N.C. restaurant pulls discount for praying before your meal

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from The Washington Post,

Well, as often happens, no good deed (or intention) goes unpunished.

Last week, I wrote about Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, N.C., which was giving a 15 percent discount to diners who, grateful for their meals, prayed before eating. A diner, surprised at the discount, had posted her receipt on Facebook.

The praise poured in.

But so did the criticism.

The restaurant, under what it considered the threat of a lawsuit, decided to drop the discount, reported Wesley Young for the Winston-Salem Journal.

A handwritten note in the window of the restaurant said, in part, “We must protect your freedom from religion in a public place. It is illegal and we are being threatened by lawsuit. We apologize to our community for any offense this discount has incurred.”

Wrote Hannah Bae for Newsday: “The discontinued discount at Mary’s appeared to be prompted by a letter from the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, which sent a letter to the restaurant earlier this week that urged them to stop.” (You can read a copy of the letter uploaded by Newsday here.)

In an interview with Young, diner co-owner Mary Haglund said the “discount was never meant to promote any particular religion — or lack of religion — but was meant to show appreciation for people who had what she called ‘an attitude of gratitude.’ She said that calling it a discount for prayer may have been ‘a bad choice of words.’ ”

The overwhelming majority of readers, who e-mailed before the diner dropped the discount, didn’t think the restaurant was doing anything wrong.

“Since when does the owner of a company (or anyone for that matter) have to explain or be told to whom and for what they want to give a gift (whether it be merchandise or whatever?” wrote Dianne C. Kirven of Houston. “I am a firm believer that if you don’t like what is being offered, don’t participate/accept it — geeze!”

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