My @Quora answer to Were Kelvin Cochran’s First Amendment rights violated by his firing? http://qr.ae/3rIAE
Written Jan. 2014
So, Kelvin Cochran claims he was fired for “expressing his religious beliefs” and he’s upset about that.
Cool, let’s bring the harsh glare of logic to bear.
Here’s an excerpt, of Kelvins’ own words, from the Fox “News” article. Let’s take a little harder look at this situation than Fox “News” seems willing to do:
“Cochran said during a press conference Tuesday that he had obtained permission to lend his name and title to the book. He said he only gave the book as a gift to three people who he said he had not already established a religious relationship with in the department. He said he wanted to emphasize that his spiritual beliefs do not equate to hate.”
So… he “only” “gave a copy of his, blatantly theistic and gay blaming, book” to three folks whom “he did not have a religious relationship with.”
See that highlighted bit above? The accurate, truthful, name for that action is “Proselytizing by a Superior Officer”.
He wasn’t suspended for “expressing his beliefs,” he was fired for proselytizing at his employees immediately after having completed a suspension and a series of sensitivity classes which were the result of prior misconduct on his part… Oops!
His actions indicate a clear pattern of a government official using their position in government to promote their religion (and intentionally violating Department Policy)… or, to put a finer point on it; an attempt to establish a government “approved” religion within the Department. These are actions which are specifically banned by the both our Constitution and (apparently) by Department Policy.
Sounds like the Mayor did the right thing by nipping a wanna be religious dictator in the bud. Were I one of the folks so “gifted” with the Chiefs’ book, I would absolutely read it as an implied statement of: “Believe as We do… or else…”
I suspect this is what actually happened (which the Chief “most carefully and thoughtfully” does not mention):
Chief proselytized at nonbeliever employees.
Employees complained, about apparent pressure to “join up” within the Department, to the Mayor.
Employees may well have mentioned civil rights violations in their discussions with Mayor.
Chief got sent to sensitivity training, suspended, and reprimanded.
Chief was directed by Mayor not to discuss suspension in public.
Chief discussed suspension in front of a few hundred church folks (presumably to claim “martyrdom” and apply political pressure to Mayor)
Chief got permission to “lend his name and title to a blatantly theistic book.
Chief coauthored book.
Chief “gifted” book to nonbeliever employees, and others.
Employees complained again to Mayor about pressure to “join up.”
Mayor, left with no choice due to Chief’s repeated violations of expressly stated policy (for which hes’ already been censured at least once) fires Chief.
So, in summary, it would appear that the Chief wasn’t actually canned “for expressing his religious beliefs.”
Rather, it appears that he was censured and suspended for proselytizing at his employees from a position of power over them, and then canned for repeatedly violating Department Policy by proselytizing at his employees from a position of power over them, in addition to attempting to apply political pressure to his boss…
I find it really interesting just how deep the Intentional Cognitive Dissonance goes in the Chiefs” statements.
I guess he was really well trained…
Now… Here’s the kicker:
“Freedom of speech” only means that the government can’t prevent you from saying something in public.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOES NOT MEAN:
That anyone has to listen to you.
That anyone has to offer you a forum for you to speak.
That anyone (private person) is prohibited from censuring you, or ridiculing you, or laughing at you.
That you are protected in any way from repercussions if your speech pissed people off.
That you get to tell your employees what to believe.
That using your freedom of speech protects you when you violate company policy.
That you get to use your government office to violate the First Amendment Rights of others to be free of your religion.
That your right to speak allows you to create a mini church within your department.
Freedom of speech is just that: You’re free to speak…and you’re also free to take your lumps if you piss off a bunch of your fellow citizens, and your boss, by that speech.