Monday, January 12, 2015

Dismissal of Atlanta Fire Chief Over Anti-Gay Book Riles Religious Conservatives

As reported by GA Voice, last week Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed dismissed Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran for publishing a book reflecting Cochran's anti-gay views, without discussing the matter with the mayor. Reed says that the publication is inconsistent with the city's policy that bars discrimination, among other things, on the basis of sexual orientation, and casts doubt on Cochran's ability to lead a diverse work force.  However yesterday's New York Times reports that the firing has generated a backlash:
[C]onservatives and religious organizations were outraged. The Georgia Baptist Convention has organized an online petition demanding that the firing be reversed. The evangelist Franklin Graham, in an opinion piece for a religious news site, called Mr. Cochran the “latest target of politically correct bullying against Bible-believing Christians.”
The firing may give impetus to a religious freedom bill that has again been proposed in the Georgia legislature. Summarizing the situation, Mayor Reed said:  "I hired him to put out fires. Not to create them."