Atheists will have their own event near the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

03/15/2013 5:07 PM

05/16/2014 9:30 PM

If atheists can’t march in the parade, they will do their own thing.

The Kansas City Atheist Coalition, denied a spot in Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, will hold an educational event a block away from the parade route.

Members of the coalition will answer questions about their point of view at an “Ask an Atheist” event from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Linwood Boulevard and Broadway and head south on Broadway, ending at 43rd Street about 1 p.m.

“We want to help people understand that atheism is not a negative worldview,” coalition vice president Josh Hyde said in announcing the group’s plans. “As atheists, we believe it is up to us — not a deity — to make the world a better place, which is why we do volunteer work, raise money for charity and work to promote equality and human rights.”

The coalition applied for a permit to march in the 41st annual parade, but the organizing committee said no.

The parade’s senior co-chairwoman, Sharon Bundy, said the atheist group did not adhere to this year’s theme of “Gathering of the Clans, an Irish Homecoming” and did not fit with the traditions of the saint’s day.

“This is the modern era, but we still honor the legacy of St. Patrick,” Bundy said. “We didn’t think that (atheism) was appropriate. We have to make decisions all the time and this is one where we had to draw the line.”

Bundy said she was not concerned about the coalition’s alternative plan.

“We have no control over that,” she said.

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