Kelvin Cochran, former fire chief in Atlanta, self-published a book critical of homosexuality and handed out copies to interested co-workers. Mayor Kasim Reed fired him, claiming that Cochran didn’t obtain the necessary permission to hand out copies of his book.
Cochran said he did obtain permission, a requirement his counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said was unconstitutional in any case.
Cochran and his supporters believe he was fired because of his religious views on the sin of homosexuality. The city asked a court to dismiss the case, and both parties appeared in court last week.
Catherine Davis of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition sent along a report from an ADF attorney who attended the hearing. In the e-mail, the attorney wrote that the judge allowed the city five days to submit a supplemental brief and Cochran five days to reply. The judge said she’d make a decision soon.
According to the attorney, Cochran’s side was better prepared.
“The most disturbing parts of the hearing were listening to Robert Godfrey, the chief counsel for the City, disparage Chief Cochran and all those who agree with biblical views of marriage and sexual behavior. He opened the hearing with a gross distortion of the Chief’s book. Repeatedly during the hearing he told the Judge that Chief Cochran accused homosexuals of engaging in bestiality. He accused Chief Cochran of believing that women were second class citizens. Anyone who has read the Chief’s book or met him would not recognize the man described by Mr. Godfrey. It was shameful, in my opinion.
“The most disturbing argument made by the City, repeatedly, had to do with our Free Exercise rights. The City has now openly admitted in federal court that Chief Cochran was, in fact, fired for his beliefs. He was fired for his faith. Repeatedly, Mr. Godfrey stated that it was the content of Chief Cochran’s book, the views expressed in that book, that led to his termination [emphasis added]. If you hear anyone say Chief Cochran was fired for failing to follow some work policy or anything other than his faith, you can now quote the chief counsel for the City to confirm that this case is all about Chief Cochran’s beliefs, our common Christian beliefs on marriage and sexual behavior.”
The attorney added that Godfrey said Christians can believe what they want, but “Keep it to yourself. Keep it at home. Keep it at your bible study.”
The government is punishing people for what they believe. Despite Mayor Reed’s claims to the contrary, Kelvin Cochran was fired for his politically incorrect dissent about the mainstreaming of homosexuality.
Let us hope and pray that Cochran prevails.
CORRECTION: This post previously stated that Catherine Davis attended the hearing. She did not. An ADF attorney e-mailed her the report. The post has been corrected.