Judge Rules Lawsuit Filed by Chief Fired Over Book Calling Homosexuality ‘Perversion’ May Proceed

CochranATLANTA — A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by a Georgia fire chief who was fired earlier this year over a self-published book that included a paragraph citing homosexuality among other sexual behaviors that are a perversion of God’s design may move forward.

As previously reported, Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired last year after being suspended for one month and placed under investigation as to whether he violated city policy or engaged in discrimination by publishing the book “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”

The book, available on Amazon, is centered on God’s question to Adam following his disobedience in the Garden of Eden, and parallels the matter with those who are now “clothed in Christ.” It was compiled as a result of a number of lesson plans that he had prepared over time for men’s Bible study groups.

While “Who Told You That You Were Naked” was published in 2013, it was reportedly not until November 2014 that Atlanta employees complained to Mayor Reed about its content.

“Uncleanness [is] whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion,” Cochran wrote. “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.”

But it wasn’t Cochran’s writings against sexual perversion that got him into hot water; it was the fact that he included homosexuality among those behaviors that are cited as being “vile,” “vulgar” and “inappropriate.” The text was included on just one page out of the entire 160-plus page book, which does not center on homosexuality.

Following the receipt of a complaint over the quote, Mayor Kasim Reed placed Cochran on a one-month suspension while an investigation went forward. Shortly after he returned to work, Reed decided to terminate the fire chief over the publication.

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He alleged at a press conference shortly after the beginning of the new year that his decision had nothing to do with freedom or speech or religion, stating that Cochran was fired because he had not obtained approval from officials to publish the book. Reed also stated that he thought the chief could present legal liabilities for the city.

But Cochran said the he indeed did seek out the ethics officer prior to publishing the book, and not only was he granted permission to proceed, but he was also allowed to include in his biography that he served as the fire chief of Atlanta. He said that he gave a copy of the publication to Reed in January 2014—nearly a year before the controversy erupted—and was told by the mayor that he would read it.

Shortly after his firing, Cochran filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, alleging a violation of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act, and a month later, attorneys for Cochran filed a federal lawsuit against Reed and the City of Atlanta, asserting violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Attorneys for the city asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit earlier this year, but on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that the case could move forward. However, she dismissed some of Cochran’s claims while retaining others.

Cochran’s claims regarding retaliation, discrimination based on viewpoint, violations of the freedom of religion and association, and due process were all upheld, while his equal protection, Establishment Clause, vagueness and liberty interest claims were all dismissed.

“This lawsuit is not about religious beliefs, nor is it about the First Amendment. Rather, it is an employment matter involving an executive in charge of 1,129 firefighters and tasked to lead by example,” city spokeswoman Anne Torres told reporters. “Instead of leadership, the former executive failed to follow his employer’s rules for outside employment.”

However, Cochran’s attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) state that they look forward to the battle ahead.

“Tolerance must apply to people of different viewpoints, not just those who agree with the beliefs the government prefers,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement. “Americans don’t surrender their constitutionally protected freedoms when they become public servants.”


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  • 201821208 :)

    “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Rom. 1:26-27

    • Jade

      With Christmas almost here, I was curious what birth narrative you like best, Matthew or Luke? Other than the two Gospels having Jesus born in Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary who was married to a man named Joseph, the stories are COMPLETELY different. Which one do you like best?

      • 201821208 :)

        gotquestions dot org/Jesus-genealogy dot html

        • Jade

          I knew you were not going to answer that one. Are you also aware that trying to combine the stories is historically inaccurate? King Herod (Matthew) was dead for 9 years before Quirinius became governor of Syria (Luke).

  • Cady555

    He also gave copies of the book to his subordinates, which is a misuse of his government position.

    Change the labels. Assume that the head of an important government service believes in astrology and wrote a book declaring that everyone born in January is an ignorant schmuck. Free speech says he can state that opinion. However, that opinion would impact his ability to perform his job, as about 1/12 of his employees would know they are seen as ignorant. The effectiveness of the organization would drop as the other 11/12s take sides.

    Mr. Cochran’s situation is no different. He holds extremely negative opinions about some of the people working for him unrelated to their ability to do their jobs. And by distributing the book on the job, he made sure they new it.

    Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

    • kirby76

      Well, at some level it has to mean “freedom from consequences”, otherwise it’s hardly “free”. It depends on what the consequences are, who’s imposing them, etc, and for what.

      I agree that distributing the book in the workplace is central, but I’m not convinced that there would have been no repercussions even if he hadn’t done that, assuming the department and public became aware of it and what was in it. The Pasadena Public Health Director was forced out of his job for things he said in sermons in his church. But it is mainly passing the book out (in my opinion) that makes him vulnerable.

      Still, the other side of the coin is that the “negative opinions” he holds are religiously-based, which make them different than if he just spouted basically the same views without that basis. In California, where I live, the state Supreme Court ordered judges not to associate with the Boy Scouts because of their discriminatory practices towards gay people. As a columnist (who supported the action) wrote, the irony was that, because the Court had to exempt religious groups from the ban, the upshot was that a judge could not affiliate with the Boy Scouts because doing so would give “the appearance of bias” against LGBT people, but he’d be totally free to be a member of the (vastly more anti-gay!) Westboro Baptist Church.

      • Cady555

        Thanks for the well thought out response.

        The Bill of Rights places limits on government action. For example, the government cannot make it illegal to write or publish a book no matter how vile. Even white supremist publications are legal. (The few exceptions are extreme – child porn for example.) Mr. Cochran was not prevented from publishing. Anybody can buy it on Amazon.

        The consequences are a result of the impact on Mr. Cochran’s ability to do his job. If you knew your boss thought “Kirby” was a bad name and everybody with that name is the spawn of Satan, that impact your work and thus reduce your boss’ success as a boss. Thus there would be consequences.

        • afchief

          Sorry, but he violated no law!!

          • SashaC

            You keep parroting this comment, but apparently aren’t bright enough to understand that he didn’t HAVE to break a law. That’s irrelevant.

            I own a business in manufacturing. I have a common sense rule that employees may not wear open toed shoes on the shop floor. I fired an employee once for continuously trying to wear crocs even after being told numerous times he couldn’t. Did he break a law? No. He broke his employer’s rules.

            Is that a simple enough example for you to comprehend? Your employer can fire or discipline you for breaking company policy, whether what you did was illegal or not.

          • afchief

            OK, show me the company rule (or law) he violated?

          • SashaC

            Every time we interact I’m stunned by how dumb you are. Seriously, is there something wrong with you, or is it just that your reading comprehension is non existent?

            I just said there is no law. There doesn’t have to be a law.

            I’m not about to post my employee handbook here, but it’s MY company, that I started. Get it? Take my word for it, it’s a rule because I made it.

          • afchief

            OK, show me the company rule (or law) he violated?

          • SashaC

            Translation: I have no rebuttal.

            Got it, thanks.

            It’s both hilarious and frightening that out of millions of sperm, you were the fastest. Run along now, you’re dismissed.

          • afchief

            You stated “Your employer can fire or discipline you for breaking company policy”

            I’m still waiting for the rule or law he broke!!!

            Waiting……………………………..

          • SashaC

            And I addressed that in both of my comments to you. The rule, in my case, is my company policy that you may not wear open toed shoes in my shop.

            In the case in the article, my guess is that the rule regards creating a hostile work environment. This is pretty standard in any company.

            I can only explain it to you, I can’t understand it for you, mouth breather. Now begone.

          • afchief

            From the article; “But it wasn’t Cochran’s writings against sexual perversion that got him into hot water; it was the fact that he included homosexuality among those behaviors that are cited as being “vile,” “vulgar” and “inappropriate.” The text was included on just one page out of the entire 160-plus page book, which does not center on homosexuality.”

            I’m still waiting for the rule or law he broke!!!

            Waiting……………………………..

          • http://burwellfamily.us/resumes.htm Patrick Burwell

            Sasha – resorting to personal attacks only proves you have lost. Go away.

        • kirby76

          That’s a good point. I can see anyone who’d published a book (even one they published themselves) showing it to people at work; the issue in this case IS the content. While it isn’t forbidden to mention religion at all in the workplace, and even to some extent that is protected expression, you can’t take over the line into attacking or insulting co-workers.

          I still think that, because of his unique position, being in charge of the department AND a public figure, the chief might very well have gotten into trouble even if he hadn’t brought the book to work. There are other examples of people in sensitive (and sometimes not-so-sensitive) positions being fired or forced out of their jobs because of similar religious-based comments on social media and elsewhere. Again, the case of the Pasadena Health Director comes to mind.

          I think the passing the book out at work, along with the dispute over not getting pre-clearance to publish in the first place, are merely the offenses that can be put down on paper, when the “real” offense is simply that he holds the views he does, and these views became known. But that could have happened without those factors, and if he’d been fired in THAT instance, it would have been a more complex debate.

      • acontraryview

        I don’t think the issue was handing out the book. If the Chief had written a murder mystery, and handed that out at work, that would have been fine. The issue was the content and if the content created a hostile working environment which would result in some employees questioning whether they would be treated fairly and equitably.

        As an example. Let’s say that the Chief was Muslim, wrote a book that stated that all Christians are infidels, and then passed that book out at work. It would be reasonable for Christians in the department to view that as creating a hostile work environment and questioning the ability of the Chief to treat them fairly and equitably. That, in turn, could reasonably be expected to have a dulling effect on workplace quality. Thus, the employer has the right to terminate the employee as they have taken actions which could affect the workplace in a negative manner.

        • petroskhan

          Let’s make it more simple. Suppose the chief was a muslim, and was passing out copies of the Koran.

          You see…the Koran specifically states that infidels should be killed,
          at the very least subjugated, and treated like second-class citizens.
          Numerous citations from the Koran can be provided if you need them.

          Should he be punished?

          • acontraryview

            If the workplace rules are that the distribution of religious materials by a supervisor is not allowed, then yes, he should.

          • petroskhan

            As I cited in another response:

            “Cochran said the he indeed did seek out the ethics officer prior to
            publishing the book, and not only was he granted permission to proceed,
            but he was also allowed to include in his biography that he served as
            the fire chief of Atlanta.”

            Seems like he had the green light.

          • acontraryview

            Perhaps to publish the book, but that isn’t the issue, as you clearly pointed out in your example.

          • petroskhan

            I think that regardless of our opinions on the matter, the wisest course will be to wait, and see what happens in court, where all of the evidence will be presented, rather than depend on an article on a website. 😀

          • acontraryview

            Then why did you comment to begin with?

          • petroskhan

            Good question…why did I? 😀

            I have an opinion on the subject, and chose to present it. I will admit, though, that discussing the opinion, and seeing the opposing viewpoint you’ve presented, has made me think a bit more about the subject.

            Some of the points you’ve presented have merit; I disagree with others, and am on the fence with this issue at present. I think it all hinges on what policies the department had in place regarding the matter, and whether or not he violated those policies. And since we are unaware of those policies, and whether or not his actions violated them, I will wait.

            Did he write a book that was potentially offensive to some people? Yes.

            Did he hand out copies of the book? Yes.

            Was it “wise” to do so? Debatable…I’d say no.

            Was it a violation of workplace policies to do so? Don’t know, and that is the “meat and potatoes” of the issue – he did have permission to publish the book, but what about the handing out?

            What was the intent of handing it out? Free gifts to co-workers, displaying pride in his accomplishment? Harmless, then. Or did he want to spread his “message” and make his opinions know to subordinates? Then…not so harmless, right?

            Some of the information needed to really determine what was going on is missing, so I’ll wait to see what the truth of the matter is. I will admit that in general I want to defend the actions a Christian, but if he crosses the line, and starts to use his position to enforce his beliefs on others, or punish others for not believing as he does, then I withdraw my support, as we are all free to choose to believe or not, and no one should be forced to accept another’s belief. That is more Islam than Christianity.

            SO – after giving it some thought, and hearing some of your points, I would say that both sides could benefit from more information on this issue.

    • John_33

      Except Cochran’s views didn’t impact his work. By all accounts, he was a stellar firefighter and chief. The ethics department originally gave the green light but backtracked when people started protesting the book because of several references to homosexuality. An internal investigation was held, and the department concluded that Cochran didn’t treat anyone unfairly, but they still insisted on suspension simply because people were ‘appalled’ at the contents – i.e. Christian material. Nobody had to accept the book, and he didn’t punish anyone for rejecting it. He was simply sharing his opinion – government officials can do that. This is straight-up discrimination against a Christian who spoke about his religious views.

    • afchief

      This man had every right to do what he did. He broke NO law!!! He should win his lawsuit!!!

      • acontraryview

        “He broke NO law!!!”

        What does that have to do with anything? Employers have all kinds of restrictions on workplace behavior that have nothing to do with our legal code but are still fireable offenses.

        • afchief

          I repeat….”He broke NO law!!!”

          • acontraryview

            I repeat: How is that relevant?

          • http://burwellfamily.us/resumes.htm Patrick Burwell

            I repeat, you have lost. The Judge has already determined this case can go forward.

        • petroskhan

          Did he then violate any of the various “restrictions on workplace behavior”? If you could cite any, that might help your position.

          • acontraryview

            The city believes he did. Specifically, the city believes that his actions created a hostile work environment which would result in some employees questioning whether they would be treated fairly and equitably. That, in turn, could reasonably be expected to have a dulling effect on workplace quality. Thus, the employer has the right to terminate the employee as they have taken actions which could affect the workplace in a negative manner.

          • petroskhan

            “Cochran said that he indeed did seek out the ethics officer prior to
            publishing the book, and not only was he granted permission to proceed,
            but he was also allowed to include in his biography that he served as
            the fire chief of Atlanta.”

            Guess we’ll have to wait for the trial and see what’s what…

          • acontraryview

            How is the quote you provided from the article relevant to the points I made?

          • petroskhan

            Referencing your comment that the city believes the actions violated workplace behavior restrictions. If he had permission, then he would be in the clear. But…as I said, rather than exchanging opinions, I will wait for the court proceedings.

          • acontraryview

            It will be interesting to see what happens.

          • http://burwellfamily.us/resumes.htm Patrick Burwell

            The judge does not agree with you.This argument is over.

    • petroskhan

      First, the percentages don’t match. I’m sure that you wouldn’t consider that a relevant component of your position, but 1/12 is roughly 8%, while homosexuals comprise roughly 2%, so that’s a bit off. The effect of being against homosexuals would be roughly 1/4 that of being against those born in a particular month.

      Continuing, feeling that someone is ignorant (and a schmuck) can affect preconceptions only. In a job based almost entirely on one’s performance and physical abilities, those preconceptions would crumble quickly in the face of the person’s real world performance. However, sin is sin. The Word of God is plain on that, and whether one is a Christian or not, it is a statement made in the Bible.

      Which brings us to the next point. The man is free to practice his religion. He is free to believe as he wishes, and he is free to write whatsoever he chooses. No law can violate that, and he was legally in the clear, just as he was in handing out copies of his book. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. Disagree with him? Write and distribute your own book, demonstrating your opposing view.

      And your own post shows the untenable nature of your position: “He holds extremely negative opinions about some of the people working for him unrelated to their ability to do their jobs.” His opinion (or, more accurately, his faith) dictates whether or not behavior is good or bad. That viewpoint is, as you stated, unrelated to their job performance, and until and unless someone can show that his faith/beliefs DID have an effect on someone’s career, there is no basis for any sort of action against him.

      • acontraryview

        “just as he was in handing out copies of his book. ”

        While there is no law against handing out books at work, the issue is not a violation of law. It is an issue of violation of standards for workplace conduct.

        “Don’t like it? Don’t read it. Disagree with him? Write and distribute your own book, demonstrating your opposing view.”

        Yeah, not so much. An employer has significant discretion in determining what may and may not occur in the workplace. If we apply your view, then a business would not be free to take action if, for instance, a supervisor wrote a book which stated his views that all black people are inferior to whites and that they should be shipped back to Africa and then handed that book out at work. If black employees complained, your suggesting the response should be: “well then write your own book stating why blacks aren’t inferior, and hand that out”.

        “His opinion (or, more accurately, his faith) dictates whether or not behavior is good or bad.”

        No, his opinion does NOT determine what IS good or bad. His opinion only determines what HE BELIEVES is good or bad.

        “and until and unless someone can show that his faith/beliefs DID have an effect on someone’s career, there is no basis for any sort of action against him.”

        No. A business does not have to wait until someone in a supervisory capacity takes actions on his beliefs. The mere expression of the beliefs in the workplace and the potential to create a hostile work environment where employees were concerned about fair and equitable treatment, is sufficient reason for action. It would, in fact, be foolish for a company to wait until action occurred, given knowledge of the supervisor’s views, as they would then have to deal with the potential legal fallout of the action. One of the goals is to ensure that personnel are in place which minimizes the potential for such issues.

        • petroskhan

          “It is an issue of violation of standards for workplace conduct.”

          And we don’t know what those standards are at this point…do we?

          “An employer has significant discretion in determining what may and may not occur in the workplace.”

          And what their policy might be on handing out that book we don’t know.

          “No, his opinion does NOT determine what IS good or bad. His opinion only determines what HE BELIEVES is good or bad.”

          When it comes to matters of faith, Christians hold to what the Bible teaches. Homosexuality, to a Christian, is bad. The statement was made with a certain context in mind – sorry if I didn’t make that as clear as I should have.

          “The mere expression of the beliefs in the workplace and the potential to
          create a hostile work environment where employees were concerned about
          fair and equitable treatment, is sufficient reason for action.”

          I’m not so sure I agree…

          Let’s use your example, with the supervisor writing a book about blacks, wherein he states that they are intellectually inferior, etc. He then continues to promote a black man, due to his superior performance on the job, until that man is in a position directly below his own. He also elevates others – in fact, displays a habit of promotions based solely upon job performance, with no regard for race…all the while supporting what he wrote in his book. Should he be reprimanded for what he wrote, in spite of his on-the-job actions? Sure, one could argue that he’s a bigot…but he’s a fair bigot, or perhaps not a very consistent one…

          • acontraryview

            “And we don’t know what those standards are at this point…do we?”

            Creating a hostile work environment violates federal law.

            “And what their policy might be on handing out that book we don’t know.”

            Distribution of religious based reading material would be against policy of any governmental agency.

            “Homosexuality, to a Christian, is bad.”

            To some Christians. Not all.

            “He then continues to promote a black man”

            Since it is highly doubtful he would continue to be employed after handing out a book with that content, he wouldn’t be there to promote a black employee.

          • petroskhan

            Is expressing a religious belief creating a hostile work environment? If so, then what about freedom of religion, and freedom of speech? Do those get swept aside because someone might disagree with your beliefs? What gives one person’s beliefs priority over another?

            Slippery slope here…and in order for your position to be correct, the rights of one person have to be swept aside, due to the feelings of another.

          • acontraryview

            “Is expressing a religious belief creating a hostile work environment?”

            That would depend on what belief is being expressed.

            “If so, then what about freedom of religion, and freedom of speech?”

            What about them? There is no right of “freedom of religion”. There is a protection that Congress, and via the 14th amendment, the states, will not pass laws PROHIBITING the expression of religious belief. In other words, Congress could not pass a law prohibiting the practice of Islam. That is NOT the same as the often misstated, and non-existent, “freedom of religion”. While we are certainly free to believe as we like, that does not mean that we are free to express that belief in any manner, at any time, and in any place we care to. There are restrictions.

            As to freedom of speech. Again, Congress may not pass laws that unduly infringe upon the right of speech. That does not mean, however, that we are allowed to say whatever we want, whenever we want, and in any place we want. There are restrictions.

            Workplaces, in particular, have wide latitude in determining their codes of conduct, which can include restrictions on speech as well as religious expression.

            “the rights of one person have to be swept aside, due to the feelings of another.”

            There is no “right” to express your religious beliefs in the workplace nor is there a “right” to say whatever you care to in the workplace. So, no, the rights of citizens do not have to be “swept away” in order to enforce workplace restrictions.

          • petroskhan

            “While we are certainly free to believe as we like, that does not mean that we are free to express that belief in any manner, at any time, and in any place we care to. There are restrictions.”

            I disagree. We are free to believe as we wish, and to practice that belief.

            “There is no “right” to express your religious beliefs in the workplace..”

            Were that true, then companies would be free to fire people for their religious beliefs, which they are NOT allowed to do. Therefore, the point is invalid.

            The man wrote a book; he then distributed that book. No one’s rights were violated in either of those acts. No one’s career was jeopardized, no one was discriminated against…except the author himself. On the basis of that, I would say that his rights are being ignored, so that someone else doesn’t feel offended by his religious beliefs, as expressed in a book that he wrote.

          • acontraryview

            “and to practice that belief.”

            Within certain parameters. We are not free to express our religious beliefs at any time, and in place, and in any manner we care to. I cannot, for instance, go out in front of my house at 3:00 am with a bullhorn and start proclaiming my religious beliefs. A public school teacher may not preach to his/her class. I am not allowed to stand up in a restaurant and start shouting out scripture. Churches are not allowed to ring their bells until a certain hour of the morning. These are but a few of the many examples of restrictions on the expression of religious belief.

            “Were that true, then companies would be free to fire people for their religious beliefs”

            Having beliefs and expressing them are two different things. While companies are not allowed to make employment decisions based upon religious belief, they most certainly are allowed to set policy regarding workplace speech on ANY subject – including religion.

            “No one’s rights were violated in either of those acts.”

            It’s not necessary that they were.

            “no one was discriminated against…except the author himself.”

            it would only be discrimination against him if others in the work place were allowed to pass out religious literature, and he was not. If the rules apply to everyone in the workplace, there is no discrimination.

            “I would say that his rights are being ignored”

            Again, he has no “right” to express his religious beliefs in the workplace.

            “so that someone else doesn’t feel offended by his religious beliefs”

            The question isn’t whether someone is “offended”. The question is whether a hostile work environment was created and a reasonable question as to his ability to perform the supervisory duties of his job in accordance with the policies and goals of the department.

          • petroskhan

            Sorry about the delay in responding – was a bit under the weather the last few days. 😀

            “I cannot, for instance, go out in front of my house at 3:00 am with a bullhorn and start proclaiming my religious beliefs.”

            A very poor straw man, if you don’t mind me saying. You would be stopped from doing so, or cited for doing so, but not because of the content of your speech. You would be disturbing people with a loud noise at an unreasonable hour. The message would be irrelevant, the content of your speech immaterial. It’s not an infringement upon your religious beliefs, but a requirement of society that we not needlessly or willfully disturb the peace of others. “But what if my religion requires me to do that?”…I can hear you asking. Well, no religion on earth requires that one do so, nor will one ever, so that question also would be immaterial.

            May a teacher preach to his class? If he’s taking class time away from doing his job of teaching, then I’d say he can’t, since that’s not what he’s being paid to do. Just as I would object to a History teacher lecturing on Chemistry, or fixing a student’s car during class hours, I don’t want him preaching.

            So, your “examples of restrictions on the expression of religious belief” fail the simple test of logic; they are also unfounded upon any Constitutional principle, and fail for that reason as well.

            You stated that it’s not required that anyone’s rights were violated by the author writing the book, or passing it out, and that it is not required that anyone’s be violated for the author’s actions to be wrong…but you then state that it would be discrimination only if others were allowed to pass out literature, but he was not. So…in one case, a violation (or action) isn’t required…but in another case, it is required? Rather inconsistent of you, I think.

            “Again, he has no right to express his religious beliefs in the workplace.”

            The Constitution states otherwise, and you’ve thus far not demonstrated (legally) otherwise.

            “The question is whether a hostile work environment was created and a reasonable question as to his ability to perform the supervisory duties of his job in accordance with the policies and goals of the department.”

            And, according to the information thus far available, he was an exemplary employee, and leader. So…where’s the problem? The owner of Chik-Fil-A said he didn’t agree with homosexuality…yet he employs many of them. Same thing.

            Is it a “hostile” work environment just because two people disagree? Are we, as a nation, sinking so low, are people becoming so effiminate, that the simple act of disagreeing with someone is now considered “hostile”? Do we need to start agreeing with everyone, to avoid appearing “hostile”? How, exactly, is that going to work? I’m a Christian; I’ve worked around atheists, Buddhists, etc. I never felt that they were being hostile – I am, in addition to being Christian, an adult. I am aware of the simple fact that my point of view is NOT the only one, and that everyone on this planet does not agree with me. That doesn’t mean I want to silence dissent, or build walls around the opinions of others, in order to insulate my delicate sensibilities from contrary opinions. I learned all the way back in kindergarten that we need to get along, and that we might not always agree with everyone, but everyone has the right to their own opinions and beliefs.

            I’m sorry, but what you’re supporting isn’t legal, and it isn’t even logical, or mature. You’re disagreeing with a man’s actions for the simple reason that it was done by a Christian. Period. You don’t agree with what he wrote, and you support him being silenced, his beliefs being forced “in the closet”, as it were. If he had written a novel along the lines of “50 Shades of Grey”, and passed it out, you’d have no problem with it. Anyone can write anything, or pass it out, and you’d have no issue with it – as long as it’s not a Christian doing it.

          • acontraryview

            I hope you are feeling better.

            “A very poor straw man, if you don’t mind me saying.”

            In what way? You said that you disagreed with my statement that we are not free to express that belief in any manner, at any time, and in any place we care to. There are restrictions.

            “It’s not an infringement upon your religious beliefs”

            Agreed. But you said that you disagreed with my assertion that there are restrictions on religious expression. Yet you agree with my assertion that there ARE, indeed, restrictions on religious expression. While it is true that the example I provided of going out in front of your house at 3 am with a bullhorn would apply to any speech, included in “any speech” is religious expression. Therefore, restrictions DO exist on religious expression.

            “If he’s taking class time away from doing his job of teaching, then I’d say he can’t, since that’s not what he’s being paid to do.”

            So, again, a restriction on religious expression.

            “The owner of Chik-Fil-A said he didn’t agree with homosexuality…yet he employs many of them. Same thing.”

            No, it is not the same thing. Chik-Fil-A is not a government agency.

            “Is it a “hostile” work environment just because two people disagree?”

            Absolutely not. The question is how is that disagreement expressed in the workplace, and by whom.

            “I’m sorry, but what you’re supporting isn’t legal, and it isn’t even logical, or mature.”

            So if a supervisor comes into the workplace and declares that he believes that black people are inferior, sinners, and doomed to spend eternity in hell, then it would not be logical for black employees to feel that the supervisor is creating a hostile work environment and that they have reason to be concerned about being treated fairly? In addition, it would be illogical for the supervisor’s superiors to take any action based upon their employee’s actions? How so?

            “The Constitution states otherwise, and you’ve thus far not demonstrated (legally) otherwise.”

            The Constitution says nothing about the expression of religious beliefs being unrestricted in the workplace. I would be more than happy to cite numerous legal cases where the right of the employer to place restrictions on workplace speech has been ruled legal. What you seem to be saying is that the Constitution provides a protection for citizens to say whatever they care to in the workplace without fear of repercussions. That is simply false.

            “You’re disagreeing with a man’s actions for the simple reason that it was done by a Christian.”

            Absolutely not. I would hold the same opinion regardless of the religious beliefs of the person involved.

            “You don’t agree with what he wrote, and you support him being silenced”

            While I do not agree with this views, he is free to express them in the appropriate forums. The workplace is not one of those, particularly for someone who is in a supervisory position.

            “If he had written a novel along the lines of “50 Shades of Grey”, and passed it out, you’d have no problem with it.”

            Yes I would have a problem with it. The graphic sexual content of the novel would not pass muster as appropriate for handing out in the workplace.

            “Anyone can write anything, or pass it out, and you’d have no issue with it – as long as it’s not a Christian doing it.”

            That is a false statement.

          • petroskhan

            It’s not a restriction upon religious belief and expression, it’s a restriction upon behavior – religious belief doesn’t enter into it.

            You’re attempting to connect the two, in a way that is not bound by logic. It’s exactly the same as a black man claiming he was arrested because he’s black…rather than because he broke the law.

            Your comment regarding the classroom example is faulty for the same reasons. It’s not a restriction on religion, but a restriction on what the teacher should be doing. If I hire you to paint my house, and you stand outside my house preaching, I’m not going to pay you. Not because I’m restricting your religious beliefs, but because I hired you to paint – and nothing else.

            Regarding Chik-Fil-A, yeah, it is the same thing, but one is private and one is a governmental agency. Aside from that, the issue is the same.

            “”Is it a “hostile” work environment just because two people disagree?”

            Absolutely not. The question is how is that disagreement expressed in the workplace, and by whom.”

            And in the case under consideration, no one can show anything other than the man wrote a book. That’s it.

            “So if a supervisor comes into the workplace and declares that he believes that black people are inferior, sinners, and doomed to spend eternity in hell…”

            Argumentum ad absurdum.

            And as for the rest, I stand by what I wrote. But…we can go on like this for days, weeks, etc. I do appreciate your opinions and viewpoints; in fact, far more than pretty much any others with whom I’ve disagreements on these forums. You’ve expressed yourself well, and remained civil and very mature, for which I am grateful. I think this matter is just one of those issues where eye-to-eye ain’t gonna happen. 😀

            The farthest I could go is to say that passing out the book might not have been a good idea. If he broke a rule, I don’t know. If he violated some regulation, I don’t know. Was it a bad idea? Yeah…probably was. Writing it was his business, and there shouldn’t be any issue with that; passing it out…not sure. I would just say that it wasn’t the best idea, and working around others with differing beliefs and faiths requires that one have consideration for that fact. Perhaps passing out a flyer regarding the book, with a “coupon” for any who wanted a free copy? I dunno…

            And lastly…

            “”Anyone can write anything, or pass it out, and you’d have no issue with it – as long as it’s not a Christian doing it.”

            That is a false statement.”

            Then consider the statement withdrawn. You’ve been decent enough during this conversation to warrant me accepting your word on that.

            Have a great day, and my best wishes to you and yours.

          • acontraryview

            “expression, it’s a restriction upon behavior ”

            Isn’t expression a behavior?

            “It’s exactly the same as a black man claiming he was arrested because he’s black…rather than because he broke the law.”

            So kind of like when a person (let’s say a County Clerk for example) is put in jail for refusing to do her job and then claims the reason she is being put in jail is because she is a Christian. Like that, right?

            “but a restriction on what the teacher should be doing.”

            And a restriction on what she should NOT be doing.

            “If I hire you to paint my house, and you stand outside my house preaching, I’m not going to pay you. Not because I’m restricting your religious beliefs”

            But I’m assuming that if I was painting your house while preaching, you would still pay me, yes? So then by that reasoning, if a teacher is teaching history and when she gets to around 30 BC, she is free to start telling students that part of history is that Jesus was born to a virgin, grew up, was prosecuted on the cross, died, and was resurrected and that his death cleansed us of our sins and that if we believe in him we will go to Heaven. I mean, that is part of history according to some folks, right? So as long as she was teaching history – which is what she is paid to do – then it would be no different from your painter preaching while he continued to paint your house? Or would there be a difference since the teacher is employed by the government?

            “but one is private and one is a governmental agency. Aside from that, the issue is the same.”

            That difference is substantial. Chik-Fil-A is not supported by all taxpayers, of all faiths, as well as no faiths, through tax dollars. So, no, it is not the same issue.

            “no one can show anything other than the man wrote a book.”

            No, that is not true. He passed out the book at work. That is known.

            “Argumentum ad absurdum.”

            How so? Do you actually believe that there are not people in this country who believe that black people are inferior and that they are not worthy of the same freedoms and opportunities as white people? That they are a cause of many ills in our nation? That they should all be shipped back to Africa? If so, you are quite blind to reality.

            “You’ve expressed yourself well, and remained civil and very mature, for which I am grateful.”

            Right back at ya.

            Happy New Year.

          • http://OnlyJesusSaves.org [email protected]

            Homosexuality is a sin to all Christians or they are not Christian.

          • http://burwellfamily.us/resumes.htm Patrick Burwell

            God, YHWH, determines what is “bad” and what is “good.” Read the Bible.

          • petroskhan

            Got that right.

  • The Last Trump

    “Judge Rules Lawsuit Filed by Chief Fired Over Book Calling Homosexuality ‘Perversion’ May Proceed”
    Of course it can. Clear violation of his civil rights.
    “Free exercise thereof”. Anywhere and everywhere. Inside and outside. Private or public. Period.
    When it’s popular. AND WHEN IT’S NOT!
    It’s just the law.

    • acontraryview

      “Clear violation of his civil rights.”

      What civil rights does a person have that would exclude an employer from terminating the employee if they believed that the employee were not able to perform the duties of their job in accordance with the policies of the employer?

      “”Free exercise thereof”. Anywhere and everywhere. Inside and outside. Private or public. Period.”

      You really should have included the part before that: “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. That does NOT mean that citizens are free to express their religious beliefs at any time, in any place, or in any manner they care to. Employers are free to place restrictions on the expression of religious beliefs in the workplace provided that those restrictions apply to all employees.

      “It’s just the law.”

      Please cite the specific law you are referring to.

      • http://burwellfamily.us/resumes.htm Patrick Burwell

        You are erroneously thinking this Chief DID NOT do his duty, your argument is based on the presumption of guilt.

  • Korean_Vet

    I Just Noticed–This Fire-Chief is a “Clean Black Christian”–I Hope His Suit is a “Winner”-!
    “I’M All For Him”-!

  • Becky

    “said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement. ‘Americans don’t surrender their constitutionally protected freedoms when they become public servants.'”

    And, that’s the truth!

    • acontraryview

      There is no constitutionally protected freedom to pass out books at work.

    • gizmo23

      You have very few rights on the job

      • Becky

        Lol! Where does the constitution say that, please?

        • gizmo23

          You can’t say or do whatever you want on the job. Your employer has every right to control your speech, dress and actions. On my property I don’t have to honor your free speech, religion or assembly. As long as I conform to law I can control you or tell you to leave

          • Becky

            Let’s see it. Where does the constitution say that, please?

          • gizmo23

            It doesn’t. Not every law is in the constitution

        • acontraryview

          Where does the constitution say you do have rights on the job?

    • acontraryview

      They certainly don’t surrender this constitutionally protected freedoms when they become public servants. That does not mean, however, that they are allowed to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms in the workplace.

  • FoJC_Forever

    Homosexuality is a sin which can be forgiven. The primary problem is with those who are claiming it is not a sin and punishing those who continue to believe and confess the Truth. Everyone has sinned. Everyone has done things worthy of death. We must not lose sight or sound of the forgiveness and cleansing offered through Jesus (the) Christ to everyone who will call upon Him for Salvation.

    All sins are a perversion of the Will and Word of God. Continue to speak the Word of God concerning homosexuality, and don’t forget that you too are in need of God’s forgiveness and mercy, while holding fast to the Truth.

    Follow Jesus, find Salvation.