Several hundred people attended a rally this afternoon in support of former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. The rally was organized by pastors Garland Hunt and Mike Griffin, and was promoted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and other faith based organizations. The announcement promoting the event said,
The unjust firing of Chief Kelvin Cochran by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has awakened believers from around our state and nation to the reality of Christian discrimination in the workplace. Now is the time for all Bible-believing Christians to show their support for Chief Cochran’s courage and for our First Amendment rights as American citizens!
Come stand for your faith and against anti-Christian bigotry with Chief Kelvin Cochran, pastors, church leaders and Christians. We will conclude our time together by walking to City Hall for a time of prayer.
Speakers included former Chief Cochran, along with Dr. Richard Lee, Bishop Wellington Boone, Dr. Craig Oliver, Dr. J. Robert White, and other leaders.
For his part, Mayor Reed, asserted earlier today that his actions had nothing to do with religion, but instead were because Cochran violated city policy.
The dispute between Reed and Cochran can be seen by some as a proxy war between those in favor of a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, such as Rep. Sam Teasley’s House Bill 29, and those who oppose it, fearing the possibility of religious discrimination.
One organization in the second group is Competitive Georgia. Its Executive Director, Allen Fox, sent an email to Georgia House members on Monday with the subject line, “Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: Ralston raises valid concerns about religion bill.”
The email reads,
Below is an editorial from the Columbus Ledger Enquirer regarding the so-called “religious freedom” bill sponsored by State Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus).
The Leger [sic] Enquirer raises the same concerns that Competitive Georgia, businesses and other citizens from all over Georgia have raised. Namely, that this legislation will open the door to discriminatory practices. This type of law policy will jeopardize the state’s ability to grow its economy and negatively impact Georgia’s reputation as a leader for national and global commerce.
Religious freedom is a fundamental part of America. It is guaranteed and enshrined in our constitution. We value our religious beliefs. But those beliefs don’t allow us to discriminate or treat others unfairly.
Join Competitive Georgia and defeat this unnecessary and dangerous legislation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
You can read the editorial Fox refers to here.
Note: This post has been updated to clarify the roles of those organizing and promoting the rally.
Below the fold, some pictures from this afternoon’s rally at the Capitol.