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Religious Bias Issues Debated After Atlanta Mayor’s Dismissal of Fire Chief

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posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:05 PM
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ATLANTA — Mayor Kasim Reed’s decision to dismiss his fire chief last week for giving co-workers copies of a Christian self-help book condemning homosexuality is fanning new kinds of legal and political flames in this city, where deeply held religious convictions exist in a kind of defining tension with a reputation for New South tolerance.

Mr. Reed fired Kelvin Cochran, the chief, on Tuesday over the distribution of his book, which condemns homosexual acts as “vile, vulgar and inappropriate.” Reached at home on Thursday, Mr. Cochran referred all questions to his lawyers, who issued a statement on his behalf.

Rel igious Bias Issues Debated After Atlanta Mayor’s Dismissal of Fire Chief

In the past ten years, I have noticed that freedom of speech is being limited. I remember in the past, I was able to speak freely without worrying about repercussions. Now, not so much. The "tolerant" liberal left is fairly hostile towards religion.

I personally think that the intolerance goes way over the top, generalizing religious people into one group, looking at the worst examples of them and applying it to everyone.

However, religious people are also intolerant of, most notably, homosexuals.

This is a fairly interesting case because the Fire Chief published a book of his own that included religious advice (and anti-homosexual propaganda) and distributed it among his department. He was fired for that.


“It’s ironic that the city points to tolerance and inclusion as part of its reasoning. What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”


It is true that we are taught that the work-place is no place for religion, and the same goes for any public office like Fire Chief. But maybe we should challenge that.

I have investigated further and found out that the book Kelvin distributed is available on Amazon. It is a self-help book titled "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" and it appears it is not a hand-book directly related to any aspect of the workplace. The fire chief must have distributed it throughout the office as a gift.

Amazon Link

From the Amazon website, here is a comment giving us more information.


Cochran gave copies to several coworkers and Atlanta burned down for the second time! Not even the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department could put the fire out! A number of workers, how many has never been reported, rewarded Cochran's generous gift by filing complaints against him and rather than telling these folks to get back to work, Atlanta launched a formal investigation


So we have him truly handing out his book as a gift and then getting punished for that.
edit on 12pmMon, 12 Jan 2015 21:06:15 -0600kbpmkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:10 PM
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Sadly this is why I never discussed religion, politics, social, economic issues when I was working. Even now freelancing my conversations are limited to the task at hand. I think he has a right to express his religion but honestly I'm divided on how he was condemning gays in the book. Sure he should express it because it's his religious right but there's tons of gay Christians and I don't think Jesus would turn away a gay person.

That being said, there is an atmosphere of hostility towards religion in society, mostly Christianity but it gets extreme towards Islam and Judaism (and everything in between). I often hear that if people should be tolerant to religion then they should be tolerant to people who want no religion. Can't please anyone no matter what happens in society.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:17 PM
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This guy deserved to get fired. He violated federal law.


On July 1, 2011, the EEOC ruled that job discrimination against lesbians, gays and bisexuals constituted a form of sex-stereotyping and thus violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


en.wikipedia.org...
edit on 12-1-2015 by TheArrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: TheArrow

See that's the debate though, they fired him for discriminating against gays but by firing him aren't they violating his right to express his religion? Sure certain topics have no place in the professional world but they bleed through no matter what, so that's the problem and it's a mess.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:23 PM
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a reply to: TheArrow


The LGBT&O organizations were grievously offended by a book about biblical morality by Mr. Cochran, who presented his critical opinions of “sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

This was neither an official manual nor guide book for behavior of municipal employees, but a book privately printed by Mr. Cochran, expressing his personal opinions, which — so far — is his right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. He required no one to buy or read his book.


Stifling diversity in Atlanta
A fire chief is fired for writing a book about his religious beliefs



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:24 PM
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originally posted by: Yeahkeepwatchingme
a reply to: TheArrow

See that's the debate though, they fired him for discriminating against gays but by firing him aren't they violating his right to express his religion? Sure certain topics have no place in the professional world but they bleed through no matter what, so that's the problem and it's a mess.


He also happened to discriminate against gays in his own private book that he published on Amazon, it was here that he expressed his faith. Yes, it is messy, true.
edit on 12pmMon, 12 Jan 2015 20:26:39 -0600kbpmkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:25 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

The issue isn't that he wrote the book, what is at issue is that he disseminated it to co-workers, and since he is the chief, that means his subordinates.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:25 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

Personally I'm divided on this. It's wrong he was fired for expressing his rights but to me condemning gays is wrong. But it's a free world...



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:27 PM
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originally posted by: Yeahkeepwatchingme
a reply to: TheArrow

See that's the debate though, they fired him for discriminating against gays but by firing him aren't they violating his right to express his religion? Sure certain topics have no place in the professional world but they bleed through no matter what, so that's the problem and it's a mess.


You can hate gays all you want, but you cannot spread hate literature to co-workers. Almost every place I've ever worked for has a blurb about this in the handbook.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:32 PM
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a reply to: TheArrow

The Amazon site is slow for me and I can't load it all...so is the book all about gay issues? Or does it just mention it in passing?

Exactly how many references are there in the book? Who knows? Are a few pages being cited, a whole chapter?

Either way, some people feel gays are wrong for religious purposes so it opens a whole can of worms.

I can't find it in the article, anyone know if he gave it as a Christmas gift? Or did he hand it out on another occasion?
edit on 12-1-2015 by Yeahkeepwatchingme because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:37 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

Hey, we all know, business, public service, government offices and work are not places to push any religious agenda, it's always a setup, for him passing anything out like that, honestly he deserved to be offed, he wore his heart on his sleeve and really, it would make his team weaker, he can't get inside of someones head, but you know there are plenty of bosses and supervisors on jobs that go a bit to far and believe they too are Gods, this is just another example of someone trying impress how you think, that has nothing to do with the work you are doing on the taxpayer dime.

Good for him.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:40 PM
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Why did this have 2 threads?



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:47 PM
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He has the right to say what he wants, that doesn't protect him from losing his job over what is said.


“I hired him to put out fires,” Mr. Reed said. “Not to create them.”


This was a great quote.

Well all know freespeech just means you can't be targeted by the gov over speaking against them.
That is not the case here.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 08:52 PM
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Again -- this is a civil servant position.

Which represents every citizen in the district.

The extreme views of this person --- eliminates him from accepting everyone.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 09:07 PM
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originally posted by: Annee
Why did this have 2 threads?


I alerted the mods, there was a glitch when I pressed "POST."



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 09:11 PM
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a reply to: Annee

But did he give them out to evangelize or did he give them out as Christmas gifts? If he gave it out to evangelize it's no better than a gay worker disseminating rhetoric against opposing viewpoints. But what if they were gifts? I've been given religious gifts at work before but it's at most a laminated saint card or a cardboard cross included with candy.

What's the context? Intentionally evangelizing or did he just think it would be a thoughtful gift along the lines of "I wrote this I'm proud."?



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 09:14 PM
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a reply to: Annee

More information will be coming out about this and it will be loaded for awhile. I am gay, and I know Kelvin. He is a gracious god-loving man. The dissemination of the book--to whom and when--seems to be at the heart of this issue. His beliefs as a private citizen, including one I spent many hours with, don't appear to be the issue here. I know many VERY Christian people who find gay people abhorrent. The quotations in the book about gays as "vile" appear to be real...but also appear to be grounded in or referencing scripture. They aren't the whole of the book, the are but a small part...just as they are in the Bible. I believe the real rub here is not what he believes, or what is free to speak, but what his expression of these beliefs and dissemination of the book in the workplace may have done. I can tell you as a citizen of Atlanta that gay people are a major constituency of the tax-paying public and may be a group under his employ. It will be awhile before we see this play out as Kelvin as gotten legal representation and the City has legal representation of their own. Please don't dismiss this case as a simple case of free speech or religious belief that has been shut down. I believe this will be a case of nuance regarding the power of public position and what individuals in power can share, infer or encourage. It may take several months before we know more legally. I am happy to answer questions of anyone in the mean time...although I've already stated pretty much what I know.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 09:20 PM
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Seems it was more then just him handing out the book but also going against department policy about not clearing a for profit venture through them.
Remember he speaks for the department, so it would makes sense if they want to reserve the right to clear something like this before he goes out and publishes it.

Seems all your sources have a distorted view of that the 1st protects, they all talk about how he was the right to say what he wants and not be reprimanded for it which is just not true.

edit on thMon, 12 Jan 2015 21:21:51 -0600America/Chicago120155180 by Sremmos80 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 09:24 PM
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a reply to: Sremmos80

Kelvin claims he did have approval to publish the book and reference himself as the Fire Chief in the book. I don't believe there is a requirement for them to approve the manuscript. Therefore Kelvin claims he fulfilled the letter of the requirement.



posted on Jan, 12 2015 @ 09:25 PM
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a reply to: Losonczy

I do not accept your excuse for this man.

Are there gays raised in fundamental Christianity? That make excuses? YES, there are.



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