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Did the Government Fire a Doctor for Not Caving to This Group?

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has company.

Cochran wrote a book criticizing the sin of homosexuality and handed out books to co-workers. The mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, suspended Cochran, then fired him, for what he called insubordination. The mayor said his actions were not prompted by the book’s content.

Cochran is still litigating his case. Meanwhile, another Georgian said he was fired for preaching against the sin of homosexuality. Dr. Eric Walsh, who worked for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and preached in a Seventh Day Adventist church, filed suit against the state on Wednesday.

According to the First Liberty Institute, Dr. Walsh’s counsel, the agency “asked him to submit copies of his sermons, and assigned multiple sermons to various employees to review.”

After discussing the matter, DPH withdrew Dr. Walsh’s job offer.

DPH disputes the claim, attributing Dr. Walsh’s termination to a failure “to disclose outside employment to his previous public health employer, which also was in violation of California law. Due to violation of both California state law and DPH policy, the offer to Dr. Walsh was rescinded. During his interview, Dr. Walsh disclosed his religious beliefs to DPH staff and indicated that he preached at his church in California. Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs had nothing to do with the decision to withdraw the offer.”

But the First Liberty Institute contradicted this claim. “The DPH’s position on Dr. Walsh was made clear when the DPH Chief of Staff communicated to Dr. Walsh on a phone call that he couldn’t ‘preach that’ and work in the public health field.”

The Daily Signal’s Ryan T. Anderson, author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, said public servants “shouldn’t lose their jobs because of sermons that they preach off the clock, on their personal time…Government employees don’t give up their religious freedom as a condition of their employment.”

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