Blog Post

Atlanta Fire Chief Files Discrimination Complaint

Kelvin CochranCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired for writing a book in which he expresses the biblical belief about homosexuality, has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that he was discriminated against because of his religion.

Todd Starnes of is reporting that Cochran’s former boss, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has already publicly threatened the lifelong public servant, saying that if he sues, his reputation will be destroyed.

“He’s gonna lose,” Reed told television station WAGA. “And in the process his reputation is going to be destroyed because people are going to see he’s dishonest.”

Cochran was not cowed by the threats, however, and boldly stated in the complaint, “I believe that I have been discriminated against because of my religion.”

The trouble started months ago when Cochran, who is also a minister, wrote a book entitled, Who Told You That You Were Naked? The book contained a brief representation of biblical teaching on homosexuality which comprised a mere paragaph in a 160 page book. Cochran describes the practice as "vile" and lists it among other sexual perversions.

Cochran then gave the book to several colleagues with whom he had personal friendships.

Somehow, the book got into the hands of LGBT activists who began to pressure the city to fire him.

Instead, the city suspended him without pay on Nov. 24 and began an investigation into the matter.

As Starnes reports, the investigation found that firefighters were “appalled” by the sentiments in the book and believed its contents had “eroded trust” and “compromised the ability of the chief to provide leadership”, but found no indication that Cochran had ever allowed his religious beliefs to compromise his disciplinary decisions.

“No interviewed witness could point to a specific instance in which any member of the organization has been treated unfairly by Chief Cochran on the basis of his religious beliefs,” the report states.

Even though Cochran was cleared of all wrongdoing, just as he was about to return to work after his suspension, he was told that he had been fired.

The mayor insists that Cochran’s faith has nothing to do with his dismissal and claims that he was fired because of his lack of judgment and management skills, and because Cochran violated the city’s code of conduct.

Few people are buying it. “Folks, this was nothing short of an old-fashioned witch hunt led by the mayor, LGBT activists and the city’s left-wing firefighter’s union,” Starnes writes.

His opinion is shared by Cochran’s attorney, Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization, who says his client was unjustly terminated.

“Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of losing their jobs because of their beliefs and thoughts,” Tedesco said.

Of course, the “PC police” (aka the mainstream media) say it doesn’t matter that Cochran was found to be innocent of the charges against him.

“It should not matter that the investigation found no evidence that Mr. Cochran had mistreated gays or lesbians,” wrote The New York Times editorial board. “His position as a high-level public servant makes his remarks especially problematic, and requires that he be held to a different standard.”

Where is that in the constitution?

Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, called The New York Times editorial “quite remarkable.”

“It declares his innocence and then declares him guilty,” he said. “Guilty of what? He didn’t discriminate against any homosexuals. He vowed that he wanted to have a healthy workplace for all of his employees.”

but these facts don't matter to the Times either, which goes on to say that Cochran is free to believe whatever he wants, but he has to keep those beliefs out of the workplace.

Starnes concludes by wondering, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say The New York Times is suggesting a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for public workers who happen to be Christian.”

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