In Atlanta, Family Research Council's Tony Perkins Stands with Fired Fire Chief, Challenges Mayor Reed's 'Intimidating Message'

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Delivers More than 31,000 petitions to City Hall in Support of Chief, Religious Freedom

ATLANTA, GA -- Today, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins joined Atlanta area pastors and religious liberty advocates at a rally in support of former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. Cochran was suspended and then fired because of a book he wrote for a men's Bible study group at his Baptist church.

The "Standing for our Faith Rally” was held in the Georgia Capitol Rotunda.  Following the rally, tens of thousands of petitions were delivered to City Hall protesting the overreach of government authority that resulted in the Chief's firing.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following remarks to rally participants:

“This past weekend, the world marched in Paris recognizing that free speech is the cornerstone of truly free societies.  A realization is now sweeping Europe that political correctness has become lethal and it is an avowed enemy of true freedom.

“While many believe the satirical work of Charlie Hebdo was in bad taste and of poor form, we recognize the freedom that they had to speak without fear of reprisal or the threat of violence.   Make no mistake about it, last week’s violent assault was designed to intimidate and silence others who would dare exercise that fundamental human right of the freedom of speech.

“Whether it’s a journalist in France satirically writing about religion or a fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia writing about the sacred teachings of his faith, the silencing of either is a threat to the freedoms of all. The naked truth is that the actions taken against the Chief are designed to send a message that will silence Christians and in effect force them to check their faith at the door of public service.

“My friends, we must not let that happen in the United States of America.

“I am here today in Atlanta, Georgia to not only stand with Chief Cochran, but with all public servants, in particular those who are first responders, who put their lives at risk each and every day for the well-being of others.  Having served as a law enforcement officer myself for nearly a decade, I understand the unique pressures that they and their families experience each and every day.  I can tell you from experience that faith plays a central role for many of them.  It is what prompted many of them to choose the lifestyle of giving to others. Jesus said: ‘Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends, ‘and it is also what sustains them when they face issues and situations that most people will never experience.

“Chief Cochran has spent a lifetime, ready at a moment’s notice, to fight the fires that threatened life and property. Today, he stands ready to fight the fire and flame of intolerance that threatens the freedom of every American. I’ll tell you this; I am here to stand by his side. And I will stand by the side of Chief Cochran and anyone who answers this call to defend freedom,” concluded Perkins.




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