Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta, terminated Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran for what he claims was insubordination for handing out copies of his self-published book that echoed the Bible on the sin of homosexuality.
Christians came to Cochran’s defense, gathering at the state capitol in Georgia and signing petitions. He filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
One has to wonder if Mayor Reed would have fired Cochran if he’d handed out a book he’d written on building your self-esteem or how to stop smoking.
Sources report that Cochran is suing the mayor and the city of Atlanta for religious discrimination. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing him.
Cochran said, “No American should live in fear of being fired because of what they believe.”
The mayor stands by his decision with strong words. “I wish Mr. Cochran well, but I’ve tried to make myself very clear. It would take the United States Supreme Court to insist that I hire him back.”
The word “stubborn” comes to mind. Reed added that Cochran needed permission from the ethics department to write a book. But Cochran said there’s no written book-permission policy. Why would someone need permission to write a book just because they work for the government? This is a First Amendment issue all the way — speech and religion.
ADF concluded the same.
“I am heartbroken that I will no longer be able to serve the city and the people I love as fire chief for no reason other than my Christian faith,” Cochran said. “It’s ironic that the city points to tolerance and inclusion as part of its reasoning. What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”
Christians and conservatives know that liberals’ idea of tolerance extends only to liberalism. Tolerance means putting up with differences. It doesn’t require begrudging acceptance of those differences, celebration of those differences, or anything in between.
Photo credit: FEMA/Bill Koplitz