A recently ousted Ohio Right to Life staffer says she was terminated for refusing to “bend the knee to political correctness” as her former employer insists that a Christian statement of faith she posted on social media that received pushback from a Republican Congressman had nothing to do with her departure.
In an op-ed published by The Blaze Monday, former Ohio Right to Life Communications Director Elizabeth Marbach maintained that she was fired last week because she “refused to be muzzled and bend the knee to political correctness, which my employer saw as a threat to the organization’s ability to remain influential with those in political power and with moderate voters.”
The controversy began when Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, took issue with Ohio Right to Life Communications Director Lizzie Marbach’s Aug. 15 post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, declaring that “There’s no hope for any of us outside of having faith in Jesus Christ alone.” That same day, Miller, who is Jewish, called Marbach’s tweet “one of the most bigoted tweets I have ever seen.”
This is one of the most bigoted tweets I have ever seen.
Delete it, Lizzie.
Religious freedom in the United States applies to every religion.
You have gone too far. https://t.co/QCx8oAT1Kr
— Max Miller (@MaxMillerOH) August 15, 2023
“Delete it, Lizzie,” he added. “Religious freedom in the United States applies to every religion. You have gone too far.”
Two days later, Ohio Right to Life Chief Executive Officer Peter Range announced on X that “Ohio Right to Life can confirm that Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Marbach is no longer employed at Ohio Right to Life.” He insisted that “this decision was not based on any single event as some on social media claim,” adding, “We appreciate Lizzie’s service and wish her the best in future endeavors.”
The following statement can be attributed to Ohio Right to Life @ohiolife:
Ohio Right to Life can confirm that Elizabeth “Lizzie” Marbach is no longer employed at Ohio Right to Life. This decision was not based on any single event as some on social media claim. We appreciate…
— Peter Range (@PeterRange12) August 18, 2023
In her op-ed, Marbach argued that “the last few years have been a non-stop battle between traditional conservatives afraid to appear offensive and the new brazen brand of conservatism that welcomes a struggle for our future.”
She claimed “this same internal battle among conservatives” was the reason for her termination.
“I wanted to fight against abortion more boldly, and the organization was uncomfortable with ruffling feathers to do so,” she wrote.
She elaborated on her disagreements with her former employer, specifically, the fact that the organization’s head opposed a heartbeat bill banning abortions in Ohio after six weeks gestation in the name of “strategy” for over 10 years before supporting it in 2019.
While she said that when she was hired, the new brand of conservatism would be welcome, she was advised not to use terms like “murder” and “evil” to describe abortion and to frame messaging more positively.
“I pleaded for us not to prioritize politics over ending abortion during board meetings, which upset some,” she wrote. “Most frustratingly for them, I post very openly on my personal X (formerly Twitter) account about God and the evil of abortion, while also condemning weak-kneed Republicans who proved themselves useless.”
While she contends that she was fired, Marbach did suggest that her termination would have “happened regardless of the viral exchange with Max Miller.”
“That the exchange with Rep. Miller was not the cause of my firing,” she stated. But she does believe “it played a role in the timing in which it happened.”
She recalled discussing the possibility of “switching roles” two days before her Aug. 17 termination.
Ohio Right to Life released a statement Monday attempting to put to rest the idea that Marbach’s proclamation of faith led to her termination.
“Ohio Right to Life affirms the right and ability of every individual, to include all staff, Board members and affiliates, to express their faith in both their personal and professional life,” the organization asserted.
OHIO RIGHT TO LIFE STATEMENT ON BOARD MEETING AND DEPARTURE OF COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR LIZZIE MARBACH
COLUMBUS, OH – Last week, Ohio Right to Life parted ways with our communications director, Lizzie Marbach. A discussion about Lizzie moving to a different role had been… pic.twitter.com/SlG40pulHh
— Ohio Right to Life #VoteNoInNovember (@ohiolife) August 22, 2023
The Ohio Right to Life board “reaffirmed in a unanimous vote” that Marbach’s statement of faith was “worthy of being advanced by all Christians” while expressing an invitation to “all Ohioans — no matter what their faith — to join us in our work to protect innocent human life.”
The organization stated that “a discussion about Lizzie moving to a different role had been discussed” before the outcry over her remarks and Miller’s reaction to them.
For his part, Miller apologized for condemning Marbach’s tweet as “bigoted” in a post published the same day he shared his initial response.
“I posted something earlier that conveyed a message that I did not intend,” he wrote. “I will not try to hide my mistake or run from it. I sincerely apologize to Lizzie and everyone who read my post.”
I posted something earlier that conveyed a message I did not intend.
I will not try to hide my mistake or run from it.
I sincerely apologize to Lizzie and to everyone who read my post. https://t.co/PNd8iSdNCS
— Max Miller (@MaxMillerOH) August 16, 2023
Ohio Right to Life addressed Miller’s apology as well as concerns that the presence of Miller’s wife, Emily, on the pro-life group’s board may have played a role in Marbach’s departure.
“Lizzie, who acknowledged in an interview that her departure was ‘not due to the exchange with [Congressman] Miller,’ was brave in the face of criticism about her faith and we admire her commitment to boldly proclaim that faith. Congressman Miller was correct to apologize for criticizing Lizzie’s statement of faith,” the Ohio Right to Life statement reads.
“Ohio Right to Life Board Member Emily Miller has never encouraged or asked anyone at Ohio Right to Life to take any personnel action related to Lizzie,” the pro-life organization insisted. “After the public disagreement between Lizzie and Congressman Miller, Emily voluntarily recused herself from board deliberations about Lizzie and today’s board meeting.”
The statement concluded by wishing “Lizzie the best of luck in her career” while expressing confidence that “she’ll do great things.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com
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