- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Atheists are suing the city of Kansas City, Missouri, alleging an unconstitutional expenditure of municipal funds for an upcoming religious gathering, the Kansas City Star reported Monday.

“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,” the Star explained.

The ministry in question “is registered with the Missouri secretary of state’s office as a social service organization” and is secular in nature, a city spokesman told the Star. 

The money the city is planning on appropriating to the church-affiliated ministry would only be used to pay for transportation costs, the Rev. John Modest Miles told the Star.

According to a city government website, the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund was established in 1989 “to help promote Kansas City’s distinct and diverse neighborhoods through cultural, social, ethnic, historic, educational and recreational activities in conjunction with promoting the city as a premier convention, visitor and tourist center.”

Among the other criteria the city lists for obtaining an NTDF grant is a stipulation that the event in question “be open to the general public and marketed broadly to attract persons who would not otherwise plan to be in Kansas City, as well as interest those who are visiting for other purposes.”



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