Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Wins Viewpoint Discrimination Case

Kelvin CochranThis week, a federal court ruled in favor of former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, whose employment was terminated because of his Christian faith and beliefs.

In response to the ruling, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson said “such discrimination is reprehensible and unconstitutional.”

He went on to say, “Kelvin is a hero among heroes. Not only is he a highly decorated firefighter, but he is proven man of faith in our Lord who has stood bravely and winsomely in the face of intolerance and injustice. I am pleased that I had the honor of presenting Chief Cochran the NRB Faith & Freedom Award in 2016.”

On November 24, 2014, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed suspended Cochran for 30 days and announced that he would have to complete “sensitivity training” after complaints were received about a men’s devotional book Cochran had written on his personal time. Biblical sexual morality is mentioned only briefly in the 162-page book, and an investigation that included interviews with employees found Cochran did not discriminate against anyone. Regardless, the mayor fired him, citing as his basis the need to tolerate diverse views.

“Chief Cochran, my heart aches when I think of how you have been treated,” Johnson said in presenting the Faith & Freedom Award to Cochran. “Your steadfast faith and your winsomeness even among those who have been unjust to you is a powerful testimony. We are honored to present you with NRB’s 2016 Faith & Freedom Award.”

In accepting the award, Cochran said he was “honored and humbled beyond words,” and also noted that his story “is but one of a growing list of many where a government entity and special interest groups have imposed adverse consequences on an American for publicly proclaiming a position based upon biblical truth that is not consistent with popular culture or the shifting pluralisms of political correctness.”

Among prior recipients of NRB’s prestigious Faith & Freedom Award is Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, former Governor of Indiana. Pence was honored in 2009 as a Congressman from Indiana.

To learn more about Cochran’s case, click here for the release from his counsel at NRB member organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“The battle for our First Amendment freedoms is far from over,” Johnson concluded. “Truly, though, this is a day to celebrate.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: December 21, 2017

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