Atheist Sues Restaurant over Church Bulletin Discount

The long tradition of giving discounts to customers who respond to advertisements in Sunday Church bulletins is under attack by a Pennsylvania atheist who filed a discrimination complaint against the practice.

The Christian Post is reporting that a complaint was filed against the Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, Pennsylvania by John Wolff, an atheist activist, who believes giving customers 10 percent off their order if they bring in a church bulletin is discriminatory. Although he is not a regular customer at the restaurant, he saw the discount advertised on the website and decided it wasn’t fair.

“I was a little taken aback because they provide a discount for churchgoers,” said Wolff, who belongs to an atheist group known as Pennsylvania Nonbelievers.

“That rubbed me a bit the wrong way,” he told Lancaster News. “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.”

Since then, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), has also jumped into the fray and sent three letters protesting the discount.

“The Civil Rights Act states in relevant part, ‘All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation,” wrote FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert.

“As a place of ‘public accommodation,’ it is illegal for Lost Cajun Kitchen to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion.”

The public disagrees and has been rallying to the defense of the restaurant. Lost Cajun co-owner Sharon Prudhomme says she’s been receiving a barrage of supportive e-mails from all over the world 

“We’ve been bombarded with emails from all over the country and world. Honduras, Australia, London, etc,” said Prudhomme.

The incident also resulted in offers from several attorneys who are willing to handle her case before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission pro-bono.

“I have two wonderful attorneys, Mr. Randall Wenger and Mr. Charles W. Proctor … both of whom are pro bono at this time,” said Prudhomme, adding that she “had offers from eight other attorneys from around the country.”

Prudhomme says the discount can be used by anyone and does not necessitate attending a church service.

“I did check with all churches that I know of and ministers and they have said anyone can grab [a bulletin] and go,” she said.

Her attorneys are in the process of filing a response to the complaint.

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One Response to “Atheist Sues Restaurant over Church Bulletin Discount

  1. I know of several instances where I’ve had to actually buy the newspaper in order to get the coupon that would let me get a discount on a particular service. If in fact Prudhomme’s advertises in several different church bulletins, and you are not required to be a member of a particular church to get a copy of that church bulletin, then I don’t see how it can be discriminatory for one to show the bulletin that contains their ad in order to get a discount.