As one firefighter is reportedly out of a job after standing up for biblical authority, religious freedom is under attack in America yet again. Thankfully, the Bible gives us truth and understanding in the midst of persecution.
According to Fox News, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was recently fired for expressing his Christian views on homosexual behavior. In a short book on biblical morality, Cochran included homosexuality alongside a list of other sexual sins such as polygamy, bestiality, and fornication. In the Fox article he says, “I did not single out homosexuality . . . I simply spoke to sex being created by God for pro-creation and He intended it to be between a man and a woman in holy matrimony—and that any other sex outside of that is sin.” Now, I personally know someone who is friends with Cochran, and he says, "He is a one of the kindest, Christ-like gentlemen I've ever known. Everyone who knows him will affirm it. The guy loves EVERYBODY, and would never discriminate against anyone." But what he wrote in that book apparently got him fired.
“A Non-Discriminatory Environment”?Openly gay Atlanta city council member Alex Wan is reported as saying that Cochran’s termination “sends a strong message to employees about how much we value diversity and how we adhere to a non-discriminatory environment.” But what is really happening is Cochran is being discriminated against for being a Christian who proclaims biblical truth even though the city claims it does not discriminate based on religion! Atlanta’s mayor reportedly said, “I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration. . . . I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the Administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all of her citizens—regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race and religious beliefs.” The city council’s actions certainly seem to be not valuing diversity and are shutting out anyone who does not agree that homosexual behavior is acceptable. This definitely appears to be clear discrimination against a biblical worldview! If a city council truly valued diversity, they would not fire someone merely because they firmly stood for what they believe, based on the Bible.
How does firing Cochran because he stood up for his religious beliefs make “Atlanta a more welcoming city for all her citizens—regardless of . . . religious beliefs”? Obviously such a city would not be welcoming to Christians who firmly stand for their religious beliefs—beliefs that are grounded in the Word of God, the very foundation that this nation was built on. If all this is as we understand it to be (and there is no reason to doubt otherwise), then it is clearly an example of the city council ignoring the First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” Cochran is not being allowed to freely exercise his right to freedom of religion and speech. In fact, beliefs opposite of Cochran’s are being imposed on him and the city!
Attacks on Religion FreedomAll across America we are seeing increasing examples of religious freedom being aggressively attacked. Those who dare to disagree with the status quo are labeled “intolerant” and “discriminatory” and are often punished for publicly standing for their beliefs. Yet it is those coming against people like Chief Cochran who are intolerant and discriminatory! Americans are quickly losing our freedom of religion and speech—our right to the free exercise of religion, unless it is the religion of those who are imposing their anti-biblical views on the culture.
Here at Answers in Genesis and Ark Encounter we too are experiencing an attack on our freedoms. Ark Encounter has recently been denied a tax rebate incentive by the Kentucky government merely because we are a Christian group that will proclaim biblical truth at Ark Encounter and because we want to freely exercise our right to hire those who agree with our statement of faith. In denying us the tax rebate that is freely available to many other tourist attractions, the state is discriminating against our Christian faith. They too are ignoring the First Amendment as well as other applicable state and federal laws.
“Blessed Are Those . . . ”Of course, this attack on freedom of speech and religion is to be expected in a country where many are choosing to reject God and worship and serve the creature than the Creator. And Jesus does not promise Christians an easy life. In Matthew 5:10–11 He states, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake." What we need to be doing is being the salt of the earth and light of the world (Matthew 5:13–14). And Christ also says, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
We need to be bold in standing up for biblical truth in a world that is working very hard to silence those who do so. I encourage you to pray for this nation, for the situation with Cochran, and for Ark Encounter.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.