The city of Atlanta is now accepting applications for a new fire chief.
Kelvin Cochran, Atlanta’s former fire chief, was canned by Mayor Kasim Reed this week just one day after returning from a 30-day suspension without pay for going against city policy by self-publishing an antigay e-book.
In Who Told You That You Were Naked?, Cochran, a self-proclaimed “devout Christian man,” mediates on the evils of gay people, calling them “vile,” “vulgar,” “perverts,” and “inappropriate,” and comparing homosexuality to bestiality.
The 162-page magnum opus, which Cochran self-published in November 2013, was first discovered by retired Atlanta Fire Department Captain Cindy Thompson, who is openly gay. Thompson alerted the media in November 2014, calling the book “highly disturbing.”
“Certainly we agree with Mayor Reed’s position on this and his rationale for it,” Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham said shortly after the announcement was made.
Georgia Equality has been calling for Cochran’s termination for over a month, claiming his extreme antigay views foster a hostile work environment.
“This is not about his religious views but his about his ability to lead a diverse work force,” Graham said. “It’s unfortunate that this had to happen. I feel the mayor has done the right thing to ensure all employees are treated fairly.”
“His personal religious beliefs are not the issue at all despite the number of comments and emails I have been receiving on a daily basis,” Mayor Reed said. “His judgment and ability to manage the department was the subject of this inquiry. His actions around the book, his statements during the investigation, eroded my confidence.”
The city requires employees to first seek permission and obtain approval before publishing a book, which officials say Cochran never did, which is ultimately what led to him being terminated.
But Cochran isn’t buying that excuse. In an interview with a Fox News blogger, he said he believes he was fired for being a Christian. He also claims that he is not homophobic and that he only references homosexuality on one page in the 162-page manifesto.
“I did not single out homosexuality,” he said. “I simply spoke to sex being created by God for procreation and He intended it to be between a man and a woman in holy matrimony — and that any other sex outside of that is sin.”
He says he is now considering his legal options.
“I believe God has greater things for me,” he claimed. “I’m not discouraged and I’m not downtrodden. This is a God thing and He’s going to do great things and He will vindicate me publicly.”
Who Told You That You Were Naked? is currently #15 on Amazon’s “Christian Books” bestsellers list, behind The Lady and the Mountain Man, an inspirational Christian romance novel, about an orphaned heiress whose husband is killed by a grizzly bear.