ATLANTA — Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has been fired over controversy about a Christian-themed book he wrote that has been criticized as promoting discriminatory attitudes against gays.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the termination in a press conference Jan. 6.
Reed said the fact that Cochran, a deacon at Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated Elizabeth Baptist Church, spoke publicly about the controversy during the investigation added to concerns about his judgment and ability to manage 750 employees in the fire and rescue department in one of the most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-friendly cities in America.
Cochran recently spoke about the controversy to the Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Audio excerpts of the address are posted on the convention website, along with a petition containing nearly 4,500 signatures accusing the mayor of violating the fire chief’s religious liberty.
Cochran told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he didn’t intend to be “hurtful to anyone,” but Christians, like gays, “have the right to express their beliefs regarding sexual orientation and be respected for their position without hate and without discrimination.” (TAB)