Now Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council have decided to put their two cents in with breathtaking audacity and hypocrisy:
Chief Cochran is at the center of an explosive debate over free speech on the job after the city suspended him for allegedly handing out copies of a book he wrote and self-published on biblical morality.
Atlanta officials claim Cochran somehow violated workplace policy by openly discussing his Christian views on sexuality. In the book, Who Told You That You Are Naked?, Cochran explains the nature of sin, which affects us all. Included in the book is an unapologetic description of homosexuality as “perversion” -- a reference Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took personal offense to. “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.
In addition to being suspended, Cochran has to forfeit a month’s worth of pay and undergo “sensitivity training.” Although the section of the book dealing with homosexuality was only one part of the discussion, it was the sole focus of the city’s inquiry. While a number of public interest law firms are reviewing Cochran’s legal options, the immediate effect is clear: a further stripping of Christian faith from the public square.
Obviously, Mayor Reed’s message is that city employees have to check their beliefs -- and specifically, their religious beliefs -- at the door of public service. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this persecution will lead: to a country where no evidence of biblical morality will be tolerated. Christians who want to serve in a public capacity will have to go underground spiritually -- or steer clear of those careers altogether.
The Family Research Council is being highly deceptive. According to The Washington Post, Cochran didn't simply discuss his religious views on sexuality. His employees complained because he passed out copies of his self-published book, which included portions denigrating gays.
Also, notice how FRC attempts to downplay the portion which got Cochran into trouble, i.e. what the book said about gays:
Although the section of the book dealing with homosexuality was only one part of the discussion, it was the sole focus of the city’s inquiry.
It's not by accident that FRC conveniently omitted what exactly Cochran's book:
Among other things, the book calls “homosexuality” and “lesbianism” a “sexual perversion” morally equivalent to “pederasty” and “bestiality.”
. . . In one (section of his book), Cochran wrote: “Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.” In another section, Cochran wrote that “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.”
So to the Family Research Council, the organization who rings the alarms about supposed Christian persecution at the drop of hat, comparing homosexuality to bestiality and pederasty (a form of pedophilia) is no big deal.
The point here is not just FRC's blatant two-faced attempts to defend Cochran (although that is worthy to point out), but the question of just what should be covered under the idea of religious liberty. Some of Cochran's employees are lgbts or either at least lgbt-supportive. What about their rights? What about their beliefs? Is it fair that they should check their beliefs at the door because Cochran can play the "religious freedom" card in order to denigrate them? And what about members of the lgbt community he is supposed to serve and whose tax dollars most likely pays his salary.
Mark my words when I say that FRC and fellow organizations are overplaying the "religious liberty" card so much so that they will render it unusable when a true case of religious discrimination comes up.
Religious liberty should never be an excuse to attack, denigrate, or stigmatize anyone.
However, I think we should be thankful about one thing. Had Cochran somehow attacked Christians in the eyes of FRC, we would have been subjected to another one of those God-awful public psychological masturbatory functions disguised as religious rallies.