A restaurant owner should be able to set his or her own promotions, ads, discounts, or incentives… right? Not according to one atheist who has filed a complaint against a family-owned restaurant because of the restaurant’s Sunday promotion. What is the terrible offense? The restaurant offers a 10 percent discount on Sunday’s to diners who bring in a church bulletin. Yes! This is for real!
As reported in the York Daily Record, “John Wolff, who is an atheist, filed the complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission against Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia.”
Wolff said the practice discriminates against him because he does not attend church.
“I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particularly in Lancaster County,” said Wolff, a retired electrical engineer.
Sharon Prudhomme, one of the co-owners of the restaurant, said she is not discriminating because diners don’t have to actually attend a church or synagogue service to get a bulletin. She said area religious leaders told her that anyone can walk in a religious building and obtain a bulletin, without attending services.
Prudhomme added that she has no intention of changing the discount program, which she created to bring more traffic into her restaurant on a traditionally slow day.
Prudhomme blasted the complaint, calling it “a waste.” Good for her!
Todd Starnes notes in his post on Fox News, that according to Pennsylvania law, “a restaurant [is] classified as a public accomodation. As such, restaurants are not allowed to discriminate based on religion — among other things.”
This seems to imply that the law is on Wolff’s side. But how can a “discount” be discrimination?
“What freaks me out is the state of Pennsylvania is basically agreeing with this guy,” Prudhomme told Fox News Radio. “We’re just a mom and pop. We’re not some big chain like the Olive Garden.”
Prudhomme said the trouble started in April of 2011 when she received the first of several letters from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The FFRF is a Wisconsin-based organization of “more than 17,000 freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and skeptics,” according to its website.
The FFRF demanded that she stop giving discounts to patrons who brought in a Sunday church bulletin.
So what’s the solution? According to Starnes, “a representative from the state suggested that Prudhomme should compromise and sign an agreement that she would offer discounts to any civic organization in the town.” This, of course, did not sit well with Prudhomme.
She wondered if their other discounts might be considered discriminatory — like the one on Tuesday night – where kids under 12 get to eat free. Or what about the senior discount?
“Could someone under 65 complain?” she asked.
What really gets me is that according to Wolff, he discovered the discount on the restaurant’s web site and stated, “It’s not a big deal in itself and I have no animosity towards Prudhomme’s, but I do bear a grudge against a religious right that seems to intrude on our civil rights.”
So… it’s “not a big deal” to Wolff, yet he’s making it a very big deal, and there are organizations ready to step in and help him. Who is on the restaurant’s side? The craziness has got to stop!