Pa. Atheist Files Complaint Against Restaurant Over Church Bulletin Discount

A Pennsylvania atheist has filed a complaint against a restaurant that offers a 10 percent discount for customers who provide a church bulletin on Sundays.

John Wolff filed a complaint against Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen of Columbia to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, arguing that the discount is discriminatory since he does not attend church.

Sharon Prudhomme, co-owner of the restaurant, told Lancaster Online in an interview that the discount had been around for about a year.

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"We try to drum up as many ways and methods of bringing people in and one of which is our Sunday dining discount," dhe said.

Prudhomme explained that when she was first informed about the complaint filed by Wolff, as well as the letter of protest from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, she thought it was a "prank."

"Originally when I received these papers, at first I thought it was maybe a prank or joke," she commented. "It is our restaurant and we are marketing in many different ways, I felt strongly, I still feel strongly that there is nothing wrong with the discount."

Wolff, who has been involved in a group called Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, told local media that he first learned of the discount when looking at the website of the restaurant.

"I was a little taken aback because they provide a discount for churchgoers," said Wolff in an interview with Lancaster Online.

"That rubbed me a bit the wrong way. 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."

Prudhomme responded that the restaurant had talked with clergy and churches in the area and everyone agreed that anyone could grab a bulletin and go to the Lost Cajun Kitchen.

"I did check with all churches that I know of and ministers and they have said anyone can grab and go," she said. "Come on in, grab a bulletin, you don't have to stay at church. You can take it in and still have a nice dining discount. So everybody's covered."

While the restaurant has experienced opposition from groups like FFRF, others have taken the side of the Prudhomme. David Fischler of the website "Stand Firm" took issue with Wolff's claim that the discount program was discriminatory.

"It must really burn Wolff up when people wear crosses in his presence, or put up creches in the front yard," wrote Fischler.

"He's interested in tolerance? He's doing a fair imitation of a Stalinist, and he interested in tolerance? Do these people even bother to listen to themselves when they talk?"

According to the Human Relations Commission, Prudhomme has 30 days from when the complaint was filed to issue a written response.

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