Should we make life more difficult for atheists?

"Pray for Discount" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Pray for Discount” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

This is based on a true story. A North Carolina diner gave a 15% discount on your meal if you prayed for it first.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter threatening legal action because it considers the discount illegal under federal civil rights laws.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, of the Freedom From Religion Foundation said that it is illegal “to charge an atheist more than a Christian.”

This is an excellent example of our our beliefs that we think are good and harmless can actually birth injustices.

I know this, not just from observing others, but from observing myself! I remember the days when I felt being an atheist was a direct rebellion against God that invited hardships in this life because they were outside of the blessed kingdom of God.

How this works is:

  • If a Christian is suffering, it is either persecution from Satan or the world, or discipline from God to become a better child of the Father.
  • But if an atheist is suffering, it is because they are rebelling against God and have surrendered themselves into the hands of Satan, making their suffering predictable and deserved.

The next step… and it isn’t a big one… is to participate in and contribute to the infliction of suffering because it is God’s plan or destiny for that person.

So the conclusion is atheists SHOULD pay more for their food… maybe because they don’t recognize the source of it, respect the care it took to provide it, and aren’t grateful for it.

In fact, a lot of what is happening in the Middle East has its roots in this kind of thinking.



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18 Responses

  1. R Vogel says:

    I’m trying to determine what is sillier: the restaurants sorry attempt to promote religion or the FFRFs trying to make it into a civil rights issue, unless certain details were left out like they had to utter a specific prayer. Presumably an atheist can bow their heads quietly for a moment and get the discount similar to when you used to get a discount at IHOP for saying ‘Rutti Tutti Fresh and Fruity,’ which makes a mockery of both positions.

  2. Sabio Lantz says:

    Religious logic can be so twisted — remember my knot:

    You illustrate it so well here.

    Suggestion — put a link for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
    Now that would be a real badge of courage for a progressive Christian to support that organization — put their money where their mouth is:

  3. Gene says:

    So, the owner can take 15% off for pretty much any reason they want, except religion. How does this NOT mean that the faith of the owner is being discriminated against?

    Anyway, irrelevant now. Under the threat of lawsuits they’ve quit the practice and no one gets any discounts. Hope the FFRF folks are happy. If they can’t get something (and they could have, there was no test as to who or what one prayed to or even if it was a religious prayer) then nobody gets anything. Haven’t seen such behavior since the neighbor boy took his ball and went home.

  4. Pat Pope says:

    Actually, there’s been an update to the story and the owner isn’t particularly religious. See here:

  5. Ya I saw that Pat. Thanks.

  6. To offer 15% off that is discriminatory is, well, discriminatory.

  7. Sabio Lantz says:

    Wow, did Gene just ask that?
    Hurray for the FFRF !
    What about 15% off if you wear a hijab or a burka?

    BTW, David, so glad you criticized Islam here. I know other religions aren’t your strength but heck, it is just a cartoon.

    BTW, I made a special theology term for the way we treat others outside our group: “Goyology”
    It is one thing to think horrible things about those outside or group, it is another to act on it.
    Ooooops, I guess Jesus would say they were the same — but we all know he was wrong there too.

  8. um… just how did i criticize islam here?

  9. JoelR says:

    I’d agree with you if it actually excluded atheists. But, from what I can see, it didn’t necessarily do that. According to the owner (who seems to be pretty progressive in this regard), “…we’re not looking for people holding hands or bowing their heads. It’s just a simple gesture of gratitude.” It was named “Praying in public” discount because they had to call it something for the point of sale system.

  10. JoelR says:

    And, now I see someone beat me to this. Dang it.

  11. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Pat Pope:

    Great link — thanx. I say secular prayers before eating:

    But to try to mold customers with behavior and thus give discounts is begging for issues, I think.
    But I get benign stuff: like “discount if you can recite a Kipling poem or Name all the Presidents” but when it is in the realms where heterodoxy is punished like religion , politics, sex, race and more, we need to watch ourselves.
    Don’t you think?

  12. Pat Pope says:

    Sorry, Joel. Someone had to be first. 😉

  13. Pat Pope says:

    Would we say the same about a discount being discriminatory in the case of say a AAA discount or senior discount, which obviously excludes certain people. Or are we talking about discrimination that is bad? Just putting it out there for discussion. Believe me, when the story first came out, I was very turned off by what I read and what felt very religiously showy. Now that I’ve read the follow-up article, it doesn’t appear to be as obnoxious as it first appeared to me.

  14. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Pat: you see the distinction between two types of test I mention:
    (a) Heterodoxy vs Orthodoxy
    (b) Fun

    Fine line, perhaps, but that is what civil society is all about, that fine line. No?

  15. Sabio Lantz says:

    Ah, when you said “Middle East” who or what were you referring to?
    Here on this site you don’t mind criticizing forms of Christianity, do you think forms of Islam deserve the same? Or is that scary to do up there in Canada too?

  16. Jeff P says:

    For those that have prayer as part of your religious tradition that think it should be no big deal for atheists (or anyone else who don’t want to pray in public) to play-act and pray anyway for the discount, what if the restaurant owner offered a discount for anyone that openly worshipped Satan? Would it be a big deal for Christians to have to play-act that for the discount?

  17. Lois says:

    I don’t understand why this is an issue – if anyone doesn’t like the policy a business uses, then don’t use the business. I get a discount if I pay a membership in the Auto Association. If I don’t have that membership, I don’t get that discount. Someone over 65 (or whatever age a business considers to be senior) gets a discount. I don’t get that discount, but am on a disability pension that provides less than many seniors have. Bars have “ladies’ night” discounts – how often do they have “men’s night” discounts. There are three examples of discounts based on a discriminatory practice – where are the “equal rights” groups standing against these? Oh, I forgot – it is only those who have religious affiliation who don’t have the right to any privileges or special acknowledgement in North American society these days.

  18. Emily says:

    I, myself, am an atheist; and I’m here to tell you that atheism is the disbelief in a deity/deities. That’s it. To think that we all worship satan is illogical. Sure, I know some satanic atheists, but I also know some pastafarian atheists and Buddhist atheists. I’d actually not mind going to hell (if it’s real) because there’d be enough scientists there for it to be air conditioned. I also can prove to you that heaven (if it existed) would be hotter than hell (again, if it existed). Ask if you need any explanations (no rude comments, keep it civil).