Around this time last year, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran had been booted from his position by the LGBT mafia and leftists in the city government who found out that Cochran was a Christian who did not agree with same-sex marriage.
This, of course, was an egregious violation of Cochran’s First Amendment rights as it punished him for his religious ideology and for expressing his thoughts — which happen to be biblical — in a men’s devotional book he wrote on his own time and published with his own money.
Well, it seems this Christmas season is definitely going to be a whole lot more merry than last year, as a court ruled that what the City of Atlanta did to Cochran was unconstitutional.
Here’s more from the attorney who represented Cochran, Kevin Theriot, who works with The Alliance Defending Freedom:
Much like Linus’s speech about the true meaning of Christmas from Luke 2, Chief Cochran briefly included what the Bible says about the true meaning of marriage and purpose of sex in a men’s devotional book he wrote on his private time. He then published “Who Told You That You Were Naked: Overcoming the Stronghold of Condemnation” on his own dime in 2013.
But when a city councilman found out about his beliefs regarding marriage, he took the book to the H.R. department in November 2014. The mayor initially suspended Chief Cochran for 30 days without pay and ordered him to attend “sensitivity training.” He then fired him in January, stating, “I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback . . . .” The Mayor also cited as an additional reason that the Chief didn’t consult with him or get City permission before writing it.
The fact that Chief Cochran served under President Obama as Administrator of the United States Fire Administration (the highest position in the entire profession), was named Fire Chief of the Year in 2012, and led the City of Atlanta to attain the highest level of fire and rescue preparedness for the first time in its history just a month before he was suspended didn’t matter. In Atlanta, speaking without City permission, particularly when the City disagreed with you, meant punishment, even termination.
Fortunately, the court ruling today protects not just Chief Cochran, but all employees in Atlanta who want to speak about non-work-related things that the City or the Mayor might disagree with. Atlanta can no longer require employees to get permission from the City for speech unrelated to work or punish them if they don’t.
This is truly a major victory for religious liberty and anyone who loves the Constitution should be celebrating this win as it will open the door for future cases like this to be ruled in favor of the Christians who are having their rights stepped on by those who want to silence the truth.
Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are the bedrock foundation of any free society as they lead to the exchange of truth on the battlefield of ideas. Without the ability to debate, to share our beliefs and ideas openly without fear of retribution, innovation, prosperity, and liberty die an agonizing death.
Let’s pray for more victories like this for religious liberty across the country!