The majority, perhaps upward of 80% of Christians, oppose unjust discrimination against LGBT people. Then why should they oppose the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in civil rights laws? One name: Kelvin Cochran, former Atlanta Fire Chief.
Here’s a time line of the pertinent events.
(?) Cochran gets verbal permission to write a book. Atlanta’s policy has been reported to get prior written approval from the Board of Ethics.
2012 Cochran publishes “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”, which upholds biblical sexuality for all people, not just gays.
2012 Cochran gives copies of the book to several co-workers including the mayor. He mayor does not read the book.
2013 (Nov.) Cochran gives more copies of book to several co-workers, at least one of which alerts the mayor of its contents regarding homosexuality.
2013 (Nov.) Cochran is suspended without pay for one month, ordered to receive sensitivity training, and a discrimination investigation is launched. He is told not to talk about his suspension.
2013 (Dec.) Cochran does talk publicly talk about his suspension.
2014 (Jan.) The investigation finds Cochran had not unjustly discriminated against anyone. Mayor Kasim Reed fires Cochran for the following reasons:
- He did not get written approval from the Board of Ethics to publish the book.
- He spoke publicly about his suspension.
- His actions, decisions, and lack of judgment undermined his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce.
- Every single City of Atlanta employee deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide employment decisions. His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension eroded the mayor’s confidence in his ability to serve as a member of his senior leadership team.
- To make sure that Atlanta has an environment in government where everyone, no matter who they love, can come to work from 8 to 5:30 and do their job and then go home without fear of being discriminated against.
- NOT because of Chief Cochran’s religious beliefs.
Some responses from LGBT activist on Chief Cochran’s firing:
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality:
“Frankly the only course of action at this point and time is his immediate and permanent dismissal.”
“It appears that his language is so extreme, so belittling of gay and transgender people that I don’t see how he could possibly lead a diverse workforce.”
So looking over the mayor’s reasons and responses from gay activists it is clear: Chief Cochran was fired primarily over his religious views.
Realizing this looks bad, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) created the following graphic:
Now why would the HRC be commenting on the firing of a city employee if it did not directly pertain to gay rights. Because it did.
Atlanta has a civil rights ordinance which includes sexual orientation. It has a perfect LGBT score with the HRC. Although religion is also included in both federal and Atlanta’s civil rights law, in today’s political and legal climate, sexual orientation trumps religion.
Kelvin Cochran does not believe in unjust discrimination based on sexual orientation. I don’t and neither do 80% of Americans at last count. But because the LGBT rights movement clearly does believe in punishing Christians for their beliefs (see here and here), well meaning Christians supporting legal gay rights may well be supporting their own unemployment.