Atlanta, Georgia's Fire Chief was suspended without pay for writing a book that took a stand for traditional marriage, but the Georgia Baptist Convention calls for all Christians to fight back and support "biblical principles and fellow believers who are punished or marginalized for their faith."
Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran wrote the 162-page book, entitled "Who Told You That You Were Naked," late last year to express his beliefs for traditional marriage and against sexual perversions. In the book, Cochran tells his thoughts on the responsibility of men to accept their redemption from Christ and stand up to "fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, community and business leaders-world changers."
"This profound question, 'Who told you that you were naked?,' meant much more than, 'Who told you that you do not have on clothes?' From God's perspective nakedness meant so much more," Cochran states in the book. "It meant condemnation and deprivation to his most precious creation-mankind. Though He reconciled Adam's condition by clothing him in coats of lambs' skin, Adam never got over what he had done."
Cochran began distributing the self-published book to members of the Elizabeth Baptist Church in which he serves as a deacon, but when he started distributing it among city employees, the mayor stepped in.
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed handed down a 30-day suspension without pay, prohibited the book on city property, and ordered the fire chief to undergo sensitivity training.
"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... religious beliefs," Reed said in a statement.
In turn, the Georgia Baptist Convention responded to the punishment of Cochran by issuing its own statement calling the mayor to "Acknowledge Chief Cochran's First Amendment Rights, make a public apology for the suspension and grief it has caused the Chief and his family, and restore Chief Cochran's pay and reputation as an honorable Fire Chief."
The convention further called on fellow Christians to sign a petition on its website and purchase Cheif Cochran's book to help show support. "It is time for believers to stand up for their religious beliefs, biblical principles and fellow Christians who are punished or marginalized for their faith," said Dr. J. Robert White, executive director, Georgia Baptist Convention. "GBC's Public Affairs Committee's statement is a call to action for all fellow believers to take a stand."
Much of Cochran's message in the book has more to do with a reinvigoration of Christian men to stand up into their positions as faith leaders, as described in Galations 5:19-21, including "definitions of, and warnings about promiscuity, idolatry, jealousy, hatred, strife, envy, dissensions, heresies, murder and drunkenness; among others," according to the GBC.
"My life is a testimony of the struggle with condemnation and how a man can grow from strength to strength, through diligent pursuit of fulfilling God's purpose for his life through the Word of God," Cochran writes. While homosexuality is mentioned in the book as a sexual perversion, Cochran also condemns the promiscuity of men outside of marriage with the opposite sex, as well.
Kelvin Cochran became Atlanta's fire chief in 2008 after serving as the fire chief of Shreveport, Lousiana for nine years. He briefly left Atlanta in July of 2009 to serve under President Obama as the U.S. Fire Administrator, but returned to a unanimous vote to come back to Atlanta's chief position when that term was over in 2010. He has over 28 years experience in fire service, with extensive work done for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
You can find Chief Cochran's book at Amazon where you can leave a review or purchase the book for $13.18.