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Atheists Take Legal Action against Gathering of African American Southern Baptists

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Aug 30
  • Comments

An atheist group is taking legal action against the National Baptist Convention, alleging that the Convention’s scheduled gathering in Kansas City, Missouri cannot receive funding from the city.

According to, the largest African American denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention was scheduled to meet in Kansas City this year. The group had gotten a $65,000 grant from the city’s tourism budget to transport conference attendees from their hotels to the conference center.

The city agreed to the grant since the conference will be bringing in an estimated $7.9 million to the city’s economy.

The group American Atheists Inc., however, allege that it is unconstitutional for the city to give the grant to the Southern Baptists as it is a violation of the separation of church and state.

Rev John Modest Miles, a Kansas City Baptist minister, told the Kansas City News and Observer: "All of us are in tears. I'm up at night praying. That's all I know to do."

Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, said that the grant would have been beneficial for everyone in the city, and not just conference attendees: "When you spend money to bring 20,000 people to your city, you're not spending that money to promote the cause. You're spending that money because it just makes sense," he said.

The Black Health Care Coalition has launched a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise the $65,000 in the case that the atheist group is successful in their lawsuit. 


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Publication date: August 30, 2016