Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed terminated Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran on Jan. 6 for writing and self-publishing a book, which he allegedly handed out to city employees.
Cochran, who self-identifies as a Christian, reportedly wrote in his book titled "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" that homosexuality was "a sexual perversion" and compared it to bestiality.
Mayor Reed said Cochran did not get permission from the City of Atlanta to write the book. Cochran claims he got verbal permission to write it from the city's ethics officer, Nina Hickson, but she has not confirmed his claim.
Earlier this week, there was a "Standing for our Faith Rally" in Atlanta in support of Cochran. Supporters claimed that he was being persecuted for his Christian beliefs, noted 11 Alive.
Mayor Reed, who also self-identifies as a Christian, has repeatedly said Reed was not fired because of his religion, reported Fox 5 Atlanta (video below).
However, Mayor Reed says he has been threatened on the basis of religion by Cochran's supporters, who have called him a "Muslim" and the "Antichrist." The Muslim reference appears to be directed at Mayor Reed's first name, Muhammad, which he normally does not go by.
The Christian Post reports that Mayor Reed recently told WXIA:
The only part that I really don't like is just the tone and tenor of the comments that have been directed to me and the threat that this has caused to the safety of my family. If you read the emails, the comments are way out of bounds. They've gone way beyond a normal conversation.
Now I ran for office and I got elected to this job. I certainly take my share of criticism and heat, but I've got a wife and daughter at home. I have crazy people calling my house, hanging up the phone, calling me the Antichrist, saying I'm some form of Muslim. And while I respect Muslims and other faiths, I'm not [a Muslim] and these people are just taking it a bit too far.
I'm really disappointed that the chief is allowing folks to use him the way that he is being used. If you look at the emails, the tweets, the phone calls we've been receiving, 95 percent of them are from people that don't even live in Georgia and certainly don't live in the city of Atlanta.