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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.