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Rally held in support of former Atlanta fire chief

Metro ATL

Rally held in support of former Atlanta fire chief

Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran. Source: Atlantaga.gov
Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran. Source: Atlantaga.gov

Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran. Source: Atlantaga.gov

Atlanta’s former fire chief drew the ire of the LGBT community and found himself unemployed after publishing a book calling homosexuality a perversion.

But it hasn’t been a total loss for Kelvin Cochran. He’s found some new friends who say he is being unfairly punished for expressing his religious views.

Cochran was the star of a rally at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 13, featuring Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Dr. Alveda King. The event included Cochran quoting scripture, leading the Pledge of Allegiance and reading Preamble to the Constitution.

“Freedom of religion and freedom of speech is under attack” here and around the country, Cochran said, according to Atlanta INtown.

The book in question was “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” The book calls homosexuality a “sexual perversion,” comparable to bestiality. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed fired Cochran last week after he finished a 30 day suspension. Reed said Cochran’s book and conduct during his suspension left him with little choice.

Cochran disagreed.

“My termination is unjust,” he at the rally. “After 34 years of dedicated service, seven of which was committed to Atlanta, I cannot believe that my termination came because of the public expression of my faith.”

He said that while he believes marriage should be between people of opposite genders, he said Christianity teaches a love for all mankind, regardless of their beliefs.

“I believe that every person possesses the image of the creator and has inherent dignity and worth,” he said.

The rally concluded with a march on Atlanta City Hall with a petition in-hand. It has 40,000 signatures asking for Reed to reverse his decision and apologize to Cochran.

The mayor’s office says that’s not going to happen.

After the rally, the city released its investigation into the matter. It showed that Cochran didn’t receive permission to publish his book under the city’s code and gave copies to nine of his employees while he was on the job. Firefighters felt the book was inappropriate, the report says. To read it, click here.

Reed’s decision to terminate Cochran won praise from the editorial board of the New York Times.

The NYT editorial board wrote, “Imagine that Mr. Cochran, who is black, were an adherent of a religion that avowed the inferiority of white people, and that he distributed literature to that effect. He would not have lasted another day in a job that requires him to manage and protect the well-being of a large and diverse work force.”

To read the editorial, click here.

This story was provided courtesy of Atlanta INtown.