By Tony Perkins
Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran spent his life answering the call, and yesterday, hundreds of Georgians returned the favor. The city’s 34-year squad veteran was inspired by the show of support at the Atlanta Capitol yesterday, where people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and political parties stood alongside Cochran in protest of his outrageous firing. Like the sportscasters, educators, athletes, small businesses, wedding vendors, firefighters, and others who dare to think outside the far-Left box, Cochran was a victim of the same intolerance his Mayor claims to oppose.
The former Obama appointee, who had a long and distinguished record, finally had the opportunity to tell his side of the story at Tuesday’s rally. And, like so many before him, nothing but fierce hostility toward Christianity was at its heart. To a room full of reporters, Cochran made it clear: “I was fired for having the audacity to believe that sex was created for procreation and should be in the bonds of holy matrimony between and a man and woman.”
Ironically, the Mayor’s office, which flatly denies that this has anything to do with Kelvin’s religious views, was in the back of the room, busily handing out copies of the unbelievably hypocritical New York Times editorial that insists the exact opposite! So which is it? It’s pretty audacious of his staff to be handing out the Times piece while maintaining their line about “protocol violations.” As so often is the case when the public actually finds out what is really behind the so-called “equality,” the Left has gone into complete damage control — desperately trying to paint this as a single employment decision, when dozens of bakers, photographers, and businessmen know that it’s anything but.
Bishop Paul Morton, one of the several black pastors on hand, warned the city, “We cannot allow this country — we cannot allow Atlanta — to become a communist country. The devil is slick y’all. The devil is slick. If they can stop us from talking about the Bible, then the next step is they’ll take our Bible. And if they take our Bible, and hear you still talking about the Bible then they’ll try to penalize us. But I’m here to tell you, oh no, we’re not going out this way.”
It all makes for a very interesting backdrop to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) debate, which would stop the government from trampling a person’s religious liberty, unless it can prove a “compelling interest” in doing so. “One thing we should not have to sacrifice,” Kelvin said, “are the freedoms inherent in our great nation: free speech and freedom of religion.” Cochran’s case, and those of countless other victims across the country, ought to give the RFRA push a boost. Especially when liberals like Rabbi Peter Berg are running around arguing, “There is absolutely no evidence our religious rights are currently being circumvented.”
Kelvin Cochran is that evidence. And people from all walks of life realize it. As Christians coming from different communities, we may not always agree ideologically — but we do agree that our faith and Scripture should guide us. It’s this common ground that will allow for real reconciliation and revolution in this country. At the end of the day, what unites is the basic understanding that our values are indivisible from anything we do, including work. So if we’re going to terminate something, how about intolerance?
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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