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Should Restaurants Be Able to Offer Discounts to Churchgoers?

A Pennsylvania man has filed a complaint against a restaurant for offering a 10 percent discount to anyone presenting a church bulletin.

Offering discounts to various sectors of the population is a common practice with restaurants. Seniors get a discount on certain days, veterans on others, students presenting a report card with good grades sometimes receive discounts and the list goes on. One common practice, especially here in the south, is offering a discount on Sundays to anyone who presents a church bulletin, but a restaurant in Pennsylvania is now under investigation for doing just that.

According to Fox News, an atheist from upstate Pennsylvania filed a complaint with the state against the restaurant, saying he was being discriminated against because he does not attend a church. This triggered an investigation that ended with the Pennsylvania restaurant being served with a 16-page complaint from the state. The restaurant owner is challenging it in court. She told Fox News she has received support from around the country, particularly from Georgia and Texas, where this type of discount is offered a lot.

So what do you think? Is this discriminatory, or should a business be allowed to offer discounts at its own discretion?

Cyndicadyd July 08, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Let me get this straight...a family OWNS a restaurant, prints coupons, one of which offers percentage off for bringing in a church bulletin and they get sued for discrimination. This is nearly making me lose MY religion! Really? Government should not be allowed, nor should any citizen, to micromanage our businesses any more than they already do. This is so ridiculous.
Gail Lane July 08, 2012 at 12:55 PM
A private business not only has the right to give discounts to whomever they please, they also have the right to not serve a person if they so choose. Don't like their practice of rewarding church goers? Just take your business elsewhere. Nobody MAKES you eat at a particular restaurant. They don't have a right to discriminate when they are hiring, but they should be able to run their business as they see fit. I think the government is reaching way too far into private enterprise with this one.
Tom July 08, 2012 at 02:18 PM
It's the restaurants business, if they want to offer a discount to anyone that just bought a new set of tires or has a church bulletin or a gym membership, it's entirely up to them. If there is even a shred of sanity left in this country, this lawsuit will get thrown out.
Vanzetta Evans (Editor) July 08, 2012 at 02:44 PM
How can I get on board with this suit? I go to church but they don't give out bulletins. Everything's online to save paper and money. So I have no bulletin to bring in. That's discriminatory, right?
Gail Lane July 08, 2012 at 03:02 PM
No more so than those who are under the age of 55 not getting free coffee at restaurants or grocery discounts on Wednesdays. It's a marketing tool.
James July 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
It's not even just for "church goers" .It's with a church bulletin. He could print a on line bulletin, ask someone for one,etc. No more than a vegetarian could claim they needed to go in a grocery store where meat was sold to get a coupon. The Pa agency that is wasting the taxpayer money investigating this should be shut down and fired. .
Kristi Reed (Editor) July 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Unless this guy's complaint also targets senior discounts, school spirit nights, ladies' night specials, etc., then I'd say it isn't really about discrimination. Would he be equally upset if there was an atheist special or a special discount for wiccans?
James July 08, 2012 at 03:07 PM
You would probably pass a dozen churches on the way. Just stop and pick one up from one of them. Same as stopping to get a newspaper for a coupon.
David July 08, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I think the atheist should pay double to make up the difference. And the state agency that even took the time to listen to this jerk should be dissolved.
James July 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Like a church that doesn't have a bulletin. Go with the flow. Maybe something will happen that is not planned. Also not a distraction for those that sit there and read the bulletin instead of worshiping.
Kim Roberto July 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Good one Vanzetta - I love it! This whole sue-crazy/discrimination mentality is ridiculous. My husband gets a discount at Lowe's for being a veteran, but I don't. Hey, wait a minute.....that's not right.....I think I'll sue Lowe's saying they are discriminating against dark-haired, Yankee, non-veteran Italians. That makes no sense, but I think I'll try anyway. I mean, really! Give it a rest people!
Gail Lane July 08, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Kim - you crack me up! :)
Andrew LaFontaine July 08, 2012 at 03:26 PM
This is the country our men and women die for daily. Where the government can micro manage even family owned restaurants. This case should be thrown out.
Ted Asher July 08, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Adam Smith, really?
Ted Asher July 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Gail, I think you need to rephrase the part that says, "they also have the right to not serve a person if they so choose." That policy created quite the kerfuffle in these parts about fifty years ago. 1. I question the veracity of anything that comes from Fox. 2. I would not be surprised if this was a planted story attempting to distract Pennsylvanians from the voter supression rules being enacted there.
Ted Asher July 08, 2012 at 04:31 PM
There is no "case". No suit, nothing more than a statement. Leave it to Fox to blow this out of proportion.
John B July 08, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Same story on CNN and every other news media. Not a FOX issue. Try changing your channel from time to time.
Terry Parrish July 08, 2012 at 06:41 PM
@John Barone. I've been searching for an original story on any newsource that FOX and can't find one. And I was searching for an original source on anything BUT FOX to try and prove, for myself, the veracity of the claim, and the story. So far, no luck. Every internet blip about this story lands back on the FOX webpage. If you have a link to the story as an original, not a rebroadcast of the FOX from some other news agency, woudld you be so kind as to provide it? I really do want to see how this is reported from some other source.
Grant July 08, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I'm with Terry... Likely nothing more than a typical Fox news " rile up the "persecuted" crusaders" bit... But , yeah, If the local strip bars,liquor stores and bars want to offer a discount to those folks savvy enough to print a copy of a church bulletin off the church website , who cares?
Brian Crawford July 08, 2012 at 07:42 PM
More anti-government fodder from the Republican Outrage Machine at FOX. People file these complaints all the time with state agencies charged with protecting our civil rights and the agencies are obliged to follow up on them. Nothing to see here, move along.
David July 08, 2012 at 08:35 PM
The original story was in the Christian Post. Fox News picked it up from them.
M.K. OSBORNE July 08, 2012 at 08:44 PM
More anti-conservative values from the liberal machine from Brian . lol
Tammy Osier July 08, 2012 at 09:45 PM
It is a legitimate question considering the day and time in which we live where these kinds of things can make it to the supreme court (think Michael Newdow and Supreme Court). I suppose it's just one of those stories meant to make us shake our heads and say, "Really - offended? Unfair?" Seems those are the catch phrases of the day as of late. No wonder it made the news.
Monika Woods July 09, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Yes Ted, Adam Smith really. You probably did not read it in high school because of the socialist doctrine that has been taught for about 30 years. Amen Tammy too!
Ted Asher July 09, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Monika, you don't know me and you don't know what I have read. How dare you assume that you do? You completely missed my point and I would bet good money that you have never read a single word written by Adam Smith. In the future, don't come to a bowling alley with nothing but a golf ball in your bag. For your edification, here are two famous quotes from Adam Smith: "The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state." "The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion" He really didn't have much to say about church coupons or diner discounts. You people just slay me.
Grant July 09, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Tammy ... It didnt make "the news" It was reported on Fox .. Not as any sort of real "news" but just to stir the pot and rile up the "faithful".
Sharon Swanepoel July 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM
That Grant, is one of those opinions - shared by some but not by all. Fox ratings tell us that.
Tammy Osier July 09, 2012 at 01:54 PM
To respond to the Adam Smith book: Maybe people should read it in its entirety rather than taking out excerpts that support a position. He did say that, but read the paragraphs (and chapters) before and after. He was trying to cover all areas, including the poor, and that some tax on properties that is not unreasonable should be used. The quote was taken out of context. I find it refreshing that someone who is a huge supporter of free enterprise would also be balanced enough to include the poor among us. The key word is "reasonable" when it comes to taxation.
Ted Asher July 09, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Hoo-lee crap. What does Adam freakin' Smith have to do with this? Tammy, do you know anything about Adam Smith? Do you know what the phrase Moral Self-Interest means? Read beyond the first paragragh of the "Wealth of Nations". Read the "Theory of Moral Sentiments". He was way WAY more concerned with the morality that he was with the enterprise. I can see I am going to have to write an article about Adam Smith. It seems he is becomming like Ayn Rand, an name that conservatives like to through around to demonstrate how well read they are.
Donna July 22, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Oh please get over it. He needs to get a life. Yes, restaurants should be able to give a discount to anyone or any church or organization that they want too.

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