The former Atlanta Fire chief believes he was fired for his faith, but the mayor is singing a different tune.
In 2008, Kelvin Cochran was promoted to Atlanta Fire Chief. He was very excited to be on the job as it is something he has wanted to do since being a little boy. In 2009, President Obama tapped him to to join the administration as a fire administrator, which he did. He returned to Atlanta in 2010 to resume as Fire Chief.
After a few good years on the job, Cochran decided to write a book and he did. The book fwas for his Baptist Bible study class and called Who Told You That You Were Naked?
The book is Christian based and covers morality with a few passages condemning homosexuality. The book wasn’t as well received by those inside of the Atlanta fire department or the mayors office and Cochran was promptly suspended for 30 days in November of 2014.
On the day Cochran was due to return to the job, Atlant mayor Kasim Reed announced he was fired from the job.
“The LGBT members of our community have a right to be able to express their views and convictions about sexuality and deserve to be respected for their position without hate or discrimination,” Cochran said in an interview. “But Christians also have a right to express our belief regarding our faith and be respected for our position without hate and without discrimination. In the United States, no one should be vilified, hated or discriminated against for expressing their beliefs.”
Cochran contends he didn’t single out homosexuality and only discussed it for a half page in the book. He says he simply spoke about intercourse being for pro-creating and intended for a man and woman in holy matrimony. Everything else is a sin.
Regardless of his intent, the words rippled throughout the fire department and the Mayor’s office. The damage had been done and the mayor felt Cochran created an unfriendly work environment for those who might think differently than he does on the subject or live a lifestyle that he condemns in his book.
People say it is a frightening day when you cannot express your faith anywhere, but where do you draw the line between religious freedom and condemnation of other people? Homosexuality seems to be the whooping stick of many religious figures, but how would these people feel when about those who say their faith and religious organizations tell them black people are a sin?
I’d bet they feel differently.
How about you? What do you say to this matter?
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.