It’s common practice in many small towns for a restaurant to offer a discount to the church crowd. Bring a bulletin; get a cheap lunch. Even Chick-fil-A has been known to get in on the action. But that all might change if a man in Pennsylvania gets his way.
John Wolff, an atheist, has filed a discrimination lawsuit with Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, Pa. The locally owned restaurant offers a 10 percent discount to patrons who bring in a church bulletin. Wolff doesn’t think it’s fair.
Wolff is claiming that he has been offered different service because of his religious beliefs.
“I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particular in Lancaster County,” Wolff explained.
“I don’t consider it an earth-shaking affair, but in this area in particular, we seem to have so many self-righteous religious people, so it just annoys me.”
Wolff has never been to the restaurant. He just saw the promotion advertised on Lost Cajun Kitchen’s website. He then informed the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization that is “committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.”
Co-owner Sharon Prudhomme received two letters from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2011, but she blew them off. Wolff then contacted the Human Relations Commission.
Prudhomme can’t ignore the objections any longer. The State of Pennsylvania has written a 16-page complaint, accusing the restaurant of discrimination.
“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,” said Wolff.
Prudhomme claims that she doesn’t go to church. The tactic is just a marketing ploy. The restaurant has also been known to offer discounts to children and senior citizens.
“I’m an American. This is an independent restaurant. I can do as I wish and I’m going to continue to offer the church-bulletin discount,” says Prudhomme.