Georgia GOP congressmen take Atlanta mayor to task for firing anti-gay fire chief

Kelvin Cochran

Kelvin Cochran

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has some new friends in the form of six Republican U.S. congressmen from Georgia. The group fired off a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday asking for Cochran to be reinstated.

Kelvin Cochran

Kelvin Cochran

Cochranwill be appearing at a press conference Wednesday at the Capitol with Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel David Cortman, who is representing Cochran in his EEOC complaint against the city.

The letter says that Cochran’s self-published book, in which he compared homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality as well as made anti-Semitic and misogynistic remarks, was about “proper sexual ethics.” The letter was signed by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Rep. Buddy Carter, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Rep. Tom Price, Rep. Austin Scott, and Rep. Jody Hice.

Chief Cochran’s termination appears to have occurred because he wrote a 160 page book for his bible study in which one and a half pages describe his Christian beliefs regarding proper sexual ethics. Despite writing the book on his own time, Chief Cochran has been accused of engaging in “discrimination” for merely expressing his religious beliefs.

The congressmen also state that Reed’s actions violated Cochran’s “religious freedom.”

Your action against Chief Cochran appears to violate fundamental principles of free speech and religious freedom. 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.

Hice, who was elected to the U.S. House over I.K. Kenneth Dious last November, wrote in his 2012 book, “It’s Now or Never: A Call to Reclaim America,” that, “the homosexual movement is also destroying America by aggressively seeking to destroy traditional families, religion and marriages for the purpose of removing all societal moral boundaries.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the city of Atlanta last month on Cochran’s behalf. Meanwhile, conservative evangelical leaders have appeared to be distancing themselves from Cochran and drawing distinct parallels between his firing and the “religious freedom” bills being considered in the state legislature.

Full text of the letter is here

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