Denny’s Discount for Churchgoers Only

Denny’s is just setting itself up for a lawsuit.

JREF Communication Manager Jeff Wagg went to Denny’s recently where he saw the following flyer:


Dennys

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I mentioned a similar incident on this site a couple years ago — that one also took place in Euless, Texas — and Wagg has a list of several other incidents where non-churchgoers were discriminated against.

You can read Jeff’s account of the story here. The restaurant said this was a corporate policy and Jeff has sent headquarters a polite letter of complaint.

If anyone would like to call the corporate offices in the morning, their number is 1-800-733-6697.

It would be nice if Christians could step up and call, too. Even if the policy benefits you, it’s not right and it’s still discrimination.

On a side note, I wonder why Christians are getting the 10% savings when some of them don’t even tip on Sundays

(Thanks to Zombie Girl for the link!)

  • Anticontrame

    Is that really grounds for a lawsuit?

    If it is, can we get them to replace “UR” with “YOUR” while we’re at it?

  • MaleficVTwin

    What would they do if you brought them a flyer from a Pastafarian church, or Wiccan, or Satanist?

    I don’t think those groups are what they had in mind…..

  • Alz

    (delete if possible, I misread)

  • Ryan

    They should be giving that sort of discount to people with university student/staff IDs.

  • http://brokenocean.wordpress.com Nick O.

    This strikes me as something petty to complain about.

    So what, 10%? They saved tax on the bill? Hey, churches don’t pay taxes anyway! Par for the course…

  • http://neosnowqueen.wordpress.com/ neosnowqueen

    This one just doesn’t seem worth going after. Restaurants have promotions all the time, sometimes focused on a separate part of their customer base. Think Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, or a free coupon if your birthday happens to be on the company’s founding day, or something like that.

  • chancelikely

    1. Print off stack of Church of LaVeyan Satanism flyers.

    2. Place in convenient location just outside local Denny’s.

    3. Profit!

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Do they give discounts for people who come in with flyers from their synagogue? Or mosque? Or, as others here have suggested, the Church of Satan?

    And I don’t agree that this is too small to make an issue out of. I wouldn’t make it the central issue of our movement; but small protesting things like this can get people to stop and think, and perhaps be more careful in the future. And if it gets publicity… then that gets even more people to stop and think, and perhaps be more careful in the future. The more we can get this stuff on people’s radar, the better… and sometimes that happens over small issues as well as large ones.

  • Tom

    If your local Denny’s does this:
    1) Go to your state’s anti-discrimination office and file an official complaint. Ask them to make it stop and fine the restaurant.
    2) If your state doesn’t take action, call the ACLU.

    Stop putting up with this behavior! If they were caught doing this here in Massachusetts, the state would investigate, see if other locations are doing the same thing, and issue a large fine and an order to stop discriminating.

  • Andrew

    Churches serve much more purpose in a community than as peddlers of superstitious nonsense. They’re not just giving to religious institutions, they’re giving to community centers and theaters and music studios.

  • http://sunombreenvano.blogspot.com/ Diego

    If that were a government sponsored initiative, then there would be ground for a lawsuit, but since it’s privately owned, I don’t see how this might be breaking any law. I can go to a church, ask for the bulletin, leave, and get my 10% off. That if you like Denny’s food. If not, gather all of your local atheists and and send a letter saying that you’re going to get your food at Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr or that taco truck at the corner.

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    Actually I wouldn’t have an issue with this if they were only making the donation. Businesses have the right to choose which non-profits they give money to. However they do not have the right to discriminate against their customers by charging those who go to church less any more than they could charge white people less (something Denny’s has been sued for doing in the past, they have a history of this).

  • beckster

    There is a dairy queen in Cary, NC that has almost the exact same offer. I bought a blizzard at their drive through and noticed the sign. I insisted on getting my money back and spoke with a manager about how discriminatory their “christian discount” offer was. The sign is still up unfortuantely.

  • Tim

    If they’d made it “Your local Church OR FAVOURITE CHARITABLE ORGANISATION” they wouldn’t have a problem. After all, most charities would fall under the same exempt status as churches, wouldn’t they? So it wouldn’t cost them anything to be inclusive.

  • Calvin

    I wish you could sue for unprofessional English spelling.

    I’d be a rich man.

  • Q-Squared

    WELL (if this goes to my state), at least there’s an opportunity to use all those mail-sent bulletins that my church still sends me. :)

    I wish they’d have something for Bibles, though- I have at least 75 of them.

    In my opinion, it is a bit discriminatory. Not for the donation, but for the discount for non-church going members. They should probably open it up to include not only churches, but any other thing similary. For example, mosques, synagogues, the local atheist meetup, etc.

  • Q-Squared

    Well, since my last comment expired before I could note this- I don’t think this is an issue we should go all guns blazing into. A lot of fun can be had giving the Danny’s workers “Church Pamphlets” (Pastafarian or Satanist pamphlets, anyone?).

    Correction- former church* (Sorry, lack of sleep has deteriorated my correcting abilities.)

  • Don Juan Triumphant

    They’re a private company, they can offer whatever promotions they want. As long as they don’t favour one “church” pamphlet over another, they’re not doing anything I care about. Like I said, they’re a privately owned company, whatever promotions they want to offer, they can do what they want. If they wanted a promotion where white folk get 50% off and black folk pay 50% more, I’d strongly disagree with it but would defend their right to do so.

    If it were a government supported thing, like “bring a church pamphlet and get an extra vote!” or something, I’d be all over it. But a privately owned company can do whatever in my books.

  • Kiera

    @ Don Juan– “But a privately owned company can do whatever in my books.” Really? So can a private company refuse to hire someone because of their skin color or gender? Or religion (or lack thereof)?

    In this case, it’s discrimination against their customers, instead of their employees. Or did you only mean they can do whatever they want to their customers and not their employees?

    What astounds me most about this issue is the apathy coming out of the woodworks. No, it’s not the OMG HUGEST issue, but I think you’ll find that when we’re in a movement like this, there aren’t too many huge issues. There are small issues that add up. Like this one.

  • http://www.atheistnexus.com/heathercrosby InsertCotku

    I live in Georgia. In my relatively secular (for the deep south) town there is at least 10-20 restaurants offering the exact same thing every single Sunday.

    I’ll occassionally go to a random church service with a friend, drink the free coffee, eat a little snack, grab a pamphlet and leave half way through the service. We then take these pamphlets and grab breakfast somewhere.

    Oh the joys of being a broke college student.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    … People, it’s Denny’s. Is this worth a fight?

  • http://dyfl.blogspot.com nathaniel

    I think it’s hilarious, actually. Denny’s turns the churches into willing marketing machines, giving them a little kickback. I can just see the pastor encouraging everyone to go to Denny’s after the service so that the church can pull in a little more money. Brilliantly cynical on Denny’s part!

  • Don Juan Triumphant

    ““But a privately owned company can do whatever in my books.” Really? So can a private company refuse to hire someone because of their skin color or gender? Or religion (or lack thereof)?

    In this case, it’s discrimination against their customers, instead of their employees. Or did you only mean they can do whatever they want to their customers and not their employees?”

    Customers, as implied by what I said. You can’t discriminate against customers; you can discriminate against potential customers. If this promotion is such a big issue, then the company will lose more money than it makes with the backlash against them, as potential customers will just stay away. Same if they said “no blacks can eat here!”. I would hope that black people would then forgo even applying to work there (cutting off a substantial amount of potential workforce) and that the loss of black people eating there would further harm their profits, as well as the added boycotts from other groups.

    That’s the general thrust of my point, I guess. I’m very antsy about legal/government interjection into what a private company’s policies are. Just as I support the Boy Scouts of America’s right to deny gay people/atheists membership (although I disagree with it). I’d vocally oppose it, but I wouldn’t persue legal action against them, or try to force them to change it through government intervention (if I had the power to do so). So I suppose what I’m saying is that widespread boycotts against Denny’s actions by various atheist groups (or any group) are what I support, rather than persuing legal action. I’m not saying “let them do what they want”, I’m just saying I don’t think they’re doing anything illegal.

    I do realise I’m probably being optimistic, though. Going back to my earlier comparison about if they were discriminating against black people, the pressure against the company would rely on them going against the social trend. If the social trend was to discriminate against blacks anyway (as it indeed was in the past), then the various protests would be small and ineffective simply because the majority support their discrimination. I guess the same is true today of atheists; most people wouldn’t see anything wrong with denny’s promotion, and so probably won’t argue against it, so some form of legal action would be required to do anything about it. But then again, that said, it’s a 10% discount for people who bring a church flier (which aren’t that hard to obtain frankly), not a big “NO NON-CHRISTIANS” sign on the entrance, and the company can choose to support whatever organisation it wants through donations.

    This is a very rambling comment because I am quite, quite tired. I hope it’s understandable though.

  • http://wellmaybenot.blogspot.com Danielle

    Well, this isn’t too far from the actual North Texas Church of Freethought. Anyone in the area feel like a test case? I think making them donate copious amounts to NTCOF would just be made of win. Come on, it’s got the word “Church” right there in the name!

    Oh, and yes, as a private company, they certainly have the right to offer this promotion. But we also have the right to speak up about it.

  • theslat

    @Danielle – I like where you are headed with that.

    Living in NC i have seen a few of these promotions around and my first thought is always to bring a flyer from a humanist meeting or some charitable organization to see if I can get them to honor it. If not then I definatly have more ground to stand on in a complaint. Unfortunatly the nearest humanist meeting is an hour away and usually on sunday nights, so much for a breakfast discount.

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    On Sundays, Q Cumbers restaurant in Minneapolis gives you a discount for either a church bulletin or a copy of Minnesota Atheist’s Weekly Email.

  • ayer

    Are you therefore saying that a bar that offers discounts to women on “Ladies’ Night” is violating gender discrimination laws?

  • Jude

    Try this: go to whoever’s in charge and tell them, “I’m an atheist, but I’d like to take advantage of your promotion and have the proceeds go to the local SPCA instead. Is that all right?”

    Chances are, they’d be fine with it. I’m assuming most people are reasonable people.

    I’d try it myself, but I don’t eat at Denny’s. In fact, I’d never heard of the restaurant until now. :D

  • ayer

    A similar “church bulletin discount” case was actually litigated in Maryland ten years ago; the judge ruled in favor of a baseball park offering such discounts. See “Hagerstown Suns” case described here:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/sep_c_st.htm

  • http://robomeeks.com Meekerson

    I work just 10 minutes away from that Denny’s. I wonder if they will donate to this church.

    Edit: Danielle beat me to it apparrently.

  • Richard

    It really depends how Denny’s is interpreting their signs.

    If they’re actually offering a Christians-only (and not Muslim) discount, then that seems like it would be discimrination against a protected class.

    If they’re offering a discount for people who bring in a bulletin, and advertising it as being for Churches, then the problem is just poor taste.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    Danielle, Meekerson:

    “Freethought” is a big word. I don’t know if they’d understand what it’d mean. I think a mosque would make a better test case.

  • bobhikes

    So what, Like I would eat at Denny’s anyway.

    Every Job I ever worked will match donations to everything execpt churches isn’t that discrimination.

    Denny’s is entitled to give discounts as they want as it does not single out by something that is not a choice. I notice an religious bulletin. It does not say christen. My jewish friends also have bulletins the muselems too probably.

    Just boycott the store if you feel that strongly. You live longer if you don’t eat there food anyway.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I was looking at the flash presentation on the Denny’s website and did a screen capture when I saw the 10% discount promotion. ;)

  • Bryne

    Most places in my town do this. It’s strange to see a restaurant that *doesn’t* advertise it. :(

  • benjdm

    Danielle greeked me, but yeah, North Texas Church of Freethought (or the Texas Church of Freethought or the Atheist Community of Austin) are other ways to go on this.

  • Pustulio

    Why do people keep bringing lawsuits? Neither this post nor the linked post mention taking the matter to court. Obviously such a suit would have little legal merit but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make your complaint known to the company. It is exactly the attitude this isn’t worth the bother that leads to things like this being so pervasive.

  • Kiera

    “Same if they said “no blacks can eat here!”. I would hope that black people would then forgo even applying to work there (cutting off a substantial amount of potential workforce) and that the loss of black people eating there would further harm their profits, as well as the added boycotts from other groups.”

    True, boycotts would work if there was no law in place…except…and correct me if I’m wrong..there are already established laws for this sort of thing….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

    http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97&page=transcript

    TITLE II–INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION
    SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    (b) Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action:

    (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;

    (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the
    premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station;

    They breakin the law, they pay the price?

  • Siamang

    Is that really grounds for a lawsuit?

    but since it’s privately owned, I don’t see how this might be breaking any law.

    They’re a private company, they can offer whatever promotions they want.

    Oh, and yes, as a private company, they certainly have the right to offer this promotion.

    Obviously such a suit would have little legal merit

    I guess nobody read the linked post:

    Though I am not an attorney, I believe your promotion may violate Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states:

    TITLE II–INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION
    SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    Darn pesky anti-discrimination federal laws.

  • http://brokenocean.wordpress.com Nick O.

    I fail to see where any discrimination is taking place. If they didn’t serve atheists/agnostics/non-churchgoers on the basis of belief or unbelief, that would be discrimination. This Denny’s “promotion” doesn’t fit the bill.

    By the rationale of some people who have posted comments here, it’s discriminatory for Papa John’s to give the local college kids 10% off since many people are not in college. Additionally, it’s discriminatory for Local Liquor Joint to offer 50% off well drinks to females on “Ladies Night” since many people are male.

    But if Papa John’s didn’t serve me on the basis of not being a college student or Local Liquor Joint didn’t serve me because I’m male, then I’d have a valid complaint regarding discrimination.

    And what about those Senior Citizen discounts? Why should I pay 15% more? Kids eat free?! What a load of bullshit! Clearly a discriminatory practice against anyone over the age of 12.

    This is a non-issue; calling foul when there is no foul.

  • Siamang

    By the rationale of some people who have posted comments here, it’s discriminatory for Papa John’s to give the local college kids 10% off since many people are not in college.

    Not being in college is not a federally protected status under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Additionally, it’s discriminatory for Local Liquor Joint to offer 50% off well drinks to females on “Ladies Night” since many people are male.

    I agree. That should be illegal. It is in some states. But not under the Civil Rights Act.

    From Wikipedia:

    Ladies’ nights in the United States have been successfully challenged in lawsuits by men who were discriminated against by these events,[1] and are illegal in some jurisdictions: in California they were ruled illegal under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, in Koire v Metro Car Wash, 40 Cal 3d24, 219 Cal Rptr 133 (1985).[2]

    This is a non-issue; calling foul when there is no foul.

    I don’t think you’ve successfully made that case.

  • Christopher

    I’m an atheist and I think its stupid to waste our time on junk like this. Who cares if they want to give 10% to Church goers? Does it make your food more expensive? Nope. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there. Its not discrimination. They aren’t taking anything away from you. Its not the same thing as fair employment or housing. If a restaurant offers to discount to parties of 8 or more, is it discrimination to singles or couples? If a restaurant offers a discount to men and women of uniform, is it discrimination against civilians? Pick your battles.

    Now, if they raise the prices 10% unless you have a church flyer, that’s different. Plus, does it really matter if you pay 3.99 for crappy eggs or $3.60? Its still crappy food at a crappy establishment.

    Fighting battles like this just makes Secularists and non-believers look even worse in the eyes of the public.

    Bad PR move.

  • James H

    Why is the discount verbiage in a different font from the rest of the flier?

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Just as I support the Boy Scouts of America’s right to deny gay people/atheists membership (although I disagree with it). I’d vocally oppose it, but I wouldn’t persue legal action against them, or try to force them to change it through government intervention (if I had the power to do so).

    Slight tangent: Don Juan Triumphant, I think you may misunderstand the crucial legal issue with the Boy Scouts. As a private organization, they have the legal right to discriminate (although not the moral right). But the Boy Scouts get government support. They meet for free in libraries, public schools, civic centers, etc. If they want to continue to discriminate, they should not be getting what amounts to government funding.

    As for Denny’s: I’m sorry, but it is discrimination. If they give a discount to churchgoers that’s not available to non-churchgoers, then that’s discrimination in public accommodation on the basis of religion. Period. Every bit as much as if they offered a discount to members of a male-only golf club. It’s not the most severe form of discrimination around… but again, the more we can get this kind of thing into the public eye, the better.

  • Dragonfly

    OK. Since you don’t want businesses to give discounts to whom they choose, I also want the senior citizen discount abolished. It’s age discrimination…

  • Brett McCoy

    I really don’t see this as a discrimination issue either. If they *refused* service on the basis of religion, then they would be discriminating. They are not a government agency and can offer discounts in any fashion they see fit. What if it were coupons that were only printed in a college newspaper? Would they be discriminating against people who did not go to that college?

    The only thing I object to is sending money back to a church. Otherwise, I’d just go grab a church bulletin and get myself a discounted breakfast.

    At any rate, I think this is small guns and silly to go after legally. More important things to worry about.

  • http://www.drzach.net Zachary Moore

    Great to see all the NTCOF references in this thread. I’d love to know if they will take our bulletin as a discount- I know Pancho’s did a couple years ago, and just about every place I’ve tried. We also make use of a Dallas-area Denny’s for a regular board game night… and have been doing so for years.

    BTW, the NTCOF August service is coming up this weekend, be sure to come by and get as many church bulletins as you can use at Denny’s!

  • Dan W

    I think Jeff did the best thing he could do there. The law states that businesses can’t discriminate on basis of religion (among other things), and that particular Denny’s is discriminating against people who don’t attend church. If they don’t change that practice after he informed them about it, I think a lawsuit would be in order.

    I think if it were me, I would probably have stopped going to that Denny’s or something, mainly because I wouldn’t want to go through all the trouble of writing a letter to the company, et cetera.

  • Brian C Posey

    While this is technically discrimination, it doesn’t seem that bad. Should restaurants not be able to give student discounts or senior discounts either.

    I’m just not seeing the problem. They’re simply taking advantage of a large demographic that is out and looking for food on Sundays. Lots of restaurants run “after church” specials to get a part of the crowd.

  • EDS

    The Senior Citizen discount/Kids menu thing just won’t fly. Both are offered with smaller portions then the regular menu items with the Kids menu offering some things that only children would touch. If you honestly want to order from them I doubt they will argue with you, although they might look at you sideways.

    As for the Ladies Night discounts, that is for the benefit of the MEN, to bring more ladies into the club. Do you really have a problem with that?

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Since you don’t want businesses to give discounts to whom they choose, I also want the senior citizen discount abolished. It’s age discrimination

    They are not a government agency and can offer discounts in any fashion they see fit. What if it were coupons that were only printed in a college newspaper? Would they be discriminating against people who did not go to that college?

    Should restaurants not be able to give student discounts or senior discounts either.

    Wow, I’m astounded by the (identical) poor reasoning ability in many of these posts. I’d usually phrase it a little more nicely than that, but these arguments are particularly incomprehensible given that Kiera and Siamang have been nice enough to quote the relevant law.

    All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    Yes, businesses are not government agencies, and yes, they can discriminate between customers in a large number of ways, such as by age or student status. However, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. If you want to say, “Gosh, it’s just like discrimination X, and no one has a problem with that,” pick X to be one of the protected classes under the Civil Rights Act, and not just some random (legal) form of discrimination. e.g. “Gosh, it’s just like giving white people at 10% discount, and no one has a problem with that.”

    I don’t find this discrimination particularly disturbing, but sweet Jesus people, it shouldn’t be that hard to read the text of a law that someone’s been nice enough to post for you, and at least get a rough idea of what that law is about.

  • Brett

    I think this must be a regional thing, because I’ve never seen one of these signs. My first thought is that in this we (by we I mean atheists) might be getting upset over nothing. I grew up in a fundamentalist christian family, and my reaction to those signs is that it probably didn’t even occur to them that any atheists would be going out for Sunday breakfast and this would hurt them. To me, this just looked like a way to reward local Christians for not sleeping through church. I would be surprised if they would turn down a flier from a non religious meeting, if it had the “feel” of a church event. (I’ve always wanted a weekly discussion group on non-religious morality)

  • http://www.scoutingforall.org Brian Westley

    Ayer, your link on the Hagerstown Suns case is out of date; the Suns settled out of court, agreeing to also accept bulletins from civic and non-profit groups:
    http://www.ffrf.org/fttoday/2000/jan_feb2000/news.html

    And yes, the ACLU had filed over civil rights violations.

  • ayer

    Brian,

    Thanks for the update. The law in this area of discounts for various groups appears to be unresolved. See a good discussion in the book “Clubhouse Lawyer” beginning on page 282, available here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=oI_RlRvfAucC&pg=PA282&lpg=PA282&dq=lawsuit+%22church+bulletin%22+discounts&source=bl&ots=1Fvxyn699V&sig=U6FUcvBBHDCs9YIzmP6psv_pGLE&hl=en&ei=52twSvOVMIWANu3cyNQI&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart

    Maybe the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should generate some PDF bulletins so their members can get some Denny’s discounts.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I for one will never again eat at a Denny’s. Not because of this promotion, but because every time I’ve ever eaten at one, they’ve always been extremely dirty and the service was terrible.

  • http://www.sinasohn.net/notebooks/ Uncle Roger

    Don Juan Triumphant said “You can’t discriminate against customers; you can discriminate against potential customers. If this promotion is such a big issue, then the company will lose more money than it makes with the backlash against them, as potential customers will just stay away.”

    So you’re saying that not only is it okay to post a “Whites Only” sign in a restaurant or store, but if it’s done in a community where the white bigots outnumber minorities and non-bigoted whites, it’s good business practice?

    You’re okay with a business advertising that members of the military are not welcome? Or that women are not served?

    It may not be the biggest issue on the plate — no one’s being harmed and, in fact, this policy may just save some atheists from indigestion — but it’s still important. Every bit as important as being able to sit up front on the bus, if there’s an available seat.

  • marty

    Some of you miss the point. By ignoring this kind of quasi discrimination this only says to Denny’s that it’s OK to offer ONLY church goers your discount and we don’t care and neither should anyone else when in fact WE DO care and everyone should care regardless of whether you go to church or not. Suppose at the bottom they begin saying, “Atheists can just go to hell.” because that’s what it says in essence. What about all other groups with a 501c tax exemption? How about Boy Scouts? Red Cross Members How about a discount to followers of Zany thoughts of flying to Jupiter Anonymous members?
    Suppose you’re a Baptist going in alone, get your discount and a bunch of Catholics enter and want to beat you up for being Baptist and getting what they consider an unfair discount? Suppose you’re one of those nutso snake worshipers? Should you be allowed to do your snake dance before eating as a way of making an offering to your gawd? OR what if WE as atheists go in, not even ask for a discount then some church group decides everyone in the dump should have to stand up and pray before eating? Sure, you have the right to tell them to piss up a rope, but they WILL do all they can to make you feel small and Denny’s will almost certainly oblige them and not say a word otherwise if they get in your face and accuse you of not loving their god. You satanic, baby eating monster loving bad people!
    These types of things go on far to often and when you give a church an inch we ALL know most take 50 miles and proof of that is the tax exemption in exchange for staying out of politics which is something they have consistently ignored and flaunted in our faces. If that type of behavior if fine by you then by all means sit down, shut up and let them keep getting away with whatever they want to get away with.
    On the other hand if you’re sick of it then at the very least make your voice be heard whether it’s legal or not. let Denny’s know that you’re against giving ‘certain” religions a free pass while others get no pass at all. You don’t have to jump up and make fools of yourselves, but let Denny’s know they are being fools and being made suckers of by the churches as if everyone else who doesn’t go a bybull thumping.

  • http://wellmaybenot.blogspot.com Danielle Gaither

    For anyone who was wondering, a friend and I did test the waters, and they gave us the discount! Details on my blog if you’re interested.

  • noah

    “Obviously such a suit would have little legal merit”

    -huh? doesn’t the civil rights act prohibit public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of religion? (hint: yes.)

  • Polly

    Wow, I’m astounded by the (identical) poor reasoning ability in many of these posts….Kiera and Siamang have been nice enough to quote the relevant law.

    doesn’t the civil rights act prohibit public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of religion? (hint: yes.)

    This isn’t necessarily discrimination on the basis of religion, it’s on attendance of some sort of association on a Sunday morning. That’s not the same thing.

    Zachary Moore, above, said that many establishments that have this kind of policy accepted a flyer from the Church of Freethought.

    Another commenter mentioned that an establishment accepted the Minnesota Atheist’s Weekly Email.

    Conversely, I know Xians and Jews who don’t attend church/Temple so they wouldn’t get the discount.

    Con-conversely, Hemant can surely vouch that you don’t need to be a Xian to attend church.

    All this to say that it’s not necessarily, provably related to religion, per se.

    Simply reprinting the text of the law doesn’t settle the matter. We wouldn’t need lawyers if it did (wouldn’t that be nice!). What happened in relevant cases in the past? That’s more helpful. And according to Brian and Ayer above, it’s still unresolved.

    Anyone have any helpful case law?

  • noah

    Polly, I have no doubt that there are arguments for why this policy does not discriminate on the basis of religion. But, each of your points is, at most, an arguable characterization of the practice. Surely the lawsuit would have much more than “little legal merit.” It may or may not ultimately be a winner, but the fundamental argument is sound, and has substantial legal merit.

  • Mike B.

    Random thought… what if… the 10% discount was a lead to try to induce poor tippers to tip better? Think about it: “You’re going to pay a certain amount for food and service here, plus tax. But, we’ll give you a discount, AND give money back to your church. So in return, you can still pay the original amount, feel good that it’s being tithed to church, and the poor waitress who has to serve you gets a bit more money. Sound fair?” I know, I can’t prove any of it, but it’s a consideration.

  • TG

    I recommend that if there is an establishment that does this that unbelievers go download a bulletin of the North Texas Church of Freethought here: http://www.churchoffreethought.org/bulletins.php and use it to get your discount and/or make them contribute to the cause of rationalism !


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