Kelvin Cochran Wins Lawsuit Against City of Atlanta

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Some encouraging news regarding religious freedom came out of Atlanta last week. The former Fire Chief of the city, Kelvin Cochran was terminated from his position in 2014 after writing a devotional book for a Christian men’s Bible study. In that book, written mainly about being a godly father and husband, Cochran mentioned biblical marriage and sexuality in a couple of pages and this was the reason that the Mayor of Atlanta put him on a 30-day suspension and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.

Even after an internal investigation found that Chief Cochran had never discriminated against anyone, he was terminated by the mayor and city officials, ironically on the charge of the failure to tolerate diverse views. In reality it was solely due to his Christian faith and beliefs (and the fact that the mayor and officials failed to tolerate diverse views by discriminating against a Christian). At the time of his termination Cochran was quoted as saying:

“It’s ironic that the city points to tolerance and inclusion as part of its reasoning. What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”

“The most baffling thing is that I had permission to write my book and I was exonerated of discriminating against anyone.”

“This happened to me, but it’s really not about me. It’s a warning to every American that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are hanging by a thread, which will snap if we don’t fight to preserve these cherished protections.”

So Cochran did decide to fight and contacted the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to represent him in his lawsuit against the City of Atlanta. In December 2017 a federal district court ruled that the city of Atlanta’s actions, which led to the termination of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, were unconstitutional. Then on Monday, October 15, 2018, the City of Atlanta agreed to pay Cochran $1.2 million for damages and attorney fees. ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said this about the case:

"The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before they engage in free speech. It also can’t fire them for exercising that First Amendment freedom, causing them to lose both their freedom and their livelihoods." Theriot also said he hopes the pay-out "will serve as a deterrent to any government that would trample upon the constitutionally protected freedoms of its public servants."

As we’ve said many times, the goal of groups opposing biblical marriage and sexuality are not “tolerance”; they are aimed at stifling any view except their own. We also thank God for legal organizations like ADF who fight for the rights of Christians against discrimination (as they recently did for our Director of Research and geologist Dr. Snelling regarding his Grand Canyon research permit).

Get More Answers on Answers News

I discussed this item today on Answers News with regular cohosts Dr. Georgia Purdom and Bodie Hodge. Answers News is our twice-weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also discussed the following topics:

  • Earliest-ever animal fossil is a 660-million-year-old sponge.
  • Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form.
  • Iceland’s answer to gender equality is to compensate for differences between boys and girls.
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for October 22, 2018.

Be sure to join us each Monday and Thursday at 2 p.m. (EDT) on my Facebook page or the Answers in Genesis Facebook page for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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