Atlanta Fire Chief Claims Was Fired For Being Christian

ROBERT COUSE-BAKER is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kelvin Cochran Is Suing The City For Religious Discrimination

Kelvin Cochran, former Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Chief has filed a lawsuit against the city and Mayor Kasim Reed said that he was terminated in 2015 because of his religion. Cochran is being represented in court by Kevin Theriot who is an attorney with the non-profit, faith-based Alliance Defending Freedom. Theriot argues that his client was suspended because of his religious beliefs, but the city attorneys dispute that.

This whole stir was created after Cochran published his book Who Told You That You Were Naked? which he says he penned specifically for Christian men.

Although Cochran’s lawyers say that he was fired because of his faith, Mayor Reed maintains that the reason the former Atlanta Fire Chief was terminated was because of his judgment. In 2014, an assistant chief who had read the book raised concerns that the book had controversial statements about homosexuality. City Attorney David Gevertz said on Friday that the book categorizes gay people and those having sex outside of marriage with pedophiles, murderers, rapists and those practicing bestiality. It collectively refers to them as ‘ungodly’.

In 2015, Cochran was sent on a 30-day unpaid suspension by Reed in order to discipline him for selling his book without getting proper approval or even giving notice of his intention. Reed then fired Cochran because of his violation of the terms of his suspension when he publically said that he was fired because of his religious views.

Gevertz added that the book could bring problems to the city since fire department employees who were fired or denied promotion would attribute it to Cochran’s beliefs.

Cochran has received support not only from Alliance Defending Freedom but also from Georgia Baptism Opportunity Commission and the Family Research Council among other organizations.

Theriot told the judge that Reed was clearly retaliating against Cochran based on what the mayor thought as inflammatory matters presented in his book. He argued that punishing Cochran for expressing his viewpoint was a violation of his right to free speech. The judge plans to give a ruling in the coming week.

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