Kelvin Cochran had a childhood dream: to one day become a firefighter and save lives.
He achieved that dream and served faithfully for over 30 years eventually becoming the Fire Chief for the city of Atlanta.
But in January 2015, after the anti-Christian left found out about his faith in Christ, Chief Cochran was fired from his dream job.
“The growns asked us all the time: What do you want to be when you grow up?” Chief Cochran explained. “My answer was always the same. I told them that I wanted to be a firefighter.”
As one of the first African American firefighters in Louisiana, Chief Cochran faced terrible discrimination as he fought to change the department’s history of racism.
“At that time there was a designated bed for black firefighters, as well as designated forks, spoons, and plates so no one would have to share with the black firefighters.”
“I also faced a steady stream of racial slurs and negative attitudes because of the color of my skin,” said Chief Cochran.
“That gave me a conviction that should I ever be in a position of leadership I would never allow someone to have the same experience of discrimination as I did as a minority.”
And God would indeed lift Chief Cochran to a position of leadership where he would be instrumental in making the changes needed to reform an ugly past.
In 1999, he became the first African American Fire Chief of the Shreveport Fire Department, and then, in 2008, he was appointed Fire Chief for the city of Atlanta.
One year later, President Barack Obama appointed him to the position of U.S. Fire Administrator and he was unanimously confirmed by a bipartisan Congressional Committee.
In 2010, at the personal request of the Mayor of Atlanta, he returned to reassume his position as Fire Chief of the city.
By all accounts, Chief Kelvin Cochran is a hero. He not only fought to save countless lives from burning buildings, but he fought to end the evils of racism and discrimination.
But despite all that, Chief Cochran committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of those who hate God and hate His Church.
You see, Chief Cochran had the nerve to turn notes he had written leading a men’s Bible study at his church into a book designed to teach men how to live the Christian life.
One page in his 162-page book explained God’s plan for sex and marriage and that marriage was defined by God as the union of one man and one woman.
This sent the anti-Christian left into a frenzy and they were out for blood.
According to the Daily Signal, “in late 2014, retired Atlanta Fire Department Capt. Cindy Thompson contacted GA Voice, a Georgian LGBT group, to protest Cochran’s book and its mention of homosexuality.”
“Thompson then brought the book to the Mayor’s LGBT liaison, Robin Shahar. Soon afterward, LGBT activist groups began to rally for the Fire Chief to be fired.”
The story went viral as headlines on homosexual-themed websites reached a fever pitch of hysteria:
“Atlanta fire chief goes on anti-gay crusade in self-published book”
“LGBT group calls for immediate dismissal of Atlanta Fire Chief”
The Mayor of Atlanta, under pressure from gay activists, launched an official investigation on Chief Cochran for discrimination.
And even though the investigation found no evidence of any such discrimination, Chief Cochran was fired anyway.
But as is always the case in God’s plan for our lives, that wasn’t the end of the story.
A religious freedom non-profit advocacy organization called Alliance Defending Freedom took up the Chief’s case and fought it all the way up to the federal court which just ruled in his favor and ordered the City of Atlanta to pay $1.2 million dollars in damages to Chief Cochran.
“The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before they engage in free speech. It also can’t fire them for exercising that First Amendment freedom, causing them to lose both their freedom and their livelihoods,” said Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
“We are very pleased that the city is compensating Chief Cochran as it should, and we hope this will serve as a deterrent to any government that would trample upon the constitutionally protected freedoms of its public servants,” Theriot added.
Chief Cochran said in a statement:
“No one should have to choose between keeping his job and speaking about his faith on his own time, but that’s the situation I faced as fire chief of the City of Atlanta.
“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.”
“If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others—even people with whom we disagree about important issues like marriage.”
Please praise God for this victory and lift our nation up in prayer as it drifts further and further from His light.
Purchase a copy of Chief Cochran’s book here: