Documentary on GA Religious Freedom Efforts
This features three high profile cases of religious discrimination in Georgia, including the recent case of former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran.
Interview with Sen. Josh McKoon, Senate Sponsor of SB 129, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
This video is on page 3 of the site, top right. There are also several other videos on religious liberty on this site, and they are usually easy to identify. Most are videos from the two religious freedom rallies at the Capitol.
Interview with Pastor Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative, Georgia Baptist Convention
Rev. Mike Griffin provides key insights on legislation from the 2015 Georgia General Assembly affecting the religious community with particular attention paid to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Panel Discussion
The Hobby Lobby case had a good outcome for religious liberty due to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This video helps provide good information for why is so important to religious liberty.
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 20 Years of Protecting Our First Freedom
This small booklet is an easy to understand legal timeline about the history leading up to the passage of the federal RFRA. http://bjconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/RFRA-Book-FINAL.pdf
Religious Liberty Bill Deserves Support
Atlanta Journal Constitution, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015
By Jane Robbins
Just over 20 years ago, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect Americans’ right to live out their faith without undue burden from the federal government. The bill passed with almost unanimous bipartisan support and was promptly signed by President Bill Clinton.
Click HERE to read the full article on the AJC website.
The 162-page paperback titled “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” is being sold at Amazon.com. The description of the book from Amazon is as follows:
This profound question, “Who told you that you were naked?, meant much more than, “Who told you that you do not have on clothes?” From God’s perspective nakedness meant so much more. It meant condemnation and deprivation to his most precious creation-mankind. Though He reconciled Adam’s condition by clothing him in coats of lambs’ skin, Adam never got over what he had done. Condemnation has dominated ever since. Now we have a more permanent solution. We have been clothed with Christ! Redeemed men who carry the curse of condemnation and deprivation cannot fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, community and business leaders-world changers! Adam never gave God a straight answer. It’s time to answer that question. WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED?
Chief Cochran is an evangelical Christian who has not shied away from his faith in the past. He left the Atlanta Fire Department to take a job in the Obama Administration. He returned, however, to the city he loves to head its Fire Department. But the gay mafia is loudly complaining that Chief Cochran, by writing this book, will suddenly now not put out the fires of gay homes, or something like that.
Specifically, the accusation is that by being honest about his orthodox Christian views on sex and marriage, Chief Cochran is undermining the public trust in him. You’d think the government would appreciate Kelvin Cochran being a role model to young black men in Atlanta, but they are instead much more focused on not offending the gay rights community.
What Mayor Reed and the gay rights community are saying is that if you work for government you cannot be open about your Christian faith. Again, you will be made to care.
If you like, you can order a copy of Chief Cochran’s book and maybe even send one to Mayor Kasim Reed. Mayor Reed’s address is:
Hon. Kasim Reed
55 Trinity Ave SW #2500
Atlanta, GA 30303
Originally posted at http://www.redstate.com/2014/11/25/atlantas-fire-chief-suspended-for-publicly-professing-christian-beliefs/
Frankly, if the allegations contained in the op-ed he authored were in a legal brief, I would ask the court to sanction him for dishonesty. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Let me get some facts on the table.
For many years in this country when a citizen sued the government over an act that infringed upon his right of free exercise, the government was required to demonstrate a “compelling state interest” in the complained-of act in order to overcome an objection on religious liberty grounds.
In 1990 the U.S. Supreme Court jettisoned decades of precedent to establish a new “rational basis” test for the government to meet which substantially weakened the right of free exercise of every citizen in this country. Congress, in a rare act of legislating against a court decision, passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, which restored the more stringent test.
In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the RFRA could not be applied to acts of state and local government, and so in the past 18 years, some 31 states have adopted through legislative act or court decision the legal standard that Cooke contends is so dangerous.
Atlanta’s Fire Chief Suspended For Publicly Professing Christian Beliefs
By Editor of RedState, Erick Erickson (Diary) | November 25th, 2014
Even in Atlanta you will be made to care. Atlanta’s Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran, has been suspended for one month for writing a book in which he maintains orthodox Christian beliefs on sex and marriage.(After suspension, he was then fired.)
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran is suspended for one month without pay after publishing a book that says homosexuality and having multiple sexual partners is “vile,” “vulgar”, and “inappropriate.”
The one and only case Cooke refers to that involves a RFRA defense is a Utah case involving violation of child labor laws. In that case, no defendant escaped criminal liability for their alleged crimes. Rather the government was instructed to use an alternative and available means of acquiring some information related to the case since a witness raised a religious objection to offering evidence. It is clear from a reading of the judge’s decision that had this been the sole source of information, the government subpoena would have been enforced.
Cooke takes the wild and totally unsupported leap from this tangential discovery matter in a Utah case to making the outrageous claim that if we adopted RFRA in Georgia criminals would suddenly be able to exempt themselves from prosecution merely by raising a religious objection to the law under which they were being prosecuted. There is zero legal precedent to support this claim, but many cases that clearly demonstrate the government always has a compelling state interest in protecting public safety.
The test provided for by a state RFRA requires courts to protect citizens’ constitutional rights to free exercise, while simultaneously ensuring that such protections do not hinder the common good. In fact at the time the federal RFRA was adopted the late Rep. Stephen Solarz, D-N.Y., stated that, “It is perhaps not too hyperbolic to suggest that in the history of the republic, there has rarely been a bill which more closely approximates motherhood and apple pie. ... In fact, I know, at least so far, of no one who opposes the legislation.” How sad that some political opportunists seeking a higher profile wish to destroy the wide bipartisan consensus that has stood for the right of free exercise and the parallel American value of religious pluralism where people of all faiths, or no faith at all, are treated with dignity and respect.
State Sen. Josh McKoon is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was the author last year of Senate Bill 377, the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.
Originally posted on http://www.macon.com/2015/02/01/3562029/religious-freedom-restoration.html
Georgia's Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Setting the Record Straight
By Senator Josh McKoon
One thing has been proven true repeatedly over the past 12 months of debate about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act proposal for Georgia: Opponents are willing to say literally anything in an attempt to confuse the debate. While I thought the most outrageous criticism was the allegation that the bill, if made law, would give the “right to discriminate” to business owners and others. Even that repeatedly debunked critique must now take a back seat to the inane allegations made in these pages by the District Attorney of the Macon Judicial Circuit David Cooke.