Certain boundaries are just understood for most restaurant patrons… Amen?
Boundaries like “No shoes, no shirt… No service.” I also remember another from years back, allowing the restaurant owner the “right to refuse service to anyone.” Not a license for racial or any other kind of blatant, illegal discrimination. But certainly a license to throw out rowdy drunks or any others exhibiting behavior disruptive to the other customers’ dining experience.
However, I never heard a cry of outrage against a restaurant owner offering someone a discount.
Now, I’ve heard three. The Tokyo Restaurant in Fairhope, Alabama. Luna’s Friendswood, a Mexican food franchise with six locations in Texas. Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May, New Jersey.
http://ffrf.org/legal/other-legal-successes/item/18205-ffrf-keeps-sushi-discounts-secular-july-16-2013 (link no longer live)
What do they all have in common? They all offered a 10% discount to churchgoers. And they all had the same organization approach them to stop this practice. An organization located in another state altogether — Wisconsin.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
Bring in a church bulletin and get a 10% discount on your meal. Not exactly a threat to Western Civilization as we know it. But enough of a threat that the FFRF came against each restaurant’s church-related discount, claiming it was a violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.
FFRF staff attorneys said it was illegal for the restaurant to discriminate or show favoritism on the basis of religion. The promotional practice was restrictive, favoring religious customers… thus denying customers who do not attend church as well as nonbelievers the right to “full and equal” enjoyment of the restaurant.
The three restaurants have something else in common. All three stopped the discounts, in the wake the FFRF’s complaints.
I’m not an attorney, so I can’t really speak to the legality of these discounts. I don’t know if the restaurants sought legal counsel with the hope of continuing the discounts… or if they just immediately capitaulated to FFRF’s demands.
What it does suggest to me is how far an organization like FFRF will go to eliminate the exercise of faith in the public arena. Isn’t that what their name suggests — Freedom From Religion?
The FFRF is a national membership association — a nonprofit, tax-exempt, educational organization. Its website claims it has some 29,000 members — “freethinkers” consisting of atheists, agnostics and skeptics. Its avowed purpose is to “promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.” https://ffrf.org/about
Here’s some Food for Thought: For every customer who may have complained — only one is mentioned in only one of the three cases — how many other customers were blessed by those discounts?
What do you think?
What harm (or good) do you see in making special discounts available to churchgoing restaurant patrons?
Please post your comments below.
Diana Furr, a.k.a., Abba’s Girl
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