KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Atheist Coalition said their help to serve meals this upcoming holiday is no longer wanted at the Kansas City Rescue Mission.
The Development Coordinator at the Rescue Mission said it is an unapologetically Christian organization.
The evidence is everywhere: on the front sign, scripture hangs on the walls and in its cafeteria which is adorned with a picture of Christ.
And, this year, that message for the first time will be in each of the 500 meals they deliver on Thanksgiving Day.
It is one of the reasons why the Atheist Coalition believes this Thanksgiving they have been told “thanks, but no thanks.”
The Kansas City Atheist Coalition has delivered them for the last two years but this year they will have to find another charity.
"It's disappointing,” the coalition's president Josh Hyde said.
He said his group of growing atheists has a mission too.
"We want to bridge the theological divide," he said, "and get atheists and theists together for the common good."
But the Kansas City Rescue Mission said it wants to give others a chance to experience the joy of helping others; it said it is still turning down volunteers.
"We want to give as many people that experience,” Julie Larocco with the Kansas City Rescue Mission said.
This year, the Thanksgiving meal will look a little bit different when recipients open up the dinner. They will see a gospel message inside that reads: God loves you and you are not alone.
"If someone was to say 'tell me more' and the person can't because it's against their convictions, I don't feel like that's representative of the Kansas City Rescue Mission,” Larocco said. “We believe that God is our hope."
"It's unfortunate when religious organizations refuse the help of atheist organizations simply on the basis of lack of belief that they can't come together with atheists for the greater good,” Hyde said.
The Kansas City Rescue Mission has asked the Atheist Coalition to help with other projects throughout the year. The coalition said it will consider but this holiday it will instead adopt a family.