On Tuesday, January 6, 2015, an unconstitutional and dangerous event took place in Atlanta, Georgia. While the news cycle understandably moved on to the assassination of twelve innocent people in Paris, France by evil Islamist terrorists, what happened to a Christian fire chief, father and grandfather in Atlanta, Georgia, needs to be told to the whole nation.
Kelvin Cochran, a fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia, is well respected, hardworking and had a stellar work record. He is what I call a classical Christian. I use the term classical Christian these days to refer to Christians, no matter what their communion, confession or tradition, who still adhere to classical, biblical, ancient creed affirming, Christianity.
In 2013, he wrote and self-published a book entitled Who Told You That You Were Naked. The title comes from the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. (Gen. 3:11) The book deals with the results of the wrong choice, the first sin against God’s loving plan, which occurred in Eden – and the results which flow from it still.
There is a fundamental human right to religious expression, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. That right is explicitly recognized and protected in First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution under both the Free Exercise and Free Speech clauses. It is one of those inalienable rights which the American founders believed in. The kind which are endowed upon us by the Creator – and cannot be taken away by any civil government.
As a classical Christian, Chief Kelvin Cochran affirms the unchangeable truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, intended for life and open to life. He also affirms the unchangeable truths concerning sexual morality and sexual expression.
He had every right to write and publish this book. He has every right to live his life as a classical Christian. However, the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, announced on Tuesday that Chief Reed had been fired from his position because of the content of that book and because of his classical Christian faith.
Of course, the Mayor did not come right out and admit that the firing was due to the fact that Kelvin Cochran had expressed his classically Christian beliefs. Such unconstitutional and bigoted acts by people in authority are rarely admitted these days. They are hidden beneath a veneer of what is now mistakenly referred to as tolerance.
However, it is evident that the firing of Chief Kelvin Cochran came about precisely because of his deeply held religious beliefs. The firing was unconstitutional, overtly discriminatory, and must be opposed!
The mayor’s post on his facebook page , written back in November of 2014 when he suspended the Chief for 30 days and ordered him to undergo “sensitivity training”, speaks for itself:
I was surprised and disappointed to learn of this book on Friday. I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community. I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration.
So what if the Mayor was “deeply disturbed”. Chief Cochran was not discriminating, he was exercising his constitutional right!
He was bearing witness to his deeply held religious beliefs. That is a constitutionally protected act. The irony is that it is the Mayor of Atlanta who engaged in discrimination – against a classical Christian. And, he did so precisely because of his religious beliefs!
Chief Kelvin Cochran told a reporter,
I believe God has greater things for me. I love the fire services. It’s a childhood dream come true. I’m not discouraged and I’m not downtrodden,” he said. “This is a God thing and He’s going to do great things and He will vindicate me publicly.
Some activists in an intolerant fringe of what I call the homosexual equivalency movement are using every means available to ensure that homosexual and lesbian relationships are given the legal equivalency of a marriage between one man and one woman.
That includes using the police power of the State to squeeze classical Christians out of commerce. And, as evidenced in the case of Chief Cochran, out of vital public service. That is unless they deny their deeply held religious faith.
The classical Christian faith affirms the Natural Moral Law concerning the nature of true marriage and human sexual expression. For classical, faithful, creedal, biblical, theologically orthodox Christians – be they Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox – they will never deny this. They cannot do so. I am one of those Classical Christians.
While we recognize the human dignity of every single human person – including those who self-profess that they have what is now often called a ” sexual orientation” or attraction toward people of the same sex – we cannot change the truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Nor can we deny the truth concerning sexual morality.
If one examines most media reports concerning this incident, you would think that this is all about self-identifying homosexuals and lesbians being subjected to discrimination. It is not. It is about classical, faithful Christians being subjected to coercive tactics by a small subset of self-identifying activist homosexuals and lesbians who seek to change what cannot be changed, the very structure of reality.
The proponents of the homosexual equivalency movement are now using the instruments of a civil government which has lost its foundation in the Natural Moral Law to restructure the culture into something quite different than what was birthed from the Jewish and Christian roots of Western civilization. Now, they want to compel anyone who disagrees with them to get out of the way.
Many in the propaganda press use Orwellian newspeak to fuel caricatures against those who defend marriage as solely between one man and one woman. They do not report the news – they promote the Cultural Revolution which opposes marriage – while purporting to expand its definition.
Like propagandists of the past, they attempt to frame public perception. They refer to those who defend marriage as between one man and one woman as against what they call ‘marriage equality’. This is verbal engineering and propaganda.
Homosexual and lesbian partnerships are incapable of being marriages. Such partnerships can never achieve the ends of marriage. It is those who advocate giving a moral and legal equivalency to homosexual and lesbian relationships who actually oppose marriage.
The intention of the small activist group fomenting what is really an anti-marriage movement is to reorder civil society. They invented phrases as gay marriage and marriage equality in an Orwellian act of newspeak. They have persuaded the media to use the words and phrases out of their new lexicon without even giving it a second thought.
Classical Christians will never accept the redefining of the word marriage to include homosexual or lesbian partnerships – just as we will never call the taking of innocent human life, in the womb or in the hospice, a right.
To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory. Homosexual couples cannot achieve the ends of marriage and cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition.
To confer by governmental fiat the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual and lesbian paramours is not only bad public policy, it fails to serve the real common good.
To state this is not to be ‘anti-gay ‘; it is to defend marriage and the real common good of society. Living, proclaiming and seeking to spread the values informed by classical Christian faith is a noble cause. Those who promote it are not bigots. Rather, they are sincere men and women deeply concerned about the future of our culture.
The struggle we are engaged in concerns a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, and competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing. We are in a contest over the moral foundations of a truly free, healthy, human and just social order.
Classical Christians affirm that marriage between one man and one woman, intended for life, and the family founded upon it, has been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of the universe. That is because they have. Truth does not change, people and cultures do; sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.
Marriage between one man and one woman forms the first society into which children are meant to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities. We must not be afraid to make the claim that children have a right to a mother and a father. They do have such a right.
Of course we care about the single parent family and the many broken homes which characterize this age. However, their existence does not change the norm necessary for a stable and healthy society.
Intact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order. We now need to become a visible, palpable reflection of this truth about marriage and family more than ever. For one man and one woman to live a faithful marriage is counter-cultural. It is becoming a revolutionary act.
Our convictions and claims concerning marriage are not outdated notions of a past era but provide the path to the future. Nor is our position defending marriage as solely between one man and one woman simply a religious position.
We also affirm the existence of the Natural Moral Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason. This Natural Moral Law is the ground upon which every great civilization has been built.
It is the source for every great and authentic human and civil rights movement. The Natural Law gives us the moral norms we need to build societies and govern ourselves. It must inform our positive law or we will become lawless and devolve into anarchy.
In the first two centuries of Christianity, as the early Christians sought to serve in the broader Roman society by engaging in all suitable occupations, some occupations had to be avoided. To practice them would require them to violate their faith. As some other professions began to compel the Christians to apostatize, they had to withdraw their participation as well.
But this is NOT ancient Rome, it is the United States of America. We have a robust interpretation of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the Constitution which recognizes religious liberty as a fundamental human right and the free exercise of religion – or do we?
In the United States of America classical Christians who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life are being precluded from certain professions, and squeezed out of public service.
They are increasingly accused by judges of being bigots. They are portrayed as not being good citizens, because they fail to recognize the primacy of the State in moral matters! This is hauntingly close to the charges which were levied against the early Christians in Ancient Rome.
Christians are being excluded from participating in commerce if they want to follow their informed conscience and live in accordance with their faith. Now, the egregious act of the Mayor of Atlanta has raised the concern to an even higher level. It raises the specter of Christians being forced out of public service professions. Chief Kelvin Cochran should never have been fired!
The trends are ominous. We will oppose this growing anti-Christian persecution by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce.
Morally coherent, classical Christians – those who live a unity of life and believe that their faith should inform every aspect of their life – may be at the beginning of a period of growing persecution in the United States of America. The wrongful firing of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran is one more example of a growing trend.
We must band together and act for the REAL Common Good.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.