By Bob Allen
A Georgia Baptist newspaper editor says Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed should either repent or resign for firing a fire chief who wrote a religious book that offended the city’s LGBT community.
Christian Index Editor Gerald Harris said in a “special editorial” Jan. 9 that the Jan. 6 dismissal of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran sends a message to every Atlanta city employee: “Christians need not apply for jobs in the city based on Mayor Reed’s firing of Chief Cochran.”
“If the mayor is an honest man and has a desire to be consistent, he will remove himself from office, because of his own apparent discrimination against Christians who feel led by the biblical commands to share their faith with others,” Harris said.
Harris said it is time for Christians to “draw a line in the sand” similar to the story of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 where Col. William Travis is said to have drawn a line in the sand with his saber, and 179 of the 180 defenders stepped over demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice their lives for Texas freedom.
“I believe that this is the time for Georgians to draw a line in the sand for the sake of Chief Cochran, the First Amendment and religious freedom and ask for Mayor Kasim Reed to do the right thing and repent of his own discrimination or step down from his position as mayor of the city of Atlanta so that the city can indeed be a place of welcome for all people,” Harris said.
Cochran, a Southern Baptist who attends the multi-site Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta, said in an interview with Baptist Press that he is “pretty confident” that he will take legal action against the city.
“I believe there is objective evidence that should have exonerated me” of all wrongdoing, Cochran told the Southern Baptist Convention news service “It’s on that basis that I believe I have been treated unjustly.”
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