During his broadcast on Wednesday, conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson compared people fighting for LGBT rights to the gunmen who stormed the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
According to Good as You, the erstwhile CNN contributor and RedState.com top blogger was irate that the Atlanta fire chief who wrote a virulently antigay self-published book was forced to step down by the city.
Mere hours after two police officers and 10 magazine staffers lost their lives, Erickson took to the airwaves to make political hay of their deaths and cast aspersions on activists fighting for equal recognition of the rights of LGBT Americans.
“We’ve got to talk about the terrorism situation,” Erickson said. “The terrorists were offended by a publication, that mocked them, that heaped scorn on them, that offended them and pointed out the fallacies of their religion, and so they had to seek revenge, they had to destroy the people who did it.”
He went on in this vein for a few minutes before dropping his “gotcha” line, saying that the so-called terrorists “did the only thing they could do, the only thing they knew to do — they went to the mayor of Atlanta and demanded he fire the chief of the fire department for daring to mock them.”
Earlier this week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that city Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was being relieved of his duties after he distributed a self-published book in which he declared that LGBT people are “unclean,” that they “defile their body-temple” and “dishonor God” with their “lifestyle.”
Reed made it clear that he was not firing Cochran for having antigay views, but for the error in judgment he made in disseminating them, exposing the city to discrimination suits and other legal liabilities. Furthermore, when ordered not to discuss the terms of his suspension during an investigation about the book, Cochran insisted on going to the media and violating the terms of the agreement.
“His religious (beliefs) are not the basis of the problem. His judgment is the basis of the problem,” said Reed on Monday.
Nonetheless, conservative commentators like Erickson have seized upon Cochran’s story as a tale of anti-Christian oppression, an attack on the fire chief’s “religious freedom” and his First Amendment right to self-expression. His firing, said Erickson on the air and in a blog post published Wednesday, is just as egregious as the murder of 10 French journalists and cartoonists over drawings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
“We gotta talk about what happened in France,” Erickson conceded, “but I think it is worth pointing out that one group destroys the livelihoods of those who dare to mock or dissent, and the other took their lives, but both are doing it to drive debate from the public sphere, to shut them up, to shut them down.”
Listen to the full segment, embedded below via Think Progress: