Earlier this week, I posted about how the Kansas City Atheist Coalition had volunteered to deliver meals to the hungry on Thanksgiving through the Kansas City Rescue Mission… but were told by the Christian charity that their services wouldn’t be needed:
As KCAC President Josh Hyde said:
Kansas City Rescue Mission has decided to use the meals they deliver as a chance to proselytize to its recipients by inserting religious literature into the meals. They informed us that we “would not be a good fit” (emphasis theirs) for volunteering with them, and declined to respond to any further inquiries.
Since the story broke, KCAC has received a crazy amount of media attention, and with that, came new opportunities. It turns out that other charities, Christian and non-Christian, are happy to have all the help they can get even if it involves working with heathens:
We were pleased to receive a request from The Micah Ministry of Independence Boulevard to help serve food to those in need during their Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, November 25th.
Senior Minister Lee Chiaramonte has expressed that they do not require an acceptance of faith from those who volunteer, nor do they ask one of those who need a warm meal for the night. They accept all who enter their doors regardless of faith, sexual orientation, race, creed, or legal standing. We are quite excited to simply work together and sincerely help those who are less fortunate.
Incidentally, a reader raised two very important questions after my initial posting. They concern a statement on KCAC’s website:
Our only criteria for donating to or volunteering with a vetted organization in good non-profit standing is that the contributions will not go toward promoting religion and that we will be able to participate as out atheists, wearing our sky-blue KCAC T-shirts.
So the questions are: Why bother volunteering with a Christian group in the first place (since they explicitly want to proselytize)? And was the wearing of the shirts the reason they were rejected?
Josh responded to both of those questions yesterday, telling me that the atheist t-shirts never even came up in their conversations with the KCRM (in other words, they were rejected before that issue arose), and that they were “willing to be a little flexible” with the “religion promotion” rule because so many of the group’s members were excited about volunteering with the homeless shelter.
They’ll still get to volunteer thanks to the welcoming arms of the Micah Ministry. It’s upsetting, though, that the Kansas City Rescue Mission won’t apologize for their actions or change their policies to allow for non-Christians to join them. Helping other people shouldn’t be limited to only those who hold the same theological beliefs as you.