Georgia Baptist Convention leaders are rallying to defend Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who has been suspended without pay for a month and ordered to undergo sensitivity training over a book he wrote that upholds a biblical view of sexuality.
Cochran is a deacon, Sunday School teacher and Bible study leader at Atlanta’s Elizabeth Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.
A two-time Atlanta fire chief, Cochran also served as U.S. Fire Administrator under President Obama from 2009-10.
J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia convention, said in a news release issued by the GBC Public Affairs Committee, “It is time for believers to stand up for their religious beliefs, biblical principles and fellow Christians who are punished or marginalized for their faith.” White affirmed the Public Affairs Committee for its “call to action for all fellow believers to take a stand.”
The news release called on Christians and people of faith across Georgia to:
— sign a petition in behalf of Cochran at http://gabaptist.org/petition on the Georgia Baptist Convention’s website;
— support Cochran by purchasing his book on Amazon, “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” which is at the center of the firestorm; and
— enlist as many churches and believers as possible to contact Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to reverse his actions against Cochran.
To the mayor, the Georgia Baptist committee called on Reed to:
“– Acknowledge Chief Cochran’s First Amendment Rights,
“– Make a public apology for the suspension and grief it has caused the Chief and his family, and
“– Restore Chief Cochran’s pay and reputation as an honorable Fire Chief.”
Reed suspended Cochran over such passages in the chief’s 162-page self-published book as a definition of uncleanness being the “opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion.”
Cochran’s book stemmed from a series of men’s studies at Elizabeth Baptist Church titled “A Quest for Authentic Manhood.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press