Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Valued Black Lives and Religious Liberty. Liberals Fired Him.

They talk about "black lives matter." What about a black man's livelihood?

By Ken Blackwell & Bob Morrison Published on October 24, 2015

For more than thirty years, former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran proved that black lives matter. In a city 54% black, it was natural to show this concern day after day. It’s safe to say that over his 30-year career in Louisiana and Georgia, Chief Cochran was responsible for saving thousands of black lives. And white, Hispanic and Asian lives as well. It would be inconceivable that a respected major city Fire Chief would do otherwise.

That’s why liberal hypocrisy is so galling today. When Chief Cochran was fired for expressing his religious convictions concerning human sexuality, no one in Atlanta could cite a single instance where Chief Cochran had failed to fully protect the lives of gays and lesbians. No one could cite any example of his having failed to hire, promote or commend Atlanta firefighters who are gay or lesbian. And certainly no one could provide any evidence that Chief Cochran had ever said so much as an uncharitable word about homosexuals. Yet, this outstanding public servant was targeted and fired because he dared to express in writing what his faith teaches, what the Bible commends.

Our colleague, Tony Perkins, is the president of Family Research Council. Tony stood with Chief Cochran last winter at a major rally in Atlanta. Where were the liberals on that one?

To Chief Cochran, who is black, his life was firefighting. His life’s work did not matter to politically correct activists. Still, they tell us they believe black lives matter.

But not a black man’s livelihood?

When candidates debate whether it’s proper to say “Black Lives Matter,” or whether we should be more inclusive and say “All Lives Matter,” this misses that the liberal doctrine is that black lives matter only under certain conditions. For example, if those black lives are the lives of unborn children, not only do they not matter, they don’t even get considered.

Planned Parenthood last year killed 327,000 unborn children through abortion. Of these, according to their own statistics, 31% were black. Given that the black population of the U.S. is only 13%, we see a hideously disproportionate impact of Planned Parenthood killings of these innocent unborn lives in the black community.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger even went so far as to share her birth control message with a Ku Klux Klan Klavern (cell) in New Jersey in the 1930s. She spoke elsewhere of raising “a race of thoroughbreds” and getting rid of “human weeds.” To speak this way of the lives of human beings is to reduce them to chattels — the core principle of human bondage.

This should not surprise us. The outfit that the Washington Post calls venerable has a long history with eugenics, with targeting minority communities. Pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger has fought against this outfit’s targeting minority communities for years.

Ryan’s birth mother was a victim of rape. Ryan is biracial and he points out, “I am the 1% they use to justify the 99%” of abortions.

Black lives certainly matter to the church. The now classic study done for the respected National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) provides a positive answer to the plague of drug violence, crime and academic failure. In the 1980s, NBER published Who Escapes? The Relation of Churchgoing and Other Background Factors to the Socioeconomic Performance of Black Male Youths from Inner-City TractsConsider the social scientists’ title. What it suggests is that much of the answer to the violence that black youths face in “Inner-City Tracts” is another kind of tract, the church pamphlets that offer the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ

And yet, the ongoing project of liberal secularists is to suppress, marginalize and sometimes even demonize churches and churchgoers. How many candidates on a debate stage, how many activists chanting in the streets, have actually read Who Escapes? The policies they promote are only adding fuel to the fires of racial and social tension.

That’s why at Family Research Council we’re proud to stand with Chief Kelvin Cochran. This decorated firefighter no doubt saved more lives — black lives and others — in his long career than all the protest chanters and vote-seeking politicos combined.


Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are Senior Fellows at the Family Research Council.

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