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Discrimination, or not?

In this story, an atheist organization was denied participation in a St. Patrick's Day Parade, because of their "godless" status.

I think this reeks of discrimination, but what do you think?  Do you think that the committee had grounds for refusing the atheist group on the grounds that they are neither Irish or Catholic?

Here's the story, as reported by a local news station.

Atheist group denied participating in St. Patrick’s parade

Posted on: 10:04 pm, March 11, 2013, by , updated on: 10:10pm, March 11, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Denied participation in the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day parade, one group says it’s discrimination.

“There’s so many misconceptions about what the word Atheist really means and what Atheist really believe.”

The Kansas City Atheist Coalition said in February they turned in an application to walk in Sunday’s St. Patrick’s day parade. When they were denied, they say they were shocked.

This is the first time the Atheist Coalition has applied to participate in the parade. They point out that the parade’s website clearly states it’s open to all, Irish or not, Catholic or not. But the group says they were turned down for exactly that reason, discrimination based on personal religious beliefs.

“The idea that they are presenting now that this is a very Catholic event and they were celebrating the patron saint and his christian legacy, I think makes for a good response but I don’t think that’s their reason. I think people on the parade committee are personally offended by Atheist in a similar way that there are people in this country that are offended at the existence of people who are gay,” said Sarah Hargreaves, a member of Kansas City Atheist Coalition.

She says, “We call that discrimination.”

The parade committee did not respond to our request for a statement. But the Atheist Coalition showed us the statement denying participation in the parade.

In it, the parade committee said the Atheist Coalition’s published mission is to advance godlessness through activism. And it was with respect for the legacy of St. Patrick, the parade committee turned down the application.

Answer Question

Asked by jsbenkert at 7:55 PM on Mar. 12, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • That said, the same freedom that we have to have a parade in honor St. Patrick gives others to have a parade honoring green beer and leprechauns. But don't be surprised when someone speaks out that St. Patrick's Day is not really about all that. The main point I was getting at is that no matter whether you are religious or secular you should self-discrimate. Is a parade worth fighting about? Who is getting hurt...really? Does everything really have to be cookie-cutter, one-size fits all, meaningless and bland.

    Speaking on race, and for that matter, sex as well. A person's sex and race are God given, they have no choice in the matter. It is discrimination to not include for those reasons. But if you have a religious orientation it is a choice. You have a choice to go to a religious event or not. If you go to one you should self descriminate (back to that point) again.


    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 6:27 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • Religious freedom is what built this country, the USA. If you think that squashing religious freedom will make this country more free, you are sadly mistaken. That freedom is what got the whole ball rolling here and it will be the thing that stops it from rolling if it is squashed. When religious freedom of expression goes, it won't be long until the rest follows.

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 5:59 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • I did assume, however, I also told you I was assuming at the outset. I did not click the link or read the article.

    I was making a statement about parades. A parade is a celebration of sorts. St Patrick's Day honors a particular individual in history who was religious. This is what I was speculating: If someone is having a celebration for a particular reason, to honor a particular person and it pertains to their religion, how would it be descrimination if they don't want others there to start a protest on a day when they are setting aside to honor that person and their life's work? Are all public celebrations supposed to be secular? If so, then who exactly is descriminating here? If you don't agree with the subject of a celebration then why would you want to be involved? To rain on the parade? Not all events held in public must be secular in nature. (cont)

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 5:55 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • Sorry, LS, but I'm not sure what you're agreeing with.  I'd assume that you're agreeing that it's discrimination, but your comment immediately follows NM's, so I can't be sure.

    Nikki, it would seem that you're making assumptions here.  If this is a celebration that is for the entire community and a group isn't allowed to participate because they are "godless", then there is a problem.  If that's the case then it is discrimination.

    If, as you suggest, it's a religious festival, then it's unique for that.  Would you still feel this is silly if we are talking about a group of citizens who aren't allowed to participate based on their race?  At what point do you find it worthy of discussion?


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 4:07 PM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • I agree

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 3:29 PM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • Shall we start fighting about parades now too? I didn't click the link, but maybe this group is celebrating the real reason for St. Patrick's day and not just "leprechauns and beer". If that's the case then just a "leprechauns and beer" parade would be in order for everyone else. So they can start their own parade. Why is it discrimination if someone with religious afiliations wants their parade to stay true to the spirit of the occasion and not just another protest event for every other anti-religious group out there? And before someone says it...yes there are religious groups who protest as well. But I really think that protests should be something that you self-discriminate. Not every little thing needs to be protested and sometimes it does more harm than good. And sometimes it's just ridiculous. This is one of those.

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 1:50 PM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • I actually love St. Louis. They Klan occassionally will march in our parades and they generally tell them they are elcome but w know who we marchin front and in back of. Leave that to your immagination. I believe they have only actually march once in the 12 years that I have. I march in 4 events a year generally speaking.

    So here is a story. The KKK applied to clean up a stretch of road. Of course everyone is allowed to pledge to keep the city clean and if you pledge you are allowed to put up a sign saying that this area of road it kept clean by XYZ which the klan did. here were arguements back and forth between the various groups and the signs got a little bigger. The powers that be decided that that stretch of highway would be the Rosa Parks Highway and a sign was erected.. There were arguements and petitions to change the location of their but I guess you are not allowed to do that. No more klan sign. lol

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:02 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • Maybe. Just not atheists.

    I wonder, though, if the Klan has applied.  I doubt the WBC would.  They're more into showing up at funerals, rather than festivities.



    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 11:31 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • I'd want to know who is sponsoring it as well. It does reek of discrimination since it clearly states it is open to all.

    Since it is open to one and all, do they let the Klan and WBC in?

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 11:23 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Dard, I was looking for that information (but not diligently).  I'll see what I can find.


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 11:03 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

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