Main | Thursday, November 29, 2012

PENNSYLVANIA: Restaurant Loses Battle Over Church Bulletin Discount Offer

Last July the American Family Association screeched when an atheist group complained about a Pennsylvania restaurant that offered a discount to patrons who brought in that Sunday's church bulletin. AFA founder Don Wildmon sent out this message to his followers:
After reading this story, I urge you to join with other Christian leaders in opposing efforts to take away our religious freedom. If you are willing to join other Christian leaders in opposing the loss of religious freedom and moral decay, please use the reply buttonand give me your name, title and address.
Yesterday the York Daily Record reported that the restaurant has settled the complaint by agreeing to offer the discount to any group "oriented around religion." That includes atheists.
The one-sentence settlement from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission reads: "Respondent will continue to give a discount for any bulletin from any group oriented around the subject of religious faith, including publications from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, as long as they maintain the Sunday discount program." John Wolff of Lancaster County filed the complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. His complaint focused on the 10 percent discount Prudhomme's offers diners who present a church bulletin on Sundays. Wolff could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. Prudhomme's claimed victory, with attorney Randall Wenger noting the restaurant will continue offering the Sunday discount promotion. "It was a frivolous thing," he said. "It was really not in keeping with the really noble purposes behind the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. I can't imagine that those who passed the act contemplated that somebody would try to use it in the future for something like this."
Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta weighs in:
They wanted to give a discount to religious customers, to make them feel special. They wanted to give people an incentive to be religious and go to church. They tried to pretend that wasn’t the case, even suggesting that atheists could just walk into a church and grab a bulletin without sitting through the service in order to take advantage of the discount. Because that’s normal behavior. But they can’t do any of that anymore. Now, they have to treat all their customers equally. Too bad for them, right?
Mehta notes that the restaurant is still running the same offer with no mention of any change.

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