In a videotaped lecture that many called out as teeming with self-hate, a former Atlanta fire chief opined that it was God’s divine plan that permitted Americans to enslave Africans.
NBC News reported that Kelvin J. Cochran, who is Black, lectured at a Georgia Department of Labor event honoring Black History Month.
The outlet noted that Cochran explained how his religious beliefs were consistent with the nation’s founding.
The network reported that Cochran began “his patriotic speech” by claiming that the United States “has been a part of God’s divine plan from the beginning of time.”
Later, he mentions slavery, implying that the entirety of American history is “His story.”
God was not taken aback by slavery in the United States, Cochran argued. The enslavement of Africans in the Americas was sanctioned by God, who “in his sovereignty” allowed it to happen, he asserted.
A social, spiritual, and economic famine was imminent in Africa, and it has persisted to this day, Cochran claimed without providing any evidence to support his rhetoric.
Hence, God was responsible for the Middle Passage slave trade that delivered six million Africans to the Americas, he said.
It also was God’s divine design to enslave the nation of Israel, as Cochran put it, and God’s sovereignty “enabled Africans to be brought to America in bondage.”
Cochran referred to the Bible, namely Genesis, where God foretold that Abraham’s offspring would be imprisoned and tormented for four hundred years.
He said slave owners were committed to educating their slaves about religion, and that slaves would often congregate outside of churches in order to listen in on the worship services.
Cochran sent copies of his self-published Bible study book “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” to his employees in 2013.
The book reportedly contains statements like “naked,” “wicked” and “ungodly” as it described sinners as gay and those who have sex outside of marriage. Homosexuality, he added, was a “sexual perversion on par with bestiality.”
The fire department suspended Cochran without pay for 30 days in November 2014 for failing to obtain approval or provide sufficient notice prior to the publishing of the book, which had been flagged as a concern by an assistant fire chief in October 2014.
Cochran was let go in January 2015 after a campaign he launched following his suspension. He claimed he was terminated because of his religious views.
The Atlanta City Council voted in October 2018 to settle Cochran’s claim, paying him $1.2 million.
Cochran currently works as a senior fellow and vice president of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative and religious group that represented him in the lawsuit against the city.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Cochran said. “We all got here on different boats, but now we’re in the same boat. I thank God for America and I thank God for American history.”