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Congress Smokes Out Mayor over Fire Chief

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By Tony Perkins

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has burned a lot of bridges with his decision to sack city Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. And now, if the public relations battle weren’t tough enough, six Georgia Congressmen are weighing in with a candid letter about Reed’s intolerance.

Cochran, whose 30 plus-year career ended abruptly last month, was targeted for a self-published book he wrote on biblical morality and sexuality. And while the city has insisted Cochran’s firing had nothing to do with his faith, the evidence tells another story. While Kelvin and his family fight the battle from the courts, Congress is jumping to the former Obama appointee’s defense too.

“Your action against Chief Cochran appears to violate fundamental principles of free speech and religious freedom,” wrote Reps. Barry Loudermilk (R), Buddy Carter (R), Lynn Westmoreland (R), Tom Price (R), Austin Scott (R), and Jody Hice (R). “Chief Cochran relied upon religious text from the Bible to express his opinions in his personal writings. The only way Chief Cochran could avoid his views would be to disown his religion. Indeed, in terminating him, the City of Atlanta itself engaged in an act of discrimination, and worse, did so on the basis of his religious beliefs.”

As fellow Georgians, they’re leaning on Reed to reconsider his decision and reinstate the popular fire chief. “Chief Cochran notes that the city justified his termination on the grounds of ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusion’ yet asks, ‘What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?'” If the Mayor won’t listen to common sense, maybe he’ll listen to Congress!

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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