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-Atheists Sue KC MO Over Baptist Convention?

by Dr. D ~ August 19th, 2016

Downtown_Kansas_City,_MO

                     (Kansas City Mo: Wikipedia)

It is routine for cities to spend ‘tourist’ tax dollars (usually raised through a special extra city tax charged for hotel rooms) in attracting and accommodating major conventions. The National Baptist Convention USA  has scheduled a major  conference in Kansas City MO for September which will bring at least 10,000 visitors to the city and will be the largest convention of the year for the city.  An atheist organization has sued the city over appropriating $65,000 to help in transportation expenses for the church conference. Here’s the story from the KC Star:

A group of atheists is suing Kansas City officials over the planned use of $65,000 in tourism tax dollars for services related to a Baptist convention coming to Kansas City in September.

American Atheists Inc. and two members who live in Kansas City filed their lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. They are suing Mayor Sly James and the City Council, City Manager Troy Schulte and municipal government.

At issue is the City Council’s approval in April of $65,000 from the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund to Modest Miles Ministries Inc. for the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., which meets Sept. 5-9 in Kansas City .

<Read the whole article>

Response: The fact is, this convention will generate tax dollars that far exceed the money that the atheists are complaining about. Also, some of this funding will be going to pay for police security and directing traffic which is needed regardless of whether a large convention is religious or secular.

What is disturbing to me is the fact that the KC Star article obviously sympathizes with the activist atheist position and demonstrates an anti-religion bias since it does not explain how normal this appropriation really is nor the fact that the city will actually gain back far more than it is spending.

Also, one could make the claim (even if it is probably ridiculous) that the atheists are being ‘racist’ since the National Baptist Convention is a historic black denomination founded in the slave era.

My question is this- How can it be a violation of ‘church and state’ if the church conference is treated the same as any other major ‘secular’ convention to the city? What would be a travesty is if church conferences were discriminated against and actually treated different.

In this case the city has merely appropriated the same perks and funding that would be expected to go along with any major convention that brings 10,000 tourists and there purses into the city. If this atheist organization could bring in 10,000 folks for a week they would undoubtedly be eligible for the same treatment and funding. This has nothing to do with church and state but everything to do with bringing in more money and major conferences to the city.               *Top

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