Diner will no longer offer discounts to praying customers

Mary’s Gourmet Diner had been offering a 15 percent discount for customers seen offering grace before meals during the past four years, but announced that it will end the program after a photo of a receipt went viral. It was first uploaded to a Christian radio site on June 30, 2014.

The restaurant said that the discount was given to customers at the discretion of the wait staff and was open to people of all religious beliefs. Elizabeth Cavell, a staff attorney at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, began hearing complaints about the discount from state and national members about the rights on non-religious members. She wrote a letter to the restaurant, stating:

“As a place of ‘public accommodation,’ it is illegal for Mary’s Gourmet Diner to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion,” the letter said. “Your restaurant’s restrictive promotional practice favors religious customers, and denies customers who do not pray and nonbelievers the right to ‘full and equal’ enjoyment of Mary’s Gourmet Diner.”

The restaurant reacted the other day in full about their decision to stop offering the discounts:

“While you may exercise your right of religious freedom at this restaurant by praying over your meal to any entity or non-entity. We must protect your freedom from religion in a public place,” the sign said about the end.

In 2012, Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen, a restaurant in Pennsylvania, was offering discounts to people who brought in a church bulletin on Sundays. After many complaints, the restaurant was forced to give the discount to anyone with a bulletin from any congregation, including atheist congregations.