Supposedly the religious, especially the Christians, get preferential treatment in the United States. It is a privileged life to be a Christian, some say. In a nation that should supposedly promote equality, such privilege should be unacceptable.
Freedom From Religion Foundation to the rescue.
Starters Cafe in Ohio is one such example to commit the atrocity of catering to the faithful. It started when the owner, Justin Watson, posted a promotion that offered church goers a 10% discount for bringing their Sunday bulletin with them. The stated reason was because Watson, who admits that he himself is not a particularly religious man, wanted to take advantage of the fact that Sundays are his busiest days.
A Yelp reviewer complained. The Freedom From Religion Foundation took action. Now the original discount has been rescinded and changed. The angry Yelp-er is satisfied, as is the FFRF (for now). They got their scalp.
This has been turned into a separation of church and state issue, as well as a civil rights issue. I would agree with both if, in the first case, the government was taking a hard-line position in this particular situation, which they are not, and if the restaurant was saying, “only Christians may dine with us on Sundays,” which they did not.
It would seem that secularists and atheists see freedom from religion to not mean state compulsion to partake in religious observance and worship, as the first amendment states, but means they cannot even encounter religion. This suggests that religion is something that can only be done in utter privacy, but in public, atheism must reign. Even though the right to freely express and operate by sincerely held religious beliefs have been upheld in several Supreme Court cases, it does not matter – the scourge of religion must be fought against.
You can say that the restaurant is giving preferential treatment unfairly, but what discounted service is universally fair? If equal treatment was the goal here, there would be a call to end any and all discounts that benefit certain types of customers over others. There is no call to get rid of ladies nights, veteran or police discounts, college student discounts, senior discounts, and so forth.
There seems to be a focused animosity on Christians. It is not as if they asked for this discount, either. It was freely offered because Sunday is such a busy day for Starters Cafe that it was considered a smart business decision to encourage other after-service patrons to come dine at the restaurant. You can say that non-religious folks are being penalized for their non-beliefs, but are they? Are they being denied service? Are they being barred entry? Is the business increasing the regular prices on them as punishment?
It’s a promotion. It is very common for businesses to do particular discounts as a way to promote their business. Is this now not allowed, or is it specifically that promoting to the faithful is the real offense? The message being communicated to the religious and those who would work with them in the public square is to go back into their hole, and do not come out until their “God-nonsense” is switched off.
The government should be neutral, in the sense that they do not favor one side over the other, as they represent both and all sides (admittedly, a tricky line to walk). Groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation would rather go straight to the heavy-handed power of government to shut down the filthy religious folks, because they believe government should be boldly and proudly atheistic.
A group of religious and God-fearing men in the 1700s wanted their religious freedom, and by extension, thought that freedom should include the freedom to not be religious. As the nation becomes more and more secular, it also becomes more and more intolerant of those who still strive to remain faithfully religious and God-fearing. Even a one-day-a-week discount is damn near criminal.
I do believe the faithful should fight back, but lovingly. We still have the right to speak and live freely according to our convictions, and as long as we can, we should stand up for what we believe. However, the non-believers are not our enemies. The darkness that animates them, yes, and we are free to see them as wrong, but those secularists and atheists are also free to see us as fools.
I hope that, for the sake of a functional, civil society, we can come to an agreement that it is okay to freely associate and do business with whom we want, and how we want, so long as we do not intentionally seek to hurt others. I wonder if we can, but that sort of society is one worth reclaiming.
May your Sunday dining choices be peaceful and happy.