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Published On: Sat, Jul 28th, 2018

Ohio cafe to continue church flyer discount despite threats from atheist group

A restaurant in Ohio says that it will continue offering its church bulletin discount on Sundays despite complaints from one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist groups, Wisconsin’s Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Starters Cafe, in Cheviot, recently began offering a 10 percent discount to any patrons who brought in a church bulletin on Sundays. The promotion was meant to attract those looking for a place to have brunch after church.

“This offer is valid for any and all churches, no matter the location or denomination,” a social media post by owner Justin Watson read. “We want to be your Sunday breakfast/brunch destination!”

First came complains on Yelp, asserting that the promotion was “illegal,” which it is not and then, FFRF wrote to the restaurant to complain, threatening potential legal action.

FFRF told local television station KCBY that the promotion was similar to discriminatorily rewarding only white people.

“We are shocked that there is such little understanding of the Civil Rights Act and that there could be this kind of confusion, naivete that you can reward some customers for their religious beliefs and penalize others,” remarked Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

“A restaurant would not, want not discriminate based on, ‘Oh, if you’re white, today, you can get 20 percent off.’ You can’t say, ‘Oh, if you went to church today, you can get 20 percent off,’” she said.

Watson said that restaurants offer special discounts all the time, such as for senior citizens and veterans, and he found the discrimination accusation as being “absurd.”

“It kind of took me by surprise that something that small is this big of a deal,” he told local television station WKRC. “It’s like telling me I can’t give Dad 50 percent off on Father’s Day or offer a local veteran a discount on Sunday when he comes in to eat breakfast. It just seems like these [discounts] are the kind of things that happen all the time in this business on a regular basis.”

He said that he doesn’t attend church himself and just wanted to attract business.

“My busiest day of the week is Sunday,” Watson told reporters. “It was just an attempt to drum up some business for my new business.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. Parrish S. Knight says:

    Okay, I think I’ve made my point.

    Anthony and Jim both claimed that age is a protected class under the CRA with respect to places of public accommodation. When I asked them to show me where the law says that, neither one responded. That’s because age actually is not a protected class under the CRA. They couldn’t offer a citation because there was nothing for them to cite.

    Which returns me to my original point: religion is a protected class under the CRA, whereas age is not. This is why it is unlawful for a restaurant to give discounts on the basis of religion, but it is not unlawful for them to offer (for example) a senior citizens’ discount.

  2. truth says:

    No it’s not dumbass.

    • Parrish S. Knight says:

      The CRA states, in part, that “[a]ll 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 . . . without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. §2000a(a). Why do you believe that that’s not relevant?

      • SeredW says:

        Just get yourself a church bulletin somewhere and cash that discount; it doesn’t say anywhere you have to be a confessing christian, isn’t it? Therefore I don’t think this law applies. There’s no discount for christians, it’s a discount for someone who has a piece of paper that can be obtained at a church. Or downloaded from their websites, probably.

  3. Parrish S. Knight says:

    Yes, in fact, offering a discount to patrons based on their attendance at religious services is against the law. It’s a violation of the Civil Rights Act, as Gaylor says. Promotions for veterans or for senior citizens, conversely, are not unlawful because those are not protected classes under the CRA.

    This “church bulletin brunch discount” thing comes up all the time. In most cases, the restaurant is simply making an honest mistake and, when they are informed of it, they correct their error. Once in a while, the restaurant will “double down” and try to fight the CRA. They invariably lose. I hope that Mr. Watson’s attorney gives him some good advice.

    • Your Name...Anthony says:

      That’s patently FALSE. Are you one of those atheist jihadi’s trying to erase religion or what? Even your own claim that “Promotions for veterans or for senior citizens, conversely, are not unlawful because those are not protected classes under the CRA“ is false because a senior citizen is designated by AGE which was protected under the CRA. That just goes to show you don’t know the law, and can’t even possibly have a sound argument.

      And if you really wanted to be consistent, you should be asking why so many are receiving tuition discounts just because they are LGBT or a racial minority?

      Let’s not also forget how many are getting admitted to colleges just because of their minority status while other more qualified individuals can’t get in? Does the Harvard Asian admissions scandal mean anything to you? Now THAT is true discrimination – admitting or not admitting based on minority status rather than merit.

      • Parrish S. Knight says:

        Hi, Anthony: You can see above where I quoted the CRA as saying that the protected classes are race, color, religion, and national origin. Is there a section that I missed?

        • Bill Harnist says:

          You missed the part about using common sense, which really has nothing to do with the CRA. I guess we should all carry around a lawyer to please the SJWs.

          • Parrish says:

            Hi, Bill: what I meant was that, as far as I’ve ever been aware, there are four protected classes under the CRA. Anthony, however, says that there is at least one more — age — and I’d just like to know where the CRA says that.

          • Parrish S. Knight says:

            Hi, Bill: What I meant was that, as far as I’ve always been aware, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 names and protects four classes with regard to places of public accommodation: race, color, religion, and national origin. However, Anthony says that there is at least one more protected class, namely, age. I’m just asking him to show me where the CRA says that. I’ve reviewed the Wikipedia article on the CRA and can’t find the pertinent section. (I do see that the CRA does prohibit age discrimination in hiring practices, but that’s not what we’re discussing here.)

            I’ll keep waiting. If Anthony is too busy to get back to me, maybe someone else will be able to help me.

    • Jim says:

      Age is a protected class under the CRA. Try again.

      • Parrish S. Knight says:

        Hi, Jim: As I said to Bill above, I’ve looked over the Wikipedia article on the subject, and I can’t find the section that says that age is a protected class with regard to places of public accommodation. Can you show me where it is?

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