Former Atlanta fire chief sues city after losing job over faith

A screengrab from an interview with former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran who was fired from his job for his Christian faith. | YOUTUBE / Alliance Defending Freedom

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran is fighting back by suing the city after he was booted from his job over a book he wrote promoting Christian marriage.

Last year, then Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired from his position after publishing a book he wrote titled "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" which promotes Bible-based morality. Cochran has sued the city over wrongful termination, and the trial is expected to begin this summer, according to The Christian Post.

The City of Atlanta denies that Cochran was terminated for his faith, but because he went against the rules on outside employment. It is worth noting, however, that the book in question was published outside of Cochran's working hours, Town Hall notes.

Cochran's devotional book for men drew flak from activists who do not agree with his Christian stand on sexual morality. After they filed a complaint against him, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had put Cochran on a 30-day suspension and instructed him to undergo "sensitivity training."

Upon investigation, it was found out that Cochran did not discriminate against any person by writing his book, but he was still fired from his job, the report details.

Christian nonprofit group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Cochran in the case, said Atlanta and the mayor fired him because of his Christian beliefs. The organization said Cochran was discriminated upon based on his beliefs, fired without due process, and his freedom of religion was violated, the report relays.

"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," ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot said.

Theriot explained that Cochran's case is important because what the city of Atlanta did to him may also be done to other city employees whose beliefs do not agree with those of the city officials. He also said they are filing the case because of the injustice the former fire chief suffered at the hands of the mayor and the city.

On Wednesday, a federal court ruled that the ADF lawsuit will go forward, although it dismissed some of Cochran's claims.