A former Atlanta fire chief who lost his job for standing on his Christian principles has been honored by the nation's most prominent Christian media association.
The National Religious Broadcaster's gave Kelvin Cochran its 2016 Faith and Freedom Award for standing strong in the face of religious persecution.
"Kelvin Cochran is a firefighter among firefighters, a hero among heroes," NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson said. "He has become a hero not just for protecting our communities, but for standing bravely in the face of what even some extreme liberals like former Rep. Barney Frank seem to think is unjust discrimination for his faith."
In 2014, Cochran was suspended for 30 days by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed after he received complaints about a men's devotional book Cochran had written.
In the devotional, Cochran included a passage on the biblical views on sex, including a statement against homosexuality.
A gay city councilman took offense with the statement and complained to Mayor Reed, who ordered Cochran to complete a "sensitivity training" and later fired him for "discrimination."
CBN News Reporter Abigail Robertson spoke with Kelvin Cochran about faith
In February of 2015, Cochran filed a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta saying he was wrongfully terminated.
Cochran testified before Congress about his responsibilities as a fire fighter and as a Christian.
"My faith does not teach me to discriminate against anyone," Cochran testified. "But rather, it instructs me to love everyone without condition and to recognize their inherent human dignity and worth as being created in the image of God and to lay down my life, if necessary, in the service of my community as a fire fighter. I would even do it today if it was necessary even in this very room."
His case, which is still pending before a U.S. District Court, is one of a growing list of many where Christians find themselves defending their faith and beliefs.
"Chief Cochran, my heart aches when I think of how you have been treated," Johnson said as he presented the award. "Your steadfast faith and your winsomeness even among those who have been unjust to you is a powerful testimony."
Cochran said he was "honored and humbled beyond words" to receive the award but noted today's Christian public servants must have the same resolve because attacks on religious freedom have intensified.
"Every day, Americans have to make a choice as to whether they will live out their faith or keep their jobs or business. As such, there is a significant need for the Body of Christ to rise to unprecedented levels of unity and solidarity regarding religious liberty," he said.
"Like Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel, it's time for Christian elected and appointed government officials to wake up," he added.
Cochran's message to fellow Christians is to be prepared for the inevitable suffering that will come their way.
"We should rehearse in our hearts and decree: God has prepared me for this. God is with me," he said. "I'm not going to be discouraged by the worldly consequences of my standing. I'm going to rejoice in anticipation of the kingdom consequences that God has promised."