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Remember the Fire Chief Atlanta Fired After He Wrote an Anti-Gay Book? And Then He Sued? He Just Lost.



‘It Was Not Unreasonable for the City to Fear Public Erosion of Trust in the Fire Department’

Remember Kelvin Cochran, the former Fire Chief of Atlanta, who was first suspended then fired after he wrote and had a supervisor hand out copies of his egregiously anti-gay book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” That book likens homosexuality topederasty, bestiality,” and “all other forms of sexual perversion.” It also calls sex between two people of the same gender “vile, vulgar and inappropriate,” and says by engaging in same-gender sex men “defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

Cochran decided to become a martyr, claiming his First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion were violated, and ultimately sued. He was represented by the anti-gay Christian legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF represents other anti-gay plaintiffs as well, including baker Jack Phillips whose Masterpiece Cakeshop case was just heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the City of Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed, stating they had the right – for a number of reasons – to fire Chief Cochran. Cochran won two points, including finding a city rule unconstitutional, but his firing was upheld.

The Court ruling says Cochran, while under suspension, “described his situation as a time of ‘spiritual warfare’ and stated that he was ‘grateful for this divine opportunity to suffer this for Christ and rejoicing every day.'”

Here’s a key passage in the court’s ruling:

“The Court also finds that Plaintiff’s status as the Fire Chief—and thus the head of a safety agency—also favors the City. Because Plaintiff expressed his opinion that the death of all individuals who engage in homosexual and extramarital sex would be celebrated, it was not unreasonable for the City to fear public erosion of trust in the Fire Department.”

The court also found it was not “unreasonable” for the City “to fear that Plaintiff’s employees—who are required to risk their lives daily—would be unwilling or unable to rely on Plaintiff’s leadership given his views about them.”

The ruling also says that due to Cochran’s acceptance of a social media campaign against Mayor Reed, the mayor received “phone calls to his home in which he was called a racial slur, the Anti-Christ, and a terrorist. Some calls even included death threats.”

Cochran’s “speech caused such an actual and possible disruption that it does not warrant First Amendment protection in the workplace,” the ruling adds.

The court ruled against Cochran’s “claims of First Amendment free speech retaliation; First Amendment freedom of association retaliation; viewpoint discrimination; violation of the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion and the no religious tests clause of article VI, cl. 3 of the Constitution; and, violation of Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process.”

The court did find the City’s policy of an employee having to obtain permission before publishing a book too broad, and will rule on that after both parties submit opinions.

“This lawsuit was never about religious beliefs or the First Amendment,” Atlanta City Attorney Jeremy Berry told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “Rather, it is an employment matter involving an executive in charge of more than 1,100 firefighters and tasked to lead by example.”

Alvin McEwen at Holy Bullies adds that a “press release by ADF omitted a lot of information as to what the court actually said. In truth, Cochran won on only two claims he filed. However, he lost on the claims of free speech retaliation, viewpoint discrimination, and association.”

“Those last three were major claims because ADF and others of its ilk was pushing this as a ‘religious freedom case.'”

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Image via FEMA

Ruling via Equality Case Files

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Watch: Bill Barr Has Talked to Jan. 6 Committee Says Chairman



Bill Barr, the former Attorney General who served as then-President Donald Trump’s top protector, has spoken with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), asked by CBS News about a bombshell draft executive order directing the Secretary of Defense to seize voting machines after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, said: “We’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals.”

“We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false,” Thompson said Sunday morning on “Face the Nation.”

“So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know. We’ve never had that before.”

The draft memo was never formalized or enacted, and it is unknown who wrote it, but it was part of a massive, hard-fought document collection given to the Jan. 6 Committee by the National Archives after the Supreme Court refused to block its release. Trump tried for months to keep his official White House records from being released.




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Trump Instructed Michael Cohen to Make Sure Don Jr. Went to Jail Instead of Ivanka



According to a report from Business Insider, Michael Cohen admitted on Saturday that Donald Trump instructed him in 2012 to make sure that Don Trump Jr. be the one to take the fall instead of Ivanka Trump during an investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney into lying about property sales.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Cohen recalled that the former president was concerned about Ivanka’s well-being if she was sentenced to jail and that Don Jr. would handle it better.

According to the report, Cohen told the MSNBC host, “You may recall that there was the district attorney’s case here for Trump Soho where it was either Don or Ivanka was in very big trouble as a result of lying about the number of units that had been sold.”

RELATED: ’She took that West Wing office!’: Ivanka Trump blasted for trying to ‘blow off’ Jan. 6 probe

“And Donald said it to me – I mean I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t said directly to me – he goes ‘if one or the other has to go to prison, make sure that it’s Don because Don would be able to handle it, ” he continued.

Cohen later said that he doesn’t expect Ivanka to willingly appear before the House committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection and claimed the first daughter would likely plead the 5th before explaining, “Ivanka is only interested in Ivanka.”

You can read more here.

Image by Walt Disney Television/ABC/Ida Mae Astute via Flickr and a CC license

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Trumps Could ‘Turn on One Another’ as Investigations ‘Go Up the Food Chain’: MSNBC Analyst



Former president Donald Trump and his family are facing “existential” threats from ongoing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, according to MSNBC political analyst and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.

“I think you’re going to start to see this vice squeeze in,” O’Brien said Saturday. “The Trumps will happily throw underlings under the bus as this gets hotter. I think the question is whether or not the family members will turn on one another as it goes up the food chain.”

“The Manhattan DA’s case has existential consequences to it,” O’Brien added. “Donald Trump and perhaps his children could end up in orange jumpsuits if that case goes the full route. That’s not going to be the case with (New York AG) Letitia James’ prosecution, that’s a civil case. I also think the Georgia case has an existential threat. Donald Trump acting like a 19th-century ward heeler, called up the secretary of state and said find me some votes, and there’s proof of that, there’s evidence.”

Watch the full interview below.


Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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