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Conservative Pundit Equates Paris Terrorism With Gay 'Terrorists' in Atlanta

Conservative Pundit Equates Paris Terrorism With Gay 'Terrorists' in Atlanta

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A prominent conservative pundit dedicated a significant amount of airtime on his radio show Wednesday to lamenting 'terrorism' -- by which he meant the firing of an antigay fire chief in Atlanta.

Many reporters around the world took time last night to acknowledge the murders of 12 people at the Paris office of satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and condemn the terrorists who executed the deadly attack.

At first blush, it seemed that Fox News contributor Erick Erickson was poised to do the same on his eponymous radio show that runs nightly on Atlanta-based WSB, "the nation's fourth-largest talk-radio station," according to The Atlantic.

Instead, Erickson took the first 10 minutes of his show to lament the gay "terrorists" responsible for securing the termination of the fire chief in Atlanta after the chief self-published a book full of sexist and anti-Semitic language, which also equated homosexuality with bestiality.

"In light of the events, we've got to talk about the terrorism situation," Erickson said, opening his Wednesday broadcast. This is where most listeners would assume the Tea Party darling was likely to lament the rise of violent terrorism and perhaps even launch into a bit of Islamophobia, for good measure.

Those listeners were in for a surprise -- but only after more than seven minutes of verbal stalling and vague explanation where Erickson apologized "for any ears that burn, heads that explode, heartburn that you may get for what I'm about to say about the terrorism."

"The terrorists were offended by a publication," he explained. "They were offended by a publication that mocked them, that heaped scorn on them, that challenged them and pointed out the fallacies of their religion. And so they had to seek revenge. They had to destroy the people who did it," Erickson's rant begins, carefully avoiding mention of any particular instance of terrorism.

"And so they did the only thing they could do," he concludes. "The only thing they knew to do. They went to the mayor of Atlanta and demanded he fire the chief of the fire department for daring to mock them."

Lest anyone listening was unsure whether Erickson -- a top editor on RedState.com, former CNN contributor, and regular guest on conservative icon Rush Limbaugh's show -- was really equating the murder of a dozen innocent people with the removal of a public official for violating a city's nondiscrimination ordinance, Erickson made the connection explicit.

"We gotta talk about what happened in France," Erickson finally said, nearly eight minutes into his show. "But I think it is worth pointing out that one group destroyed the livelihoods of those who dare to mock or dissent, and the other took their lives. But both are doing it to drive debate from the public square. To drive anyone who dares challenge them from the public square. To shut them up and shut them down. ... And do it in such a way that others begin to police and regulate, and say, 'Oh, no, we can't have that here -- look what's happened to the fire chief in Atlanta!' He has been fired for being a Christian."

According to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, however, it was not the former fire chief's personal religious beliefs that brought about his firing.

In a packed press conference at Atlanta City Hall Monday, Reed explained that former fire chief Kelvin Cochran's decision to self-publish the book -- titled Who Told You That You Were Naked? -- violated the city's standard of conduct and made the mayor question the chief's ability to lead a diverse workforce that abides by the city's nondiscrimination ordinance (which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as other characteristics).

"His personal religious beliefs are not the issue at all, despite the number of comments and emails I have been receiving on a daily basis," Reed said."His judgment and ability to manage the department was the subject of this inquiry."

Listen to Erickson's full rant below, clipped by Jeremy Hooper at LGBT blog Good as You.

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