Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran — the subject of recent controversy over remarks made in a self-published religious book — has been terminated from the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, Mayor Kasim Reed announced today.Of course you can have private religious views. In private. They're certainly not to be published in a book, even a religious book for religious audiences -- not if you want to hold a job.
Cochran returned to work today following a month-long suspension for comments in his 2013 book “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” Many criticized the book as promoting discriminatory and anti-gay views, while Cochran’s suspension — and now termination — has since become the focus of a fight over “religious liberty.”...
Among what city leaders said were troubling remarks in the fire chief’s book was a description of homosexuality as a “perversion” akin to bestiality and pederasty. Reed said in November that such writings were inconsistent with the city’s employment policies and opened an investigation into potential discrimination within the fire department. The findings of that investigation have not yet been released.
The mayor says the real reason he's firing the Fire Chief is that he questions his judgment, and had told him not to speak to the matter in public while a national controversy raged about his good name. The Chief says that isn't what happened, and that part is one of those 'he/she said' controversies.
But the mayor gives the game away when he says that "he believes Cochran opened up the city to the potential for litigation over future discrimination claims," and that "such writings were inconsistent with the city's employment policies[.]" What that means is that he believes that it is against the law for a government official in Atlanta to publish a book making these kinds of claims, both in the sense that it would constitute a tort and that it is a violation of the laws governing employment policy.
If true, that would mean that the religious views of the Chief's church are illegal for a public official in Atlanta to profess. That sounds suspiciously like a religious test for public office -- a kind of negative test, so to speak.