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First Responders, Faith Leaders Counter Discriminatory Message of Anti-LGBTQ Speaker

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Claims Slavery Helped Blacks in the Long Run


Mainline Christians and firefighters on the frontlines of community safety are speaking out in support of LGBTQ people in their communities, in preparation for an anti-LGBTQ speaker who uses his story and image as a former firefighter to legitimize the discriminatory message he sells as “religious freedom.”


The Montana Family Foundation (MFF) will feature former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran at fundraising events to be held in Billings (October 19, 2018) and Bozeman (November 1, 2018). Cochran skyrocketed to fame in the Religious Right when he was fired from his job in 2014 over a bigoted book he wrote and distributed to city employees. The City of Atlanta pointed to his disregard of official department policies, improper distribution of the book, improper use of his title, and negative impact on the work environment. Cochran refused to take responsibility for not following the rules, instead claiming he was terminated because of his personal religious beliefs. Because of his firing, Cochran became one of the Religious Right’s most prominent faces in its efforts to promote a biased version of “religious freedom.”


The Montana Family Foundation is featuring former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran at its 2018 fundraising events. Cochran is pictured at the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voters Summit.

After decades of gains for LGBTQ people in public policy, court decisions, and cultural gains, the Religious Right has made recent efforts to undue these wins and legally allow discrimination by claiming so-called “religious freedom.” Cochran and the Religious Right have the same version of religious freedom – that right-wing Christians should be able to ignore any policy with which they disagree and use the excuse that it violates their religious beliefs. This generally takes the form of denying services and civil rights to LGBTQ people and interfering with women’s reproductive health. However, Cochran’s version includes even more extreme ideas. In a presentation earlier this year, he said it was part of God’s “pre-destined plan for Africans to be brought to America as slaves” and placed in the “religious Christian South.” This helped the slaves keep from converting to Islam in Africa, he claimed, and led to slave masters helping bestow a Christian “culture of worship…in the African American community that still exists today.” He described this process as an example of religious freedom.[1]


MFF is the most prominent Religious Right group in Montana. Formed in 2004, its roots go back to the 1990’s Christian Coalition of Montana. MFF has been a consistent presence at the Montana Legislature opposing reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, and public education.[2] Earlier this year, MFF failed to qualify a measure for the ballot that sought to ban members of the trans community from accessing bathrooms based on their gender identity and expression. In addition to its work in Montana, MFF is a state affiliate of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

Because of the controversy in Atlanta, Cochran became a celebrity on the Religious Right speaking circuit, telling his life story and his version of the events that led to him being fired. In fact, in between his Montana events, he’s speaking for a similar organization in Nebraska.[3] While Cochran has become a central figure of the Religious Right’s campaign for so-called religious freedom, he doesn’t represent all the honorable firefighters he tries to speak for, and he fails to tell the real story behind his firing and the Religious Right’s campaign to distort a traditional American value.


Weaponizing the Idea of “Religious Freedom”


In announcing Kelvin Cochran as its speaker, MFF stated his story is about “overcoming adversity and standing strong for his religious freedom.”[4] MFF has also claimed “radical liberals” frequently attack people of faith’s religious freedom.[5] Jeff Laszloffy, MFF’s Executive Director, told radio listeners his group was making religious freedom the topic of its fundraising events this year.[6] Previous event topics have carried through to the legislative agenda for MFF, and the 2019 Montana Legislature convenes in January.

Religious freedom is hardly an original idea by MFF, as it is the Religious Right’s current cause célèbre. The Religious Right has taken a fundamental right found in the US Constitution and distorted its meaning. While the Constitution protects the right to believe (or not to believe) in any religion and express those beliefs, it doesn’t grant the right to discriminate or ignore laws that protect everyone else’s fundamental rights. The Religious Right specifically seeks to let people deny services and civil rights to LGBTQ community members. This false view of the Constitution often claims special rights with the Religious Right and its adherent proclaiming their interpretation of “God’s Law” supersedes any civil laws or policies. The result is transforming the First Amendment’s shield from religious discrimination into a spear of bigotry. Many active Christian leaders disagree and have spoken out to counter these  dangerous ideas.

“When organizations trot out individuals who have persecuted LGBTQ persons and call them ‘heroes,’ it creates hateful environments and compromises the safety of LGBTQ persons. If this is perceived as Christianity, nothing could be farther from the truth,” says Rev. D. Gregory Smith, the Assisting Priest at Bozeman’s St. James Episcopal Church. “God loves us because God created us just as we are. The amount of delusion and cruelty that this embodies is really quite remarkable – and not in a good way. It simply justifies the persecution of fellow human beings, hardly loving one’s neighbor as oneself.”


As the Religious Right began emphasizing its distorted view of religious freedom, national organizations sought spokespeople who could advance the false narrative that conservative Christians are being persecuted for standing up for their religious beliefs. After being fired from his job in Atlanta, Kelvin Cochran appeared to be an ideal spokesperson.


Kelvin Cochran: Fighting Fires or Stoking Flames?


Professional Background


As with most people’s lives, Kelvin Cochran’s story has many facets, and he has experienced discrimination. However, it was not for his religious beliefs, but because he is African American. Cochran suffered racial discrimination at the hands of segregation in the South. When he began his firefighting career in Louisiana, he was unfairly subjected to a segregated workplace. At the fire house, he was given his own plates and silverware, he has said, because nobody “would eat from the same plates, forks, and spoons as the black firefighter.”[7] Following his time in Louisiana, Cochran first served as Atlanta Fire Chief in 2008. The following year, President Obama appointed him as head of the United States Fire Administration. In 2010, he returned to his old job as fire chief in Atlanta.[8]


“Who Told You That You Were Naked?”


Published in November 2013, Kelvin Cochran authored his book Who Told You That You Were Naked? as part of leading a men’s Bible study at the evangelical church he attends.[9] The book’s title comes from a line in Genesis when God figures out Adam and Eve have eaten from the forbidden tree.[10]

In his book, Cochran wrote that the primary role for him as Atlanta Fire Chief was not civic duty, but to “cultivate its [the fire department] culture for the glory of God.”[11] The book included various anti-LGBTQ and anti-women passages. For example, Cochran wrote that Eve’s biggest mistake in the Garden of Eden was not talking to Adam, who would have made better choices because he was a man.[12] Cochran also wrote that Samson’s plight was due to a woman’s “relentless nagging and whining.”[13] Cochran’s book compared members of the LGBTQ community to people who engage in bestiality and pedophilia.[14] He also wrote that LGBTQ folks were a “sexual perversion” and “vile, vulgar and inappropriate.”[15]


Fired for Using Official Title, Distributing Books to Co-Workers 


Cochran distributed about a dozen copies of his book to firefighters in his department, including to a subordinate during a performance review.[16] One recipient brought it to the attention of a union representative, which kicked off a series of events ending with a complaint about the book to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. [17]


 In November 2014, Reed suspended Cochran without pay for 30 days. In addition to the suspension, Cochran was ordered to complete sensitivity training and to not distribute his book on city property.[18] At the time of the suspension, Reed stated it was highly problematic that Cochran had used his city title in the book without the required authorization, especially since it contained material that “disregarded the city’s anti-discrimination policies.”[19] The mayor said the suspension was not based on Cochran’s personal religious beliefs, but instead on his “poor judgment and failure to follow clearly defined work protocols.”[20]

Kelvin Cochran has received praise and support from many Religious Right organizations, including these four that are all designated anti-LGBTQ hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In January 2015, on the same day Cochran returned from his suspension, Reed fired him.[21] A city investigation found Cochran lied that he had only given books to city employees who requested them. The city also reported that firefighters throughout the department were appalled by the book’s content, felt trust between Cochran and the staff had eroded, and questioned his ability to lead the department going forward.[22] Cochran and his Religious Right allies immediately claimed the termination happened because of his religious beliefs. Cochran also said he had received approval from a city ethics officer to include his city title in the book. He didn’t, however, follow the requirement to receive approval from the Board of Ethics.[23]


Americans United for Separation of Church and State noted that Cochran raised “constitutional concerns by proselytizing on the job” since public officials in leadership positions “clearly do not have the right to force religious propaganda on their subordinates.” The group stated, “Simply writing the book was not a problem; it became one when Cochran passed it out at work.”[24] This was the point stressed by the Atlanta mayor. “His religious decisions are not the basis of the problem,” stated Mayor Reed. “His judgment is the basis of the problem.”[25]


Firefighters Respond


The response by Atlanta firefighters unequivocally supported Cochran’s firing. The local firefighter’s union said Cochran was free to have whatever religious beliefs he wanted; however, the bigoted views expressed in the book using Cochran’s official title were “not the message we need to send to employees nor the citizens.”[26] The union also said it applauded Mayor Reed for his “quick decisive action” and looked forward to working with the mayor on strategies to ensure equal treatment and rights for all, including the LGBTQ community.[27] The department has made strides since Cochran’s departure.


By 2017, Atlanta Fire Chief Joel Baker announced the department was working on diversity and inclusivity initiatives geared toward women, Hispanics, and the LGBTQ community. The department attended a recruitment drive for the LGBTQ community, launched an advertising campaign showcasing its diversity, began reaching out to the Hispanic community, and started a women’s leadership group. It also created two liaisons for the LGBTQ community.[28]


Firefighters in Montana echo their Atlanta colleagues. The Montana State Council of Professional Firefighters (MSCOPFF) represents nearly 700 professional firefighters in the state and is a proud affiliate of the International Association of Firefighters. MSCOPFF President Joel Fassbinder issued the following statement about Cochran’s upcoming appearances in Montana:


“We believe that our organization is one of the most inclusive labor unions in this great country and Canada. We pride ourselves as being trusted by nearly everyone we encounter.  As professionals and as a family, it is important that trust is not degraded by discrimination. We strive to make sure every group feels welcomed in our great family.


That is why the Montana State Council of Professional Firefighters strongly condemns any person that uses our image as firefighters to discriminate against any member or our communities.  We have many diverse members in our family – African American, Latino, LGBT, Christian, Muslim, Atheist and many more. We feel that Kelvin Cochran’s use of our respected professional image to push discriminatory and hateful ideals is shameful.  The Montana State Council of Professional Firefighters will continue to push for equal rights for everyone in our family and beyond.”


Kevin Bentz, president of the local firefighters’ union in Billings (IAFF Local 521), echoed many of Fassbinder’s points. He also noted that firefighters consistently rank as one of the most respected professions, and that honor comes with great responsibility and the need for the community’s trust. Just as important as physical and mental fitness, Bentz stated, is that firefighters have integrity and be team players within their communities. He observed that his union has members from all walks of life, races, religions, and sexual orientations. About Kelvin Cochran’s appearances in Montana, Bentz stated:


“We are a family and stand by those that stand by our brothers and sisters. For these reasons we find it shameful that Kelvin Cochran uses the respected image of firefighters to push discriminatory and hateful ideas. As Billings Firefighters IAFF Local 521, we will continue to stand up for everyone in our communities without discrimination. That’s our job, and we are proud of it.”

Cochran Ready for His Legislative Closeup


The Religious Right’s campaign for so-called religious freedom isn’t conducted as just a theoretical debate. Instead, groups across the country are trying to codify it in law, both at the national and state levels. As Cochran’s suspension and termination played out in Atlanta, the Religious Right and its legislative allies rushed to put Cochran’s story on the frontlines of policy fights.


Early in 2015, state Republican legislators in Georgia announced they would try to pass a religious freedom bill that had failed during the previous session. The bill had died after many Georgia corporations, including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Home Depot, had spoken out against it.[29] The Georgia Legislature ended up passing a religious freedom bill in 2016, but even Republican Governor Nathan Deal opposed and vetoed it.[30]


In July 2016, Cochran testified before a US House Committee on the topic of religious freedom and supporting the First Amendment Defense Act. Cochran again falsely complained the proposed law was necessary, because he had been fired for expressing “beliefs about marriage and biblical morality” that have been held by “Christians for nearly two thousand years.” This talking point ignores the wide range of views on LGBTQ issues held by Christian denominations, including those that are in direct opposition to this discriminatory view. Even though Republican members of the congressional committee called Cochran a hero, the Defense Act did not become law, but it has been reintroduced for consideration in 2018.[31] 


Many of the points Cochran made in his congressional testimony became part of the stump speech he normally gives to audiences. He tries to explain away his responsibility for the book’s content by saying it was “based on scriptures, not my opinions.”[32] He also maintains that he ran the idea for his book by a city employee and got approval.[33] Cochran frequently compares himself to Jesus Christ, telling audiences that his firing was a form of “God-allowed” suffering meant to test him.[34]


Anti-Gay Hate Group Files Lawsuit


One of the national Religious Right groups that sought to capitalize on Cochran’s story is the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a law firm founded by prominent leaders of the Religious Right that is designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Since early 2015, the ADF has represented Cochran in a federal lawsuit against the City of Atlanta for discriminating against him for, as they frame it, “holding historical Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality….”[35] Cochran frames the lawsuit as being about more than him, saying it’s “about the future of freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the United States of America.”[36] The City of Atlanta has maintained Cochran was not fired for his religious beliefs but for disregarding the rules to use his official title in his book and distributing it to department personnel. Both sides in the lawsuit asked to skip a jury trial and go straight to a judge’s ruling.[37]

The Alliance Defending Freedom has created numerous social media videos featuring Kelvin Cochran, including the one pictured here.

In December 2017, Federal Judge Leigh May ruled on pre-trial motions that the City of Atlanta didn’t violate Cochran’s religious liberty, retaliate against him, or violate his due process rights.[38] Judge May stated the city had valid concerns that Cochran’s book contributed to a hostile work environment, especially through passages expressing “his opinion that the death of all individuals who engage in homosexual and extramarital sex would be celebrated,” which caused the book to be “such an actual and possible disruption that it does not warrant First Amendment protection in the workplace.” [39] Judge May did rule that the city’s policies and procedures around Cochran using his official title weren’t constitutional.[40]

Despite Cochran losing the major “religious freedom” components of the case in the pre-trial rulings, the ADF tried to frame the minor ruling against the City of Atlanta as a major free speech victory.[41] In the end, the December 2017  pre-trial ruling declared that Mayor Reed acted lawfully in firing Cochran and didn’t violate his religious freedom, which gave the City of Atlanta a huge win as the lawsuit moved forward. Despite this momentum, current Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, decided to settle the lawsuit in mid-October 2018, with the city paying Cochran $1.2 million.


Hate Groups Defend Cochran


The ADF is hardly the only Religious Right group that has tried to capitalize on Cochran’s story. From the moment Mayor Reed acted, the Religious Right and its supporters created and mobilized anger around the situation. Court documents described a “massive PR campaign” against Mayor Reed, which resulted in thousands of angry e-mails and phone calls to his home during which he received death threats and was called racial slurs, the anti-Christ, and a terrorist.[42]


Religious Right groups frequently deployed hyperbolic rhetoric and distorted the facts surrounding the situation. The American Family Association, which is designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, deceivingly said it was now a “fire-able offense in Atlanta to believe in the Bible” and that businesses would be hanging “Christians need not apply” signs in their windows. The Association claimed Cochran was a victim of the “Gay Gestapo,” and America would have to “choose between homosexuality and liberty because we can’t have both.”[43] The Association encouraged its members to call and e-mail Mayor Reed.[44]  


The Family Research Council (FRC) ran an online petition to support Cochran and organized a rally of local and national Religious Right leaders in Atlanta to support Cochran in January 2015. [45] At the event, FRC head Tony Perkins compared Cochran’s ouster to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris the previous week that left 12 dead.[46] In an FRC e-mail, Perkins said Cochran’s firing “tells the killers in ISIS…that our government doesn’t value freedom of belief.”[47] 


Author and preacher Michael Youssef also invoked ISIS in the context of Cochran’s firing, saying, “Members of ISIS may chop off the heads of Christians, but to chop off someone’s voice or identity originates from the same desire for control through cruelty.”[48] Mat Staver, of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Liberty Counsel, compared what happened in Atlanta to Nazi Germany and said Christians were under Satanic attack.[49]


Cochran gave the 2017 convocation at Liberty University, which was founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell of the pioneering Religious Right group the Moral Majority.  He said Christians couldn’t remain “passive, silent, and divided” or America would start to resemble Muslim countries where Christians face beheadings for their faith. He urged graduates to understand that Liberty University “exists for the glory of God” and prepares students to “infiltrate the world for the Kingdom of God.”[50]




Better Georgia sums up the Cochran situation well, saying he was “disciplined for trying to force his personal religious beliefs on those he supervised. He was simply a bad boss.”[51]


Kelvin Cochran’s remarks at Liberty University and elsewhere illustrate why he has become a Religious Right icon. This was never a story about a simple fire chief who wrote about conservative Christian teachings. It’s clear that Cochran views himself as a messenger for God who is supposed to proselytize and convert people to his discriminatory way of thinking. He confirmed as much in his book when he listed religious duty above civic duty when describing his job as fire chief. 


He is an eager and willing partner with hate groups. He perpetuates the false history that America was founded solely as a “Christian Nation.”[52] His message furthers the goals of the Religious Right to rewrite history and move the country towards theocracy. The reality is America’s founders were very familiar with the merging of church and state, and they wanted the opposite for this country. The Religious Right’s battle for its so-called religious freedom flies in the face of our history and constitutional values.


It’s important to remember that, while the Religious Right positions itself as representing all Christians, that is not the case. Many faith leaders in Montana disagree with the views of the Religious Right and the Montana Family Foundation, including Mike Mulberry, Senior Minister of Billings First Congregational Church. He had this to say about MFF and Cochran:


“To see that the Montana Family Foundation has invited Kelvin Cochran to come and speak more hatred and fear into our community is disappointing. I grieve how Mr. Cochran’s hurtful and exclusive language has made him a celebrated victim instead of recognizing his accountability for referencing members of the LGBTQ community as a ‘perversion.’ These treasured community members are beloved and welcomed in our town.”

MFF and Cochran may be advocating for a more divisive state and country where discrimination is legal and acceptable; however, they don’t speak for all Christians or all firefighters. The voices for equality, acceptance, and the separation of church and state are plentiful and happy to lend their voices when bigotry rears its head in Montana.  


[1] Studio 25 Productions, “”Kelvin Cochran – Atlanta, GA,” Sept. 13, 2018.

[2] For more background on the formation of the Montana Family Foundation, see: Montana Human Rights Network, “Family Foundation Features Speaker Comparing Obama to Hitler,” Oct. 28, 2011.

[3] Nebraska Family Alliance, Website, Oct. 9, 2018.

[4] Montana Family Foundation, Facebook, Oct. 2, 2018.

[5] Montana Family Foundation, “Religious Freedom Comes to Montana,” July 27, 2018.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Alliance Defending Freedom, “When a Firefighter Dedicated to Promoting Diversity Is Wrongly Fired for ‘Discrimination,’” Aug. 14, 2017.

[8] Washington Post, “Atlanta Fire Chief Suspended After Distributing His Religious Book to Employees,” Nov. 26, 2014.

[9] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Fire Chief Suspended Over Book Controversy,” Nov. 24, 2014.

[10] Washington Post, “Atlanta Fire Chief Suspended After Distributing His Religious Book to Employees,” Nov. 26, 2014.

[11] Better Georgia, “Whose Religion Matters Most? Your Religion, or Your Boss’s Religion?” Dec. 29, 2014.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Georgia Voice, “Ralph Reed Urging Supporters to Target Kasim Reed After Suspending Anti-Gay,” Dec. 19, 2014; Georgia Voice, “Atlanta Fire Chief Goes on Anti-Gay Crusade in Self-Published Book,” Nov. 24, 2014.

[16] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Former Atlanta Fire Chief Claims Discrimination in Civil Rights Suit,” Nov. 17, 2017.

[17] Ibid; Washington Post, “Atlanta Fire Chief Suspended After Distributing His Religious Book to Employees,” Nov. 26, 2014.

[18] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Atlanta Fire Chief Suspended Over Book Controversy,” Nov. 24, 2014.

[19] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Fire Chief Suspended Over Book Controversy,” Nov. 24, 2014; Georgia Voice, “Ralph Reed Urging Supporters to Target Kasim Reed After Suspending Anti-Gay,” Dec. 19, 2014.

[20] Georgia Voice, “Ralph Reed Urging Supporters to Target Kasim Reed After Suspending Anti-Gay,” Dec. 19, 2014; Washington Post, “Atlanta’s Former Fire Chief Sue the City, Says He was Fired Because of Religious Beliefs,” Feb. 18, 2015.

[21] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Reed Terminates Fire Chief Following Book Controversy,” Jan. 6, 2015.

[22] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Reed’s Office Releases Internal Report into Fire Chief’s Management,” Jan. 9, 2015; Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Reed Writes Letter Explaining Fire Chief Firing,” Jan. 13, 2015.

[23] Washington Post, “Atlanta’s Former Fire Chief Sues the City, Says He was Fired Because of Religious Beliefs,” Feb. 18, 2015; Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Reed Writes Letter Explaining Fire Chief Firing,” Jan. 13, 2015.

[24] Americans United, “Hatred Extinguished: Atlanta Fire Chief Terminated for Distributing Anti-Gay Book to Employees,” Jan. 9, 2015.

[25] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Reed Terminates Fire Chief Following Book Controversy,” Jan. 6, 2015.

[26] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Fire Chief Suspended Over Book Controversy,” Nov. 24, 2014.

[27] Washington Post, “Atlanta Fire Chief Suspended After Distributing His Religious Book to Employees,” Nov. 26, 2014.

[28] Georgia Voice, “Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Launches Inclusivity Initiative, LGBT Liaison Positions,” Feb. 2, 2017.

[29] Georgia Voice, “Anti-Gay Atlanta Fire Chief Back on Job, Becomes Face of Georgia’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Fight,” Jan. 5, 2015; Georgia Voice, “INTERVIEW: Former Fire Chief Says Inflammatory Anti-Gay Language Taken Straight from Bible,” Jan. 7, 2015.

[30] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Calls Emerge to Override Georgia Governor’s ‘Religious Liberty’ Veto,” March 28, 2016.

[31] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Ex-Atlanta Fire Chief the GOP Darling of Congress’ ‘Religious Liberty’ Debate,” July 12, 2016.

[32] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Fire Chief Suspended Over Book Controversy,” Nov. 24, 2014.

[33] Ibid; Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Reed Terminates Fire Chief Following Book Controversy,” Jan. 6, 2015.

[34] Georgia Voice, “Anti-Gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Compares Himself to Jesus Christ at Sermon,” Feb. 1, 2015; Rapid City Journal, “Former Atlanta Fire Chief Now Fighting Against Religious Oppression,” April 14, 2017.

[35] Cochran v. City of Atlanta, Feb. 18, 2015.

[36] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Former Atlanta Fire Chief Files Federal Lawsuit Against Reed, City,” Feb.20, 2015.

[37] WABE Radio, “Atlanta Mayor, Ousted Fire Chief Await Judge’s Ruling,” Nov. 17, 2017.

[38] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Judge: Rules Cited in Fire Chief’s Firing Not Constitutional,” Dec. 20, 2017.

[39] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Atlanta Mayor Says Court Battle with Former Fire Chief Was Too Costly,” Oct. 16, 2018; Think Progress, “Hate Group Claims Hollow Victory in Case of Atlanta’s Fired Ant-Gay Fire Chief,” Dec. 21, 2017.

[40] Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Judge: Rules Cited in Fire Chief’s Firing Not Constitutional,” Dec. 20, 2017.

[41] Alliance Defending Freedom, “Court Says Atlanta Policies Violate First Amendment Freedoms of Former Fire Chief, Others,” Dec. 20, 2017.

[42] Baptist News, “Both Sides Claim Win in Court Ruling Regarding Fired Atlanta Fire Chief,” Jan. 3, 2018.

[43] American Family Association, “Atlanta Mayor Shreds Entire First Amendment to Dump Fire Chief,” January 2015.

[44] American Family Association, “Atlanta Fire Chief Fired for His Faith,” Jan. 12, 2015.

[45] Family Research Council, “Stand with the Christian Fire Chief Fired for His Faith,” Jan. 9, 2015; Family Research Council, “Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins to Join Atlanta Rally in Support of Fired Fire Chief,” Jan. 12, 2015.

[46] Georgia Voice, “Ousted Atlanta Fire Chief’s Supporters Pack Capitol, Call for Reinstatement,” Jan. 13, 2015.

[47] Right-Wing Watch, “Tony Perkins: Obama & Gay Rights Movement Inspire ISIS to Murder Christians,” April 22, 2015.

[48] Right-Wing Watch, “Right Wing Bonus Tracks – 1/14/15,” Jan. 14, 2015.

[49] Right-Wing Watch, “Mat Staver: Anti-LGBT Officials Face Satanic, Nazi Oppression,” Nov. 16, 2016.

[50] Liberty University, “Kelvin Cochran – Liberty University Convocation,” March 21,2017.

[51] Better Georgia, “Whose Religion Matters Most? Your Religion, or Your Boss’s Religion?” Dec. 29, 2014.

[52] Studio 25 Productions, “Kelvin Cochran – Atlanta, GA,” Sept. 13, 2018.