Papers, Please?

07.26.14

Fringe Factor: 'Gaystapo' Claims Its Latest 'Victim'

A newspaper editor was fired after comparing gays to Nazis. Now he claims his First Amendment rights to write stupid things were violated.

In April, the goateed editor of the Jasper County, Iowa Newton Daily News, Bob Eschliman, took to his personal blog to talk about Jesus and compare homosexuals to the Gestapo, as one does. When he was then fired, he felt as though he was under attack for his personal choice to live as he pleases — according to his interpretation of the Bible — and presumably saw no irony in that whatsoever.

His incendiary post was promptly deleted (along with the rest of the blog) after being flagged by journalist Jim Romenesko, but it read, in part: "[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."

Eschliman also cleverly referred to non-heterosexuals as "the LGBTQXYZ crowd." With wordsmiths like these in charge, it is sure difficult to believe that print is dying.

After firing Eschliman, the Newton Daily News published an editorial, which stated that although the First Amendment "prohibits the making of any law that impedes the free exercise of religion…" it "does not eliminate responsibility and accountability for one's words and actions."

Eschliman took this to mean that his First Amendment rights were violated, and teamed up with the Liberty Institute, a right-wing Christian advocacy group, to sue — just like Jesus would have done.

In his complaint, Eschliman charges that he "penned a theologically based article stating my sincerely held religious beliefs" and in firing him, "Shaw Media [the paper's parent company] 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."

The Daily Beast reached out to Eschliman to ask about the definition and etymology of the term "Gaystapo." He has not yet responded.

However, according to Urban Dictionary's top result, submitted by user "supafly rabbi," the definition of Gaystapo is, "militant homosexual activists. Instead of thugs they use lawyers to get their way." Supafly Rabbi offers the sample sentence: "massachusetts has been taken over by the gaystapo."

Words related to Gaystapo, according to the site, include: "gay sharia," "homofascism," "homothugs," and "homoerotic enforced harmony."