Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday that the city’s fire chief had been “relieved” of his duties because of a self-published book he wrote that contained controversial comments about homosexuality.
The following day, Kelvin Cochran, the former chief, told Fox News he was fired because of his Christian faith.
Cochran had been on suspension since November for publishing the book titled, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”
Cochran said he wrote the book for a men’s Bible study group at his Baptist church. He said only a few passages in the 160-page book raised the concern of city officials.
One was a passage on “uncleanness” which was defined as “whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, [and] all other forms of sexual perversion.”
The other passage read as an interpretation of male sexuality.
“Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex, and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body – temple and dishonor God,” Cochran wrote.
“I did not single out homosexuality,” Cochran told Fox News. “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.”
Cochran admitted to handing the book out to employees at work but said he only gave it to people with whom he had a personal relationship.
Reed publicly condemned the views Cochran expressed in the book before he placed the chief on suspension in November.
“I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the Administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all of her citizens — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race and religious beliefs,” Reed wrote on his official Facebook page last year.
But Reed said Cochran wasn’t suspended or fired because of his views on the subject, but was fired for exercising poor judgement.
“Not one time during the course of preparing this book did Chief Cochran ever think that it was appropriate to have a conversation with me despite the fact that I have made my opinion — and this administration's opinion — clear on this topic,” Reed said Tuesday, according to USA Today.
Reed went on to say Cochran had not discriminated against anyone and discrimination was not listed as a cause for termination. Rather, he said, Cochran had violated the city’s code of conduct by releasing the book.
“This is about how we treat one another. And so those folks who are calling me and telling me I should retain him. I just want you to know one thing. His religious decisions are not the basis of the problem. His judgement is the basis of the problem,” Reed said.
Cochran said at a news conference Tuesday he would not apologize for writing the book and would not hide his Christian faith.
“Everything I wrote in the book is based on scriptures, not my opinions,” Cochran said.