* Atlanta Fire Chief says, "I was fired because of my Christian faith."
On Tuesday of this week, the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia fired the city Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. This came at the end of a 30-day suspension. The cause traces back to a book Cochran wrote and published (originally for a Bible study at his church).
According to the mayor, he disagrees with and is "deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community" and "Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the Administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all of her citizens."
City council member Alex Wan supported the mayor's termination of Cochran. He stated, "I support the administration's decision to terminate Kelvin Cochran's employment with the City of Atlanta. This sends a strong message to employees about how much we value diversity and how we adhere to a non-discriminatory environment."
Wan's statement is revealing. In the environment where diversity is valued, the diversity of a Christian who believes homosexual sex is immoral is not valued. One can believe anything as long as you don't believe anything is immoral. (If I write a book that mentions adultery is a sin, have I violated the diversity code of the workplace?)
Fire Chief Cochran said, "LGBT citizens deserve the right to express their belief regarding sexual orientation and deserve to be respected for their position without hate and discrimination, but Christians also have the right to express their beliefs as well."
The mayor was careful to steer the discussion away from freedom of religion and free speech. “This is about judgment,” he said, “This is not about religious freedom. This is not about free speech. Judgment is the basis of the problem.” The mayor has made no claim that the fire chief discriminated against anyone, but rather said that Cochran "violated the city's code of conduct." Whatever that means. Perhaps this is related to a "he said-he said" controversy in which the mayor claims his administration was not notified of the book before it was published, while the fire chief said "the director of Atlanta’s ethics office had not only given him permission to write the book, but to also mention in his biography that he was the city’s fire chief."
Ultimately, as I take it, the best the critics have to offer is not that Cochran discriminated against anyone on the basis of "sexuality" but that he merely had the potential to do so! While many profess to be deeply offended, it appears many of them have never read Cochran's book and simply take issue with the fact that (they have heard) he believes homosexuality is a sin. According to some reports homosexuality is only referenced once in the 160 page book, as a sexual sin against God. I have ordered the book and hope to report back what I find.