Former Atlanta Fire Chief Wins Settlement after Wrongful Firing over Christian Views

I had a friend who was a Christian missionary in several different countries. He often worked as an English teacher to pay his way while witnessing to locals about Jesus. While in Dagestan, he was kidnapped and held for months. While in captivity, he was starved, tortured and even had a finger cut off, but like Paul, he continued to preach the Word until his release. While in Dagestan, he spoke of how Christians were often targeted and persecuted.

He also spent a short time in China where many Christians ended up in prison or disappeared. The Christian Church in China is an underground church that is in constant fear of being discovered.

During the reign of Barack Obama, the Egyptian government, when it was run by the Muslim Brotherhood, began a genocidal attack of Christians, which made up about 10% of the population. The only thing Obama did was continue to support the Egyptian government.

We hear similar stories of Christian persecution from the Sudan, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a growing number of other countries.

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In my younger day, no one dared to take any retribution or punitive action against anyone in America for their Christian views. In fact, the persecution of Christians was unheard of in the United States, and was something that happened in other oppressed countries.

Ever since Democrats gained control of the government and courts, that has all changed here in America and Christians are being regularly persecuted for holding to biblical teaching. I worked for a utility that was technically a government entity and saw first hand how some employees were told to remove any signs of Christianity from the workplace. One secretary was told to not wear her cross necklace or to keep it hidden. It was all done on the name of separation of church and state and yet one of the big bosses at the utility was allowed to wear his turban on the job, which was a sign of his religion.

Kelvin Cochran was the fire chief of Atlanta when he was fired because of his Christian views. On his own time, Cochran wrote a devotional for men. In one section, he wrote about the biblical view of marriage (one man with one woman) and sexuality (sex outside marriage or same-sex relations).

The Atlanta city leaders did not approve of Cochran’s views and claimed that he never received permission to engage in free speech outside the work place. Cochran was placed on unpaid leave and then fired.

He took his case to court, claiming the city’s actions and policy were unconstitutional. In December of last year, a federal district court agreed that the city’s policy was discriminatory and unconstitutional. This meant that the reason the city used for firing Cochran was also unconstitutional.

Cochran claimed that it was a victory for all city employees, regardless of their position, time on the job (Cochran had 30-years with the fire department) or whatever, people have a right to free speech in their private lives and that also includes speaking openly about biblical teaching.

This week, the city of Atlanta settled with Cochran and agreed to pay him a settlement of $1.2 million (most of which will probably go to legal expenses).

The lesson learned is that every American citizen has constitutional rights and it’s time that citizens start standing up for those rights when they are wrongly trampled on. You’ve all heard the old adage that you can’t fight city hall? Cochran fought city hall and won, proving the old saying is wrong.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

David Jolly
R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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