Pa. Restaurant Forced to Open 'Church Bulletin' Discount to Atheists

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
November 29, 2012|4:49 pm

A settlement has been reached in an atheist's discrimination complaint against a Pennsylvania restaurant that offered a 10 percent discount to customers who provided a church bulletin while dining on Sundays.

The settlement, made on Nov. 28 by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), concluded that Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen restaurant, located in Columbia, may continue providing the 10 percent discount on Sundays as long as it accepts pamphlets pertaining to all subjects of religious faith, including but not limited to Judaism, atheism, and Islam.

"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," read the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission's one-sentence settlement of the complaint, as reported by the York Daily Record.

As PHRC spokeswoman Shannon Powers told the York Daily Record, the restaurant may comply with these conditions by simply omitting the word "church" from its discount offer, a suggestion which the establishment initially turned down before the complaint was investigated.

"This simple language change was our recommendation from the beginning and was refused by Prudhomme's," Powers told the local paper.

The discrimination complaint was filed on behalf of local atheist John Wolff in summer 2012, who argued that the discount offer was discriminatory because he did not attend church.

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In response, Sharon Prudhomme, co-owner of the restaurant, argued that the Sunday discount was merely a marketing attempt angled at garnering customers during the slow afternoon haul after church.

Randall Wenger, attorney for the Independence Law Center, which represented the Prudhomme's, told Lancaster Online that he is pleased with the settlement, saying that it affirms the argument that modern society should not treat "religion as poison."

Rebecca Markert, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, of which Wolff is a local member, also told Lancaster Online that her organization feels the settlement was fair.

Although Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen has been ordered to change the wording of its Sunday discount by omitting the word "church," the discount offer has not been altered on the restaurant's official website as of Thursday afternoon.

 

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