Thursday, November 27, 2014

Firechief Suspended And Ordered To Go To Sensitivity Training For Religious Book He Wrote Labeling Homosexuality A Sexual Perversion

If you agree with the highlighted portions you may soon be fired

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has been suspended without pay for one month according to the AJC, the month-long suspension without pay will cost him $14,333 and must undergo sensitivity training for authoring a Christian book in 2013 that described homosexuality as a “sexual perversion.”

Mayor Kasim Reed’s spokeswoman Anne Torres said the administration didn’t know about book, titled “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” until employees came forward with complaints last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The book identifies Mr. Cochran as Atlanta’s fire chief and says it’s his first priority as chief is to run the department “to cultivate its culture to the glory of God,” a local ABC affiliate reported.

The mayor’s office has opened an investigation to determine whether the chief’s actions violated city policies or "discriminated" against employees.

Two specific passages of the book are cited by The Ga Voice for their anti-gay stance.

“Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion,” the book states.

“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,” another passage states.

Mr. Reid issued a statement Monday afternoon distancing himself from the fire chief’s views.

“I was surprised and disappointed to learn of this book on Friday,” he said, the ABC affiliate reported. “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 unless it's targeted against religious people.”

Mr. Cochran will also be barred from distributing copies of his books to public employees, which is something he reportedly did in the past.

Deputy Chief Joel Baker will serve as acting fire chief in Mr. Cochran’s absence.
(Washington Times) highlights outs
Atlanta Mayor's facebook comment on situation

Retired Atlanta Fire Department Captain Cindy Thompson, who is openly gay, was informed of the book by other firefighters who were disturbed by the book. Thompson, who retired in 2009 after 30 years with the department, contacted the GA Voice to get the word out about the anti-gay book. Today she she said she talked with Robin Shahar, the LGBT liaison for Mayor Reed’s office, about the book and the worry from local firefighters.

“I talked to her a long time. She was pretty shocked by the book herself, I believe. She wished some employees had come forward. But they are not that comfortable. Even though they are to be protected by doing so, some don’t feel that way. And also [speaking out] can follow you,” Thompson said.

Thompson, who now lives in California with her partner, has family in Atlanta and is visiting here for the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s when the fire department employees happened to catch her and ask her for her help.

“This is highly disturbing. I can’t quite believe it, especially since he attached his name and his job to it. That pretty much says how the department thinks,” Thompson said.

Thompson said she knew Chief Cochran while she worked at the department but “didn’t know this side of him.” She did say she knew he was a religious man and because she had “bad vibes” about him she voluntarily took a demotion from battalion chief to captain. “I just didn’t get a good feeling from him,” she said. “Now I see this book and know I was right all along.”

If an employee of the fire department wrote this book and attached their name and title with it, Thompson said she’s sure they would face a stiff penalty, if not termination. She said she believes Cochran should face the same kind of punishment, if not stricter.
first amendment be darned

“I think he should be held to a higher standard. If you’re going to publicize something, a book or publication, you’re supposed to get it approved,” she said. “So he didn’t get it approved. In my personal opinion, I don’t think he should be working there. If someone is writing a book against other groups, like a member of KKK writing something … Atlanta doesn’t tolerate stuff like that. This doesn’t follow any of the anti-discrimination policies or general feeling of the city.”

UPDATE at 5:30 p.m.: Glen Paul Freedman, chair of Georgia Equality’s board of directors, issued a statement that he didn’t believe Reed’s actions were tough enough "sensitivity" training and a one month suspension. Georgia Equality is the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.

“The Mayor only gave him one month off without pay and then he will be back in charge of the AFD and giving orders to his entire department. His views towards the LGBT community are shameful. He will be back in charge and I am sure telling his staff anti-LGBT stuff. I wonder how many LGBT AFD staff were not promoted or held back because of his views and telling his staff his views. The Mayor should fire him!” Freedman said.

“The mayor is walking a very fine line here and only giving the chief one month without pay is not the answer in this situation and the LGBT community should demand more they always do after the city of Atlanta  just received 100 percent on the HRC [municipal] equality index, New York also got a 100% rating so all government workers who agree with that statement should also be fired” he added.
(thegavoice) highlights our additions

The mayor has read the book, Torres told The Post. “There are a number of passages in the book that directly conflict with the city’s "nondiscrimination" policies,” she added. how can you be in conflict with a discrimination policy in a book?

(Washington Post) highlights our additions

But Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, says Reed isn’t going far enough and says Cochran must go.

“It appears that his language is so extreme, so "belittling" of gay people who practice homosexuality and transgender it doesn't even seem he mentions this people that I don’t see how he could possible lead a diverse workforce,” said Graham.

Cochran’s book, titled "Who Told You That You Are Naked?", includes a passage that compares compares homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. The book has been available publicly at least since November 2013, according to

I think he needs to be held accountable for his words that are clearly biblicaly based and that frankly the only course of action at this point and time is his immediate and permanent dismissal,” said Graham.

In response, Reed spokeswoman Anne Torres said, “it is too soon to say whether or not additional action will be taken. That will depend on the outcome of the investigation.”

(wabe radio station) highlights our additions

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