The Intolerance of Tolerance - Fired for authoring book criticizing homosexual conduct as “perversion.”

Christian Belief Cost Kelvin Cochran His Job - Atlanta says it terminated its fire chief because he published a book without permission. The real reason is because of what’s in it.


.. a year ago, Mr. Cochran was suspended for 30 days without pay, pending an investigation into his behavior. On Jan. 6, at the end of the suspension, Mr. Reed sacked him. Mr. Cochran’s fireable offense, according to the city, was publishing a book in violation of the city’s ethics code and without permission from the mayor.

The reality, according to a lawsuit filed in response to the firing, is that Mr. Cochran no longer has his $172,000-a-year job because of what’s in the book. The suit accuses the city of firing Mr. Cochran for his religious beliefs.

It turns out that when he’s not fighting fires, Mr. Cochran spends a lot of time helping black men turn their lives around and stay out of trouble. He does this under the auspices of Atlanta’s Elizabeth Baptist Church, where he is a deacon and leads a men’s bible study. Mr. Cochran self-published a book in 2013, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”

The book, written on his own time, is a compilation of lesson plans for his bible classes and explains how the teachings of Christ can help men fulfill their purpose as responsible husbands and fathers. What earned the ire of Atlanta officials is that the 162-page tome includes a few passages criticizing homosexual conduct as “perversion.”

In response to the lawsuit, the city has maintained that Mr. Cochran was terminated for violating protocol, not for his religious views—as if he would have been fired for publishing a cookbook. But comments from the mayor and other city officials at the time of the suspension suggest that the book’s content is what drove the decision.

“I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all of her citizens—regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race and religious beliefs,” said Mr. Reed. Alex Wan, a member of the City Council who is openly gay, said “I respect each individual’s right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions, but when you’re a city employee, and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door.”

So the mayor fired someone who disagreed with him in the name of inclusivity and tolerance. And Mr. Wan believes that government employees are entitled to their own views but not entitled to share them with anyone. If this is true, the Constitution’s protections of free speech and freedom of religion are meaningless in practice. David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group representing Mr. Cochran, says the city is now using protocol arguments to cover its tracks after wrongly terminating someone for holding and expressing religious views that city officials didn’t like.

There is no official requirement to notify the mayor before you write a book, Mr. Cortman told me, and Mr. Cochran sought and received permission from the city’s ethics department to pursue the book project. “The ethics rule concerns moonlighting, other employment or outside work,” said Mr. Cortman. “It doesn’t apply to writing a book, religious or otherwise, on your own time at home. And if they had such a rule in place it would be unconstitutional. You don’t need the government’s permission to do that.” Despite the left’s efforts to paint Mr. Cochran as some kind of hateful bigot, the city’s own investigation of the former fire chief’s work history found no complaints of discrimination.
Comment: The book: Who Told You That You Were Naked? See The Intolerance of Tolerance


  1. Ooh, they're apparently trying to implement a requirement that didn't exist. Five will get you ten this costs the city a LOT more than the former fire chief's salary. Let's see how this plays among the mayor's supporters next election cycle--opposing their morality AND costing the city millions as a result.

  2. Cochran lawsuit against City of Atlanta to proceed:

    The Atlanta Division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed some claims but allowed the suit to go forward on Cochran's primary claims of "retaliation, discrimination based on his viewpoint, and the violation of his constitutionally protected freedom of religion, association, and due process (firing without following proper procedure)," according to the ADF.

    Cochran, a deacon at 19,000-member Elizabeth Baptist Church affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, was terminated on Jan. 6 due to his personal statements on the gay lifestyle. He was unable to comment on the court's ruling.

    In its lawsuit, the ADF -- a faith-based non-profit -- alleges that the city terminated Cochran "in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech." The lawsuit states, "a public employer may not terminate a public employee in retaliation for speech protected by the First Amendment."

    ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, in commenting on the ruling, said this week, "A religious or ideological test cannot be used to fire a public servant, but the city did exactly that, as the evidence and facts of this case clearly demonstrate.

    "We look forward to proceeding with this case because of the injustice against Chief Cochran, one of the most accomplished fire chiefs in the nation, but also because the city's actions place every city employee in jeopardy who may hold to a belief that city officials don't like."

    ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman added, "Tolerance must apply to people of different viewpoints, not just those who agree with the beliefs the government prefers. Americans don't surrender their constitutionally protected freedoms when they become public servants."

    On Dec. 3, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed sharply criticizing his firing of Cochran. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the letter from Commissioner Peter Kirsanow stated, in part, "(I)t is apparent that the city has chosen slender reeds with which to support its dismissal of Chief Cochran. It is remarkable to claim, as the City does, that religious beliefs are not a matter of public concern and therefore are unprotected by the First Amendment."


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