the real reason behind the cochran firing

Posted in: political rants, theological rants- Jan 16, 2015 No Comments

Kelvin CochranI imagine that nearly all who read this will agree strongly with one of the two sentences in the next paragraph and disagree strongly with the other. I would ask that you read them both before coming to any conclusions about this post. (Actually, it’d be really groovy if you read the whole thing. But I’ll settle for the fair shake of one more full paragraph.)

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran was not fired for expressing his religious views. Nor was he fired (as many would have us believe) for failing to follow procedure or for creating a hostile work environment.

You still here? Good.

Cochran was fired for three reasons. None of the three reasons has anything to do with religion or lack thereof. None are dependent on any particular view regarding homosexuality. One is silly and the other two are ludicrous. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed blatantly admitted to all three in his press conference analyzing Cochran’s termination.

1. Cochran was fired for what MIGHT happen in the future.

First the silly reason. Reed stated that Cochran’s book and attitude could be used at a later date, should someone try to bring a discrimination suit against the city. We see this kind of thing a lot — in political dramas on television. Someone poses the possibility of future liability and so the threat is removed. I guess Cochran should be thankful that Reed didn’t have him whacked. But regardless, Reed probably needs to stop watching House of Cards.

2. Cochran was fired for making his boss uncomfortable.

Now for the first ludicrous reason. Reed received a great deal of phone calls and emails supporting Cochran and decrying what the callers/writers perceived as a violation of Cochran’s religious freedoms. Almost all of these were probably a result of the fact that Cochran talked about the investigation of his book and actions while said investigation was ongoing. Reed states that the choice to do this contributed to his decision to fire Cochran. But Cochran was never instructed to remain silent — in fact, Reed implies the opposite in the second of the two times that he pats himself on the back for his own silence.

Three times in a six-minute speech, Reed talks about having to deal with these phone calls and emails. This shows all the leadership skills of a dead lemming. All that is needed is to state your viewpoint strongly. To state that the opposing viewpoint is wrong and had to be handled is redundant, unnecessary, and — let’s be honest — just whining. Again, dead lemming.

3. Cochran was fired for hurting his boss’ feelings.

This is where things get even more ludicrous. Contrary to what is being reported by those in favor of Cochran’s termination, he did not violate the laws that required him to clear things with the Ethics Officer before publishing a book while in office. Reed (unintentionally, I’m sure) defends Cochran on this issue by stating that Cochran “communicated, on multiple occasions, with the Chief Ethics Officer … those facts are not in dispute.” But Cochran failed to do that which is not required by law — consult with Reed as well. Funny, I’d imagine that the mayor of a city as large as Atlanta might be a bit busy. If only there was an office that could handle stuff of an ethical nature so that he wouldn’t have to be burdened with such issues. Oh, wait …

Reed states right at the end of the press conference that Cochran’s failure to discuss the issue with him before publication was “the most important factor” in Reed’s decision to fire Cochran. This is the “logic” of a petulant toddler.

For my friends outside of Atlanta

You may or may not know this already, but let me point out who we’re talking about.

Kasim ReedKasim Reed is the man who tweeted: “Atlanta, we are ready for the snow” roughly two hours before the entire city became a snow-bound parking lot. Among a couple dozen friends whose updates I watched on Facebook, the shortest commute home was four hours. Many people gave up altogether and slept on the floors of grocery stores and in restaurants who graciously decided to remain open all night. The next day, when confronted with the issue, Reed tried to pin nearly all of the blame on the commuters for having the gall to want to go home when they realized that the window to do so was closing quickly. What little blame was assigned elsewhere got nowhere near city hall.

Reed is the man who was shocked when the Atlanta Braves “suddenly” chose to leave Atlanta after being ignored and rebuffed by the city for 15 years (while the city fell all over itself to work with the Falcons to ensure that they got their new stadium).

Reed is the man who wished the 342-437 Thrashers “continued success” when they moved to Winnipeg.

In short, Kasim Reed is an incompetent boob. To assign religious significance to this decision (in either direction) is to give him far too much credit.

So what does this mean for Christians?

Here’s the thing. We’re blowing it again. Are there religious ramifications to the issue? Probably so, even if Reed wouldn’t recognize them if they bit him on the tuckus like a rabid chihuahua. But we quickly drew the lines and chose up sides, basing our decisions largely, not on facts, but in reaction to reports defending Cochran’s termination — reports disseminated by people who we loudly proclaim not to trust anyway. If we don’t trust them, why do we keep letting them define the rules of engagement?

So, we’ll have a rally in support of Cochran and we’ll talk about religious freedom. And the other side will have a rally in support of his firing and they’ll talk about non-discrimination. And you know what? Nobody — and I mean, nobody — on either side is going to be paying one bit of attention to anything the other side is saying.

Stand firm in your beliefs? Certainly. Talk past your ideological opponent? Um, no. Well, not if you have even an iota of desire to bring them closer to your way of thinking.

I keep repeating this quote from Andy Stanley so much lately, that I may just go ahead and have it tattooed on my forehead:

Do you want to be right, or do you want to make a difference?

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