Franklin Graham, the son of well-known evangelist Billy Graham, is encouraging Christians to participate in the "Standing for Our Faith Rally" at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday to support former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran.
Numerous Christians and Christian leaders, including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, are expected to attend the rally scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Georgia Capitol Rotunda in support of Cochran, who was relieved of his duties as fire chief on January 6.
According to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Cochran, who is a devout Christian, was fired after writing a book on Biblical morality for a men's Bible study in which he referred to homosexuality as "unclean," "inappropriate" and "vulgar."
"I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community. I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration," Reed wrote at the time, adding that Cochran was fired for "insubordination" and "poor judgement."
However, Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, alleges that Cochran was clearly "targeted" and fired "because of his faith in Jesus Christ."
"The latest target of politically correct bullying against Bible believing Christians is Atlanta's former fire chief Kelvin Cochran," Graham wrote on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website on Tuesday.
"That's right, I said "former." Cochran was fired because of a small passage - less than half a page- in a book he wrote for his church's Bible study group."
Graham adds: "The book on biblical morality simply restates God's position put forth in His Word, the Bible. From Cochran's book: "Uncleanness-whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion." I personally know Chief Cochran. He served as chairman of my Crusade in Shreveport in 2005. He is a fearless man of great faith."
Cochran will reportedly attend Tuesday's rally to offer brief remarks in appreciation of the attendees. However, the former fire chief emphasizes that he does not bear any ill-will to those involved in his termination.
"The essence of the Christian faith is a love without condition," he told Fox News. "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."
He added, "I'm not discouraged and I'm not downtrodden.This is a God thing and He's going to do great things and He will vindicate me publicly."