December 17, 2009

Businesses Offering Discounts to Christians

What are your thoughts on the subject of businesses that offer discounts to Christian customers? Is this practice no different from the even more common practice of granting discounts to seniors, or is there an important enough difference that one should be permitted but not the other? Would you spend money at such a business, knowing that you were paying more than those patrons who professed Christianity?

Grains of exclusion.jpgI bring up this subject after a recent post at Mississippi Atheists in which one of my co-authors, Steve, encountered just such a business near his home in Biloxi, MS. Grains of Montana, a restaurant and bakery, proudly advertises a 10% discount to anyone who brings in a church bulletin. According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, this practice violates the federal Civil Rights Act. In fact, they helped to resolve a similar case in North Carolina not too long ago.

Steve and a friend plan to visit the establishment and inquire about the size of the discount offered to atheist customers. I can't wait to hear how that goes. In the meantime, we are trying to get a letter writing (and/or email) campaign going.

I think it is quite obvious that businesses like this resort to such tactics in an effort to attract the post-church crowd. Here in Mississippi, that is a massive crowd indeed. I learned long ago that Sunday was a bad time to go out to eat because of these crowds. Attracting such crowds means considerable revenue.

It is equally obvious, to me at least, that I would never support such a business if at all possible. Businesses who engage in such practices probably do so without realizing that they are violating the law. I hope that the combination of pointing this out and letting them know that they are losing customers over this may help.

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