Robert Dale Eschliman knows what this is about. In his suit, filed with help from the conservative Christian Liberty Institute (formerly the "Free Market Foundation"), Eschliman says this is religious persecution, plain and simple:
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.
But the secular forces of liberal mass media in Jasper County, Iowa, stepped in—first suspending Eschliman, then firing him, then penning an editorial that vowed to find a new editor who "best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers."
Aha! Proof of discrimination, says Eschliman:
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.
Seems reasonable! We may disagree on gay marriage and Biblical principles, but doesn't a guy have a right to express his "sincerely held religious beliefs"? Say, what are Eschliman's beliefs, anyway?
It's hard to say what those beliefs are in their entirety, since Eschliman shut down his blog after a query by journalist Jim Romenesko.
But Romenesko did save a tiny tidbit of those sincere, theologically grounded meditations: "In a Monday post on his personal blog, Bob Eschliman accuses 'the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo' of trying to reword the Bible 'to make their sinful nature right with God,'" Romenesko wrote, before adding a verbatim snippet from that blog post:
[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.
"I asked Eschliman in an email if his paper can cover gay issues fairly and objectively when he's declared gays the enemy," Romenesko wrote. "I also asked if he'd let one of his reporters write a similar blog post."
I would have also asked which chapter and verse in the Gospels details Jesus' warnings about homosexual Nazis, but that's just me. Who am I to judge, other than a Christian who can't find any scriptural basis for publicly ridiculing and insulting gays, lesbians and transgenders as genocidal fascists? These are sincerely held religious beliefs. First Amendment! Sue on, brother Bob.