Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D) announced Tuesday that he has fired Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who had previously been suspended for publishing and distributing a book condemning homosexuality..
. . . Since Cochran’s suspension last month, he has become a bit of a martyr for conservatives, who believe he has been persecuted for his religious beliefs. J. Edgar White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, suggested that Cochran was among those “who are punished or marginalized for their faith” and called on Christians to purchase his book and support him.
Reed was adamant during Tuesday’s press conference that Cochran’s religious beliefs were not the reason he was fired. His book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, was published in violation of Atlanta’s Standards of Conduct, which requires approval from the Ethics Officer and the Board of Ethics. According to Reed, Cochran’s “actions and decision-making undermine his ability to manage our fire department” because employees need to feel that they are “a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide employment.
That's the story before conservatives and the religious right will attempt to make Cochran the newest martyr of the concept of 'religious liberty.' 'Religious liberty' is a phrase these individuals have coined to claim that those who practice their version Christian faith in America are supposedly being persecuted because of their objections to homosexuality and marriage equality. To them, "persecution" is a wide and loaded term which includes being forced to serve gay customers or, as we see with the above situation with Cochran, not being allowed to "voice objections" to homosexuality in places where such objections aren't exactly conducive or appropriate to the environment.
It is a concept which is gaining speed now that marriage equality is becoming more accepted and swiftly the law throughout the country. 'Religious liberty' has gained support from the "fire and brimstone" sect, who see persecution behind every bush, to the concern trolls who clamor that since gays are gaining the right to marry, we should "be nice and respectful" to those who oppose our general equality.
In other words, "religious liberty" is a load of nonsense. It's equivalent to a good paint job a bad car salesman puts on an busted up clunker in a sad attempt to cover that it's stinker.
First of all gays were not given the right to marry. It was a right which should have been ours from the start and one which we earned by slowly slogging through the trenches and terrain of this ridiculous so-called culture war.