KC atheist group turned away from St. Patrick's Day parade

Published On: Mar 12 2013 07:07:18 AM HST

With Kansas City's big St. Patrick's Day parade just six days away, one group is upset that its members can't participate.

The leader of the Kansas City Atheist Coalition said not believing in God shouldn't have anything to do with walking in the parade, but Josh Hyde said he's thinks that's why his application was denied.

"When I asked for further clarification for the reason of the declination, they told us they were an Irish Catholic organization, that the theme of the parade was the gathering of the clans," Hyde said. "We were told it was because we wouldn't be a good fit into the theme of the parade."

The parade committee describes itself a nonprofit and does not include an affiliation with any specific religion.

The committee issued a statement to KMBC in response to questions about Hyde's complaint.

"Kansas City’s parade celebrates the Feast Day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and the Christian teachings and beliefs that he lived and suffered for," the statement said. "The Atheist Coalition’s published mission is to advance godlessness through activism, and its stated intent regarding the 2013 parade was to carry banners with phrases such as "positively godless" and "morals without mythology."  It was with respect for the legacy of St. Patrick that the parade committee turned down the Atheist Coalition’s application to participate in this year’s procession. "

Supporters of the group said the parade is a community event and shouldn't exclude people based on a religious stance. Hyde is calling on community leaders to reverse the decision.

Kansas City's St. Patrick's Day parade is set for Sunday at 11 a.m. It is usually among the nation's largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations.


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