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Supreme Court of the United States

No Turning Back: Why Chief Cochran Cannot Leave His Faith at Home

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
October 17, 2017

I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

This hymn has been a mantra for our client, former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. He wants to live his life for God, no matter the consequences.

In 2014, the consequences meant losing his job.

A highly accomplished firefighter, Chief Cochran was Shreveport’s fire chief and then became Atlanta’s fire chief. In 2009, after his exemplary service record, President Barack Obama appointed him as the U.S. Fire Administrator, the highest position a firefighter can reach. After his service as Fire Administrator, he returned to Atlanta to be its fire chief, at the mayor’s request.

Chief Cochran credits his success in the workplace to his faith. It motivates his actions and work ethic. It drives everything he does.

Inspired by this faith, Chief Cochran wrote a men’s Bible study, in his personal time, which briefly stated the biblical teaching that sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. But when an Atlanta city council member heard about the book, he jumped into action to have Chief Cochran investigated for his beliefs.

While the city and mayor claimed that Chief Cochran was removed because he did not receive the mayor’s permission to write a book, their true motivation was clear: Chief Cochran’s beliefs did not conform to theirs. An investigation found that Chief Cochran had never discriminated against anyone in his department, and yet the city stood its ground. They fired him anyway.

The very faith that drives his career and inspires his life is the same reason that Chief Cochran’s career as a firefighter is over. But Chief Cochran doesn’t regret it for one second. His back is not to the wall. He is not at the end of his rope. He’s not turning back.


We Must Stand for the Right of All Americans to Live According to Their Faith


The government should never be able to fire someone because of their beliefs. That’s why ADF is fighting for Chief Cochran in court.  If a fire chief with 30 years of distinguished service can be fired for his faith, what’s next? Who’s next?

Will you stand with Chief Cochran and help us provide the best possible legal defense to ensure that the city of Atlanta – or any other city – cannot fire other Christians simply because of their beliefs?

Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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