Kelvin Cochran, the Atlanta fire chief who made national headlines after being fired for writing a religious book that addressed homosexuality, has filed a lawsuit against the city and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Fox News reports that the lawsuit asks for Cochran to be reinstated and financially compensated for the previous loss of his job.
Cochran’s book, entitled “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” was written for a Bible study that he was leading. It mentions homosexuality on six pages; still, an unidentified person showed some of the book’s passages to city Councilman Alex Wan who called it discrimination.
“I respect each individual’s rights to have their own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, but when you’re a city employee and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door,” Wan said in an interview last November.
Cochran is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys. ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot said, “Every American should be concerned about a government that thinks it can fire you because of what you believe.”
The ADF is calling Cochran’s dismissal unconstitutional, arguing that the fire chief lost his job because of his religious beliefs.
“Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of being fired because of their beliefs and thoughts. The city of Atlanta is not above the Constitution and federal law. In America, a religious or ideological test cannot be used to fire a public servant,” ADF senior counsel David Cortman said.
Publication date: February 19, 2015