Case UpdateFired for his faith

Chief Kelvin Cochran’s story

Back in December 2015, a federal court in Atlanta handed Kelvin Cochran an important legal victory.

The court ruled that Chief Cochran’s suit against the City of Atlanta, which unjustly fired him because of his religious beliefs, will go forward.

This is great news. But there’s still a long, difficult legal battle ahead.
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The very faith that caused me to get my job ultimately has cost me my job.

Chief Cochran dedicated over 30 years of his life to fighting fires and protecting the communities where he lived and worked. And then suddenly, despite being one of the most decorated firefighters of this generation, he was fired.

Why? Because a few Atlanta city officials didn’t like Chief Cochran’s religious beliefs.

He had an exemplary record, but he was fired anyway

Chief Cochran knows what it takes to overcome long odds. He grew up in extreme poverty in Shreveport, Louisiana, where his family could barely afford basic necessities like water. He got his start as a firefighter in his hometown, where he was discriminated against for being African American and forbidden from sleeping in beds used by the white firefighters or using the community dishes at meal times. But that didn’t stop him. He quickly worked his way up the ranks and was appointed fire chief for the City of Atlanta in 2008.

His exemplary record of service even earned the regard of President Obama. In 2009, Chief Cochran was appointed U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration, the highest office in his profession.

He was serving in that position when the mayor of Atlanta personally recruited him to come back to lead the city’s fire department again. Chief Cochran happily returned.

“(T)hose principles that I was taught as a kid: faith in God, education, respect authority, and treat other people like the way you want to be treated really fed my career and life success.”

Chief Cochran is also a committed Christian and deacon in his church, where he leads a men’s Bible study.

The trouble started when Chief Cochran wrote a book that invited Christian men to fulfill their biblical calling as husbands and fathers. He wrote and published this book on his own time, with his own money. In his book, he briefly discusses the Bible’s teaching that sex is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman.

The mere statement of this well-known Christian belief drew an outrageous response from the city.

What happened to Chief Cochran could happen to any of us

The City of Atlanta initially suspended Chief Cochran without pay for 30 days, ordered him to undergo sensitivity training, and launched an investigation. The investigation found no evidence that Chief Cochran had ever discriminated against anyone. But at the end of his suspension, he was fired anyway.

Chief Cochran is one of a growing number of Christians being punished simply for being a person of faith. And if a fire chief with more than 30 years of distinguished service can be fired for his faith, then it could happen to any of us.

But Alliance Defending Freedom is vigorously defending Chief Cochran.

When you help defend him, you’ll protect your religious freedom, too

Because for Chief Cochran and many others, the fight continues. A hearing in his case takes place this fall, and the judge could issue a ruling shortly afterwards.

ADF is commited to stand with Chief Cochran and defend him free of charge, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Will you stand with Chief Cochran and with others who are being punished for their faith, to provide the strong legal defense they need?

Please help as generously as you can.

Your gift today is also critical because the income we receive determines our ability to fight for you. We are trusting God for $2 million in gifts in the next 90 days. We want to be able to provide the strongest possible legal defense for Christians like Chief Cochran who are — and will be — threatened for their faith.

Your gift will be doubled by a matching grant

A generous group of Ministry Friends has given a matching grant to help provide a strong legal defense for Chief Cochran and other Christians like him. Through the power of the match, every dollar you give now will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $2 million!

Alliance Defending Freedom has established a strong record of success in defending your religious freedom. But your help is critically needed now. Because, for Chief Cochran and many others, the fight is not over.

God has shown us time and time again that when we stand together to protect religious freedom, we can be victorious. But protecting religious freedom isn’t “someone else’s fight.” It’s your fight. It’s our fight.

And — just a reminder — your gift today will be doubled.

About Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, nonprofit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

ADF was launched in 1994 by 35 ministry leaders, including Dr. James Dobson, and our late friends, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Bill Bright, and Larry Burkett.

With God’s blessing, ADF has grown from the prayers of those godly leaders to become a major force in the legal battle for religious freedom, winning nearly 80% of all our cases, and playing important roles in 52 victories at the Supreme Court of the United States.