The City of Atlanta’s Charter and Code of Ordinances prohibits discrimination based on multiple factors, including creed. But that didn’t stop Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed from violating the city ordinance and handing a pink slip to Atlanta Fire Chief Kevin Cochran purely on the grounds of Cochran’s faith.
Reed’s complaint against Cochran is that he authored a book for his men’s Bible study that upholds the biblical view of sexuality, a book that contradicts the homosexual agenda. After first giving Cochran a month-long suspension without pay in November, Reed announced he would be fired. Before losing his job, however, Cochran was required to complete sensitivity training and was prohibited from distributing copies of his book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?,” on city property.
American Family Association (www.afa.net) says Cochran’s firing is yet another example of the stripping away of religious liberties in America.
“It’s amazing that Mayor Reed believes it within his authority not only to openly violate his own city’s non-discrimination ordinance but also to target an individual for his faith—in a nation one of whose pillars is religious freedom,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “These open attacks against God-given and constitutionally protected liberty have no place in our society, and the vengeful homosexual lobby that seeks to silence other views because it can’t abide the fact that someone might disagree with them reflects a serious threat to all our First Amendment freedoms, including religion, speech and assembly. Remember, these are freedoms not given by government but merely protected by government. And the City of Atlanta today has failed miserably in its obligation to protect liberty.”
Just one-half of a page of Cochran’s 160-page book on biblical morality addresses homosexuality, where Cochran wrote that sex was created by God for pro-creation and that He intended it to be between a married man and woman. “Any other sex outside of that,” Cochran said, including sex outside of marriage, “is a sin.”
“Chief Cochran’s situation in Atlanta is a reminder of why these freedoms are so crucial,” Wildmon added. “AFA has worked tirelessly to educate the American people about their freedoms and to raise awareness of how they can defend them."
“Furthermore, this situation exposes the incredible double standard the left lives by,” Wildmon continued. “Where is the outrage from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the NAACP that an African-American public servant has been stripped of his civil rights? The silence is deafening.”
Cochran told Fox News, “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. 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.”
Church leaders in Atlanta says Cochran’s firing has everything to do with his religious beliefs, according to a report by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, who also reported that the Georgia Baptist Convention has started a petition to reinstate Cochran. AFA also sent an Action Alert to its one million plus friends and supporters recently that highlighted a similar petition.
Concerned citizens can also take action in other ways to stand with Chief Cochran, including:
1. Calling Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at (404) 330-6100.
2. Connecting with the Mayor on social media via Facebook, Twitter or the “Meet the Mayor” page of the City of Atlanta web site.
3. Emailing Mayor Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fact that Cochran was fired this month—and so many others are battling for their religious freedom—is ironic, as January 16 is Religious Freedom Day, as declared each year by the President.
Chief Cochran certainly isn’t the first whose livelihood has been threatened for his religious views. An Oregon baker closed her shop, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, in September 2013, after she was faced with a $150,000 fine for violating Oregon’s anti-discrimination law when she declined a request to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.
Then, just last week, a judge ruled that the state of Washington has the authority to bring a consumer protection lawsuit against a florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding, according to an Associated Press story. The florist, Barronelle Stutzman, and her shop, Arlene’s Flowers, could be held liable for violating the Consumer Protection Act.
Now, Stutzman is being sued, and the state attorney general is asking for a permanent injunction requiring Stutzman and her shop to comply with the law.
In 2014, AFA released the 60-minute documentary, “A Time to Speak: The Threat to Religious Liberty in America,” which highlights the urgent need for Christians to pray, speak out and vote. A preview of the film is available for viewing at www.ATimeToSpeak.com, and DVDs of the documentary are available for purchase through the AFA Online Store.