Anti-gay haters lined up with former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran before he was fired. Since he got axed, Cochran is getting in bed with anti-gay religious organizations that plan to rally for him on Tuesday.
The senior pastor at Cochran's church, Elizabeth Baptist Church, blasted Mayor Kasim Reed on Sunday for sacking the fire chief five days earlier, putting a religious exclamation point on a round of criticism from conservative and anti-gay groups.
“Just because you sign my paycheck,” said Dr. Craig L. Oliver Sr., senior pastor at Elizabeth Baptist Church, “doesn’t mean you can control what I think or say.”
Reed fired Cochran on Tuesday for his book that includes anti-gay statements after an internal investigation showed that he violated city policy, even if he did punish Chick-fil-A supporters that one time. But the mayor carefully spelled out that Cochran was fired over his judgment and not his religious beliefs, as critics (and the ex chief) have claimed. LGBT activists and the city's firefighter union applauded the firing.
Cochran went on the offensive during a 30-day suspension in December, speaking to the Georgia Baptist Convention and a Newnan church, moves that Reed said contributed to his dismissal. Cochran never took a breath, holding court for the media on the day he was fired and attempting to portray his anti-gay sentiments in religious terms and not homophobia or hatred.
But that effort, which included a lengthy prepared statement on Jan. 6 and an interview with the GA Voice, were again undercut on Sunday when Cochran issued another statement, this one through the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“This happened to me, but it’s really not about me,” Cochran’s statement read. “It’s a warning to every American that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are hanging by a thread, which will snap if we don’t fight to preserve these cherished protections.”
The Arizona-based group enjoys a track record of fighting LGBT issues and causes. It's entered the fray over an equal rights ordinance in Houston, hosted anti-gay WSB radio pundit Erick Erickson at a conference, written the anti-gay "religious freedom" bills that surfaced in Georgia and other state legislatures, and fought on behalf of an Atlanta woman who worked for a public health agency and was fired for refusing to counsel a lesbian.
Alliance Defending Freedom also says this about marriage equality on its website:
Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is not the only threat weakening the institution. It is, however, the most prominent and pressing danger to fundamentally altering marriage, as it undermines the good that marriage provides society. Moreover, redefining marriage is at odds with religious freedom, as we see more and more that those who believe in marriage are politically, culturally, and legally persecuted for those beliefs. Countless people – from small business owners to Catholic hospitals, school counselors, professors, and students, to chaplains and churches – who will not promote or condone the redefinition of marriage are already under serious legal assault for their faith.
Redefining marriage is ultimately part of a larger effort to redesign society in order to give social approval of homosexual behavior, and to empower social acceptance of a forgery of gender and sexual practice at odds with natural law and the faith of millions.Together with our allies, Alliance Defending Freedom has worked to strengthen and protect marriage and families for nearly two decades through strategy, training, litigation, and various forms of legal advocacy. Explore this page to better understand the issue of marriage and what redefining marriage means for you.
On Tuesday, Cochran will continue his crusade with the help of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Cochran spoke to the group in December and they responded by rallying to his side and launching an online petition and lobbying campaign. Now, the anti-gay religious organization is hosting a rally for Cochran on Tuesday at the State Capitol.
On Tuesday, January 13 come to the Georgia State Capitol and stand with Christians from around our state!
The unjust firing of Chief Kelvin Cochran by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has awakened believers from around our state and nation to the reality of Christian discrimination in the workplace. Now is the time for all Bible-believing Christians to show their support for Chief Cochran’s courage and for our First Amendment rights as American citizens!
Come stand for your faith and against anti-Christian bigotry with Chief Kelvin Cochran, pastors, church leaders and Christians. We will conclude our time together by walking to City Hall for a time of prayer.
After that, Cochran's supporters plan to march on City Hall, which is a few blocks from the Gold Dome.
Cochran still clings to his antiquated, anti-gay views by arguing that they come directly from the Bible, nevermind the scores of biblical passages debunked for their outrageousness. (Slavery, anyone?) Of course, Cochran also leans on that oldie but a goodie "love the sinner, hate the sine" mentality.
"It was not my intent to be hurtful to anyone," Cochran said after his firing. "I want to say for the record that my spiritual convictions regarding sexuality do not equate to anger or hatred or malice towards LGBT members. The greatest of my Christian values is a love without conviction for all humankind."
Except that Cochran aligned himself with anti-gay religious groups before he was fired, rallied anti-gay extremists since and will likely use their resources to sue the city over his termination. All while he marches hand-in-hand with them on Tuesday.