On January 9, 2015, I wrote an article titled, “The Mayor of Atlanta Declares War on Religious Freedom.” Now, more than three-and-a-half years later, sanity has prevailed and religious freedoms have been preserved. Atlanta must pay up.
The case involved Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, a man who had served the city of Atlanta for more than 30 years, working with distinction and without blemish. But when he self-published a 160 page book for use in his home church, gay activists rose up against him, demanding that he be fired.
What was his crime?
On his own time and on his own dime, he dared to write a book which contained a few lines — yes, just a few lines — speaking against homosexual practice. (And note that he spoke against other sexual sins as well, based on Scripture.)
According to Cochran, he did this with proper clearance from his authorities, even giving a copy to the mayor, who, Cochran claims, promised to read it.
But at the behest of LGBT activists, Cochran was first suspended for 30 days without pay (seriously!), ordered to go to sensitivity training, then fired.
To add insult to the injury and madness to the circus, Mayor Kasim Reed then explained that Cochran was fired because, “We will not discriminate on the basis of race or gender or religion or creed or sexual orientation or physical ability or gender identity.”
This is a line to make George Orwell proud: “Because we will not discriminate based on religion, we are firing you because of your religious beliefs!”
Justice At Last
Thankfully, sanity has prevailed and religious liberty has been preserved. As the Daily Wire reported, “Atlanta To Pay Out $1.2 Million To Christian Fire Chief After Violating His First Amendment Rights.”
The initial ruling in Cochran’s favor came back in December, 2017. Now, the city council “agreed to pay out $1.2 million to the former chief for damages and attorneys’ fees.” (Cochran was represented by the ADF, which has been on the front lines of major religious freedoms victories in recent years.)
In the words of ADF attorney Kevin Theriot, “The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before they engage in free speech. It also can’t fire them for exercising that First Amendment freedom, causing them to lose both their freedom and their livelihoods.”
Read more at The Stream.