Two Big Developments in the Case of the Atlanta Fire Chief Fired for His Faith


#ExtinguishIntolerance Petition Back in National Spotlight

We have two big stories to report that significantly escalate the battle between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and fired city fire chief Kelvin Cochran.  In the first, six Georgia Congressmen have sent a letter to Reed calling for Cochran’s reinstatement.  In the second, leading Christian legal defense firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a federal lawsuit against the city over Cochran’s unjust termination. 

Here are the details: 

In the letter from the Georgia lawmakers to Mayor Reed, they argue that Cochran was denied his right to religious liberty and free speech and come to his defense saying, “As fellow Georgians, we are extremely troubled that a capable and long-standing public servant in our state can be targeted for retaliation and dismissed solely because of his religious views.”

And they point out that “Chief Cochran relied upon religious text from the Bible to express his opinions in his personal writings. The only way Chief Cochran could avoid his views would be to disown his religion. What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”

This story, covered by Washington Examiner writer Paul Bedard—and highlighted on today’s Drudge Report—places Faith Driven Consumer’s #ExtinguishIntolerance petition back in the national spotlight as Christian communities nationwide rally in support of religious freedom and ex-chief Cochran.

Regarding the ADF lawsuit, Cochran v. City of Atlanta, Senior Counsel David Cortman stated in today’s media briefing, “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.”  He went on to say, “In America, a religious or ideological test cannot be used to fire a public servant.”

ADF notes that the city of Atlanta has publicly stated that it fired Cochran for his beliefs—an act that is illegal—and points to comments made by openly gay City Councilman Alex Wan, who said, “I respect each individual’s right 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.”

Stay tuned as news continues to break on this important religious liberty case that has the potential to impact the degree to which faith-driven public servants can express their deeply held convictions in the workplace and beyond.

And if you haven’t done so already, take a moment to sign the #ExtinguishIntolerance petition here and share with your family and friends.

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