John M. Becker

Iowa Newspaper Editor Fired for Anti-Gay Blog Post

Filed By John M. Becker | May 07, 2014 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: accommodating bigotry, bigotry apologism, Bob Eschliman, Brendan Eich, intolerance, Iowa, martyr, newspaper, religious freedom, religious liberty, special rights, tolerance, tolerating intolerance

bob-eschliman-iowa.jpgThe editor of a small-town newspaper in Iowa has been fired for a post he made on his personal blog slamming what he calls "the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo" for "trying to reword the Bible to make their sinful nature 'right with God.'"

Bob Eschliman, the now-former editor of the Newton Daily News, was referring to the Queen James Bible, an LGBT-friendly reinterpretation of the King James Bible that points out that the word "homosexual" didn't appear in the Bible until 1946. "Queen James" is a reference to the historical King James's many male lovers.

He ranted further:

[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.

More details, after the jump.

Popular media blogger Jim Romenesko reported on Eschliman's post last week and wondered whether it would hamper his abilities to cover LGBT issues impartially in the future:

I asked Eschliman in an email if his paper can cover gay issues fairly and objectively when he's declared gays the enemy. I also asked if he'd let one of his reporters write a similar blog post.

According to the Des Moines Register, officials from Shaw Media, which owns the Newton paper, suspended Eschliman last Wednesday once his blog post made the news. He removed the post (cached version available here) and eventually took down his entire blog.

Yesterday, in a news story and an editorial, the Newton Daily News announced that they were dismissing Mr. Eschliman and searching for a new editor. Shaw Media president John Rung explained that Eschliman was fired because his homophobic comments compromised the public's trust in the paper:

"Last week, Mr. Eschliman expressed an opinion on his personal blog that in no way reflects the opinion of the Newton Daily News or Shaw Media. While Mr. Eschliman is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it...

"Mr. Eschliman 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."

Translation: homophobia is incompatible with our private company's mission and values, so we made the decision to fire him.

I have no doubt that as soon as the Bryan Fischers, Tony Perkinses, and Rush Limbaughs of the national anti-LGBT right get ahold of this story, they'll turn Bob Eschliman into their next cause célèbre a la Brendan Eich -- their newest "religious liberty" martyr -- despite the fact that both cases had nothing to do with essential liberties like speech and religion and everything to do with private companies making private business decisions about who they wanted to represent them.

I wonder, though: will Andrew Sullivan, Jim Burroway, John Corvino, and all the other LGBTs and allies who defended Brendan Eich and his "right" to espouse homophobia without consequence rush to the barricades for Bob Eschliman as well? Should Eschliman's bigoted views, like Eich's, be something we just have to "tolerate?"


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