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Bob Eschliman: A Matter Of The Separation of Church and State

Bob Eschliman: 
A Matter Of The Separation of Church and State

This could get interesting…

From Newton, Iowa: another great reason to leave Iowa!

On the surface, it would seem very simple: company fires raging homophobe.  But if you dig just a bit deeper, you will see that this is something of a precedent setter.

Bob Eschliman the, now, former editor of the Newton Daily News, has filed a lawsuit claiming he is the victim of religious discrimination on the part of his former employers, Shaw Media, Inc.   The company fired Mr. Eschliman after he posted an editorial to his blog that was critical of what he referred to as “the Gaystopo” and “the LGBTQXYZ crowd” who are trying “to reword the Bible to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’”

Bob got canned and then filed his lawsuit.  And it raises a lot of questions.

Was Bob being a hateful bigot, which I am sure, is against his employment agreement, or was he exercising his right to free speech?

You see, in the bulk of this country, gender-identity/sexual preference discrimination is still not held in the same light as the issues of race or gender.  People still think it’s okay to say nasty things and condemn people for being anything other than straight, just as some people still think it’s okay to say hateful things about women.  But throw the issue of race into the arena, and, with the exception of a limited amount of people identifying as white supremacists, the majority of people would agree that it is not cool to denigrate people because of the color of their skin.  If that were the issue in this case, I don’t think anyone would feel Mr. Eschliman termination was anything but just.

However, he’s using that book, ‘The Bible’, as a means of justifying his speech, claiming it to be religious in nature – which brings us to the crux of the problem.

This country was not founded on Christian values, as so many conservatives would like us all to believe. In fact, the exact opposite would seem to be true.  The founding fathers made it explicit that they wanted to avoid all this confusion

The lines separating church from state in this country became incredibly blurred back in the 1950’s during McCarthy’s ‘Red Scare’ period. The de facto motto of the United States back in 1782 was ‘E. Pluribus Unum’ (Out of man, one).  That was change in 1956 to “In God We Trust”, which was then added to our currency a year later.  The pledge of allegiance was re-written to include a reference to this same ‘God’ that same year.  All of this was done in reaction to the supposed threat of communism. 

The original constitution contained only one reference to religion, that being: “No religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”.

Which brings to mind the all those states with statutes stipulating that in order to run for public office, one must acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being. (Would Satan qualify?)  But that is another issue…

Will Mr. Eschliman prevail?

It would seem with the Supreme Court’s recent ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision that he might.

Which would be sad for those of us who are members of ‘the Gaystopo’, as we tend to resent being characterized as having a “sinful nature”. 

In this case, I hope that his homophobic blog posting is not the only reason Bob was fired.  People who hold a high profile job and don’t possess the common sense to keep their bigotry under wraps have a habit of bringing other less than enlightened issues to the office; let’s hope that’s the case with Bob.  Let’s also hope that Shaw Media, Inc. had enough savvy to place some kind of ‘anti-hate rant’ clause in Bob’s contract, because, you know, having a homophobe as the editor of one of their newspapers could very well reflect negatively on them and hurt their place in the market.

Which also brings to the surface a question journalistic in nature: should editors of media be held to higher standards?  Answer: well, obviously, of course not. 

Otherwise Fox News would not exist. 

Of course, if it wasn’t for the ‘Red Scare’ back in the fifties, Fox News probably wouldn’t exist anyway and people like Mr. Eschliman wouldn’t have a chance in hell (you know, that place where those people who believe in ‘The Bible’ believe Satan is the Supreme Being?). 

No, this is not the argument it would appear.  This is not a matter of a bigot vs. the gays. Or a matter of the right to employment.  Or the right to free speech.

Will the separation of church and state, as intended by our founding forefathers ever, truly be restored?

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