North Carolina Diner Drops Praying in Public Discount after FFRF Threatened Lawsuit

Carrie Dedrick | Friday, August 8, 2014

North Carolina Diner Drops Praying in Public Discount after FFRF Threatened Lawsuit

The North Carolina diner that gave customers who prayed before meals a discount will no longer be offering the promotion. Mary’s Gourmet Diner reportedly received a letter threatening legal action from the Freedom From Religion Foundation if owner Mary Haglund did not stop awarding the discount to praying patrons.

The letter read, in part, “As a place of ‘public accommodation,’ it is illegal for Mary’s Gourmet Diner to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion. Your restaurant’s restrictive promotional practice favors religious customers, and denies customers who do not pray and nonbelievers the right to ‘full and equal’ enjoyment of Mary’s Gourmet Diner.”

Mary Haglund had been giving customers the 15 percent discount for four years virtually undetected. But when one surprised customer recently posted a photo of her receipt to Facebook, the small-town diner gained national attention. 

The Huffington Post reports that a sign was posted by the restaurant’s front door alerting customers of the change in policy. 

“While you may exercise your right of religious freedom at this restaurant by praying over your meal to any entity or non-entity. We must protect your freedom from religion in a public place,” the sign read.

A manager at the restaurant, who preferred to be unidentified, said that the restaurant hopes customers will still come in and pray before dining. 

“There's always good things that come out of the bad, and unfortunately, we will see it in time, but we are not seeing it yet,” the manager said. 

Publication date: August 8, 2014