Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran forced his own firing

091214_9-11_anniversary_kdj10

Kelvin Cochran

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has fired Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, noting that the dismissal was initiated not because of Cochran’s religious beliefs but because of the chief’s poor judgment.

That’s about right.

When you have more than 1,000 people working under your command, you can’t go around publicly suggesting that some of them are perverts on a par with those who indulge in bestiality or child sexual abuse, as Cochran did in a self-published book. When you serve as a top manager in a government that has pledged not to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, you can’t suggest to workers that such discrimination might be justified, as Cochran did by distributing copies of that book to his subordinates. (Apparently, Cochran had been advised by the city ethics office against publishing the book, but chose to do so anyway. UPDATE: In a response after this post was written, Cochran says he was given verbal approval for the book, a claim that Reed rejects.)

And when you have been suspended without pay from your job, as Cochran was, you can’t make it clear during the suspension that you intend to continue such statements and then expect that you’ll be reinstated.

Reed’s decision guarantees another round of criticism from the Georgia Baptist Convention and others who believe that Cochran is being punished for his religious beliefs, and it will probably turn the chief into something of a martyr among those who share his faith. That’s fine. It may also mean that the decision becomes something of an issue in the upcoming General Assembly, and if so, it was still the right thing to do.

Because again, this is not about religious liberty. I don’t make it a habit to quote myself, but I’ll make an exception from an earlier column on the subject:

“If Cochran had instead written a pro-gay, anti-Christian diatribe and shared it with his employees, would practicing, devout conservative Christians in his department feel confident that they would not be discriminated against by their boss? My sense is that they would worry — correctly — that he had created a hostile work environment. If he were an adherent of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, and if he distributed Black Muslim pamphlets to the men and women who work for him, would the Georgia Baptist Convention defend that action under the banner of religious liberty?”

No, they would not. They would instead argue that such behavior was unprofessional and grounds for termination. And they would be right.

 

Reader Comments 0

750 comments
einhard
einhard

What about the hostile work environment created by Holder, de Blasio, et al, who have made it clear that they think white cops are racists. Has their leadership provided our white police officers with the certainty that they are valued members of the team? The same applies to Christians under Reed’s administration? Contrary to popular belief, our anti-discrimination laws apply to all races, sexual orientations, and religions.

CraiginSmyrna
CraiginSmyrna

Come on Jay, this amounts to private thought control & political grandstanding by the City & Mayor. They are in essence  saying: "You are welcome to your religious beliefs but you had better keep them to yourself if you want to keep your job". Based on your logic, if a practicing homosexual is the boss of a conservative Christian and he invites people to a pride event (which the city has sponsored before) then this would create a hostile work environment. No it wouldn't. We don't all have to agree on everything to live and work together. The Chief should be reinstated pure & simple.  

awall9089
awall9089

This falls well short of "hostile work environment".  Dismissing someone on the basis of their deeply held convictions alone, or even if combined with certain expressions of those convictions flies in the face of the most treasured, fundamental principles of our country.  This hits especially close to home for me, as an officer in the Houston Fire Department, who, as you probably know, has a mayor who is WAY MORE VOCAL than this man about her LGBT agenda.  She has also gone on record with statements clearly hostile towards my faith--Christianity, yet for some reason, I'm rational enough not to engage in a campaign to have her removed from office based on a knee-jerk assumption of how this will effect her behavior towards me as an employee.  Christians have held to these convictions for centuries; now, suddenly everyone wants to pretend its some kind of deadly epidemic.  

Very careless move in my opinion.  

DILLIMGAF
DILLIMGAF

I would contend that any conservative employed by just about ANY municipality or member of a public sector union was, by definition, working in a hostile work environment.

Drew Caruso
Drew Caruso

You miss some vital points. You're saying that his book SUGGESTS that discrimination might be justified. Sorry but even if that were true, it doesn't matter because we punish people for discrimination not "suggesting" it's ok to justify discrimination. If you start going around looking to fire anyone who might be "suggesting" it's ok to discriminate then you would have to fire A LOT of people. Also, you claim that if Cochran had written a anti-Christian, pro-gay diatribe or was in cahoots with Louis Farakkhan, then everyone would be up in arms about it. NO THEY WOULD NOT! The Liberal Media NEVER goes after those people. I cannot remember one time that Bill Maher or John Stewart have condemned the spreading of Sharia Law in the U.S. and Europe. Not one! There is a cultural double standard in the West that if you say anything against the LGBT Community or the Muslim Community then you are a radical and an extremist who needs to be shut down. But when Bill Maher gets up on national TV and mocks Mormonism, nobody says a thing!

The FACT of the matter is that in this country, we have a constitutionally protected right of Free Speech and Kelvin Cochran's Freedom of Speech has been violated in this case. Plain and simple.

RickDDay
RickDDay

@Drew Caruso You are going to die an ignorant and bitter person, and there is no afterlife. Please accept this. We all have, of you.

Scott Andrew Michael
Scott Andrew Michael

You do realize that your entire article is just a statement of your own hypocrisy, right? Of course, you left leaning (and by that I mean so far to the left that someone saying "bless you" is a mortal sin in most of your minds) media types are very good at distorting truth and spinning it so that no matter what, your own personal views always come out as being the correct one, even when facts and proof show otherwise. It's called "ignorance" and it's something the left is really well versed in. SMH

RickDDay
RickDDay

@Scott Andrew Michael it amuses me to watch a blogger with a shrek icon to clutch his crucifix like it was a string of pearls. De we need to get you a fainting couch, hun?


Your tears sustain and refresh us.

CraiginSmyrna
CraiginSmyrna

@RickDDay @Scott Andrew Michael Rick you are typical of the new crop of Progressives. You guys you believe in freedom of speech for everyone, but what you really mean is everyone who believes like you. Whenever you encounter a different opinion, it is met with vitriol and personal attacks instead of thoughtful dialogue. Totally disingenuous.

DParks
DParks

As a so-called journalist, you don't have any respect for the 1st Amendment do you? If everyone does not goose step to your beliefs, or rather dogma, they must be crushed?

RickDDay
RickDDay

@DParks Man is free to publish his book. He is free to espouse his opinion. He is not free to violate policy, because he is a special christian snowflake.


Begone, before THE LORD Smites Ye

Bravo Delta
Bravo Delta

Hey Jay, you can honestly admit that the newsroom at the AJC leans, shall we say, to the left. Right? Can you acknowledge that? That most reporters and editors are "open minded" or "progressive" or "liberal" or whatever word you want to use? 


If you can come to that conclusion, then my question to you is this: if next week you decided that gays and lesbians should not have the legal right to marry; that male transgenders should not have access to girls' sports teams; and that municipal benefits should not go to the partners of gays and lesbians, what would happen if you made those suggestions in a commentary and turned it in. Really, what would happen to you? How long before you are sent to a senior editor's office to explain yourself, and be reminded that times have changed and you need to catch up with the 21st century, and if you insisted on your point of view, then that would be your last day at the AJC.


Is that not where we are today? Of course it is.


Is that a good thing for freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of conscience? You seem to believe it it, along with your mayor. What else if off limits on your op-ed page, Jay, and why?


First they came for that crazy, wrong-thinking fire chief...



RickDDay
RickDDay

@Bravo Delta What are you smoking? I can eat alphabet soup and crap words that make more sense than your post.

ConstitutionallySpeaking
ConstitutionallySpeaking

@RickDDay @Bravo Delta That would be because your comprehension levels are so very low.

The gaystopo brown shirts, have struck again. The long knives come out against anyone who dares not support the gaystopo view on anything - or you are eliminated.

Sounds like the tactics of radical Islamists.  

You should not be so proud of your ignorance.

Gloria Hayes
Gloria Hayes

JUDGE NOT,LEST YE BE JUDGED.....LOVE ONE ANOTHER... As a Christian, Cochran would obviously beleve these tenets of the Bible, which ,in effect, are telling him, DO NOT DISCRMINATE, GOD IS THEIR JUDGE, but  here he is refusing to back down from sharing what God's word says right from wrong. HE is not making the judgment call, GOD is. How can he be punished for what GOD says is true? For refusing to lie? Just because GOD says it, doesn't mean Cochran has put himself in position to mete out punishment. Has he ever had a discrimination complaint filed against him? 

He is just repeating what the word of God said... so what next, are you going to fire God?

RickDDay
RickDDay

@Gloria Hayes Wow, can we???? I have some major performance issues with God. And where has he been hiding? How can we get anything done if God keeps itself hidden from us?


Anyway, if you know where God is, tell him we fired him for poor performance.


BTW,. your first comment should also apply to everyone. Seems Cochran, while singling out his version of a child mole- lester, is guilty of the very thing you claim he is a victim of!


*mutters* superstitious morons.

Michael Hoeferkamp
Michael Hoeferkamp

Jay Goodman:

Aren't you glad you can express your opinion without being fired?  Strange that you think Chief Cochran does not have that right.

RickDDay
RickDDay

@Michael Hoeferkamp Did you go to college to learn how to build those spiffy straw men arguments? Must have majored in Fallacy.

ConstitutionallySpeaking
ConstitutionallySpeaking

@RickDDay @Michael Hoeferkamp  Any honest person KNOWS that is the real reason he was fired - you and your gaystopo didn't like his beliefs - so you pressured the Mayor to fire him.

Christians are no longer allowed to Constitutional right of the free exercise of their religion.  That is what you guys are after.

The only strawmen here are the phony and flimsy excuses used to fire the Mr Cochran

ODDOWL
ODDOWL

Principles of Opposites are in effect in all of human endeavors...   Secularism is positive, optimistic, good...    Religion is negative, pessimistic, evil...       Good vs. Evil 

rabarr
rabarr

MR JAY BOOKMAN:

(We both know that you did not read the book.  I have it right here by my side)


1) Can you point to the page number in which these "offensive" comments are contained?


2) The content of this book was derived from a "Men's Study Group' that gathered each Monday from his church.   They discuss the problem with young males in Metro-Atlanta.   99.99% of this book is about providing these young males a STRUCTURE to live their lives by and discover their PURPOSE.


Thus my QUESTION to you:  Knowing what you know about the problems with young males in metro Atlanta (I have not qualified this observation with "RACE")..............and the fact that 99.99% of this book by Kelvin Cochran is providing a structure - a "religious based structure" but a structure none the less - Why is it that you are motivated to FUNCTIONALLY SLANDER Kelvin Cochran's book - by pointing out his opinion that in his list of "Unclean Lifestyles" he mentioned HOMOSEXUALITY..........................yet as you and Luckovich read the "News Feeds" each day and see so many Murders, Violent Attacks, Failing Academic Environments and Broken Families - THE ONLY THING THAT YOUR JAUNDICED EYES saw in this book that you did not read is "Homophobia"?

 

RickDDay
RickDDay

@rabarr You type like you talk: an old finger wagging african american preacher who is the 21st century equivalent to the "house n****r for the white power structure.


I have a QUESTION for you? When are you going to grow up and quit pretending there are white sky gods who will give you a good afterlife if you endure the hell whites have created for your people?


Probably never.


When you're dead, you'll figure out it was all a game to control you and yours. Fortunately the kids are turning away from your poisonous messages. God is not the solution,  sire. People like you who manipulate people with the fear of God is the damn problem.


You and yours are dismissed. Stay out of the way and let rational thinkers solve the mess your churchiness has wrought.

ODDOWL
ODDOWL

Zionism-Christianity-Islam must be banned globally...  Its the work of the Devil...

RickDDay
RickDDay

@ODDOWL There is no Devil any more than there is a God. Evil is simply the absence of good. Religion tries to manipulate good into something that is not.

ODDOWL
ODDOWL

Who's the dumbest mother suckers in the milky way galaxy ??? Answer:   Black Christians...  Everyone of them are literally too stupid to read an African history book...   Black Christians are so mired down in gullible-naiveté and ignorance that many of them actually trace their ancestry back to some white European slave holder who's ancestors came from Dusseldorf, Germany...  Black Christians are too stupid to read books... There is not one Black Christians in America who has read 10 pages of the Christian Bible... White Christians favorite joke about Black people is;  "If you wish to conceal something from Black people, place it in a book... Black people will never learn about it because they're too stupid to read a book...  If these Black Christians were still living in Africa, all of them would worship Babawisi, the west African God of evil and the God the Torah refer to as Ole Baba the beast... The Zionists, Christians and Islamics worship  JHVH-Yahweh -Jehovah-Allah-Je-sus the God of evil and all of them are conjuring up evil in the world... The great deceiver, the ole trickster goes by many names...

Martin David McCoy
Martin David McCoy

@ODDOWL  I thought that President Obama, a black man, says he is a Christian. Are you saying that the President is one of the "dumbest mother suckers in the Milky Way Galaxy" and that he "Black Christians are so mired down in gullible-naiveté and ignorance that many of them actually trace their ancestry back to some white European slave holder who's ancestors came from Dusseldorf, Germany"? Were you referring to Obama when you said, "There is not one Black Christians in America who has read 10 pages of the Christian Bible... White Christians favorite joke about Black people is;  "If you wish to conceal something from Black people, place it in a book... Black people will never learn about it because they're too stupid to read a book..." Were you talking about President Obama when you wrote that? Just curious.

RickDDay
RickDDay

@Martin David McCoy @ODDOWL yes he was and I agree. There is no rational reason to make christian white rednecks hate him any more than they do. Imagine if he did not attend the 'It's everything about being an American" Sunday service. 


Would you rather Obama be Muslim or Atheist?


And please don't let that question make your brain all liquid. Let it go if you smell cooking meat.

Dixie Chicken
Dixie Chicken

Kudos to Mayor Reed for doing the right thing. Handing out propaganda, whether it's Christian or not, is not allowed on the job. I've been in HR for 30+ years and know from experience that employers in both  the public and private sectors enforce this policy. Allowing solicitation of any kind creates huge liability issues, especially for government entities. 

Pluto Animus
Pluto Animus

Cochran's religion taught him to hate, not to love.


We atheists don't have a problem with gay people, because we're not hateful jerks, unlike Christians such as Mr. Cochran.

rabarr
rabarr

@Pluto Animus :

Clearly YOU did not read the book.   A group of his church brothers love the young men who they see on the wrong track in their community so much that they formed a study group and Cochran wrote a book to give them substance and  a purpose.


The only "hate-filled" people needing to change are the "Ideological Bigots" who claim that we are moving toward a "Discrimination Free Society" when in truth you are only CHANGING THE LIST OF ITEMS that you can discriminate against and those which are now prohibited

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

" Cherokee is indeed stupid.  Divorce is allowed for (1) adultery & (2) being "unequally yoked" to a non-believer."


There is only ONE reason divorce is allowed and that's for adultery. 


7They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" 8He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9"And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."…  Matthew 19: 7-9

td1234
td1234

What did the Pope actually say about homosexuality? 


"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem…they’re our brothers." 


Where did the Pope state that homosexuality is not a sin?

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

For what it's worth, there are six verses in the Bible that kinda sorta reference homosexuality.


The Bible also requires victors to take slaves, and prohibits lenders from charging interest on loans.  When was the last time you heard of a Southern Baptist church tossing bankers out of their membership? 

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty To throw someone out would mean to judge. I have been a member of a southern Baptist Church for 48 years and I have never seen anyone lose their membership for any reason. Can you document a time after a person in a Southern Baptist church was Baptized and then the lose their "membership"? 

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@CherokeeCounty 


Yep - Cherokee back at it bashing Baptists.  Care to enlighten us heathens about which 6 verses you are alluding too???

rabarr
rabarr

@CherokeeCounty :  I have no doubt that you are pleased with your own "Self-Logical Rantings".

In your old, tired debate trick you try to make "Bible Literalists" into "Extremists and Hypocrites - yet if anyone one of them did work to live their lives in 100% concurrence with "The Word" it would be YOU who attacks them as "Extremists".


Instead of falling for your trick (along with Jay Bookman) by which we have a debate about "Homosexuality - again I challenge you and Jay Bookman to explain why a book that was 99.99% about offering "Structure To Purpose-less men" could be characterized as a "Homophobic Book" when it has one reference to "Unclean Living" and includes "Homosexuality".


It is people like YOU, Jay Bookman and Mike Luckovich (Cynthia Tucker as well) who should be forced to submit your "Societal Theories" to a measurement of its ability to translate the two key points that you sell "Gay Marriage upon":  "Pursuit Of Happiness Between Two People" and "Financial Benefits From Marriage" - upon your competency at setting up a societal frame work by which the far, far, far larger domain of hetrosexual people who are not getting married and thus choose to toss away your "selling points".  

The bottom line is that your body of thought is incompetent to build a productive society upon.

straker
straker

td - "you do not believe in any of the facts"


I do not accept them as "facts" JUST because they are in those religions.


I do believe adultery is wrong.


I do not believe sodomy is.

td1234
td1234

@straker Then that is your belief and you are entitled to in in our society. 

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty @straker Well evidently you have not been a member of a Southern Baptist church because it is discussed on a regular basis. 


I taught Sunday School for many years and the lesson on Adultery came up about once every 18 months.  Homosexuality was never a single named subject matter by itself but did come up when sins of the flesh was discussed.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@CherokeeCounty 


Cherokee is indeed stupid.  Divorce is allowed for (1) adultery & (2) being "unequally yoked" to a non-believer.


But hey keep preaching your idiotic doctrine - we find it amusing.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@straker 


And Jesus said that divorce and remarriage is usually adultery.  Wonder how many divorced and remarried people td has confronted with their sin?

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty 


Odd.


I didn't see a question there.


No I've never been a member of an SBC denomination. Our pastor regularly taught that they were too liberal.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@MiltonMan @CherokeeCounty 


What part of 'usually' don't you understand?


The Bible also teaches that you are to speak humbly and lovingly to everyone, to try to win them to the faith.


You might want to look up that part before making any more comments.