Atlanta Fire Chief Fired for Christian Beliefs?

After publishing a controversial book forwarding some of his Christian beliefs, former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was suspended and then fired by city officials:

City officials said the book, Who Told You That You Were Naked? was published without prior approval from the city because it identified Cochran as the city’s top fire official. Cochran also didn’t abide by demands he stop talking about the controversy.

Religious freedom groups, like Alliance Defending Freedom and Faith Driven Consumer, have come to the ex-chief’s defense. Faith Driven Consumer told Secrets Wednesday that 10,000 have signed their petition to [Atlanta Mayor Kasim] Reed to reinstate Cochran.

So Kelvin (what a great name for a Fire Chief) Cochran used his position as Fire Chief to add some recognition or legitimacy to his claims (the most controversial of which put homosexuality and bestiality in the same category of sexual perversion), and city officials didn’t like Cochran using his title in connection to such inflammatory views. And they tried to get Cochran to stop talking about the controversy, at least in his capacity as a Fire Chief. And eventually, when Cochran refused to stop talking about it, they suspended and fired him.

Does that sound like Cochran lost his job as Fire Chief for his beliefs? City officials could say that Cochran was fired not for holding those beliefs, but for promoting those beliefs in his capacity as a city employee. This seems like splitting hairs. What is it to hold a belief that you don’t talk about? If Cochran were a Muslim, I can guarantee you he would be allowed to publicly display and promote his beliefs with impunity. In fact, if he were anything other than Christian, Cochran would probably still be Fire Chief.

These kinds of situations are becoming more and more common across the nation. Freedom of religion basically means that you are free to hold and promote religious beliefs as long as they aren’t Christian. I’ll be continuing to follow this story as it develops.