Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Fired Over Religious Beliefs

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed terminated the city’s fire chief, Kelvin Cochran, after he published a book titled Who Told You That You Were Naked? that contained controversial statements. The book made some references about homosexuality that it is “unclean”, “a sexual perversion”, “vulgar”, and “inappropriate”.

The mayor said at the time of placing the fire chief on suspension prior to termination, “I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all citizens — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, and religious beliefs.”

So he got fired not because he did something illegal but because it was controversial and not representative of the beliefs of the mayor. Now, the mayor is saying it’s not the religious beliefs Kelvin expressed that caused his termination, but because he didn’t get prior approval. But, it must be asked, if Kelvin wrote a book advocating homosexual conduct, would he still have been fired?


This gets me thinking about work and  religion. If you work at a secular job, is there any risk of losing your job over your religious beliefs? In other words, do your non-Christian co-workers know that you hold beliefs that run contrary to theirs? Or, to keep the peace you rather be silent about your faith, hoping that maybe if you just work ethically co-workers will just ask?

I’m concerned that many Christians have chosen not to talk about faith and instead have focused on good works, working hard, being positive, being a good team player, and submitting to their managers. But, is this the kind of work ethic Jesus would have wanted…a work ethic that kept his gospel silent? I think it’s time we move from cautious servants to bold messengers.


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