Bob Eschliman, the former editor of a small-town Iowa newspaper who was fired in May over a vitriolic anti-LGBT Facebook rant, is fighting back: he's filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming he was terminated because of his Christian beliefs.
Of course, that couldn't be further from the truth: Eschliman was dismissed because the privately-owned company he worked for decided that his inflammatory homophobic statements -- including claims that "the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo" are "trying to reword the Bible to make their sinful nature 'right with God'" -- compromised the public's trust in the paper's ability to report the news impartially. They further decided that homophobia is incompatible with their mission and values. But as far as Eschliman is concerned, that's tantamount to religious discrimination.
From his EEOC filing:
"On April 28, 2014, I penned a theologically based article stating my sincerely held religious beliefs about efforts by some to criticize and remold my faith through what I believe is false teaching. In my article, I quoted at length from a variety of sources, most prominently, from the Holy Bible.
"That blog post described my sincerely held religious beliefs regarding Holy Scripture and the definition of marriage. My comments on my blog were personal in nature and reflective of my sincerely held religious beliefs. Furthermore, I felt compelled by my sincerely held religious beliefs to share my Biblical view with the few folks who read my blog."
Of his firing, Eschliman writes:
"I would like to have obtained a religious accommodation for my sincerely held religious belief to share my Biblical view with the few family members and friends who read my blog. Shaw Media directly discriminated against me because of my religious beliefs and my identity as an evangelical Christian who believes in Holy Scripture and the Biblical view of marriage. Moreover, Shaw Media announced that not only were they firing me based upon my religious beliefs, but that they would not hire or allow anyone to work at Shaw Media who holds religious beliefs similar to mine, which would include an automatic denial of any accommodation of those who share my sincerely held religious beliefs."
Just as I predicted back in May, Eschliman is becoming the right wing's next cause célèbre, the newest "martyr" in their crusade for special rights under the guise of so-called "religious freedom" -- he's being represented by an attorney from the Liberty Institute, which Raw Story describes as "a Christian law practice dedicated to injecting faith into public policy and to fighting efforts by the courts to separate matters of church and state."
Equally predictably, Eschliman's attorney is accusing the company of "intolerance" toward his client's disgustingly intolerant views: "In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing a religious belief in public. This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today's welcoming workforce."
Pure bullshit. Let's hope the good people over at the EEOC don't fall for it.
A copy of Eschliman's complaint is after the jump.