America's Christophobes have been plenty busy lately. Maybe the Christmas season makes them especially nervous.
A few weeks ago, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran was suspended for a month without pay for the unforgivable sin of self-publishing a Christian book in which he expressed his disapproving views about homosexual behavior, among other things.
City spokeswoman Anne Torres said: "We understand that (Cochran) was distributing the book to other employees. We are still not sure yet what the circumstances surrounding that are. ... The bottom line is that the (Mayor Kasim) Reed administration does not tolerate discrimination of any kind."
Now that's an Orwellian assertion if I've ever heard one, for I suppose Torres meant that Reed does not tolerate discrimination of any kind except the kinds he deems worthy, such as his fascist suspension of Chief Cochran.
The city's action against Cochran is, in fact, discrimination, and the entity doing the discrimination is the city itself. So Reed condemns himself with his own statements. His hypocrisy is further illuminated by his characterizing Cochran's mere personal publication of a book as prohibited discriminatory behavior when Cochran took no discriminatory actions against anyone, let alone in his official capacity.
Yes, Cochran reportedly distributed his book to some of his employees. But there is apparently no indication that he followed up with a department pop quiz.
According to news reports, the city is now investigating whether Cochran broke any city laws or discriminated against some employees in the city's fire department. Really? If they don't know whether he broke any laws or committed acts of discrimination, then why did they say he did and suspend him?
I'll tell you why: No one dare utter opinions that conflict with the politically correct dictate that homosexual behavior is above criticism. Thought police act first and then investigate later.
But the city is talking out of both sides of its mouth. While peremptorily suspending Cochran and then saying it's investigating whether discrimination occurred, it's also saying, through its spokeswoman, that "a number of passages in the book ... directly conflict with the city's nondiscrimination policies."
One wonders what passages could conflict with such policies? As long as we still have free speech in this nation — and in the city of Atlanta — how can a passage conflict with such policies? Does she mean that passages advocate prohibited actions or that they express views that the city doesn't allow to be thought, much less expressed? Does it matter at all that these passages are based on protected religious beliefs, which makes the city's action all the more outrageous?
Mayor Reed said, "I am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community." Well, good for him, but is that legal justification for him to discriminate against his fire chief, hitting him in his pocketbook? Is that what it has come to?
Yes, this is indeed what it has come to. Henceforth, Cochran will be prohibited from distributing the book on city property and will be required to undergo sensitivity training. If a city employee, especially one in a leadership position, publicly expresses opinions that offend the sensibilities of the Minister of Truth, he will be forced to submit to re-education camp as a condition to retaining his job.
More recently, the U.S. Army disciplined a military chaplain for making references to the Bible during a suicide prevention seminar Nov. 20 at the University of North Georgia as he shared his personal experiences with depression while an Army Ranger.
Joseph Lawhorn referred to Israel's King David of Old Testament renown. This brought a "letter of concern" from Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia. "During this training," wrote Fivecoat, "you advocated, or were perceived to advocate, for Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions." Fivecoat warned Lawhorn to be "cognizant of the various beliefs held by diverse Soldiers" and "create an environment of tolerance and understanding."
This letter will be in Lawhorn's file for up to three years.
To show just how paranoid some of our government institutions have become about Christianity, Lawhorn only used his own example of dealing with depression as one of many, and at no time did he suggest that a Christian solution is the only or even the preferred way of dealing with depression. He supposedly never challenged the validity of other methods. Moreover, no one at the session filed a formal complaint.
So as we've seen in other areas of our society, Christianity is so toxic to many in the militant secular culture that its ideas can't even be presented among many others, much less in a stand-alone context, by government personnel — at any level.
In today's America, even a Christian chaplain — is that redundant anymore? — can't invoke Christian ideas, even if he's not evangelizing.
If things keep going this way in America, we'll all eventually have to keep our disfavored opinions to ourselves, inside our own homes — assuming the government hasn't installed monitors in our homes to ensure that we don't share such forbidden ideas with our children.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.