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Since the age of 5, Kelvin Cochran knew that he wanted to be a fire-fighter.
“My family was very, very poor.” said Cochran.
“We were living in a shotgun house in an alley – three big brothers, two little sisters.”
According to Cochran, one Sunday afternoon he and his brothers and sisters heard the blazing sirens of a fire-truck only to see the truck stop directly in front of their neighbor’s home.
It turns out that the house of “Miss Madie” (their neighbor) had caught fire.
“That’s the day that God convicted me in my heart that I wanted to be a firefighter when I grew up,” Cochran said. “All I thought about growing up in Shreveport was not being poor and being a firefighter.”
Many years later God gave Cochran his heart’s desire by blessing him with the strength and abilities needed to become a talented and dedicated fire-fighter.
The same little boy who grew up in a “Shotgun” house later became the man who headed up Shreveport fire-department as “Fire Chief” in 2008.
Although Cochran was honored to have been elected to this high position, apparently this was not the end of his ascension. He held the title of fire-chief until he was called to serve in the Obama Administration in 2009.
In 2010 he returned to Atlanta where he was awarded his former position as the city’s Fire-Chief.
Unfortunately, since his return Cochran was relieved from not only his position as fire-chief, but as a fireman in general — all in response to a book he wrote for a Men’s bible-study group at his Baptist Church.
The book was about Biblical morality, and as such — of course it regarded Homosexuality as a Sin.
“The LGBT members of our community have a right to be able to express their views and convictions about sexuality and deserve to be respected for their position without hate or discrimination,” Said Cochran.
“But Christians also have a right to express our belief regarding our faith and be respected for our position without hate and without discrimination. In the United States, no one should be vilified, hated or discriminated against for expressing their beliefs.”
Cochran had initially been suspended in November because of the passage he wrote about Homosexuality in a book titled, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”.
(The theme of the book is centered around Biblical Morality.)
During a Tuesday Press conference, Mayor Reed said the following…
“This is about Judgment. This is not about religious freedom. This is not about free speech. Judgment is the basis of the problem.”
He even went as far as to post a public condemnation of the comments Cochran made in his book, writing the following to his Facebook page in November of last year…
“I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community,” wrote the mayor.
“I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration.”
The mayor also went on by alerting the public that Chief Cochran had been suspended without pay and ordered to take “sensitivity courses” on accepting homosexuality within the community.
“I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the Administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all of her citizens — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race and religious beliefs,” Said mayor Reed.
If you are wondering what Cochran could have possibly written to generate such a disturbance in the LGBT community, according to the GA Voice — there were 2 passages that caused concern…
“Uncleanness – whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”
“Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex, and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body – temple and dishonor God.”
Out of 160 pages, Cochran said that he made reference to homosexuality in less than half of a single page
— yet it has been the cause of much controversy within the LGBT community.
“I did not single out homosexuality,” he said.
“I simply spoke to sex being created by God for pro-creation and He intended it to be between a man and a woman in holy matrimony – and that any other sex outside of that is sin.”
Cochran told reporters that someone from within the department obtained a copy of the book and then purposely turned it in (along with their findings) to the openly gay city council member Alex Wan.
Yet being a faithful follower of Christ, Cochran wanted all (including the LGBT community) to know that he loves them.
“The essence of the Christian faith is a love without condition, sir,” said Cochran.
“I have demonstrated that love in the fire service for 34 years. There’s not any person of any people group that has interacted with me for any measure of time that can say I have hate or disregard or discrimination in my heart for any people group.”
This incident has literally outraged many Christians everywhere, including Robert White, president of the Georgia baptist convention.
“This is appalling” said White.
“This has everything to do with his religious beliefs”
“We’re past the point of taking a public stand, Christians must stand up for their rights.” said White.
White also told reporters that he believed the Atlanta Mayor (Kasim Reed) succumbed to the pressure of Atlanta’s large LGBT community.
“It’s a frightening day in the United States when a person cannot express their faith without fears of persecution following,” said White.
“It’s persecution when a godly fire chief loses his job over expressing his Christian faith.”
Cochran told reporters that he is considering his legal options – but one thing is certain. He has no intention or desire to reclaim his old job.
“I believe God has greater things for me,” said Cochran.
“I love the fire services. It’s a childhood dream come true.”
And don’t go feeling sorry for Chief Cochran.
“I’m not discouraged and I’m not downtrodden,” he said.
“This is a God thing and He’s going to do great things and he will vindicate me publicly”