NC eatery rejects separation of church and plate with discount for ‘praying in public’
A restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina has attracted both positive and negative attention by offering a discount to patrons who pray, HLN reported.
Mary’s Gourmet Diner garnered notice after one customer, Jordan Smith, posted a picture online of her receipt from a recent visit, which contained a 15 percent discount for “praying in public.”
Smith told HLN that she and two business colleagues prayed over their breakfast during a Wednesday outing there. Later, the waitress allegedly “came over at the end of the meal and said, ‘Just so you know, we gave you a 15% discount for praying,’ which I’d never seen before.”
A Christian radio station in Orlando, Florida, Z88, subsequently reposted the image on its Facebook page. The diner later confirmed the discount on its own Facebook page, although there have been conflicting reports on how frequently it is offered.
“The three of us at the table talked about how wonderful that is and what a cool thing it is that they do as business owners,” Smith was quoted as saying.
While one employee told HLN that it is done regularly, restaurant management denied the allegation in a separate post Friday afternoon.
“I will say that it is not a ‘policy,’” the post stated. “It’s a gift we give at random to customers who take a moment before their meal.”
The post went on to clarify that the “moment” could include prayer or “a moment to breathe,” and that the manager appreciated the “abundance of beautiful food” in the U.S. after living in an unidentified “3rd world country.”
“I NEVER take that for granted,” the post stated. “It warms my heart to see people with an attitude of gratitude. Prayer, meditation or just breathing while being grateful opens the heart chakra.”
But as NPR reported, other visitors to the restaurant’s page questioned the nature of the “gift.”
“Do you give prayer discounts to people who aren’t of your religion?” one commenter asked. “Like Sikh’s or Hindus or Muslims or Jews?”
Others reportedly wondered whether the restaurant’s discount for religious displays violated parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination based on religion in public places.
[Image: "Pray for food," via Shutterstock]