Atlanta’s former fire chief, who was discharged after publishing a virulently antigay book, recently delivered a sermon in which he compared himself to biblical figures such as Job, Daniel—and even Jesus. Kelvin Cochran said he was in “pretty good company when it comes to God-induced sufferings.” He differentiated such suffering from “self-inflicted suffering” and suggested that his discharge was part of a divine plan for Cochran, his family and “the kingdom of God.”
Cochran delivered the sermon at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, Ga., on January 25. According to the GA Voice, some religious leaders who at first rallied for Cochran seem to be distancing themselves from the dispute about his firing.
Cochran was fired in early January, following a 30-day suspension. He was given the unpaid suspension after self-publishing a book titled, Who Told You That You Were Naked? The book reportedly includes featured antigay, anti-woman, and anti-Semitic statements. It also equates homosexuality with bestiality and incest.
When he terminated Cochran, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed explained that the chief was not being fired for his personal beliefs but for publishing a book that violated the city’s nondiscrimination policy. Reed said that the book violated the city's standard of conduct and made the mayor question the chief's ability to lead an inclusive workforce. (The city's nondiscrimination ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.) Reed has also expressed frustration that Cochran did not discuss the book with him prior to publication and didn’t secure permission.
"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 previously. "His judgment and ability to manage the department was the subject of this inquiry."
Reed himself “evolved” on the issue of marriage for same-sex couples and endorsed marriage equality in 2012.
As for Cochran, he maintains that he will be “vindicated.”
“I found out there are worldly consequences for standing for righteousness, but what God is about to show everybody is that there are also kingdom consequences for standing for righteousness. And he’s going to vindicate me in such a way that everybody will see it and everybody will know that it’s nobody but the most high God who is vindicating me,” Cochran said, according to the Voice article.
Watch the sermon: