Promoted from the diaries.
Here in the diaries at RedState, several years ago, I had an encounter with a reader who penned a diary that he did not care about gay marriage as it would never affect him.
I told him, coining a phrase it seems, that he would be made to care. “You will be made to care” became the phrase that explains what the left has been doing in America these past few years. If you do not agree with their cultural assault, you will be made to care or driven from polite society.
After much encouragement and outright demands, I finally decided to write You Will Be Made to Care. The book documents incident after incident in America of Christians having their lives and businesses ruined because they took a stand based on their faith against contraception or gay marriage or transgenderism. Some were thrown out of school. Others lost their businesses and careers. Some lost their retirement savings.
I wanted to raise awareness on this issue. If you are interested, you can order the book at YouWillBeMadeToCare.com.
Here is the first part of Chapter 1:
Kelvin Cochran always dreamed of becoming a firefighter. But Kelvin did more than dream. He rose to the pinnacle of his profession—serving as America’s Fire Chief—before being blindsided by the city of Atlanta, which abruptly terminated his employment in 2015. Kelvin Cochran was fired for having the audacity to write a book about his Christian beliefs.
Chief Cochran’s decorated career began humbly in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he grew up in a family that was abandoned by their father when Kelvin was quite young. His mother and five brothers and sisters survived on welfare and food stamps, living in a government project, and Kelvin recalls times when his mother would have the children fill every pot and jug with water, knowing the water company would soon cut their family off. They had to light their home with candles when they could afford no electricity. And by the end of each month, his mother had only enough money to buy mayonnaise and bread. The six children would eat mayonnaise on toast for breakfast, mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch, and mayonnaise sandwiches again for dinner. If they wanted something sweet to drink, they had to make do with a couple teaspoons of sugar in a glass of water. “Poverty,” Chief Cochran recalls, “was a terrible thing.”
After church one Sunday afternoon, the family heard sirens in the alley outside their house. When Kelvin opened the door, he saw a big red Shreveport Fire Department truck. The house where the firefighters were battling to douse the flames belonged to Miss Katie across the street.
Seeing them in action that day sparked Kelvin’s imagination: “When I saw those firefighters, I was smitten. All I ever thought about growing up from that point forward was being a firefighter, escaping from poverty, and wanting to have a family, because I realized how terrible it was not to have a daddy at home.” When he shared his dream with grownups, they told him that “your dreams will come true if you go to school, treat other people like you want to be treated, respect authority, and have faith in God.”
Those core principles, grounded in his Christian beliefs, guided Kelvin Cochran as his “childhood-dream-come-true-fairy-tale-career” took off. In 1981 he became the first African-American firefighter on the Shreveport Fire Department. He was promoted to captain in just four years. He became an assistant Chief of Training after ten years and Fire Chief of the Shreveport Fire Department after just eighteen years of service. Cochran served faithfully in that role until he was recruited by Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin to serve as Fire Chief for the largest city in the southeastern United States.
As fire chief for the city of Atlanta, Cochran oversaw more than 1,100 personnel serving in thirty-six fire stations across the city. Managing a budget of about $140 million, including the Atlanta airport, he was responsible for fire and rescue, field operations, and any emergencies that were not law enforcement–related. His duties included overseeing:
- Aircraft rescue firefighting at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world
- Special operations such as high-rise and waterway rescue
Hazardous Materials response teams—as three major interstates intersect in downtown Atlanta.
Cochran was entrusted with tremendous responsibility, and he served with such distinction in Atlanta that he came to the attention of someone in Washington—newly inaugurated President Barack Obama.
When the president nominated him to serve his country as the United States Fire Administrator within the Department of Homeland Security in August of 2009, Chief Cochran answered the call to serve his country. In short, he became the nation’s Fire Chief, overseeing the training of our nation’s firefighters, educating for fire prevention, establishing a national deployment strategy for natural disasters or terrorist attacks, and coordinating the response of firefighters in the event of national emergencies with FEMA.
Throughout his meteoric rise, it was Kelvin Cochran’s Christian faith that motivated him to serve and to excel.
From an early age, Kelvin’s strong and prayerful mother followed the biblical instruction to “train up a child in the way he should go.” As a young father, Cochran became active in his local church, serving as a deacon, teaching children in Sunday School and leading other men to become better fathers and husbands. Cochran embraced the Christian doctrine of vocation and sought to glorify God through service to his fellow citizens. His faith guided him all the way to our nation’s capital and the pinnacle of his profession.
After just ten months in Washington, D.C., Cochran got a visit from Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, recruiting him to return to his previous position. In fact, he “begged”—the mayor’s own word—the chief to return to lead the city’s fire and safety efforts.
Cochran returned to Atlanta in June of 2010 and continued to serve the city with distinction. After a winter storm paralyzed the city in January 2014, the mayor enlisted Cochran’s expertise to coordinate emergency disaster response as Incident Commander. And a few weeks later, with Cochran in the lead, the city weathered a second winter storm— with dramatically better results.
Under Kelvin Cochran’s leadership, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department celebrated as the Insurance Services Office raised “Atlanta’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating to Class 1, indicating an exemplary ability to respond to fires.” The department also retained accreditation with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), an achievement earned by only two hundred fire departments in the world. Atlanta Fire Rescue was called “a model for innovative public fire protection practices,” by the CFAI commission chair. In fact, the Atlanta department experienced success story after success story with Cochran at the helm until—suddenly, a week before Thanksgiving 2014— everything changed.
All of Cochran’s career success became irrelevant when he was targeted by gay activists who claimed that his Christian beliefs—the very ones that motivated him to serve with excellence for thirty-four years—now disqualified him from doing his job keeping Atlanta safe.
I’ll be documenting more over at The Resurgent.