Separation between church and... plate? 4 restaurants land in hot water over religion-related discounts

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  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:56 p.m.

    The Washington Post is reporting that the restaurant is dropping its "prayer discount" after being informed that it's a rather blatant violation of state and federal public accommodations laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion (at the very least, non-believers were disadvantaged by the policy, as were those who chose not to pray in public).

    Good to see that the restaurant owners have some common sense.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:00 p.m.

    The fact that we are talking about Nazis and Jim Crow in this context demonstrates how thoroughly absurd American discourse about equality and liberty has become, and how utterly incapable our society is of maintaining the sense of proportion that is necessary for a functioning civil society.

  • Doklove Quincy, IL
    Aug. 7, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    There have been a few comments discussing charging a specific group 15% more for being a member of that group- that is not the issue here. If the restaurant states that a burger is $5 and you get a burger and you pay $5, where is the problem? When you placed your order you agreed to the price. If they choose to give the same burger to someone else for $4- great. No one has any right to complain because they didn't get a $4 burger- they ordered a $5 burger.

    Why is it a problem for an owner of a private business to reward something that it sees as valuable?

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    @David Mohr

    That quote was never about the Nazis persecuting the gays. The exact saying is:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

    That quote is about equality. You could very, very easily apply it to the gay marriage debate. Many people who are not gay are standing against religion because they see the dangers of just saying "Oh well, this has nothing to do with me". This is exactly why I am so outspoken on the subject. Someday the subject will shift and maybe I'll be the one being targeted then. More than a few people in the world view being atheist as a bad/evil thing. Easily makes me a target someday should they ever gain real authority.

  • David Mohr Victoria/BC/Canada, 00
    Aug. 6, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    @FrozenFractals you missed my point. There was a saying about the Nazis persecuting the gays - I said nothing - I wasn't gay and down the line until they came to me but there was no one to stand up for me.

    We are allowing people to set precedent without realizing where it is leading. We think that complaining about this now won't lead to something that is presently unthinkable. We have to stop that kind of thinking. The best example I can think of is that there are towns in the USA where you can be fined for doing charity work if you are not a registered charity - the one I remember is where a family was feeding the homeless and they had to stop. It didn't matter that the local charities were unable to fill that void.

    I believe in a world where you don't have to hire women, coloureds, etc but you hire these people as they are qualified. Government forcing you to hire to them is another example of Satan's plan to take away free agencys. Complaints like who should get a discount play into Satan's plan.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Aug. 6, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    One day in a restaurant, I watched a young married Hispanic couple, with a young toddler having dinner. I appreciated how the couple worked with their toddler to teach him to be respectful. When I left the restaurant I paid part of their dinner bill.

    Now I know I was bad, I rewarded them for being married?, for being Hispanic? for having a marriage between a man and a women? For having children? To be non discriminatory I should have paid the same for all the patrons in the restaurant, and every restaurant in the nation. How dare I discriminate. Or I guess I just keep the money to myself as not to discriminate.

    I read here charitable acts by individuals are discriminatory in the minds of liberal progressives. How dare you decide when and where to exercise your charitable spirit.

    This thread has been an argument about the right to act or the governments right to prevent a charitable act and its recipient. The restaurant did not advertise its discount, simply they awarded it on their choice of criteria.

    Love when people judge other people based on a book they don't believe in. Ultimate hypocrite.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 6, 2014 12:06 p.m.


    Regarding your questions, we've already seen many people on these threads indicate that they would simply charge a gay couple more when asked to make a wedding cake simply to cause the couple grief because the business owner didn't want to do it.

    I'm sure they'd be just as fine about it if we charged a Mormon couple more simply because they were Mormon. Not.

    So many so-called "religious" people are such hypocrites its incredible. And that bible they're always thumping denounces hypocrites far more often than almost any other type of "sin".


    Would "truth in advertising" laws would apply? They list a price for an object, if they charged more for that object to you than someone else, wouldn't that be false advertising?


    "Decent, honest folks (who pray)"

    I am led to understand that the Mafiosi are quite religious and they also pray. Does that make them "decent, honest folks"?


    Please do a bit more research about "the right to refuse service to *anyone*". (Can't w/o a legitimate reason).

  • ImABeliever Provo, UT
    Aug. 6, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    I am glad that I was raised the way I was, where there was no such thing as
    politically correct, corporate america; where right was right and wrong was wrong,
    good was good and evil was evil. How sad our country is these days; just sad to watch!

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:34 p.m.

    Utah has barred disparate treatment based upon religion in places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, for 40+ years.

    By these comments seems like many folks are ready for a change. Why now? And which legislator will you ask to sponsor the repeal bill?

    == Utah Code 13-7-3. Equal right in business establishments, places of public accommodation, and enterprises regulated by the state.

    All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal and are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, goods and services in all business establishments and in all places of public accommodation, and by all enterprises regulated by the state of every kind whatsoever, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry or national origin. Nothing in this act shall be construed to deny any person the right to regulate the operation of a business establishment or place of public accommodation or an enterprise regulated by the state in a manner which applies uniformly to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, or national origin; or to deny any religious organization the right to regulate the operation and procedures of its establishments.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    Aug. 5, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    I am skeptical of a business that would provide a 15% discount to all patrons who publicly pray in the establishment. It is not dis-similar to a business that perpetually offers their merchandise on sale. As a customer, I realize that in reality the business has marked the product up by 15% so they can mark it down by 15% and add the advertising "On Sale". In effect, what this business is doing is marking up the prices for those customers who do not pray in public. The reason I say this is because in order to stay in business, it must be profitable. If the published prices are profitable but all of their patrons pray in the restaurant the business would soon be no more. Therefore, the published prices must be too high. I would probably not patronize this business.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 5, 2014 3:27 p.m.


    It was local and state govt. that created Jim Crow laws. Those govt. entities closest to the people.

    Jim Crow reflected the opinions of the local civic leaders that effectively control city councils and statehouses.

    It was the federal govt. that stepped in to stop it. Essentially, the views of non-southerners overriding the views of southerners.

    Had it been left to the locals, some of those laws would likely still be in place.

  • Eagle78 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    Where the line gets drawn is far complicated a question to answer. There obviously is a line, but no one is going to write a book on what is appropriate and what isn't. Offering benefits to certain groups I see as appropriate. Like seniors, military, law enforcement, missionaries etc. By rewarding one party you are not punishing the others. If this place was offering discounts for people praying, and adding a heathen tax on to people that didn't then I would agree a line has been crossed.

    Illuminated, what business do you run? I'd like to know where to avoid so I don't accidently give you money! :)

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:53 p.m.


    If you truly believe in freedom, please share with us the name of the company for which you are CEO, and let the public use their freedom to decide whether or not to patronize your business.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    "The only person acting like an animal is the one who wants to be stuck in a cage and herded about by a taskmaster who gets to define the "brand" of freedom burned onto you."

    As opposed to those who think people should be able to treat others like animals...

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    Illuminated that type of business might work for you as CEO of Jethro's Gas and Stuff, but it doesn't fly in the grown up world. If you deny service based on racism/bigotry you either won't be CEO long, or run a business that is so irrelevant that no one notices/cares.

    In your mind was civil rights a insult because it went against your "right" to discriminate?

    Either way I'm done talking to someone who seems to miss the good old days of segregation. Shameful.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:10 p.m.

    As a nonbeliever, I must confess that it does bother me to think I would have to pay $6 more for my meal than a person who "loves to pray publicly...where everyone can see them." (Matthew 6:6).

    I understand when believers want to play favorites and give discounts and benefits to their fellow believers (withholding those benefits from non believers). But how far should such things go? What about jobs and promotions to fellow believers over non believers? What about excluding no believers from neighborhoods?

    Where do you draw the line?

  • illuminated St George, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    "Why does your freedom suddenly stop at physically harming someone?"

    Because that is as far as the Constitution goes: Life and Liberty. Those are two basic thing the Constitution gurantees. It doesn't guarantee freedom from hate or bigotry. If you want to live in a country like that, feel free to find another.

    "I own multiple businesses. I'm glad that the government steps in from time to time. I don't want the "right" to be a racist bigot and deny service to someone based solely on their skin color."

    I am a CEO myself, and the right to be a racist and bigot is protected by the Constitution with freedom of speech. And as a CEO, I deny and continue to deny service based on anything I want to because that's my freedom. Shame on you for trying to force me and others on how to run their own business and private property.

    The only person acting like an animal is the one who wants to be stuck in a cage and herded about by a taskmaster who gets to define the "brand" of freedom burned onto you.

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:58 p.m.


    Why does your freedom suddenly stop at physically harming someone? I mean you're either free or you're not right? Why aren't you free to just hurt anyone you want to? You don't get to tell him that there is no "brand of freedom" and then turn around and dictate the rules of what freedom is in the same post.

    I own multiple businesses. I'm glad that the government steps in from time to time. I don't want the "right" to be a racist bigot and deny service to someone based solely on their skin color. That is not the kind of country I want to live in and you should be ashamed of yourself if you do. We are better than that. If we have to lose "freedoms" to stop acting like animals then so be it.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    Seriously? People have an issue with this? I guess I should be fighting for equal treatment myself! Why should senior citizens get discounts that I can't just because I'm older. And what of these military or police or fire fighter discounts - what about us accountants? Or student discounts - should I be mistreated just because I graduated? I could go on and on about the "injustices" in this cruel world!

  • illuminated St George, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:21 p.m.

    @Frozen Fractals

    "Your brand of freedom..."

    That kind of talk brings back haunting images of speeches by Totalitarian dictators, Kings and Tyrants. There is no "brand" of freedom, you're either free or not free. Discrimination is part of freedom, being able to choose who I associate with, who I do business with, and who I give my money to is part of being free. As long as I'm not physically harming someone, true freedom encapsulates everything else I do.

    Businesses often donate to causes they believe in all the time. These "causes" include boy scouts, churches, charities, local municipal events and so on. If a local Asian restaurant wanted to give discounts or even give donations to people praying to Buddha before they ate, I have no problem with that. Let them be free. If a business hates black people, picket and boycott the crap out of them, but don't force them to agree with you by government fiat. That's how the Constitution was set up.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    Ok liberals, lets see you practice what you preach. If you go anywhere that offers a Senior discount, you should demand to pay the regular price. You don't want to be a hypocrite for supporting and using age discrimination to save yourself a few dollars.

    You should also go out and complain about businesses that give firemen, policemen, and military discounts. What about frequent shopper discounts, why should they get a discount or free meal just because they go to that place a lot?

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    Even as a liberal atheist I don't see the problem here. If they want to offer discounts for praying then let them. As a business owner I respect the right to do business how a owner sees fit. Denying service because of skin color, being gay, religious beliefs etc is wrong. This is not the same thing.

    If I want to give my friends a 30% discount on all purchases in my stores then I will. It isn't illegal, or unethical to do so. Denial of service, or unfairly charging more is not the same thing as giving bonuses for behavior you approve of.

  • SLCMom Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    RE: "The government is there to protect the rights of individuals from bigotry, ignorance and hate." (Cocosweet) - If this is true, then the government must ALSO protect the restaurateur who is experiencing bigotry, ignorance and hate for her simple gesture of kindness as she follows the 'dictates of her own conscience'. Whether one agrees or disagrees with her discount, she is still operating her business legally. Consider: Does she not have the right to run her business the way she chooses within the parameters of the law? YES. Of course, there are plenty of lawmakers who are working hard to tear down religious freedom and personal rights under the guise of "promoting equality".
    Bottom line: Discounts at any business are at the discretion of that business. The right of a business to "refuse service" to anyone they choose is ALSO their legal prerogative. And of course, the right of the customer to refuse to shop there is ALSO in force. Let the free market reign.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 5, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    How is this news? Ever heard of stake Lagoon day? Mormon night (Colorado Rockies)? This kind of stuff happens all over the country, all the time. I personally don't like it, but it's legal, and if it's legal for one private business it should be legal for all of them.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    It's non of the governments business if people pray at a restaurant. And if that company gives a discount for it.

    Businesses give discounts to rich people that make a lot of purchases. That could be discriminatory to those of us who don't have the same purchasing power.

    We give discounts to people for being poor via welfare food stamps, utilities subsidies, education etc.

    Why not focus on tax breaks? The ones that make the wealthy, wealthier such as the obamas, Clintons, pelosis, kerrys, carter etc. Why not get rid of the tax breaks for those in unions? Why should they get to put money into political parties tax free, simply by belonging to a union? Why do they get to use pretax dollars to pay their union dues? How is that fair for those who don't belong to a union?

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Freedom includes the freedom to please some people and (deliberately or inadvertently) offending others. You can win or lose customers any way you want. Unlike government entities, no one is forced to eat at a private restaurant, and the entirely justifiable restrictions on government discrimination rightly do not apply to private enterprise in a free society.

    Anyone offended by religious discounts should be free to open a competing restaurant with atheist discounts. Heck, offer double discounts for Satanic worshipers if you like.

    Equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcomes, including in the restaurant business.

    What we are really seeing is the ongoing "war on religion" waged by the left who want everyone to only worship at the altar of government, and to be blessed only by "free stuff" from the government.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    "It would certainly be OK by liberals, libertines, and atheists."

    You do realize that we're advocating for everyone to be treated the same, right? Nobody actually is saying to charge people who pray more, it's being used as an example of "would you all still approve of disparate treatment if you were disadvantaged".

    " But, at the same time, anyone that had the temerity to favor honest, decent folks "

    All you know is that someone is praying. That does nothing to tell us whether they're honest, decent folks or if someone who isn't praying isn't honest or decent. There's honest, decent religious and non-religious folks and dishonest and indecent religious and non-religious folks.

    Your brand of freedom seems quite harmful to any sort of minority (black, gay, LDS, Muslim). Are you a straight white male Christian? I'm just wondering how privileged you'd be in your hypothetical.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    @David Mohr
    "If I am in a town without restaurants and open a Chinese restaurant, are you going to complain that I only serve Chinese food?"

    No, the issue is treating different customers differently, in this case you're serving Chinese food to everyone.

    Also I like Chinese food so there wouldn't be any complaints from me anyway.

  • illuminated St George, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    "By the same token, would it OK to charge 15% more to those who pray?"

    Absolutely. If someone wants to charge me more for praying in their restaurant, as long as they are informing me first, I have no problem with that. But I would never eat there again, and I am sure they would go out of business very quickly.

    Are you against freedom? The restaurant is -their property-, not yours, they have a right to be morons. If someone walked into your home and started praying and you asked them to stop, would you be against allowing the government to force you to allow them to pray on your property?

    "The government is there to protect the rights of individuals from bigotry, ignorance and hate."

    No they're not. Bigotry and hate is a personal right. I have a right to hate or love any group I want. Disagree with me all you want, but it's not the government's job to force me to love. If a white man wants to close his restaurant to a black man, that should be his choice. -His choice to be stupid-.

    Why do you hate freedom?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    Re: ". . . would it OK to charge 15% more to those who pray?"

    It would certainly be OK by liberals, libertines, and atheists. But, at the same time, anyone that had the temerity to favor honest, decent folks would immediately become a target of the political and moral left.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    I don't think I like where this is heading.

    If I can give a discount for a religious family...can I

    1) Charge more to a black family?
    2) Charge more to a gay couple?
    3) Charge more to a known and professed Athiest?

    A family, couple, or person should be able to go to any restaurant in the public square and be able to eat without fear of mistreatment by the establisment. Obvious exceptions would be if they were being a nuisance, didn't meet a certain dress code that had already been clearly established...etc.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    "These are private businesses owned by citizens, not government institutions. If you don't like their policcies, don't eat there. Don't run to mommy government to fight your battles."

    I agree. I always thought the same thing concerning restaurants that served alcohol or allowed smoking. The free market would sort this out.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    By the same token, would it OK to charge 15% more to those who pray? or those who pray to the wrong god?

    Good publicity stunt, the right will eat this up.

  • jskains Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    @cocosweet There are too many assumptions for your statement to be absolutely true. It was "mommy" government who created the problems in the first place. It was "mommy" government that wrote the Jim Crow laws. So perhaps if government had stayed out of it in the first place, we'd be a lot further along in the race relations area than we are now. Often "bigotry" and "ignorance" work themselves out naturally in a much faster way than government playing social engineer.

  • David Mohr Victoria/BC/Canada, 00
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    I have always felt discriminated against when seniors got discounts and when military got discounts. Does that count also? This world is so caught up in "ME" that it is becoming disgusting how we cannot allow anyone to express their appreciation of anyone without some one else complaining that you didn't recognize me. If I am in a town without restaurants and open a Chinese restaurant, are you going to complain that I only serve Chinese food?

    I was always taught to vote with my feet - if you don't like the policy of a place of business then don't patronize the business.

  • cocosweet Sandy, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    While I rather agree with FatherofFour, if "mommy" government (jskains) hadn't intervened in the South there would still be white and black water fountains (ect). The government is there to protect the rights of individuals from bigotry, ignorance and hate.

    Aug. 5, 2014 7:30 a.m.


    I agree. These are private businesses with their own rules. If they want to give discounts to Muslims only they can. If they want to refuse service for whatever reason they should be allowed to. This way guys like me can see what their true intentions are and decide weather or not they want to eat there.

  • jskains Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    These are private businesses owned by citizens, not government institutions. If you don't like their policcies, don't eat there. Don't run to mommy government to fight your battles. Or better yet, just eat there and get over it. Are employee discounts discrimination? What about a restaraunt owner who gives a discount to his friend? That's so unfair! *siigh*