For those of us in the body of Christ, we are firm believers that when one in the body hurts, we all hurt. We also know Jesus wants us to treat others as we would want others to treat us.
For that reason, here is a cause I feel we must rally around. It’s the case of a brave young journalist who was fired merely for expressing his biblical values.
The new issue of Charisma (in the mail now) features a cover story titled, “Christians in the Bulls-Eye: Why believers are the targets of discrimination in America.”
Bob Eschliman, an award-winning newspaper reporter from Iowa, is the latest example. I identify with him because I lived in Iowa for five years and I began my career as a newspaper reporter.
But what the enemy meant for evil, Bob is using to do something good. Bob has launched an important conservative website called The Iowa Statesman. He’s having a fundraiser through Indiegogo that ends at midnight Jan. 31. I urge you to read his story below and to donate as I have. If even half of those who read this Strang Report gave $15, he would reach his goal.
Remember what Martin Niemöller wrote about the Nazis in World War II:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Former Newspaper Editor Fights Religious Discrimination
I am the former editor-in-chief of the Newton Daily News, a 3,500-circulation weekday evening newspaper. I lost my job because I expressed my deeply held religious views with regard to homosexuality and efforts to rewrite the Bible.
In April of last year, I wrote about The Queen James Bible, which is a rewrite of the King James Bible in which all negative references to homosexuality are removed, and The Reformation Project, which is an effort to convince and/or apply pressure on their pastors to change their teachings with regard to homosexuality.
As a Christian, I felt both were affronts to the infallibility of the inspired Word of God.
I was fired for that because, in the words of my employer, my Christian views “compromised the integrity of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.” Here is a story about my case on libertyinstitute.org. At issue is freedom from workplace religious discrimination.
That was in mid-May. At the time of my firing, I had won nearly 70 awards from the Iowa Newspaper Association and Associated Press Managing Editors, including the INA’s most prestigious journalistic award, the Harrison “Skip” Weber Award for Investigative Journalism.
I am a lifelong Iowan, having lived here almost my entire life (I served in the U.S. Navy for three years before I received a service-connected medical discharge, and I also helped launch a conservative news/politics magazine in Madison, Wisconsin, for six months).
My wife and children are all lifelong Iowa residents, as well. My wife is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed and treated for Stage IV cancer of the tongue and surrounding tissues. And while that was more than 10 years ago, she still has a number of health issues related to the surgical and radiation treatments she needed to live. Her doctors are all here in Iowa, as well.
In short, we really need to stay in Iowa. But because of the attacks of those who don’t like what I wrote, I am unable to otherwise find work in Iowa.
So, in mid-December, I announced I would be launching The Iowa Statesman, a news organization that will cover news and politics from a Christian, politically conservative, point of view. It has begun as a website, but as funding becomes available, my plan is to add a stand-alone print publication that will be available throughout the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Rather than reach out to other big-money investors, who may want to control the editorial direction of the publication, I have instead sought crowd-funding assistance at indiegogo.com. We are also working to get advertisers for both the website and the print publication, and subscribers for the publication.
Right now, we’re seeking $100,000, which would allow us to purchase the appropriate equipment and software we need, and would allow us to hire some additional staff to help me cover the very busy political scene in Iowa. It would also allow us to launch the print publication in early spring.
You can see what I’ve been able to do, on my own, at the iowastatesman.com.
Steve Strang is the founding editor and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).