By Baker Owens –
Believe it or not, there were other speakers at RedState besides presidential candidates. One of them was Kelvin Cochran, the former fire chief in Atlanta. Mr. Cochran was fired in 2014 for, what the Atlanta mayor says, not getting the required clearance to write his book that talked about his opposition to gay marriage to employees at work and that Cochran compromised his ability to oversee gay employees” but for what Cochran says was religious discrimination.
Cochran was introduced by Kristen Waggoner, from the Alliance Defending Freedom, the group that is helping Mr. Cochran file a wrongful-firing case against the City of Atlanta. Waggoner says that Cochran was fired purely for expressing his beliefs in the book.
Cochran says that he still “respects and honors in the Lord” the mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed.
“I never thought the day would come when Americans would experience adverse consequences because of expressing their faith. I was fired as fire chief as a result of writing a faith-based book for a Christian men’s bible study. In the book, I described marriage as between a man and a woman and spoke of the sexual sin men are challenged with.”
Mr. Cochran talked a little bit about his upbringing that led to his strong, Christian faith. “My story didn’t begin with a firing from the city of Atlanta. I was born in Shreveport, growing up in a housing project. poverty is a terrible thing. I realized that very early in Shreveport.” Cochran says they had to make sure every pot and bucket was full of water because at some point the water would get shut off. “We ate mayonnaise sandwiches and drank sugar water.”
Cochran was very young when he heard fire sirens and decided he wanted to be a firefighter and also when he realized how much it hurt to not have a daddy.
“As a Christian, faith and patriotism was instilled in me all my life. assured us that one day my dreams would come true. My wife and I have been married for 33 years. My son is a captain (something or other). My children have never used welfare or food stamps to just make it by.
Cochran became a fire chief in Shreveport and then later under the administrations of Shirley Franklin and Mayor Reed. He was also appointed to the highest fire-related position in America, the U.S. Fire Administrator, “through Faith and Patriotism.” “In 2014, I had to choose between my living and my faith. I chose faith.”
Cochran said that in 2016, we can no longer stand by and be passive about these issues – freedom of religion, sanctity of life and marriage. “If we don’t stand up as these issues are trampled, what will it look like in 2020? Who will emerge as a leader with the compassion and faith and patriotism to recover what has been lost?”