Three years ago in 2015 Kelvin Cochran, fire chief, was dismissed from his job because he is a Christian. The city of Atlanta announced on Monday, October 15, 2018, that it will pay $1.2 million to Cochran for violating his First Amendment freedoms. Of course, Atlanta is not acting on its own but is following the orders of a federal court. Cochran made the following statement to The Daily Signal.
All my life, I dreamed of being a firefighter, and I had to overcome many instances of discrimination because of the color of my skin.
Those challenges and my faith taught me the value of creating an inclusive, diverse, and tolerant environment in the workplace. Regardless of any characteristic or belief of my fellow firefighters, I was honored to serve alongside them.
Every day of my 34-year career, I would have gladly laid down my life to protect anyone in Atlanta or in Shreveport [in Louisiana], where I served before that – no matter who they were or what they believed.
But in serving the public as a firefighter, I did not forfeit my constitutional right to speak freely on my own time.
Cochran was fired because he wrote a book, and the book had one page where he wrote that homosexuality is against the Christian lifestyle. Cochran was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, and Rachel del Guidice wrote the following about the case.
According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit Christian public interest law firm, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found that the city’s rules regulating non-work-related speech, such as Cochran’s book, “were too broad, and allowed city officials to unconstitutionally discriminate against views with which they disagree.”
Ryan T. Anderson, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation… said that Atlanta’s decision strengthens the freedom of speech.
“This is a big win for the First Amendment rights of all Americans,” Anderson said. “No one, not even public servants, gives up their rights to freedom of speech or free exercise of religion – not even if they hold beliefs that elites scorn.”
It is nice to hear of court cases where conservatives win. This writer was upset with the firing of Cochran and was happy to learn that he won his court case.