Two Black Men Fired by Georgia Government for Being Christian Shows Need for FADA

Photo credit: elPadawan via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The case of Eric Walsh, a distinguished physician and Seventh-day Adventist, should be extraordinary. Government health care workers attended his church to evaluate the part-time pastor’s sermons and decided to revoke his job.

The thing is, it’s not extraordinary: Eric Walsh is actually the second highly accomplished black man to be fired by a Georgia government for expressing Christian views of sex and marriage.

The first was Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, who raised the ire of the LGBT community by writing one paragraph in a self-published Bible study on sins of impurity, including homosexuality.

John Kasich may cry peace, but meanwhile the Left is using its political and regulatory powers to redefine the expression of Christian views as the equivalent of racism.

Dr. Walsh, whose record of service to his patients is faultless, was astonished to discover he had come under Grand Inquisitors’ fire:

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Dr. Walsh told me in an exclusive interview. “This has been very painful for me. I really am a strong believer in the Constitution. But now I feel like maybe all these ideals and values that I was raised to believe – the ideals they [sic] country was founded upon – no longer exist.”

Georgia needs a First Amendment Defense Act. And so does the U.S. Congress.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

How Many Kelvin Cochrans Must Lose Their Jobs Before the Dems Relent?

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran (public domain photo via FEMA)

I have been pushing social conservatives to focus on the First Amendment Defense Act because it points to the growing problem: people who are known to oppose gay marriage are increasingly losing their livelihoods. The legislation isn’t perfect, but it combines important and substantive protections with sparking the right conversation: should people lose their jobs because they dissent from the new gay marriage regime? Should religious schools or other church institutions be punished by the removal of nonprofit status if they don’t get with the government’s new program?

Watch this interview with Kelvin Cochran. He is a hero of mine, first for his amazing story of dreaming as a small boy in a poor neighborhood that one day he would be a fireman and save lives—and then making that dream come true.

Secondly, for living up to the Biblical injunction: “Be not afraid.”  He’s paid a great price for that, and shame on those in the Democratic Party who’ve extracted that kind of price from a hero, in his case for the crime of self-publishing a book for his Bible study group that in three or four paragraphs speaks of classic Christian views on sexual purity and what God requires.

Watch the interview:

Presidential candidates: ask yourself, are you willing to be Kelvin Cochran’s champion? If not, I would repeat the question that Sen. Rick Santorum asked a NOM’s gala: “Then why do you want to be president?”

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Defend Black Christians’ Civil Rights Now

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran (public domain photo via FEMA)

In the latest version of the Strange New Respect award, Rick Perry is earning plaudits from the left for his speech on race. Buzzfeed called it “remarkable” and MSNBC called it “interesting”:

“For too long, we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote because we found we didn’t need it to win. But when we gave up trying to win the support of African Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all,” Perry said. “It’s time for us once again to reclaim our heritage as the only party in our country founded on the principle of freedom for African Americans.”

From MSNBC’s point of view, conservatism is founded on racial animus and dog whistles thereto, but reporter Steve Benen does raise the key question:

Outreach is great, but what exactly are Republican candidates and officials prepared to say to black voters?

Outreach to Hispanic voters failed in 2012, because the Romney campaign had promised donors that no money would be spent on advertising or outreach on social issues.  Running one a one-legged stool means surrendering the fight for a goodly portion of America’s diverse ethnic voters, especially the new Americans.

But the Democrats’ new insistently aggressive posture towards religion opens up a new opportunity to speak directly to African-Americans not only on their values, but on their interests.

Because in a uncertain economy, it turns out that a disproportionate share of Americans losing their livelihoods because of their religious views (especially on marriage) are Black evangelicals. Continue Reading

Six Georgia Lawmakers Side with Fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran

The Washington Examiner reports that six Georgia lawmakers have written to the Mayor who fired Kelvin Cochran for writing a self-published book on Christian life and ethics, “Who Told You You Were Naked?”

These are the two offending paragraphs in the 160 page book:

Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.


Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex, and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.

After firing Cochran,  Mayor Reed said his decision was not based on on Cochran’s “personal religious beliefs” but rather on an evaluation of “judgement and management skills.”  However, the Atlanta’s own investigative report concluded:

No interviewed witness could point to a specific instance in which any member of the organization has been treated unfairly by Chief Cochran on the basis of his religious beliefs.

The Union president claimed Cochran’s book created “disgust” among firefighters while also noting he was “unable to offer any examples of maltreatment” of any gay or other employees by Kelvin Cochran.

You can buy Kelvin J. Cochran’s self-published book, either as a gesture of support or to judge for yourself.

Maggie Gallagher is the editor of Continue Reading