Former Newton Daily News editor-in-chief Bob Eschliman filed a lawsuit last week alleging unlawful termination after being fired for defending his religious beliefs online.
Eschliman wrote a post on his personal blog defending biblical marriage, and was fired because his beliefs "did not in any way align with the beliefs of Shaw Media" – his employer.
The former editor operated a WordPress blog called Common Sense Bob, which has since been deleted. In April, Eschliman wrote a post entitled "The Deceivers are Hard at Work," in which he blasts a translation of scripture called the "Queen James Bible." The Queen James version was "edited to prevent homophobic misinterpretation of God's Word," and is called a "gay Bible" by its translators.
Eschliman wrote on his blog that the Queen James Bible was a way for the "the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo" to try to "make their sinful nature 'right with God.'"
"[Jesus] said there would be deceivers," Eschliman said. "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."
After receiving criticism from commenters and other bloggers, Eschliman deleted his blog, and was placed on paid leave at the Newton Daily News pending an investigation. On May 5, he was fired.
The next day, the newspaper published an editorial explaining the reason for the firing, stating that although Eschliman "is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it."
The Liberty Institute, who represents the ousted editor, strongly disagrees.
"No one should be fired because of their faith," they said in a statement. "Firing a person for his or her sincerely-held religious beliefs is against the law in the United States, and if this wrong is not brought to justice, the freedom of religious expression will quickly begin to deteriorate."
The Institute also said that Eschliman has been blacklisted following his termination, and is on unemployment.
Shaw Media has not commented on the pending case.