t like Methodists on my staff, then he would have a case. But in this case, there’s nothing religious about his writings and he is not being fired for his status as a member in a religious group. That’s the difference.

    It’s funny and ironic because conservatives want employers to be able to fire anyone for any reason at all. They also want the right to fire anyone if they are gay. But they don’t want to take a dose of their medicine.

  • Gothrykke

    If he gets his way in court, does that mean we can round him up, beat him, shave him bald, and put him in an oven?

  • Cam

    Unless he belongs to a church that demands you proselytize about hating gays there is no case. He ranted about hating a group of people who are most likely customers of the company that employed him. There is no constitutional exemption for people that harm their business by pissing off customers.

  • cformusic

    oh they gon’ learn time learn to watch your mouth boo boo

  • 1EqualityUSA

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  • MarionPaige

    The EEOC is charged with enforcing The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and, the only remedy available under the act is back pay. An individual (unlike a class) has very little to gain from Title VII because any judgement deducts income you earn from other employment from any back pay award. THE POINT is that filing a complaint with the EEOC does not mean that the guy intends to sue in court pursuant to Title VII. There are other grounds under which the guy can sue in court.

    A bigger issue is WHO IS GAY? Certainly there has never been any election in which gay people stepped up. And, even the biggest gay media companies have very little actual subscriptions from gay people. My Point being that THE GAY COMMUNITY is essentially “straight” media companies like the New York Times and The Washington POst because they decide or declare what The Gay Community allegedly wants. The best example is Gay Marriage; it is clearly not a Gay Community Issue.

    I would further say that there is enough money spent on donations to GAY, advertising allegedly directed at GAY and EEO money directed at GAY to probably equal just giving every gay person in American about $100,000 per year. A couple of years ago, an columnist said that if you take all of the government programs directed at American Indians it would amount to giving every American Indian in America $60,000 per year.

  • DuMaurier


    You’re completely right. Conflating a group with the Gestapo is objectively offensive. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 you can’t fire an employee for having and expressing even unpopular religious views, but there always has to be a line. Even with the First Amendment (which is not the basis of his lawsuit) there are lines; you actually CAN go to jail for your speech in certain circumstances.

  • MarionPaige

    One has to ask: “HOw would anyone go about proving that the majority of gay people in America are actually in line with what is being claimed as “gay issues” by the media?” Gay People in American haven’t voted any one their reps and people like Andy Towle have no problem with declaring themselves spokesmen for The Gay Community. As I see it, the Gestapo reference is not to actual gay people but rather to the individuals and orgs who / that have declared themselves representatives for gay people. As I see it, no person and no org has the data to prove that it represents gay people. When Towle declared in the media that “Gay People were dissatified with Obama?” Who were these gay people he was claiming to represent?

  • MarionPaige

    As we speak, there are some organizations most people here have probably never heard of fighting over THE RIGHT to represent THE GAY COMMUNITY in re the ownership of gay domain names (like .gay for example)

  • Lvng1tor

    While I’m glad that he is no longer the editor of the paper I do have issues with people loosing their jobs by expressing in their private time their personal opinions. If it didn’t affect his job then I don’t see the issue. I’m sure the paper has a company clause about discrimination and intellectual property that he broke. That’s the companies right. I just still have an issue with it.

  • Caliban

    @Lvng1tor: This is a special situation. He was the editor of a newspaper so whatever he writes for publication on his personal blog would be perceived as editorial policy for that paper. It isn’t the same as if he were a plumber with a blog because he decides what stories are printed by that paper and how they are written.

    And personally I think his use of the term “gaystapo” exposes him as rather dimwitted and easily led. It’s just lazy, Limbaugh-esque cutesy name-calling, which demonstrates a complete lack of deep or nuanced thinking.

    Really? “Gays are JUST LIKE Nazis!” Well, maybe if you’re a moron and have a VERY shallow understanding of the Holocaust and what true oppression is. If nothing else it’s an insult to those who suffered from Nazi persecution (which happens to include gays).

    It would be no better if a newspaper editor referred to Tea Party members as “Tea-Tards.”

  • Lvng1tor

    @Caliban: There is nothing special about this situation. It’s how the company he worked for has policies and does not want to be associated with someone who thinks a certain way and express’ it on his private time publicly….”could be” perceived not “would be” that’s why I included the intellectual property in my comment. Hey, I’m glad anytime a jagwad like this gets shouted out but I worry about overly pc police going after the plumbers next. If it doesn’t affect your job then I don’t see the issue. Obviously he broke his papers policy…He will no doubt find a great job at the Blaze or Faux news where he will be a celebrated martyr. His claim of religious discrimination is bull…he got fired for policy violations…Gave him a great big audience though!

  • Nowuvedoneit

    @Lvng1tor: You are right, he probably got more traffic to his blog now and will probably go on Fox News.

  • NoCagada

    He will probably end up in the ER one day with a strange foreign object stuck up his fat ass.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Shaw Media does have an out. Just hire someone to shoot the bastard!!!

  • JimboinLA

    Waaa! Waaaa! You have to tolerate my intolerance because RELIGION!! Waaa Waaa Waaa! I love the age we live in right now.

  • Cam

    Uh Oh, one of the stockholder’s religions says he has to fire the guy. Ooops, by fighting back he is being intolerant of THAT guy’s religion.

  • Perfida Limpin

    He’s as ugly as his bigoted views. Gross.

  • Matt G

    well, I think it depends honestly on how much of his personal blog had crossover into his professional life- if he identifies himself as Bob Eschliman, editor of the Newton, IA newspaper it’s different, IMO, than if he has a personal blog with a username, a private email account, not specifically identified, etc

  • transiteer

    Ahhh . . . the ‘religion’ card. Except he doesn’t live the christian life at all, he’s just using religion as his excuse to be a mean, hateful a**hole. As for what Jesus said – which one?? The Holy Book describes at least 4 different Jesuses and all are completely different from the others. His religion is Fake.

Comments are closed.