Atlanta Fire Chief Fired For Views On Homosexuality
A fire chief in Atlanta has officially been fired on Tuesday by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for self-publishing a book, in which he argued that homosexuality was immoral, GA Voice reports.
The initial review period which began at the end of fire chief Kelvin Cochran’s November suspension is now over. Cochran’s termination finally came in on Tuesday, and gay advocacy groups moved quickly to reiterate their support of the mayor and condemnation of Cochran.
“Certainly we agree with Mayor Reed’s position on this and his rationale for it,” said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham, who called for Cochran’s firing in November.
“This is not about his religious views but his ability to lead a diverse work force,” he said. “I feel the mayor has done the right thing to ensure all employees are treated fairly.”
Back in November, Reed placed Cochran on suspension without pay and forced him into sensitivity training after it was discovered that Cochran had argued that homosexuality is immoral. Cochran self-published a book in 2013 entitled “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” which is available at Amazon, and in it, he classified homosexuality as an affront to purity: “Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”
As an Elizabeth Baptist Church member and deacon, Cochran originally wrote the book to encourage men to “fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, community and business leaders-world changers!”
According to the summary of the book, “From God’s perspective nakedness meant so much more. It meant condemnation and deprivation to his most precious creation-mankind.” For Cochran, redeemed men no longer need to live their lives under curse and condemnation. In other words, they no longer need to live “naked,” which gives context to another section from his book on the consequences of men not living sound lives:
“Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”
Former fire captain and lesbian Cindy Thompson sent a tip to the magazine GA Voice after hearing about the book from other fire fighters. Thompson then went directly to speak to Reed’s LGBT liaison, which set the scandal in motion.
After further attention from GA Voice, the Reed administration issued a statement saying they were unaware of Cochran’s work before it hit the printing presses.
“The Reed administration was not notified of the book before it was published. The Reed administration will not tolerate discrimination of any kind…The Reed administration is currently conducting a review of the facts surrounding the book. If disciplinary action is recommended as a result of the investigation, we will take decisive action to prevent any inappropriate behavior from occurring in the future,” said spokesperson Anne Torres for Mayor Reed in late November, according to GA Voice.
Reed made sure to tell the press that Cochran’s views expressed in a 2013 book neither represented him nor the city. Some gay groups stated at the time that Cochran’s punishment wasn’t nearly harsh enough. “He will be back in charge and I am sure telling his staff anti-LGBT stuff…The Mayor should fire him!” Glen Paul Freedman, chair of Georgia Equality’s board of directors, said.
During his tenure as mayor, Reed moved away from past views and openly embraced gay marriage in 2012 after years of advocating for LGBT policies.
“It is well known that I have gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone. Loving couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to marry whomever they want,” Reed said in a 2012 statement.
Despite arguments from the non-profit Faith and Freedom Coalition that Cochran “has as much right to speak and write about his beliefs as any Atlanta politician does,” Reed wasn’t about to budge.
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