Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The anti-gay road show moves to Atlanta

Kelvin Cochran
Kelvin Cochran, Atlanta's dismissed fire chief, claims that he was canned because of his religious beliefs. The truth is that he was terminated for his terrible judgment. Cochran wanted to impose his conservative Christian beliefs on his department. To do so he published a book that was distributed to staffers. He claims that only three copies were given to people who did not request one. If true, that's three too many. Cochran also commented to the press on his suspension last November when he was told not to do so.

So now, the entire Christianist establishment (inspired by Todd Starnes, no doubt) is rallying the faithful in Atlanta to show their support for Cochran. Without much else to do, even National Organization for Marriage joined the feigned outrage festival claiming that Cochran has been targeted for discrimination and intimidation. Organizers like Family Research Council are stirring up the faithful calling them victims of anti-Christian bigotry. The cynic in me calls them “potential donors.” These folks are seeking relevance at a time when national marriage equality seems inevitable and Republicans are no longer reliable anti-gay bigots.

These are the same people who grossly misrepresented subpoenas of non-confidential material from pastors in Houston. They enjoyed a small victory as the subpoenas were withdrawn although I suspect that the judge hearing the case would have severely limited their scope if they even survived judicial scrutiny.

The underlying issue (whether opponents of an anti-discrimination measure gathered sufficient signatures to put the matter on the ballot) is still in the courts. None of the demonstrations will have any effect on the verdict. Nevertheless, events in Houston pumped hot air into the religious balloon which has followed the winds from the west to Atlanta.

Cochran's 15 minutes will soon end. I seriously doubt that Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, will reconsider his decision to terminate Cochran. I suspect that he will end up working for Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition which is based in Duluth, Georgia. FRC will see its coffers swell a tad. In the end not much will change. Although Atlanta will get a new fire chief who is more concerned with combustion than coercion.

Over the years I have fired a fair number of subordinates. It's never their fault that they got shit-canned. Mr. Cochran probably needs to believe that he was fired for his religious beliefs (which were never challenged). It couldn't possibly be his fault that he is unemployed. This delusion will be reinforced by Christian conservatives who have a similar need for a victim of the Homosexual Agenda™. Does anyone remember the names of any of those Houston pastors who were so egregiously persecuted?

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